Dr. Anita Somani's Message to Graduating YAC Members - Don't Peak in High School

This past Tuesday, May 21, the Columbus Medical Association Foundation (CMAF) celebrated the graduating Youth Advisory Council (YAC) members. The evening included well wishes for the seniors, memories of the past YAC year, and advise on how to navigate this next chapter in their life.

Dr. Anita Somani, the Columbus Medical Association’s immediate past-president, offered up her tips for a successful future in her speech addressing the YAC, which is available for all below.

Dr. Anita Somani addressing the YAC

Dr. Anita Somani addressing the YAC

For those who watch Game of Thrones one of the questions that is asked is what unites us. people? Armies? Gold? Flags? Actually it’s stories- there’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story.

As you all get ready to graduate from high school, I want to share a few things about my kids. They were much like many of you in high school -smart,driven and ambitious. What some people refer to as geeks or nerds. They were not part of the popular crowd or jocks and they would miss out on social events. They did not always participate in all the Cool things.  In high school this can be perceived as  tragic. At that time, I gave them one simple piece of advice which I think still holds true.

Never peak in high school! 

Your best years are ahead of you and peaking in high school means you have very little to look forward to. College is a time of intense change and growth. You will find yourself challenged by new people and new ideas. It may make you uncomfortable but that’s okay. That’s how we all grow. Be open to new ideas and different ways of thinking.

Years ago I had a high school student who was interested in pediatrics shadow me because there was no pediatrician available. As time went on she went to college and pursued her dream to become a doctor. She felt very conflicted about choosing a specialty because she was worried about managing a family and a career in ObGyn. Eventually she came to the realization that women’s health was her passion and is now practicing ObGyn and has 3 kids. She recently told me that the reason she changed her mind was she saw me do both and knew that it was possible.

As a doctor we work with patients and coworkers from a variety of backgrounds and places. Over the years I have learned more from those around me than I think I’ve taught them. As a medical student I learned from everyone I came across. Patients taught me how to be a better listener and to read between the lines. I remember a pregnant patient who had an uncomplicated pregnancy till 2 weeks before her due date when she came in with decreased fetal movement. When we couldn’t hear a heartbeat I looked at the fetus with the ultrasound and had to tell her that her baby was dead. She was devastated but went through labor with grace and had the love and strength to hold her baby after he was born and say goodbye. She said she was grateful for that time and appreciated our giving her control over the situation. From that I’ve learned to give patients choices even when the news is devastating.

Even now after 26 years in practice I continue to see things I’ve never seen and learn new techniques everyday. Often when I think I’ve peaked and my life couldn’t be any better than it is a patient will thank me for delivering her baby or for performing a surgery and improving their life. In the end I would encourage you to take time to learn from everyone who’s path you share. Try to understand and see problems from different perspectives than your own. Don’t be in a rush to peak and  As Dr. Seuss says ….You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. -

Check out more pictures from the YAC Graduation Night here.

Giving BackCMA