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Peer Advice: Be Intentional in Building Relationships


It’s finals week, and my mind races as I walk to my campus mailbox to pick up my final proficiency rubric. I arrive at my mailbox to find…

… a letter.

One of my classmates had written a note to thank me for my friendship and support over the quarter. To be honest, I do not remember my exact grade on that final proficiency or even the slew of procedures I had to perform—these details that might worry you in the moment will fade with time. But I do remember my classmate’s intentionality in sharing her gratitude (and the sweet boba credit she gifted as a finals booster). Small acts of kindness can go a long way. Each of us relies on our community of colleagues to make it through the rigors of health professional school, and who knows: someday, your authentic kindness could lead to a job offer, patient referrals, lasting friendships, etc.

During the pandemic this past year, building relationships did not come as naturally as usual. Yet, the power of intentionality still overcame obstacles. When I reached out to a professor whose work I greatly admired, sharing my ambition to support her research in any way possible, she offered me an opportunity to serve as a research assistant. By getting out of my comfort zone and consistently keeping my camera on for Zoom meetings, I started building a network of doctors who now know my face. After hearing from interesting speakers at virtual club events, I reached out to some doctors with additional questions and thanked them for sacrificing their time to speak to SCCO students. Though these gestures may seem trivial in the moment, any one of them may open a door in the future. The more seeds you plant now, the better the odds will be of one (or more) of them bearing fruit in the future.

Luckily, with the trend of improving pandemic conditions, kindling relationships should start feeling a bit more natural again. But don’t underestimate the power of intentionality: show your appreciation for your classmates, respect your professors and mentors, and remember to maintain unconditional positive regard and professionalism towards all. The climate of MBKU depends on us all, and in a small health professional school, each one of us makes a significant impact. Remember the “Golden Rule” we learned in preschool, to “treat others how you want to be treated”? As it turns out, this wisdom might be even more relevant now than it was on the playground—keep it close to heart.