By Danielle Turner
Honestly, flexibility has never been a character trait I possess. I thrive in consistent environments because stability gives me solace and routine is my sanctuary. I envy those who adapt easily to unforeseen circumstances and turn the lemons of life into lemonade. I am set to graduate from the Medical College of Georgia on May 7, 2020 with my medical doctorate. I wanted to be a physician for as long as I can remember, and I planned my journey strategically with a set plan for how everything was intended to work out. Type A personalities are very stereotypical of medical students, but I will not deny that the assumption tends to be true. For these reasons, I find it hard to put into words how the effects of COVID-19 have affected me. Ceremonies, celebrations, and vacations I have waited and planned for were taken away from me in a matter of days.
Most comparable to a state of mourning, I lost all excitement and anticipation for my graduation. Struggling to find the light in what appeared to be dark times, I decided to do what feels most comfortable to me; I threw on my white coat and went to work. Dougherty county and the Albany, GA area has one of the highest incidents of COVID-19 in the state of Georgia. I have family and friends who are sick, struggling financially and emotionally burdened. Uncertainty begets fear which leads to panic and doubt, and I could not think of a better time to use what I have learned to help my community. I have been working at the Georgia Department of Public Health to help patients in Southwest Georgia who are directly affect by COVID-19. On a daily basis, I talk to patients about their fears and how knowledge can help to cope with anxiety. In the mist of this world being tossed upside down, I was able to find my core again, my constant. It makes the loss of what I imagined my senior year would be more endurable.
My sole purpose of going into medicine was to help people who see themselves reflected in me, and with our daily lives on pause, I see our similarities more clearly now than ever before. We all have some level of grief in our hearts right now, but this is our opportunity to act selflessly to help each other through this time. Therefore, I challenge everyone to take their lemon and squeeze out as much generosity, love, and compassion possible during this time because we will be rewarded with a much sweeter outlook on not just life but ourselves alike.