COVID-19 took the world by storm and left UNM medical students with plenty of extra time on their hands. With countless new opportunities for growth, students were able to go back to old hobbies or pick up new ones. For students who love to read, it can be difficult to find the time to get through a book with scholarly duties and deadlines looming ahead. With the uncertainty that the pandemic brought upon us, students who missed reading for pleasure had time to delve into an alternate reality and immerse themselves in the serenity of a good book. An organized book club can enhance wellness in multiple ways. Individuals can enjoy escaping into a good book and/or they can discover new passions. Reading certain books may remind medical students of why they chose medicine as a career. Finally, sharing books and discussing books with peers can build community and connection. Students who expressed interest either chose a book of their choice to read weekly and submit a reading reflection or participate in reading a selected book as a group to discuss at a later time. The goal was to encourage peers to use their unexpected additional time to relax and read for pleasure. Some students submitted weekly reading reflections while others participated in the selected book discussion through means of a group text. Students expressed appreciation for the push to read a new book during quarantine, underlining the value that reading can contribute to personal well-being. The book club even prompted discussion outside the realm of medical school among students. Medical students can benefit from the comfort that reading provides. Implementation of book clubs may minimize isolation in students with common interests and can contribute to personal wellness. Future work to advance the medical school wellness curriculum may include monthly student-organized book clubs to continue leisurely reading in medical school and alleviate student burnout and stress.
Thomas, Michelle and Elizabeth Lawrence. "QuaranThief of Joy: Pleasure Through Books During COVID-19." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc_ed_day/89