We all have memorable teachers and mentors from medical school and residency. They have made us who we are today.
One of my faculty members seemed to be half stand-up comedian. I wasn’t assigned to his small group session for pathology, but I crashed it. Because he was funny. He cared. He got to know his students, their names, where they were from, and something memorable about them.
He called me “Sunny, from Sunny Santa Barbara” as I went received my undergraduate degree at the University of California Santa Barbara.
He laughed and made us laugh.
He also told us over and over and over that “repetition is the branding iron of knowledge.” I tell this to my students all the time.
He taught me that it’s okay to be yourself, and whatever your personality is, you can bring that to medicine and be who you are. You don’t have to conform.
He won the teaching award so many times that they had to retire him from the award.
Only two other people had been retired from the teaching award and each had done it in completely their own unique way.
One was quite obsessive with details, one seemed like a walking encyclopedia, and then of course there was the comedian. The lesson for me here was that you can be an outstanding teacher, faculty member, and human being in your very own unique way by being genuinely, authentically, uniquely you.