Select Page

With haikus by fellow M1 Alec Bernard.

As I sit here happily flexing my creative writing muscles after our very first medical school exam, it’s hard not to be incredibly grateful for the new friends who made the transition to medical school so easy—because, frankly, trying to interpret which pink blobs on a histology slide are lung tissue would’ve been much harder without them.

Tight junctions in cells

Are nothing compared to the

Bonds that bind campers

One day back in June while flipping through Facebook, I discovered that a fellow incoming M1 Alec (the author of these haikus!) was planning a camping trip for a group of people before classes began. I immediately signed up, and a month later I found myself packing baggies of gorp and reviewing trail maps with 12 of my newest best (only?) Michigan Med friends.

Name games and packing

What’s your spirit animal?

We have too much cheese

Our first day took us on a seven-mile hike to a pristine lake-side campsite in Pinckney State Park. I’m always amazed by how easy it is to bond with people on a trail; something about wearing down the same dirt en route to a shared destination makes forming non-superficial connections remarkably easy. Or, maybe it was the single “bathroom” that we all had to share. Either way, as we played Euchre by headlamp that night, I was completely shocked by how close I already felt to my fellow campers. (Euchre, by the way, is a card game that I’m convinced all Michiganders are born knowing how to play. As a Jersey girl, I was not a Euchre-natural.)

You are never lost

As long as you are with friends

The trail calls to us

 

By day two, we had a group name: “CAMP,” or “Creating Adventurous and Mindful Physicians.” No group is legitimate without a snazzy acronym, so newly branded CAMP headed back out onto the trails. I loved our second day hike because not only did I feel incredibly close to my fellow hikers, but we also shared a lot of fantastic bonding activities planned by our fearless leader, Alec. My personal favorite was when we stopped next to a lean-to teepee in the woods and took the time to write a letter to our future selves. Surrounded by the calm whisper of wind through the leaves, I was able to reflect on what brought me to Michigan Medical School and what I was most excited and most anxious about. This activity was critical for helping me open up to both myself and my fellow CAMP-ers later that evening when we all shared some of our fears about medical school and realized that we are not alone in having those fears.

Campfire bonding

Shared vulnerability

Med school here we come

 

I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to explore my new state with my new friends before classes started. Although CAMP now hangs out more in study rooms together than in tents, having them by my side this past month has made our class’ deep-dive back into biochemistry so much more manageable (and, for you science nerds out there, don’t think for one minute that we didn’t appreciate the “CAMP” / “cAMP” connection!).

Jackie is a non-traditional first-year medical student who is passionate about learning. If you’ve lost sight of Jackie, you can almost definitely find her either out running on one of Ann Arbor’s trails or having two scoops of chocolate PB in a local ice cream shop.