School can be tough. Medical school can be even tougher. The pressure to achieve good grades, along with a lack of sleep, can cause stress and depression for medical schools students at a much higher rate than the general population. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that nearly 30% of medical students suffer from depression during their studies.
During the third year of med school, students transfer from books and classrooms to field experience, which is a new stressful challenge. Suddenly they are taking care of real patients in real medical facilities, which sometimes means they stop taking care of themselves.
Jana Florian, a Boston resident, saw this situation and wanted to help boost the students’ morale and spirits during final exams. In the spring of 2018, Jana came together with some other volunteers to create motivational postcards for third-year medical students. Each postcard was handwritten and also came with a piece of candy. “I hope this random act raises the collective spirit of our third-year student body and provides them with words of kindness and encouragement,” said Jana. “I want to remind them of the strong, meaningful people they are and the power of the work they’re doing.”
Jana, along with a little help, wrote and assembled the cards at home. She then delivered them to the testing center at the Boston University medical school during final exams in May. The clerkship coordinators handed them to students as they left the exams to add an element of randomness and surprise. “My favorite cards read, ‘Hey. It’s okay to figure it out as you go. You got this.’ and ‘You did not waste anything ever. It all counts. Keep going,'” said Jana.
We wish best of luck to all of the medical students as they return to school for their final year of med school!
Do you have an idea for an act of kindness for someone in your community, but need a little help? Random Acts may be able to provide funding to get your plans off the ground!