GSBS Buddy Connections: Connecting with others during COVID-19
As a resource for the GSBS students during COVID-19, the GSBS has recently created the GSBS Buddy Connections. It is a program that facilitates networking for students from all of the different programs in the GSBS and assists to provide the support needed during these difficult times.
Each week, the GSBS randomly scrambles the names and assigns a new connection to each student. The goal of the program is for students to check in with each other during the week using the preferred method of contact. By being a buddy, you can gain more knowledge about your buddy other than what program they are in if you desire. i.e. hobbies, culture, taste in foods, their story. We all have our own story and, if you choose to take the time to listen and get to know one another, you might gain a friend, new perspective, or valuable insight to name a few things.
Although we are students in the GSBS, we all come from different backgrounds and have our own aspirations and career paths. The one thing we definitely do have in common is the choice that we have made to pursue a graduate degree at UT Health San Antonio. Some of us are from San Antonio, while others are from different cities, states, and even countries. Regardless of where each student is from, we are all affected by COVID-19. Due to the quarantine, social distancing has to be implemented, but social isolating does not. Therefore, it is important that we are compassionate, empathetic, resilient, and aware during this time.
Reach out to that one friend you haven’t heard from in a while, or take some time to reflect and recharge before strategizing on how to move forward in terms of productivity, career advancement, etc. For example, you can make a schedule that will allow you to stay on task during the week to enhance productivity. P.S. Don’t forget to add breaks. Also, don’t forget to appreciate those who are at the front-line battling against COVID-19. Do your part by staying at home, washing your hands, socially distancing, etc. to help those who can’t stay at home.
I highly encourage the rest of my colleagues to sign up for the GSBS Buddy Connections as the sign-up will take about a minute of your time. During the first week, I was fortunate enough to be paired with two buddies, Leisl Lawrence and Sharon Kwee. Leisl is in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program like me, while Sharon is in the Biomedical Engineering Program. The two women are certainly inspiring and unique in their own ways, and I am looking forward to continue conversations with both of them even after the week is over, when we have to scramble to get new buddies.
Maybe the GSBS Buddy Connections isn’t for you, but you won’t know that unless you try by signing up. This can be your time to try something new like expanding your network from just students within your year or program.
At the end of the day, we can choose to look at a glass of water that’s half empty as half empty, but I highly encourage all of us to choose to look at the glass that we have as half-full and at least has water. Stay safe, remember to reach out, and be a buddy for others during these difficult times.
About The Author
Samantha Yee, a third year Ph.D. student in Dr. April Risinger’s lab in the Integrated Biomedical Sciences Program in the Physiology & Pharmacology discipline, will be the 2020-2021 Student Government Association (SGA) President.