The Road Less Traveled

 

Don’t look back at what you have lost, the Road of Life was never meant to be traveled backwards

Imagine yourself driving a car, with a set destination in mind. You’ve already mapped out the path you will drive down towards that destination and wrote the directions out step by step so you would not get lost.

But by some force of nature, you take a wrong turn down a long dirt road, and suddenly you have fallen off course.

The road is unfamiliar to you, but instead of panicking to get  yourself back on track, you remain calm and keep riding. Along the way, you discover new towns you’ve never been to and new restaurants you never new existed. Hours went by, and yet you still never found the road you were supposed to turn down or the destination you were supposed to have arrived at. But that doesn’t bother you, because you just had an amazing day discovering new adventures.

Becoming a doctor never crossed my mind growing up. I was a dancer and an actress. Those were my passions, and I wanted to pursue them fully after High School. But I took a wrong turn down my path towards those dreams.

As I began to travel down a new road, I learned one thing- Your lessons come from the journey, not the destination. This year – At my graduation from Medical School at the Lincoln Center in New York City, I shared this speech with the audience:

 

Graduation Speech

2012 SGU School of Medicine Commencement Speaker, Danielle Krol

The Road Less Traveled

I found the inspiration to write this speech while traveling for miles down a long dirt road on a journey from Vientiane to Vang Vieng in the small country of Laos on a recent trip with 2 of my friends from medical school. The road was bumpy, and full of twists and turns. At times, there would be no civilization for miles. But at the end of that dirt road laid a real treat.

Limestone mountains, with their summits disappearing into the clouds, made the scenery stunningly beautiful, and one of Asia’s best kept secrets. Every road has an end, but the end is often the beginning of a new adventure.

The journey to Vang Vieng was symbolic of many other roads I’ve once traveled. To my fellow graduates, our paths came together at Medical School. We all got there using ‘The Road Less Traveled’- The direction that not many others can say they have taken. The road to becoming a physician.

My road to Medical School was far from smooth. As a little girl, I once dreamed of being on this very stage at the Lincoln Center, as a dancer in the New York City Ballet. But, 10 years ago I hit a road block. I lost my best friend to Breast Cancer. Her name was Mary, and she was my mother.

During her illness, I would sleep in the hospital for months. I would administer IV antibiotics, and assist with weekly chemotherapy for the last year of Mary’s life. My responsibilities grew as the disease progressed, and so did my love for medicine.

My mother’s physicians were my role models, and impacted my life so greatly that I chose ‘The Road Less Traveled’, and pursed medical school. Yet, I still ended up on stage in the Lincoln Center. And now here we are, Class of 2012. Our paths collided.

We survived our academic years. We survived our clinical clerkships. There was no taxi in New York City too fast to run us down from pursing our dreams.

Your families are extremely proud, and you can’t imagine their relief that you are finally finished all this schooling – so now would be a good time to ask them for money.

We are now doctors, and as prestigious as the job title is, don’t ever forget the Road you took to earn that degree. Until our paths on our individual Roads of Life cross again, Best of Luck in your future endeavors.

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DanielleKrolMD
Dr. Danielle Krol, a native of the Philadelphia area, spent the majority of her early life growing up in New Jersey. With over 15 years’ experience in Dance and Theatrical Arts, Dr. Krol was pursuing a career as an actress until her mother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. For the 3 years that followed, Dr. Krol placed her life on hold and took the responsibility of Caretaker for her terminally ill mother. Her passion for medicine came about during her mother’s illness, and her determination to become a doctor came about after her passing in 2002.