Medical school is a lot like changing a diaper, Craig Michael Forleiter, the student speaker at the School of Medicine and Health Sciences celebration, said.
"There are many different approaches to it, but if you're not focused you may end up covered in feces," he joked.
The graduates, besides having to secure their focus for eight years of school, will never truly stop learning even after graduation, Forleiter said.
"The outside world may view us as heroes, but what sets us apart is that we view ourselves as learners," Forleiter said.
Forleiter said that aside from diaper changing, "The Wizard of Oz" is the perfect allegory for medical school. Like Dorothy and her friends, he and his classmates learned from each other along the way.
"Although we have arrived in Emerald City, never forget to look back on that yellow brick road and remember where you came from," Forleiter said.
Guest speaker William P. Magee, Jr., co-founder and chief executive officer of Operation Smile and an alumnus of the medical school, stressed the importance of friendship in his keynote speech to the graduates.
"The contacts each of you have made with each other will serve you for the rest of your lives," Magee said.
Magee looked back on his career as a physician and told the story of how his interactions with one doctor prompted his decision to apply to medical school.
"Most of us never really recognize the most significant moments of our lives when they're happening," he said.
Working with Operation Smile to improve the lives of over 160,000 children worldwide, Magee said he has seen first-hand the impact that a single person can have. Without people who care about others, there would be no Operation Smile, he said.
Interim Dean and Vice Provost for Health Affairs Jeffrey S. Akman said the graduates should strive to make an impact as they begin their careers. He said they should push themselves toward a lifetime of learning and should work hard to create change.
"If there's one thing I hope you've learned from medical school," Akman said. "It's that life is too short and too precious to be all about work and no play."