ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The next generation of doctors received their white coats at the University of Illinois College of Medicine on Friday.

“My end goal was to always go to medical school, so I moved back home and have been kinda been working in the community since,” said Bella Swan, a first-year medical student.

Swan was just a teenager when she decided to become a doctor. Now, with a Masters’s in Medical Science, she said she is leaning toward practicing family medicine.

Fifty-five first-year students received their white coats at Friday’s ceremony.

Alex Stagnaro-Green, U of I College of Medicine’s Regional Dean, said, “So, this is the first time that they are in their white coat. They’re here with their family and friends. They take an oath, dedicating themselves to the profession.”

Stagnaro-Green added that the welcoming ceremony is as much for staff and families as it is for the students.

“I can say that all of these are my white coat ceremonies now, as I celebrate with the students and relive the excitement of the beginning medical school,” he said.

Swan says while she and her peers are nervous about what is to come, she knows it is only the beginning of the next chapter in her life.

“I think we are all super excited, too, to get to know this community and get to support this community, and learn from the people in this community who are already doing what we want to do in the future,” she said.

Students will start their first day of medical school on Monday.