For any aspiring physician, the white coat ceremony is a special milestone, the moment you receive and get to wear a doctor's white coat and formally begin your medical studies.
It's a rite of passage Maria Cielito Robles won't soon forget and one that was extra special for her and her family.
Robles, a student at Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, received her white coat on Aug. 20 at DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Her older brother, Carlito Robles, a physician assistant, was there to "coat" her -- or give her her white coat -- in person.
"Such a special moment to be coated by my big brother for my @MSUMD white coat ceremony -- we've come a long way from living in a kubo (shack) in the Philippines #AmericanDream," Robles tweeted the next day.
Her tweet has since gone viral, accumulating more than 6,000 likes.
Beneath her tweet, Robles included a photo of herself and her brother from 2002 in their former home in Malolos, in the province of Bulacan, alongside a photo of the two of them onstage at her white coat ceremony.
"At my school, you can request for a special coater so it's a family member or someone you have a close relationship with who has a doctorate or terminal degree in health care and so since he's a PA, I thought it would be really special to have him coat me, especially because we have had a very close relationship," Robles, 28, told "Good Morning America."
"I was living with him when he was in his last year of PA school and I was applying to medical school so I feel like we've kind of been on this journey together," she explained. "Thankfully, he was up for it even though he was very out of his comfort zone to be sitting up on stage during the ceremony."
Robles said her journey to medical school had been a long one full of twists and turns. She had initially abandoned her dream of becoming a doctor after struggling with her undergraduate course load and explored other career paths -- but she eventually realized medicine was what she really wanted to pursue.
"For me to finally get there to that white coat ceremony, which symbolizes the beginning of your medical training, was just such a special moment because for me it symbolizes not giving up, even though for many years I had a lot of doubts and insecurities of whether I would still be able to pursue this dream," Robles said.
"I think it was also really special to have my family there and to show my parents that … here is maybe a byproduct of those hopes and dreams of leaving everything behind in the Philippines to move to the U.S. without that guarantee [that] life is going to be better," she added.
Robles told "GMA" she and her brother grew up in impoverished conditions in the Philippines. When she was 8, her mom, who was recruited as a nurse in the U.S., was able to petition for her family to join her in Michigan.
She still has extended family members in the Philippines and they were able to witness Robles' white coat ceremony via livestream.
"They had woken up at 4:30 in the morning to watch. So it felt like less of a moment for me and more of a moment of gratitude and thankfulness to my parents and everyone that had supported me and told me not to give up," she said.
In addition to pursuing medicine, Robles is also embarking on a military career. She's a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy and a recipient of the Navy's Health Professional Scholarship Program, which will cover the cost of her medical education in exchange for service.
"I just feel this really deep desire to live a life that's greater than myself and that includes a profession of one where I can help the most people -- and so I felt like, for me, that was military medicine," Robles said. "I just thought it was a really cool way to give back to a country that's given my family and [me] endless opportunities."