What Motivates You? 165 Students Answer.
--Brinda Govindan
2 minute read
May 29, 2018


Earlier this Spring, after many days of protesting and showing up to events around the issue of gun control, I was blown away by the student leadership behind this movement and the vision I have of young people as real change-makers.

I shared my feelings with my colleagues and students, and then, in my Intro to Microbiology and Public Health lecture class of 165 students, I asked a simple question at the beginning of one class:

"How will you be a change-maker in your profession and what motivates you?"

Most students will be entering health-care related professions such as nursing, so I wanted to give them a chance to reflect on why they were here and what keeps them going. They returned their answers anonymously on index cards.

What I read brought tears to my eyes and gave me immense hope for the future of medicine! Most students expressed a strong desire to embody the values of compassion, kindness and nurturing that they felt would make them "change-makers" in the health care setting, by smiling, offering comfort and guidance, educating patients and bringing a positive attitude to each patient that would be in their care. They often shared stories about a health care provider who had made a difference to a loved one, or in some cases about how they had been treated badly and didn't want others to experience that.

Many reflected on how what motivates them is to be a role model for others -- whether younger siblings or others from the same marginalized communities -- in order to set a positive example for others by giving back to their communities.

Some students mentioned the sacrifices of their parents and families, and their wish to achieve dreams that their parents could never have imagined, given their circumstances. One student mentioned that he will be a change-maker by always remembering to vote! And countless others mentioned the "little things" they will do to make their patients feel cared for, heard, and treated with dignity.


Posted by Brinda Govindan on May 29, 2018

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