Class of 2023 Ceremony Address by Daniel Castro, M.D.’23

Daniel Castro, M.D., is a 2023 graduate of the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine.

On Sunday, May 21, 2023 Dr. Castro delivered the student address at the Larner College of Medicine, Class of 2023 Ceremony. As a Larner College of Medicine student, Daniel received the Wellness Award in 2021 from his peers in recognition of “going above and beyond to help” his classmates.  He also served as a home health care provider, assisted in vaccine delivery to migrant farm workers in rural Vermont, and provided Point of Care Ultrasound instruction to junior medical students.  This summer he will begin his residency in Emergency Medicine at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Daniel Castro, M.D.’23, stands on the stage of UVM’s Ira Allen Chapel giving the student speech at the UVM Larner College of Medicine Class of 2023 Ceremony on Sunday, May 21, 2023. Dr. Gaurab Basu, the keynote guest speaker for the event, sits next to him listening to the speech. (Photo: Andy Duback)

Esteemed faculty, family, friends, loved ones. I want to thank you for coming to the Ira Allen Chapel to celebrate the graduation of the incredible, the intrepid, and the incomparable Larner College of Medicine Class of 2023.

My name is Daniel Castro and as a member of the class of ‘23, there are so many things I could say regarding the tenacity, the compassion, and the kindness that defines our class. Instead, today I’d like to tell you the story of our class through a poem I wrote….

The People You Are, The Patients You’ll See

By Daniel Castro

Congratulations! You’ve done it,
We’re now at the end.
We’re now all MDs
With new a road to contend.

But let us think back
On how far we’ve come,
Back to year one
And the Foundations hum thrum.

All sat in our seats, 
With no learning done yet,
We met in 200 
Seeing Steve Everse’s silhouette.

Thrilled and excited, 
As we looked forward in time,
Reality soon sunk in 
As we were crushed by Krebs cycle enzymes.

Histo, cell bio and genetics galore,
Anatomy and concepts and modules more and more.
Integrated, interdisciplinary, all taught by the score, 
All while realizing we’re still on the ground floor.

But plug on we did,, 
And we were soon a close class.
Not just a random assortment of people,
Drowning in a medicine morass.

We studied in groups, 
We found our friends too.
Ones who’d support us
When our brains were turning to goo.

Foundations we got through.
So on to A and D!
Bugs and drugs,
And then maybe a ski.

We survived Billy Raz
And his band of bacterium.
I’d even venture to say
We all had some fun!

Carried the most wretched plot twist.
Covid reared its gross head,
And we were all quickly dismissed.

Stuck in our homes
With no places to go.
We soldiered on studying,
Though no skiing at Stowe.

The semester flew past, 
Not before spinal tracts confused us.
We made it to years end,
An 8 week vacation a must.

We returned to connections,
To CRR and embryos,
And all the bits and pieces
Of just how a nervous system grows.

Second year quickly dragged us 
To the dreaded Step 1.
Yet our hard work prevailed
As dedicated had begun.

With our eyes on the prize,
The clinical years would comprise
A litany of late nights, early mornings
A workload not remotely pint-sized. 

Yet we hung tough through all that,
Through gen surg, OB, and IM,
Through the peds rotations
And 4-year-olds full of green phlegm.

During 3rd year we found out
What we’re capable of. 
Of great deeds, great compassion,
A necessity of self-love.

Because medicine has a habit
Of breaking you down,
Of pushing your limits,
Of knocking your emotions around.

I’m sorry to say so,
But, sadly, it’s true,
That bang-ups and hang-ups
Will happen to you.

Nevertheless, I’ve seen
Resilience untold,
Of picking yourselves and friends up,
Genuinely inspiring to behold.

I’m here to say,
That I’m proud of this class!
We’ve made it through 4th year,
We’ve made it through med school,
With our brains still intact.

Specialties in gas, ophtho and EM,
In surg, and neuro and all other my friends.
Residency is ahead and I know you’ll do well,
Because I studied beside you and know you’re capable as hell.

Still, here’s a few things to mention,
Before long shifts and disease,
Let’s be reminded of the honor
Of seeing the patients you’ll see.

Be kind, be human
And remember to care.
We are the guardians against
Our sick patient’s despair.

Give grace to yourself,
Know that you’ve earned your place there.
Know that the person you are
Is a person most rare.

And lastly please know
Just how lucky we are.
To lead the lives we live,
Now that we’re not smashing the Anki spacebar.

My friends, Thank you for being amazing people.
My classmates, Thank you for being along for this ride.
I know there are no other MDs
I’d rather have by my side.

Thank You

“Be kind, be human
And remember to care.
We are the guardians against
Our sick patient’s despair.” – Daniel Castro, M.D.’23

Watch the Commencement speech by Dr. Castro above.