It’s been almost two years since our first bloggers started writing about what it’s like, from a personal perspective, to learn, live, and work at NECO. Joe, a third year at the time, wrote about working for the admissions office, boards anxiety, and about not being quite sure about this whole blogging thing. You can read his first post here. Michael and Surbhi, who who were both in Alaska on rotation at the time, were among the first to sign on as NECO bloggers, too. Then Emily, a first year, followed. Kudos to all four for being brave enough to agree to do this! At the time, NECO didn’t have a big social media presence and hadn’t used student bloggers at all. All four weren’t exactly sure what blogging would feel like, but they thought it was a cool idea. They braved the unknown and were our guinea pigs. (Don’t worry, no actual guinea pigs were harmed in this experiment.)
After that, Dave, a second year followed. And then the faculty and staff got in on blogging, too. In total, in almost two years, we’ve had 12 students bloggers and 12 guest bloggers. They’ve shared their thoughts and a portion of their lives with us. We had Dr. Harb blogging from Nicaragua while on a humanitarian mission there and Talish writing about returning to Armenia over the summer, also to provide care to those in need. Dave shared his thoughts on what it’s like to turn from a student into a doctor. Surbhi and Mike gave us a taste of their Alaskan experience. We’ve been privy to Joe’s journey from third year to residency, and to Angela‘s NECO experience from the very beginning, starting with her acceptance to NECO. These are just a few of the stories NECO bloggers have shared with us, all unique.
I’m really proud of all the bloggers — students and staff. It takes guts to put yourself out there and requires a leap of faith, an assumption that what you have to say matters. They’ve all done good work and have kept things personal, which is what makes a blog worth reading in the first place. I really do believe that when you speak from the heart, people pay attention. They perk up. They listen. And there’s certainly proof that our bloggers are being listened to and what they say matters. The traffic to our blogs and NECO424, our social media dashboard, has soared and continues to grow. The blogs are having an impact on prospective students, too. In a recent survey conducted by yours truly, 45% of the incoming 1st year class said that reading the student blogs influenced their decision to ultimately choose NECO.
The positive impact of our bloggers goes beyond the prospective student, though. The blogs give our alumni and clinical preceptors a way to connect with our current students and to see what they’re going through: the ups, the downs, the triumphs, and the doubts. It lets us all witness their individual journeys as doctors, yes, but also as people. Maybe reading a post makes an alum smile, makes her reflect back to the friendships she forged here on Beacon Street. Or maybe it helps a preceptor understand the stress a student feels come spring of their third year (#boardsanxiety). Lots of connections are made and they’re different from reader to reader. What’s important, though, is that the connection is made and that we all get a little slice of life at NECO, a life that’s pretty darned special.