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PREPARED ONLY BY
Pe Mention this publication.
Chemist and Graduate of the " Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures de Paris ” (France).
LEADING DRUGGISTS. Laboratory, 28 Prince St., New York.
CHARGE TO THE GRADUATING CLASS OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, AT ANNUAL COMMENCE
MENT, MARCH 22, 1894.
BY J. BUNYAN STEPHENS, M.D.,
Gentlemen of the Graduating Class :
Through two sessions of medical lectures, you, together with the help and instruction of your teachers, have endeavored to lay the foundation for future usefulness and success. must be your own teachers, you must be your own master and your own scholar-a self educator; and history furnishes us with so many encouraging examples of self-made men that you have nothing to fear. The intellectual training you have received in college is to be highly prized, but practical knowledge is necessary to make it available. Experience gained from
books, however valuable, is of the nature of learning; experience gained from outward life is wisdom, and an ounce of the latter is worth a pound of the former. Keep it ever in mind that a reputable name is in all cases the fruit of personal exertions. It is not inherited from parents, it is not created by external advantages. It is no necessary appendage of birth or worth, talents or station, but the result of one's own endeavors, the fruit and reward of good principles manifested in a course of virtuous and honorable actions. Hence, the attainment of a name, however humble your present station, is in reach of all of you. The mental advantages already gained, if not seconded by your own endeavors, will drop you midway on the road to success, or perhaps you will not have started when the dilligent traveler will have won the race.
With the parchment so worthily won, which you have just received, you start out this night confronted by two ends—success or failure. To win the former will require of you much labor and perseverance.
Remember that those who start for glory must—figuratively speaking-imitate the mettled hounds of Acton, and must pursue the game, not only where there is a path, but where there is none. You must be able to simulate and to dissimulate, to leap and to creep, to conquer the earth like Cæsar, to fall down and kiss it like Brutus, to throw your sword like Brennus into the trembling scale, or like Nelson snatch the aurels from the doubtful hand of victory while she is hesitating where to bestow them. It has been truly said that he who would win success in life must make Perseverance his his bosom friend, Experience his wise counselor, Caution his elder brother, and Hope his guarding genius. He must not repine because the fates sometimes seem to be against him, but when he trips or falls let him, like Cæsar when he stumbled on shore, stumble forward, and by escaping the omen changed its nature and meaning. Remember, young gentlemen, that those very circumstances which are apt to be abused as the palliatives of failure are the true tests of merit. Gird up your loins, then, for whatever in the mysterious economy of the future may await you. Thus will you rise superior to ill fortune, and, becoming daily more and more impassive to its attacks, will learn to force your way in spite of it till at last you will be able to fashion your luck to your will. “Life is too short,” says a shrewd thinker, “ for us to waste time stopping to deplore our lot.” You must
Lave no time to spare. To succeed you must go as to a crowded gate that many are anxious to reach, hold your ground and press on, and press hard, for to stand still is to give up the battle and be run over. Be alive, work hard, watch opportunities, be rigidily honest, and hope for the best, and, as formerly said by one of my colleagues and predecessors in a charge to a graduating class in this school, “if you are not able to reach the highest goal of your ambition, which is possible, in spite of your utmost efforts, you will die with the consciousness of having done your best, which is after all the truest success to which you can aspire.' There never was a time in the world's history when success, in the high calling you have chosen, demanued harder and more earnest labor than now. Regular physicians can not now be received and recognized as such, with regular standing in the profession, until they have attended three full sessions of instruction and, at the end of which prove by strict examination, that they are worthy of such recognition. Therefore, there is now no royal road to success; the path lies through fields of earnest, patient labor. You have, young gentlemen, built well your foundation for success, judging as I do, from your “green-room’ examina ion, which promises in reward of this a glorious triumph. In building upon such a foundation, and as you ascend, what matter if a round in the ladder does break or a foot slip now and then? Such things must be expected, and being expected, must be overcome.
From this night, gentlemen, starting out to practice your profession, make your decision, i. e., decide to succeed.-"Where there is a will there is a way;" brains are secondary to will, the intellect is but the half of a man, the will is the driving wheel—the spring of the motive power. A vaccilating, undetermined man, no matter what his abilities, is invariably pushed aside in the race of life by one of determined will. It is he who resolves to succeed, and at every rebuff begins resolutely again, that reaches the goal. The shores of Fortune are covered with the stranded wrecks of men of brilliant abilities, but who have wanted courage, faith, and decision, and have, therefore, per
ished in sight of more resolute, but less capable adventurers, who succeeded in making port. Hundreds of men have gone to their graves in obscurity, who bave remained obscure only because because they lacked the pluck to make the first effort, and who, could they only have resolved to begin, would have astonished the world by their achievements and success. Another path to success is energy; be energetic. A young man is in the true sense of the word the architect of his own fortune; rely on your own strength of body and soul-you must make yourself or come to nothing. You must win by your own exertions, and not wait for some one to come to your assistance. Take for your star self-reliance, faith, honesty, and industry. The greater difficulties that may come in your way the more glory in surmounting them. The soul of every great achievement is energy. Believe you were cut out for a physician, and no one else can take your place in the profession. Electrify yourself, go forth to the task, proceed with energy, then, and consider yourself amply sufficient for the deed, and you will succeed.
Courage is another path. The greater part of courage to suc. ceed in your profession is not so much the heroic kind, such as is needed by the soldier on the battle-field, but you need the common courage to be honest, the courage to resist temptation, the courage to speak the truth. It is, however, sometimes necessary for doctors to withhold the truth, for to tell the whole truth would bring trouble often in families; not that falsehood should take the place of truth, but keep mum, say nothing unless forced to speak, and if forced, have the courage to speak the truth; and have the courage also to be what you really are, and not pretend to be what you are not.
Have the courage to live honestly within your means, and not dishonestly on the means of others. It is moral courage that characterizes the highest order of manhood. Have the courage to be yourself and not the shadow or echo of another; exercise your own powers, think your own thoughts, and speak your own sentiments. Elaborate your own opinions, and form your own convictions.
Providence has hidden a charm in difficult undertakings, which is appreciated by those who dare to grapple with them. But this can only be true, when you by your own exertions, and the strength of your own self-reliance have achieved the results.