“You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”
– Bob Marley, Jamaican reggae singer, guitarist and songwriter

There is no getting around it – life is hard. It is a journey of a thousand successes and missteps that are unique to each of us. As our stories unfold, there are pivotal moments that test our resilience – our ability to adapt and thrive in the face of adversity. In recent years, one of the most pivotal of those moments was the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the fall of 2020, higher education institutions had to come up with creative solutions to kick off the academic year during the height of a global pandemic. Our entire community – faculty, staff and learners – worked together to navigate the unknowable. Virtual learning became the norm and masks were everywhere, not just in the operating room. Into this new world, The Ohio State University College of Medicine welcomed a special cohort of students.

As our “pandemic class,” these future health care professionals started their education amid a time of great fear, anxiety and sadness worldwide.

Even during “normal” times, training for a career in health care is rigorous. But once you add in the uncertainty and isolation of a pandemic, things can feel impossible. For our pandemic class, the power of resilience is and always will be the cornerstone of their success.

From engaging in a socially distanced White Coat Ceremony for our MD students to participating in inventive education methods – like our Occupational Therapy students who used individually prepared splinting kits at home for an orthopedics course and submitted videos of their final products – this group of dedicated learners not only endured but thrived, alongside the rest of our resilient community.

Earlier this month, we celebrated a huge milestone for this class: graduation. I was so proud, knowing how they heeded the call to serve and persevered through the toughest of times. Thanks to their resilience, they will shape the future of health care.

Our faculty and staff also played a huge part in the development of this class, providing mentorship and well-being resources to support our students. They created a community of compassion that has become a powerful tool in building resilience across our programs. We could not have asked for better role models.

Highs and lows, peaks and valleys will always be part of our journeys. I encourage you to view each low as an opportunity to cultivate your own resilience and recognize that it is never a weakness to ask for help. Take delight in your victories but know that it is your struggles that can teach you the most.

Read about the health and wellness resources that support our learners and the Ohio State community.

Carol Bradford

Carol Bradford, MD, MS
Dean, College of Medicine
Leslie H. and Abigail S. Wexner Dean’s Chair in Medicine
Vice President for Health Sciences, Wexner Medical Center