Convocation Spotlight Series II Jordyn Thompson

Changemaker. Community advocate. Faces challenge head on.

FoMD Communications staff - 10 June 2020

Jordyn Thompson is a graduate of the U of A MD program's Class of 2020.

As your journey comes to a close, what advice do you have for new students?

This new journey you are about to go on is such a privilege, from the people you meet and the things you do to the opportunities you are given. Take a deep breath and take it in. It is definitely a marathon and not a sprint. There are going to be a lot of really good times and some less-than-great times, but with time all these experiences are going to shape you into the person you are meant to be and the doctor your future patients need. Most important, give yourself a break and remember that you are only human!

How did you engage with student life on campus?

It took me a while to figure out what my interests were when I entered medical school. I started by joining class council as the graduation representative for my class, where I took the lead on planning our graduation events (these have unfortunately been postponed due to COVID-19). I also taught physical exam techniques and advocated on LGBTQ issues by joining the Sexuality and Gender Advocacy Committee. There are so many opportunities in medical school to figure out what you are passionate about, so take your time and try something new.

What was your most memorable UAlberta experience?

I have only had four short years at the University of Alberta, but in that time, I have made friends that I wish more than anything I could take with me. You are told that in medical school you will find your "people," and that could not be more true. I was able to come out of my shell and participate in events like The Vagina Monologues and I (sort of) learned how to play hockey (even if that was only figuring out what an offside really was and scoring twice in three years). I have had a lot of personal and professional growth over the last four years, and that is without doubt secondary to the opportunities I have been given.

What was your favourite part of your program?

The structure of medical school is a lot different than other programs, with the first two years dedicated to formal class and small group work and the last two years focused on the clinical aspect of medicine. The transition to clerkship was very anxiety provoking, but it was by far the best part. Being able to interact with patients from a variety of different backgrounds and lived experiences and the opportunity to put what I had learned into practice were (and will continue to be) very rewarding.

Who was your favourite mentor or preceptor?

I have been fortunate enough to have many mentors through medical school, and all of them have allowed me to figure out what my interests are and what I really want to do with my future career. However, if I were to name one, I would say Dr. Melanie Lewis from the Office of Advocacy & Wellbeing. The passion she has towards both her practice and the student body is so inspiring. With any internal conflict, personal dilemma or general question, Dr. Lewis was right there as a fierce advocate for my colleagues and me. Whether we needed advice on CaRMS strategy or interview planning, or just to get our struggles off our chest and have a really good cry, she was always a thoughtful, listening ear, and for that I could not be more grateful.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned as a U of A student?

Slow down. It is really easy to get all wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of everything going on around you and not take time for yourself. Show up, be involved, be kind and do your best, but always remember that you are human and sometimes we need breaks. I began to realize the importance of finding things that I like to do that are not medicine related, and focusing on finding a balance in my life.

If you could accomplish one thing in your career, what would it be?

My goal for my career is to take what I have learned about advocacy in medical school and continue to learn how to become a stronger advocate for marginalized populations. I hope to work with the inner-city population, a community that is too often disregarded within medicine, and encourage others to have difficult conversations about their implicit biases with the hope of being part of a more inclusive system.

What have you learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, and how do you think this will affect your career?

There are a lot of terrifying things happening in the world around us right now, and although we haven't been directly involved in the medical aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has really taught me to not take anything for granted. Time flies, so enjoy it and try to be a little more flexible, because things will not always go as planned. From clerkship changes and cancellation of graduation and vacations, to postponement of our Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part 1 (MCCQE1), our cohort had to get really comfortable with "going with the flow," something a lot of us type A personalities are not always great at (me included).

How do you plan to celebrate convocation?

Being the one who was in charge of planning our graduation events, having them come tumbling down due to the pandemic was really sad for me, as I really wanted to give my class something to look back on. However, to be healthy and with my family is really all I can ask for, so I will be in Vancouver with my mom, sister, and my partner … and probably more than a few FaceTime calls.