Medical student thanks donors during alumni scholarship luncheon

Third-year medical student Joel Goeckeritz shared his perspective on the impact scholarships have made in his education and life during the University of Florida College of Medicine Alumni Weekend scholarship donor luncheon.

Joel Goeckertiz at the UF College of Medicine Alumni Luncheon at the Harrell Medical Education Building on Oct. 6, 2023.

I value your selfless generosity, and the scholarships that I, and my peers, have been awarded. I view them as donations, but with an attached expectation: that after I’ve gone and achieved my education, gaining knowledge and wisdom which I otherwise would have never known, that I will return and freely give of my time, talents, and efforts for the betterment of my community. And so, in that same attitude, I wish to share with you a few pearls of wisdom.

Among the greatest lesson I have learned is with every experience in life, ask “How is ‘this’ the greatest thing to have ever happened to me?” Regardless of if I’m experiencing happiness or sadness, pleasure or pain, peace or strife, I’m convinced every experience has something to offer me for my betterment.

Hardships and good times are no longer seen as isolated events, but rather nodes, balanced in an immeasurable network of existence. I have learned to view life with “diplopic” vision: wherewith I keep one eye focused on the ground immediately in front of me, and one eye gazing out towards the horizon, centered squarely on the future.

I have learned that during times of struggle, when the shadows of fear begin to creep around me, and the earth begins giving way to despair, that I need only to look and behold that future and envision myself, that man, that physician I wish to become.

I envision a man of confidence, of strength, and self-assurance. I see a physician whose knowledge is matched only by his empathy for his patients.

My friends, my colleagues, I eagerly look forward to that future—that future which you have bought me.

Read more about Alumni Weekend 2023