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One of my favorite parts of UMMS is the plethora of opportunities to pursue and develop your passions. For example, last year, I was one of several artists who were invited to submit artwork to decorate the new Taubman Health Sciences Library (THSL) student lounge space.

I have always enjoyed a variety of creative pursuits, including graphic design, music, drawing and, more recently, embroidery. At that time, I had finished a tote bag embroidery kit and was looking for my next project. The opportunity to design for THSL came at the perfect time, and I designed and embroidered my project in a matter of weeks.

That project fueled others, starting small with bookmarks, a snowglobe pillow, and then, finally, the embroidery project that consumed the vast majority of my free time since June. Everyone always told me how the residency interview process involved a lot of available time to pursue hobbies, and so I decided to embroider a gingerbread house quilt as a Christmas present. It was the perfect project, in that each block/gingerbread house was portable enough to work on during innumerable flights but could be assembled into something special.

As time went on, I grew increasingly concerned about whether I would finish in time. I had visions of presenting my grandmother with scraps of fabric, a sort of IOU and a promise that the quilt would soon be finished. Thankfully, by working flat out during the month of December, the quilt was finished, on Christmas Eve. Whew, I cut it close.

I love the finished project. It’s even more fun to look at the blocks and say, “this is the block I did on NICU nights” or “this one I did during lunch periods on Dermatology”. For the last several weeks, I’ve been so happy to no longer need to work on the quilt and getting caught up on my reading/other life activities. I’m starting to feel restless again, though, so it may soon be time to start working on my next project. What that will be, I don’t know, but Michigan will give me the time and space to figure it out.

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.