The next years of your training will be a time of great growth. It is important to keep all in perspective. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If the stars should appear one night in a thousand, how men would adore.” You will have many days (and some nights) where you are learning about the science of the human body. Don’t forget the amazement that you experience the first time you dissect the human body or have the privilege of talking to a patient who will teach you lots about medicine, but also about the human condition. Understanding the role that a doctor plays in balancing biological knowledge of cells, signaling pathways, molecular and physiologic basis for disease and the vast number of treatments available with the ability to connect with a person and their family and to communicate the options available to them in a way that they understand, trust, accept and will follow is a unique skill that physicians must master. You are starting down an amazing pathway that will require diligence, sacrifice and hard work, but will also bring tremendous reward. Rely upon the skills and characteristics that have brought you to this point. You were selected because you have unique, elite attributes that will allow you to contribute to meeting the challenges of healthcare and biomedical research in the future. Remember we are so very proud of you and we are here to help you grow into an amazing physician. Recognize the importance of asking for help. There are many people around who want to see you succeed in every way. Finally, get to know your classmates. They are exceptionally bright, accomplished and diverse in a variety of ways. Utilize their perspectives in your own educational growth. Your learning curve will become that much steeper! Welcome to Washington University School of Medicine.

Valerie Ratts, MD
Associate Dean for Admissions
Director, Office of Admissions
Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology