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A Message to Podiatry Students

I recently gave a lecture at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine to the American Society of Podiatric Surgery student club. And, although the lecture was surgically focused, at the end of the lecture, I took a few minutes to talk to the students concerning the current state of podiatry, as a profession. I told them that podiatry, as a profession, is doing just fine.

I took some time to tell them why, and what my take was after being a Podiatrist for twenty plus years. Before I did that, I gave them some advice. I told them to turn off the internet. Not to focus on what people on forums say about podiatry, and how those that complain the most, tend to do the least to advance our cause. I encouraged them to avoid getting on podiatry forums, making anonymous accounts, and complaining incessantly about what their experience has been with our profession. I further explained that they shouldn’t discount positive messages on the forum and to do everything they can to get the positive ones ejected from the site. One of our leaders in particular heads down this path, and it is truly the type of negativity no one needs. In any profession.

I didn’t sugar coat things either. I told them that life is a bumpy road. For everyone. Going down every and any path. Everyone has mountains to climb. And once they’re done climbing one, another one looms in the distance. This is just part of everyone’s journey. You can let the mountain defeat you, or you can take one step at a time, up, and over that mountain. There are certainly people who will try to knock you off that mountain, or try to keep you from your climb, but ultimately, it’s up to you to persist. Despite every challenge.

On a more personal note, I told them that the sure way to success is working hard and having your own vision of what success means to you. For me, it was to be able to provide for my family, and go to work, happy with where I am, both personally and professionally. I told them that it took me twenty years to attain that goal, but even when times were hard, I never lost sight of what I wanted. And that was how I got through those tough times.

The other thing we discussed is getting involved. Being unhappy with leadership, or the direction of the profession means that you must be willing to forge ahead with a different or new path. And the only way to do that is to make sure your voice is heard. At the local, State and national level. Complaining for complaining’s sake becomes an echo chamber, and there is always a need for a young, fresh outlook. Getting involved isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. At every level.

I closed my little sermon by telling the students how valuable they are. They are the next generation of practitioners and leaders. Without them, there would be no growth. I truly hope every student reads this and passes it on. It’s what we need. Don’t ignore the bad, either. Confront it with positivity and change. We need that, too.



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