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One Student’s Journey

Anita Savell, medical student at UNRDuring the first month of school at UNR Med, class elections are held. Students can run positions from class president, to class historian, to tech support. I was fortunate to be elected to the Student Wellness Committee. The Student Wellness Committee consists of four students from each year of medical education and works to promote student wellbeing through activities and resources.

I wanted to be a part of the Student Wellness Committee because I want to help support my classmates during these incredibly stressful four years we embarked upon in July. Before starting medical school, if asked to describe myself, I would say, “I am an artist, a martial artist, and an electrical engineer”. My classmates all had similar robust and diverse responses. However, after entering medical school, the list easily shortens to just one: medical student.

Medical school truly can be all-consuming; it is hard to find time to invest in a hobby when one is also simultaneously working to learn the week’s material, pass the next exam, volunteer at the Student Outreach Clinic, spend quality time with loved ones, and network to facilitate research opportunities. In the face of these constant pressures, the qualities we all cherished before medical school that help make us whole are no longer our priority. The Student Wellness Committee recognizes this shift and seeks to support the whole person—not just the student.
A handful of the activities from the fall semester included bringing dogs to campus, hosting a painting class coupled with guided meditation, and leading breathing exercises for medical school applicants just before their interviews. The spring semester promises a talent show and a student cooking contest. My personal project was facilitating training a handful of first year medical students to become peer support group leaders, and I am proud to say we had our first support group for first year students offered  in the fall.

The Student Wellness Committee also wants to support our UNR Med community faculty members. If any providers reading this have an idea of what our students could do to help support your wellness, please feel free to contact me at asavell@med.unr.edu, and I will present your ideas at our next meeting.

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