Building something beautiful.

Recently, I began working at UCF’s College of Medicine. Hopefully most people know by now that UCF has been building a brand new medical school from almost nothing. This has not been done in the United States for 40 years. As a pre-med student at UCF, I paid attention to any news surrounding the new College of Medicine. It was definitely exciting but an intimidating task. I remember thinking to myself, “That will be a great school in ten years.” The UCF news announced that Dr. German, a very accomplished woman, would be the Dean. Little did I know that this decision would help shape the future of the College of Medicine. Dr. German is somebody with big dreams and expectations. It wasn’t until I heard her speak at an Honors College Brunch a few months later that I started to believe the College of Medicine could be something great from the beginning. She completely amazed me because she had a very direct way of accomplishing her goals, she pursued life with an inspirational vivaciousness but she came across as approachable and real. An odd combination.

My senior year I had the wonderful opportunity of working at the College of Medicine. This was two years before the school had any students, while curriculum was still being developed, and before the building plans were finalized. Up until this point, the College of Medicine has been run out of Research Park near UCF. Let me just say that I couldn’t be more thankful for that opportunity to be part of something so unique. Personally, I never had a major role at the College of Medicine but I was surrounded by the most incredible people. It seemed like every person I met was energized, enthusiastic about building a medical school. Of course, none of these people would admit how accomplished they are but I will say it for them. I was at a point in my life where I didn’t know which direction I wanted to take. That was such a conflicting and confusing period for me because I had always had a sense of direction. Fortunately, most of the people I had looked up to so much at the College of Medicine were the biggest comfort. Believe it or not, these people that had “everything so figured out” also had periods where they didn’t know what to do with their lives. I won’t list them individually but I hope they know how much they helped me.

I moved around trying different paths for the past two years and returned to a place that held so many good memories and so many wonderful people. I’m coming on board at an exciting time. The College of Medicine will be moving to its new home at Lake Nona in June. Yesterday I toured the new building and was simply amazed. I’m having a difficult time coming up with an experience in a more beautiful building and there’s not even any furniture yet! Everything was so tastefully done and you could tell there was thought put into the tiniest details. The wood fixtures, enormous windows, and so many other things bring a sense of grace and power to learning. Being the dork I am, I’m so jealous of the lecture halls. I want to attend class and pretend to be a student just so I can sit in the chairs and plug my laptop into my own outlet. Yes, each chair has their own electrical and internet cord outlets! Another thing I love is that there are white boards of all shapes in sizes in various places. White boards make me happy…I bought a white board to study one year. The anatomy and microscopy labs were state-of-the-art. I can’t wait to see classes take place there with real equipment. My favorite part of the building has to be part of the ceiling. In the middle of the ceiling on the first and second floors there is a huge circle cutout that is painted midnight blue with sparkling lights. It looks like stars at night…how interesting and beautiful. Immediately, I wanted to find out whose idea that was and thank them.

I’ve probably used beautiful way too many times to describe this building but I can’t think of another word that fits it better. What’s truly beautiful is that I know the people that helped make this happen. I know how much they put into making this happen and how much they care about building the best medical school they can. There will always be mistakes, details we’d like to change, and things people disagree on but nobody can deny that overall what UCF’s College of Medicine has done in the past few years is utterly impressive. I’m so proud and thankful for the work that every single person has put into creating a new medical school and not settling for the mindset, “Oh it will be a great school in ten years.” While I still believe nursing is the right path for me, yesterday made me seriously consider taking the MCAT’s to be a part of the College of Medicine as a student and experience why everybody is working so hard.

Under Construction

A glimpse of the outside...

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3 Responses to Building something beautiful.

  1. Scott Sumner says:

    Courtney-

    I’m incredibly touched by this post and by you.

    Best,
    Scott

  2. Courtney says:

    Thank you Scott for all the hard work you and everybody else put into making this happen. I hope all of you are proud of this impressive accomplishment.
    Court

  3. Deb German says:

    Courtney,
    Thank you for this beautiful story of your experience of our medical school. As you know we wanted the physical building to be life-giving to all who enter, just as our profession is life-giving to medical students, faculty and patients.
    You are a great writer and I am certain that you can be whatever you want to be. When you choose your path you will be fabulous! I will watch your life unfold with interest.
    Thank you,
    DG

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