A break in the clouds

Seeing the bright side: How this DO student found joy despite COVID-19

During the darkness of the pandemic, I experienced a silver lining: more time with my newborn son.


My medical school experience thus far during COVID has been nothing like I had imagined it would be. The reasons for this are obvious and have been stated before by others in medical school during the pandemic. Personally, my experience served to show me what is truly important in life.

Life-changing matters

While COVID brought much upheaval and human suffering to nearly every aspect of human life everywhere, in reflecting on my second year in medical school, I realized that the pandemic also altered my own experience as a medical student in a positive way. Specifically, the transition to remote learning allowed me to spend so much more time with my son, who is now a 1-year-old.

If it weren’t for the ability to do distance learning, I wouldn’t have been able to spend nearly as much time watching him grow during his first year of life. Medical school hindered my ability to spend time with him enough as is, it was nice to not have to be somewhere every day and then come home to study on top of that.

While my med school learning was remote, I was able to play with my son and spend time teaching him things as I should. For example, I was there to literally see him crawl and then walk for the first time. This happened in the middle of the day while I was home with my wife, and pre-COVID I would have missed it all.

Additionally, it allowed me to bond more closely with him. We have a special ”code-like” language now where I can get his attention and simply look at him in a way that’ll make him bust out laughing, making me laugh, too. All of this has truly brought so much joy to my life and has been an unexpected stress reliever.

Now that things have largely moved back to normal, I, like all others before me, must manage the best I can with the little time I have.

Like everyone else, I am relieved that our health care system has stabilized, better treatments are available and the illness and death rates have dropped dramatically. At the same time, I will always remember the lockdowns – which initially seemed to be a terrible burden – as a time when I was able to engage in precious bonding with my son and grow in leaps and bounds as a father.

Professional growth and reflection

My school encouraged me to reflect on my “professional growth” during this past year in medical school. I don’t know what to think about my professional growth. Frankly, I don’t really care. I know I have grown as a person and more importantly, have learned how to be a father. The lesson learned is that, as medical students, we must constantly reflect and remind ourselves why we are becoming doctors.

Through raising my son, I have become all the more motivated to be a doctor. Spending time with my son has provided an escape from the medical school grind and, in this way, reinvigorated my passion for medicine.

I’ve found that it is easy to lose your passion for medicine when you’re in the midst of surviving medical school. The endless studying, the exams, boards, grades, rotation performance, etc. The pressure of it all together makes it easy to get lost in the process, lose your motivation and wish for a simpler life.

Being at home with my son allowed me an opportunity to remove myself, temporarily, from all of this. Spending so much time with my son on a daily basis offered me balance. It gave me joy and reminded me of my passion for medicine. However, my passion for medicine has also changed. Medicine as a career choice is no longer about me or for me; it is for my family.

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of The DO or the AOA.

Related reading:

How I navigated my grandfather’s death as a medical student

How 2 osteopathic medical schools navigated the challenges of COVID-19

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