By Ian Simpson-Shelton, MS4
Dear Dean Kelly,
I sat in your office unsure of my future. You were patient, calm, and collected while I sat there crying thinking about a new career path. However, you never let that dwindling flame die. You gave me a new sense of hope and encouraged me to continue chasing my dreams.
I am forever grateful for the opportunity you gave me and the day I heard your voice telling me I was accepted into medical school is still one of the happiest days of my life. That excitement only heightened when you told me one of your close colleagues had offered me a position in PRIME-HeQ. When reflecting on that moment, I still get emotional because I was on the verge of having another opportunity swept away from me. First, it was my mom. Then, it was my baseball scholarship. Then, my favorite aunt. Soon, I thought it was going to be medicine. Yet, something I understood was that from each process I grew and I think you knew I would grow from that point.
When I arrived on campus, you and Dr. Willies-Jacobo – another one of your colleagues that is going to depart UCSD – were the mother figures I needed at a time of uncertainty. We never spent an extraordinary amount of time with one another, but the two of you always spoke to me with a smile on your face. That’s all I needed to feel welcome in a very unfamiliar place. And, as I grew as a medical student, I truly came to understand how superhuman the two of you were.
You both taught classes, saw patients, sat in on several meetings, ensured medical students had everything you needed within reason, and most importantly kept your door open for everyone. I will never meet two women so influential to my life outside of the women in my family. I have to admit something though. I have stolen from you both. I stole your charisma, your calm demeanors, your willingness to lend an open ear even when time is scarce, and most importantly your desire to see the next generation of medical students succeed.
I am writing this because I want you both to know that I am forever grateful for your work at UCSD. I am thankful to have been students of such powerful, influential, intelligent, and compassionate individuals. If we as a student body can be as half as great as you two were, I guarantee we will be successful change leading physicians. It has been a privilege being one of your medical students and I wish you only the best moving forward.
Ian Simpson-Shelton is a fourth year medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine. He is one of 19 students nominated by his peers to the Gold Humanism Honor Society’s class of 2019.