Dean's Update | December 2020

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This Christmas offers the chance to find new ways to make it special.

Many of us are deeply attached to our usual way of doing things, and it is challenging to think differently. Yet perhaps this can be a good challenge - to find new ways of celebrating, new ways of connecting, new traditions, and even new meaning at the heart of Christmas, revealed by having less of the wrappings around it. I wonder what you will do for the first time this year that will be different and special? Rather than cooking their Christmas dinner, I will be teaching (as patiently as possible) my octogenarian parents to ZOOM.

As we get ready for a new year, it is fair to say that this last one has not been what was expected. Yet, in many ways it has exceeded my expectations. Our School community, of staff and students, has drawn closer together, united in their commitment to each other and to the creation of the best possible doctors. We have found a wide range of new resources and new ways of learning and working that could have taken years to develop without the added drive to do so. We have faced uncertainty together and found solutions to a cascade of challenges. Perhaps most of all, we have realised how much we value being together and how much we appreciate small gestures of care and thanks, and make a difference when we share them.

This break is important.

It is not unusual in December to feel the weight of winter on our shoulders. This year, more than ever, this break is the right time to renew the energies that will enable us all to make the most of the year that is to come. Ready to embrace new learning and ready to innovate. Not studying and working now will make all the difference to your ability to do so in the new year. This year especially, I hope you will give yourself the gift of doing nothing.

I am looking forward to the next semester. Not because of a vaccine, not because I think everything will suddenly be fine, but because I know that when it is not, this wonderful School of staff and students will do what is best, for your future as a doctor and for each other.

Wherever you will be and whoever you will be with or without, I wish you every blessing this Christmas.

Professor Hazel Scott
Dean of the School of Medicine