A surprise awaited first-year students of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine after they crossed the stage to receive their white clerk’s jackets – a fall tradition at many medical schools. Alumni of the medical school had been asked if they would like to write a note of advice to be presented to a first-year student. Graduates from across Canada responded, allowing organizers to tuck an individual note into the coat pocket of each of the 205 first-year students, says Veronica McGuire of McMaster’s media relations department.
Many of the notes congratulated the students and offered advice on school work and looking after themselves. Among the alumni notes were these tips from family physician Amanda Bell, class of ’98: “Eat, sleep and use the bathroom whenever you have the opportunity. … Respect your patients, your teachers and expect respect in return.” Lyndsay Rein Evans, a family medicine resident from the class of 2011, wrote: “Don’t forget to think – independent thought is what got you into medical school. Make sleep a priority. Be kind to allied health professionals – always.”