Watch - MD Valedictorian speech

Valedictorian from The University of Queensland's MD program, Dr Anthea Gibbons delivered a captivating speech at the 2019 graduation ceremony.

Watch it below.


Chancellor, deputy vice-chancellor academic, members of senate, guest speaker, academic staff of the university, distinguished guests, fellow graduates, ladies and gentlemen.

In medicine, we often look at an illness through the lens of its risk factors and protective factors.

When we began our medical journey, it seemed there were an overwhelming number of risk factors for failure. But to see each of you standing before me today having overcome these challenges, is a testament to your dedication, and also to the protective factors we have gathered along the way to shape our path.

First, we have learnt resilience. On a broad scale, we have adapted and persisted as our degree underwent numerous changes. In this shifting landscape, we have found our feet and flourished. 

More internally, I’m sure we can all recognise feelings of stress, exhaustion and inadequacy in the face of a seemingly endless onslaught.

Through the long days at the hospital: feet dragging to yet another ward; through even longer nights studying: desperately catching up on reading to answer tomorrow’s relentless questions; and through every failed procedure: watching the patient’s reproachful eyes as you tell them that, yes, there will be another needle; through all this we have garnered the courage to continue on, to try again, and this resilience will stand us in good stead to grow and thrive as doctors.

Second, we have learnt the protective value of compassion. We came to medicine already brimming with passion to help others. And we have come to realise the true humanising influence of going beyond the pure science to empathetically engage with our patients and colleagues.

With such compassion we are able to enrich the experience for all involved and are rewarded with a sense of fulfilment. But it has been equally valuable on this journey to recognise the importance of compassion for self.

The myriad study, research, volunteering and work commitments may seem to pull us in a thousand directions at once. It is in taking the time to look after ourselves and our friends that we may become pillars of strength to draw on from within. 

Finally, it is the community surrounding us that has made all the difference in supporting us along this tumultuous ride.

To the teachers and staff who have generously shared their time and expertise, often going above and beyond to enhance our learning: thank you. To the parents, partners, family and friends who offered a listening ear, various body parts to be repeatedly examined and unwavering love: thank you. And to my fellow graduates; over the course of this journey we have banded together with a joyous spirit.

I thank you for the sense of uplifting care and support we have cultivated. Congratulations on this incredible achievement and I look forward to seeing how our resilience, compassion and sense of community will lay the foundation for further successes.


For more stories from across the Faculty of Medicine, visit MayneStream, our content hub.