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Hi everyone, I’m looking for some advice on coping.

I’m about to finish first year and at this point I can reliably say that I haven’t made a single friend. I’m not sure what happened, I really tried to participate in activities that would allow me to meet new people. I tried to organize virtual hangouts or study groups, tried to keep conversations going in online group chats, but they all fizzled out. It always seemed to get to a point when I was the only one initiating conversations, which was just too exhausting for me to keep up. I understand that pandemic restrictions play a big part, but I know there’s plenty of people who found their groups despite that (just from overhearing conversations or seeing posts on social media).

Anyway, soon I won’t have school to keep me occupied and the sense of isolation will get stronger. I also worry that second year will be the same. I don’t plan to withdraw into myself, I’ll still stay friendly and polite, it’s just disappointing that I haven’t been able to connect with anyone by now.  It’d be easier to go through med school with a support system, but that doesn’t seem to be the case for me at the moment.

I’m wondering if anyone has any advice on what’s the best way to use the summer, so I can cope better? And for going forward, how can I create a better support system without having the option to vent to other med students? 

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Hey @impartial_agonist, I am really sorry this has been your experience so far. The pandemic definitely made the social aspect of medical school more challenging. Does your school have a peer mentorship type of program? Reach out to your student affairs office or even ask your classmates if they know of anything like that. We have a few different types of peer support between upper years and lower years at Mac, I am sure similar things exist at other med schools. An upper year mentor may be able to give you some advice specific to your school about making connections with other med students. At the very least it can be someone to vent a bit to that will understand where you're coming from.

I would also say just keep showing up to organized extra-curricular activities (even if they are still all online), you may not necessarily get a friend circle out of it, but you will still be giving yourself an opportunity to feel some sense of shared experience with other med students. And of course reach out to your friends you had before med school, keep those connections. Even with med student friends you would want that sense of grounding and outsider perspective non-med student friendships will provide.

If you feel up to it, you can also put out a friendly call out on whatever forum your class uses to connect (FB group?) to your classmates. Something along the lines of, "hey I had hoped to make more connections among our class by this point, but I've unfortunately found it more challenging to accomplish than I expected. If you are in a similar situation or you have some room at your next zoom drinks night please reach out to me, I'd absolutely love to hear from you. We have a great class and I would love to get to know some more people in it!" Just something that keeps it positive, hopefully doesn't make you feel desperate but lets people know you are looking for that connection, maybe needing some peer support. And who knows, someone may be in the same situation and you might bond over that!

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Hey @impartial_agonist

I had been feeling the same way! A few months ago I actually just brought it up in a fairly informal student run session and to my surprise everyone had been feeling the same way. Out of that conversation I have actually made a great support networks and friendships. I know you said you’ve been trying and I full heartedly believe you, it’s really hard right now to make meaningful connections. I just started fully putting myself out there and found others eventually became willing to do the same. Any chance you are UofT student? If so— PM me and I’m sure I can introduce you to some cool people. If not, still PM me if you’d like! We can commiserate together hahaha! 

All the best
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry to hear this @impartial_agonist :'( 

It can be super hard, especially doing things virtually. I hope that you'll still find your niche of friends and that it's never too late. DM me and if we happen to be at the same med school then you just found yourself a friend! and if not, you found a friend outside your school!!

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hey @impartial_agonist,

I feel the same way. I know one person from undergrad in the program and thats the only person I feel I have a friendship with. Everyone is so polite and im on friendly terms with the class, but just have not met anyone that clicks with me yet :/ . On the bright side, I really do think next year will be normal (fingers crossed) and then it will become a lot easier to just say hey lets get coffee to a classmate between classes and we can forge our friendships that way. I know that at my school we have this anonymous forum where we can post our thoughts, and this feeling comes on there very often; I don't think we're alone. I'm hopeful things will get better as we move forward!

 

Feel free to DM your school to see if were in the same class!

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17 hours ago, sanoori said:

hey @impartial_agonist,

I feel the same way. I know one person from undergrad in the program and thats the only person I feel I have a friendship with. Everyone is so polite and im on friendly terms with the class, but just have not met anyone that clicks with me yet :/ . On the bright side, I really do think next year will be normal (fingers crossed) and then it will become a lot easier to just say hey lets get coffee to a classmate between classes and we can forge our friendships that way. I know that at my school we have this anonymous forum where we can post our thoughts, and this feeling comes on there very often; I don't think we're alone. I'm hopeful things will get better as we move forward!

 

Feel free to DM your school to see if were in the same class!

If you are part of the 171 strangers, I feel the same but I fully think it's because of COVID-19. We're all so eager to make friends. Lots of people live together so if two of those houses get together it looks like a big group

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On 4/29/2021 at 8:03 PM, dooogs said:

If you are part of the 171 strangers, I feel the same but I fully think it's because of COVID-19. We're all so eager to make friends. Lots of people live together so if two of those houses get together it looks like a big group

yes 171 strangers!!! great group. i too think its all because of COVID so im not tooooo bugged down by all of it, but i have lived in london most of my life and so i have a support group already established. I would imagine someone new to london/western without that support group would feel a lot worse :/. either way though i hope to meet my classmates soon, including you @dooogs!

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Thank you for all the supportive messages everyone! It seems like quite a few people share similar feelings of disconnectedness. I can only hope things change soon and it gets safer to have at least some form of socializing. In the meanwhile, there's probably not much to do besides taking things one day at a time. 

@Persephone - Thank you for the peer mentorship idea. My school has something similar and I signed up for being a part of a group at the beginning of the year, but unfortunately we only had one virtual meeting and that was it. However, I think the school allows for a one-time switch to a different group and I'll definitely explore that for next year.

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14 hours ago, impartial_agonist said:

Thank you for the peer mentorship idea. My school has something similar and I signed up for being a part of a group at the beginning of the year, but unfortunately we only had one virtual meeting and that was it. However, I think the school allows for a one-time switch to a different group and I'll definitely explore that for next year.

Ah that's a bit more rigid if it's a group scheduling thing, although I can see the group aspect having upsides. At my school I was paired with an upper year student when I requested to participate in the peer support program we have and she was very open to being contacted repeatedly if I needed anything. That was sort of my thinking when I recommended it. I wish you luck! Hopefully we can all do things in person again in the near future!

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