After nearly a year of adjusting and acclimating to all the changes and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, DMU students did something that reflects the kind of health care professionals they will become: They demonstrated kindness and gratitude.
In January, first-year class representatives organized and issued a thank-you message to all DMU faculty and staff, which was posted on the University’s internal website, Pulse. Accompanying it was a collage of students holding up grateful messages.
“We are most certain that no one would have imagined having to teach through a virtual platform within a complete year and ongoing. We, as students, miss the classroom as much you all do,” they stated. “We know this past year brought challenges and switching to a complete virtual platform was the last thing on anyone’s mind. However, you still gave us the same education we would have gotten if we were in person.”
Mohamed Abdelgilil, a first-year podiatric medicine student and Class of 2024 president who authored the text, said the thank-you was inspired by the Zoom format used by many DMU faculty.
“I could imagine being a teacher and having to teach to all these dark screens with their mics shut off,” he says. “It would be like talking to yourself.”
He and other first-year class representatives reached out to other student leaders in all DMU programs and class years to share the idea for the thank-you. They set up a One Drive folder where students could submit photos of themselves. Carlye Marshall, a first-year physician assistant student, then used Canva, a graphic design platform, to create a collage of the photos.
“It was the least we could do,” she says. The effort brought an additional bonus, she adds. “It’s been really, really cool to meet other first-year students, even over Zoom, and learn about their programs. I created interprofessional education events after I realized how much I didn’t know about the other programs.”
The thank-you concluded by expressing what everyone wants: a better year ahead.
“We don’t know what it is like to teach during these times, but what we do know is that your passion, your efforts, your hard work, did reach our hearts,” the students stated. “We are grateful for you all and we all wish nothing but the best for you all upon this blessed year.”