Student service providers, faculty, staff, and current medical students share personal stories of resilience, resources for maintaining well-being, and programs, practices, and strategies they have found to be effective in building student well-being.
The views and opinions expressed in this collection are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Reclaiming Your Identity
But one of the lessons I learned is easily accessible: we are not solely defined by how we have spent our time.
Understanding your Mental Health
A big red flag telling me that my mental health is declining is the food that I’m eating. During high-stress periods, I’ll notice that all my meals come from the freezer or from takeout. These options have their place; they’re quick, tasty, and sometimes necessary for long days.
Caring for Yourself Before You Care for Others
Sometimes it feels like medical school has made me an amplified version of myself, for better and for worse.
Graduating Out of My Self-Sacrifice
With vaccinations still rolling out, social distancing and masks are unquestionable accessories to our caps and gowns.
From Desperation to Freedom
FREE. I was so happy and wanted to be there; my patients could tell. BELIEVE. What matters is that I know I am doing my best. KNOW. I am capable and have the spirit and humility to improve every day. HARD WORK. Helping the most incredible women I know - my patients.
3 Subtle Signs of Burnout and 3 Not-so-Subtle Ways of Reclaiming Your Wellbeing
My hope is that by raising awareness of the subtle signs of burnout, physicians will not only be introspective of their own “internal battery”, but also unfaltering advocates for the mental and physical health of their colleagues. Without further delay, here are three subtle signs of burnout I have recognized throughout my medical training.
Courage and Mental Health: Physicians and Physicians-in-Training Sharing Their Personal Narratives
We wrote this editorial to examine the potential value of self-disclosure about mental distress and illness.
We Burn Out, We Break, We Die: Medical Schools Must Change Their Culture to Preserve Medical Student Health
The author explores medical student depression and suicide through the lens of personal struggles and calls for medical schools to create a culture that normalizes self-care and includes vulnerability as part of professionalism training. Feel free to adapt this to match the style of the other cards as needed.
Transition to residency (and beyond) with kindness
“Are you satisfied with your scores?” This question tends to cause distress for many of us. But the intention of this article is not to cause distress nor to provide bullet-proof science defending a thesis.
COVID-19: Why Medical Student Spiritual Health Matters Now
What does this mean? Should you, a medical student, be managing the stress from our global health crisis by reading the Bible or other religious texts?
The Selective Magic of a Doctor’s White Coat
We can recognize the white coat for what it is or is not, whether it has magic or not, and find magic somewhere else in medicine.
Because You Can Breathe, You Must Speak
Being a Black, female medical student in America during a pandemic has been heavy, to say the least.
From Being Tackled by Criticism to Becoming its Quarterback: A Medical Student’s Journey to the End Zone
My first piece of written feedback during my clinical year was ripe with criticism. I regrettably reacted to it by reading and re-reading it, allowing discouragement and imposter’s syndrome to slowly infiltrate my psyche.
Prioritizing Wellness in the Whirlwind of COVID-19
Personally, the COVID-19 experience has caused me anxiety. I worry about the health of my family and friends, the safety of my colleagues on the frontlines, the overwhelming changes in medical education, and the future of our society.
Managing Anxiety and Stress in a Time of Pandemic
Suddenly, the future that I had crafted was in flux, and a flurry of questions started flowing through my head. I quickly realized that my mental health was taking a turn for the worst, and I needed to do something to get back on track.
How to Make Your Mind Your Friend, Even During COVID
Managing life is not about managing situations but managing our response to situations.
Rediscovering my Wellness in the Midst of COVID-19
Difficult times. Unprecedented times. Different times. Regardless of how the COVID-19 pandemic and stay at home orders are phrased, the impact on many is the same.
Top 10 Tips for Maintaining Emotional Health in Stressful Times
Med school can be extremely challenging under the best of circumstances. Add the stress of an unprecedented global pandemic and it’s going to feel overwhelming to almost all medical students!
Making Friends as a (Virtual) Incoming Medical Student
It’s wonderful to be starting medical school, and important to celebrate such a remarkable achievement this summer.
A New Aspect of Diversity: Embracing Non-Traditional Paths In Medical School
The new “Detour” Student Interest Group (SIG) at the Keck School of Medicine of USC aims to increase visibility and decrease stigma related to the different routes a person can take to complete their medical school training.
Finding a Community in Grief During Medical School
“I used to think that grief was something that a person went through alone. That was, until I went to medical school.”
Great Expectations: Psychosocial Inevitabilities in Medical Education
Rigorous. Stressful. Competitive. Before a prospective medical student submits the application or is even admitted to medical school, these words become all too familiar.
Seeing Eye to Eye: Developing Programs to Foster Identity and Inclusion (i2i)
The i2i initiative has enriched our community by allowing students to engage in meaningful discourse on potentially divisive topics in order to foster inclusion and celebrate diverse viewpoints.
Community: An Antidote to the Medical School Vacuum
Is all of this worth it? Will it provide me a fulfilling and sustaining life? What do I have outside of medicine?
Let’s start with: “How are YOU?”
The medical school experience is like no other. It’s difficult to find the words that can fully illustrate the experience to someone who has not gone through it.
“What do your parents do?”- A very informative question
A student’s socioeconomic status (SES) can impact their lived experiences and how faculty and peers perceive them in medical school.
Thriving in Medical School with a Chronic Illness
Supportive professors, deans, and the worsening of my health convinced me to be more vulnerable about my illness and it was one of the best decisions I made.
Why Talking About Implicit Bias In Medicine Is So Important
Implicit bias is when a person makes a judgement about another person based on unconscious stereotypes.
Being a Transgender Medical Student: One Medical School’s Response
The obvious next question is what can be done to begin changing the experience of medical students to be more trans-friendly?
Self-Care: The Foundation to Personal Success in Medical School
Nurture the Basics! Treat Yourself! Stay Connected!
Maintaining a Spiritual Life in Medical School
A medical student offers advice for anyone who wants to maintain their faith or spiritual life while attending medical school.
Building Stronger and Healthier Relationships While in Medical School
“There are two skills that would benefit students as they navigate these issues: learning how to communicate about relationships, and identifying their own needs/knowing how to get support.”
ScribeMD: Self-Reflection Program for Medical Students
Journaling and self-reflection can be used as a method to minimize stress and burnout.
Keck Checks: Not-Quite-Mandatory Counseling
“The first time seeking help is the hardest. It’s especially hard as a medical student. We think a successful doctor should cope with all their difficulties on their own.” - Catherine Song
Attitude of Gratitude: How Just 3 Minutes Per Day Can Increase Joy, Happiness and Resilience
Shifting from Happy When to Happy Now.
Bouncing Back After Failure
“When I got accepted to medical school, I felt that I was finally at the finish line. But actually, I was just beginning the race.” - Sehr Kahn
Making Time for Hobbies and Recreation in Medical School: Strategies at Multiple Levels
Considering the relatively high prevalence of burnout and psychological distress among medical students, it is imperative that strategies are employed by student communities and institutions to defend student freedom to find balance in hobbies or recreation.
“Am I really meant to be here,” you wonder. How quickly will the school find out I am a fraud and they made a mistake admitting me?