I am so excited to be returning to Merck Manuals Med Student Stories as a resident physician. Having a few months off before starting residency has been bittersweet. I wish I could travel and see beautiful places while connecting with friends and making new ones in the process. That has been the toughest part. In fact, I was supposed to pursue an in-person internship with American Medical Association Improving Health Outcomes (IHO) in Chicago. Unfortunately, COVID-19 had different plans for me.
I began my internship remotely. And throughout the process, I made many lifetime friends. They taught me the importance of staying connected to one another as we physically distance. I did grow tired of staying connected virtually as that can be draining. However, I have to thank two young special friends of mine who allowed me to think outside-the-box. My boss, who is also an amazing mom and physician, has twin 9-year-olds. Who would have known these young people would make such a lasting impact on me?
Since I did not have in-person graduation, my incredible boss and her two children put together a tribute video from my AMA IHO family. The kids spent so much time putting together a beautiful video with amazing transitions and all. They were able to see my reaction over a video call, and it dawned on me—these people exhibited so much love and kindness. They asked for nothing in return. They just wanted to make me feel special and make up for the lost celebration.
All I could think about was how did I get so lucky? It made me realize how fundamental human connection can be for us. I look forward to the day I can thank them in person and hug my two young friends. Until then, I wanted to stay connected and do something special, something different.
So, I decided to send my two young friends a unique coloring card that I partially colored. Inside was a personal thank you message and a request that they complete the other half and share the completed card over a subsequent video call. It allowed us all to feel a connection and mutual enrichment over a shared activity. You can take this same concept and apply it to a puzzle, short story, or any other creative activity.
I hope sharing this personal story will inspire you to connect to one another, create happiness for others, and simply be kind. Throw kindness around like confetti because creating happiness for someone else can be one of the most fulfilling experiences. I thank my two young friends for showing me and now all of you how a simple act of kindness can create a lasting impression and, in our case, lifetime friendship.