A Love Letter to the Community

by Rachel Marie G. Felix, OMS-II

This article was originally published in the September/October issue of the Tarrant County Physician. You can read find the full magazine here.

by Rachel Marie G. Felix, OMS-II

If everything I’ve learned in medical school thus far, my favorite realization has been that I love people. Given the fact that we live in a society rooted in individualism, becoming aware of this fundamental truth of mine was not as straightforward as it sounds. Especially when being part of the medical field, where there is constant pressure to compete, accomplish extremely taxing feats, and be the best all-around people we can possibly be at all times. From a young age, those who pursue medicine are conditioned to hyper focus on their individual accomplishments. However, through guidance from my extraordinary mom, support from my childhood loved ones, and interactions with my incredible classmates, I’ve come to truly understand my “why,” and it’s all for the community.

With a jam-packed schedule and overflowing course material, during the first few weeks of medical school I knew I had to take time to contemplate who I was and what I wanted from life, or else I would risk losing myself to the grind. And from deep reflection and unlearning during the Black Lives Matter movement, I realized that I thrive when I am able to contribute to the joy and wellbeing of those around me.

What came from living daily in this truth was life altering. I found myself soaking in every conversation shared with my mom and truly learning the depth of her selflessness. I challenged myself to go on a medical mission trip to help those with limited access to healthcare and was overwhelmed by both the support from my family and friends and the gratitude from those we were able to serve. I would even go to campus completely open to meeting new people and end up having such enjoyable conversations. This would lead to sessions of vulnerability and genuine connection, leaving me feeling enriched by the opportunity to appreciate the different sides of each classmate-turned-friend.

As I made a point to cherish each interpersonal opportunity, I realized just how fulfilling every day can be when we immerse ourselves in community. Yes, we can say we show appreciation for our communities through volunteering or even through our careers, but intentionally showing how much we care for one another as a regular practice is a lifestyle that I highly recommend. While there are many outside influences that can cause us to get caught up in our own worlds and participate in a zero-sum game, the truth is, there is abundance in the shared human experience. We are each beautifully complex and different beings with something unique to contribute to one another. So when one of us wins, we all win.

Conversely, we all hurt when one of us hurts. As made obvious by the pandemic, a flourishing community depends on the health of its people. So dear reader, I hope you are able to appreciate the unparalleled opportunity we have to positively impact those around us as healthcare professionals. Moreover, I hope you see how valuable both you and your patients are in creating a thriving community and allow every interaction—inside and outside of the clinic—to reflect that.

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