April 1, 2021

Awesome Oestrogen

A hot sauce enthusiast from South Carolina.
A Princeton ice-hockey star from Toronto.
A wife and former cosmetologist from rural Ontario.
A PhD in lung cancer research from Co. Kildare, Ireland.
A first-generation Hungarian-Canadian adventurer from Toronto.
A quirky baker from Abbotsford, British Columbia.
A brunch-loving neuroscientist from Oakville, Ontario.

There is something exceptional about this group of women.
It’s more than their aptitude for science and countless academic achievements.
It’s greater than the numerous degrees they’ve accumulated, papers they’ve published, or promotions they’ve received.
It’s bigger than their acceptances to medical school; more than their future careers as physicians.

This group of women is extraordinary.
These women are activists, innovators, and leaders.
They are creative, athletic, musical, worldly, and passionate.
Resilient. Empathetic. Inspiring. Strong. Confident.
These women are my support system, and have helped shape me into the person I am today.

These are the women that show up to events I organized when nobody else does.
The ones that check in when they see another American mass shooting on the news.
The ones that show up unannounced with homemade carrot cake when I’m having a bad day.
The ones that send encouraging messages the morning of exams, reminding me of how far I’ve come.

The ones that edit my papers and poster presentations the night before the deadline, or stay up with me until they’re complete.
The ones that force me to overcome my fear of cycling through inner-city Dublin in the midst of winter.
The ones that remind me to find the silver lining in all things disappointing.
The ones that allow me to express my frustrations without judgment when positivity is out of reach.
The ones that listen,
and the ones that respond.

These women have taught me kindness, allowing me to be unapologetically and authentically myself.
They’ve instilled in me an unfamiliar confidence that I am capable of anything I set my mind to.
They’ve been honest with me when I’ve exposed my flaws, allowing me to reflect on and learn from past experiences.
They’ve created a safe space to engage in deep and uncomfortable conversations.
They’ve challenged me to step outside my comfort zone, paving the way for my future career in emergency medicine.

These women have been my co-authors and pilot co-creators.
My cheerleaders and confidants.
My biker gang, constantly reassuring me our 10-mile daily commute was “good for us”.
My FaceTime crew and pen pal gals throughout a year of lockdown and solitude.
My study buddies and pretend patients; finger-to-nose, heel-to-shin.

When I embarked on my medical school journey in 2016, I anticipated a much different future–
a hypercompetitive, lonely, and anxiety-provoking environment.
I found instead this group of women, who have lifted me up every single step of the way.

To this group of women, I owe all of my past and future achievements.
To this group of women, you have forever changed my life.
To this group of women, and all women in medicine–
You are extraordinary.
It is an honor to be a part of your world.

Kathryn Wiesendanger
Graduate Entry Medicine, Class of 2022 Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

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