By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Elizabeth Elkin
Before picking up their books and beginning medical school, first-year Alabama medical students committed a day doing good in the community.
As part of orientation week, incoming med students participated in “fun day,” a day of service in the Tuscaloosa community. This year’s fun day involved working in Jeremiah’s Community Garden, a place dedicated to providing food to anyone who needs it.
This, Allison Montgomery said, is why the medical school decided helping Jeremiah’s Community Garden was the perfect project for these medical students.
“They’re supplying healthy foods to the people of Tuscaloosa, and that’s really important for just health overall and a healthy community,” Montogmery said.
She said this was a really important day for the incoming medical students.
“When we go to our branch campuses third year, we want to be heavily involved in the community, so we just wanted to bring them here to get some good exposure,” Montgomery said.
The students did everything from weed whacking to raking leaves to trimming trees and plants.
First-year medical student Alex Heatherly said this wasn’t what he expected medical school to be like.
“You hear about all the books and stuff, but you know we’ve been outside a lot and hanging out with people that we just met, so it’s been a good time so far,” Heatherly said.
Montgomery said helping people and doing good gives students perspective on why they decided to go to medical school in the first place.
“I think sometimes it gets lost in the process of applying and all the stress and really remembering that the focus is on the people in the community and serving other people, and that’s the profession we’re going into,” she said.
Heatherly said he found real joy in the work they did in the garden. He even found some similarities between working in the field and working as a doctor.
“As a physician one day you know that is our goal you know, that’s what we do every day is to give back, and this is just another way to do that,” he said.
Roy Lofton, manager of Jeremiah’s Community Garden, said he appreciates their help.
“You know, sometimes we criticize and think about the younger generation as not carrying their weight or their load, but i am really impressed, because i couldn’t be more proud of these young people coming out here today,” Lofton said.