(Editor’s note): Dr. Hassan Aziz is the department head and associate professor of Medical Technology at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. He is also the Laboratory Director of Georgia Regional Hospital at Savannah. He received his doctorate degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2000.
While pursuing my Master’s degree at the University of Southern Mississippi, I had an encounter that I never forgotten. I just moved to Hattiesburg, MS and I was not familiar with the campus yet. I just got out of my molecular biology class and I was walking toward the library. In my way, a nicely dressed gentleman stopped me to ask me about my classes and my college experience.
One thing in particular caught my attention. It was his bowtie! The man was extremely elegant and sounded sincere with an attractive Southern dialect. After a few minutes, he wished me well and I continued my walk to the library. I did not give it much thought that evening. A couple of days later, I was browsing the student newspaper and I saw his picture on the cover page. To my surprise, this gentleman was Dr. Aubrey Lucas, president of the university!
I was shocked. Dr. Lucas took the time out of his very busy schedule to visit with a student. He expressed genuine interest in my academic achievements. Those few moments made a huge impact on my life. I will always respect him for that and I still follow his achievements.
The moral of the story is that we all need to show that we care. We owe it to our patients and to our fellow workers. The power of this act of kindness extends beyond those limited number of minutes we spend with each other. Being humble doesn't mean you can't feel good about yourself. Think about the abilities you have, and be thankful for them. Accept yourself as you are.
No matter how talented you are, there is almost always somebody who can do something better than you. Look to those who are better and consider the potential for improvement. Even if you are the best in the world at doing one thing, there are always other things that you cannot do, and may never be able to do.
We judge others because it's a lot easier than judging ourselves. Judging others causes strife in relationships, and it prevents new relationships from forming. Perhaps even worse, it prevents us from trying to improve ourselves.
Challenge yourself to look at others and appreciate the things they can do and, more generally, to appreciate people for who they are. Understand that everybody is different and relish the chance you have to experience different people.
Part of being humble is to understand that you will make mistakes. We all do! Somewhat more difficult however, is the ability to acknowledge that in many cases other people - even people who disagree with you - may be right.
A big part of being humble is respecting others, and part of respecting others is helpingthem. Treat other people as equals and help them because it is the right thing to do.
I never took a class with Dr. Lucas, but he taught me one of life’s most important lessons!
Thank you, Dr. Lucas.