TCOM medical student describes the importance of donning a white coat for the first time

By Sarah HopkinsTCOM student Kendrick Lim

Kendrick Lim’s white coat carries much symbolism – it is a reminder of a physician’s call to serve and a sign one should never give up on dreams. 

In 2019, Lim had solid ambitions after graduation from Texas A&M University. He was either going to become a doctor or an engineer who creates medical devices to save lives. 

Lim applied to graduate programs with both plans in mind. However, his interview at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) was his only medical school interview, and he had been placed on a waitlist. 

As the summer of 2019 moved closer to fall, Lim’s path to becoming a doctor seemed more uncertain. Then, came an unexpected phone call with news he had been accepted to TCOM. 

“I still look back on that day in disbelief,” said Lim, who is now a third-year student at TCOM. “It is so interesting how everything always works out, no matter how lucky or serendipitous it appears. I am forever grateful for that call two years ago that changed the entire trajectory of my life.” 

This year, Lim is among four student speakers who will welcome incoming students to The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth (HSC) during the 2021 White Coat Ceremony. More than 400 future osteopathic physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, and physical therapists are receiving their white coats. 

The history of the doctor’s white coat dates back more than 100 years. Most clinicians are defined by wearing their white coat while practicing some form of medicine. 

“For me, the white coat is a physical representation of my dedication to my future patients, health care, and the profession,” Lim said. “Donning the white coat for the first time was surreal to me. This single moment was a symbol of transformation, a physical representation of the start of the journey that I would embark on for the next four years at the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine. Now, every time I see my white coat, it is a reminder of the dedication that my future patients deserve.”  

Lim, who has been taking part in clinical rotations, said that back in 2019 he didn’t know if he was going to be accepted into medical school. As an undergraduate, he majored in biomedical engineering and minored in electrical engineering. Continuing engineering studies seemed a viable path, so Lim accepted a bioinnovation fellowship and entered the Master of Engineering program at Texas A&M. 

But becoming a doctor was still Lim’s hope so he started making plans to take the MCAT again and start the reapplication process for medical schools. Lim said he was out with a friend the day he was accepted into TCOM, so he initially missed the call from Dr. Mike Kennedy.  

The voicemail left him in shock. He only had 18 hours to make a huge personal decision – should he stay at Texas A&M or head to Fort Worth? 

Lim’s calling to become a doctor came after he attended a seminar where he learned how engineering students like himself could find pathways to medical school. He continues charting his path, often documenting portions of his journey on social media. 

“Done with week 1 of general surgery & my surgeon let me close up today!!!,” Lim posted recently on Twitter. 

Lim, who wants to practice emergency medicine, said his experience at TCOM has been amazing. 

“Every single day, I am so grateful to have received that call with my acceptance off the waitlist, and I have approached numerous aspects of medical school with the greatest excitement,” he said. “I cannot wait to see what the rest of my time in medical school holds.” 

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