By Florence Mutlow
So March Meeting 2017 was my third IFMSA (International Federation of Medical Students Associations) General Assembly (GA), but being in a completely different country, with a new delegation and attending different sessions, it proved to be a new experience all together. Overall we had a fabulous time but I want to discuss the importance of welfare, self-care and saying thank you to ensure that your team is happy and healthy in a new, somewhat high pressure but short lived (a GA is just a week) situation.
Welfare can be defined as the health and happiness of a person or group (undoubtedly important for a good team). Self-care is the safeguarding of your own wellbeing. It is a term that is used quite a lot in your favourite Facebook click-bait as it tries to rescue you from your student woes. However, self-care is incredibly important in ensuring you remain functional and happy within a team and are able to support others whilst doing so.
We tried to ensure team welfare whilst away by assigning each delegate a ‘buddy’, it is a shared responsibility to check on your buddy and make sure that they are okay (my one was the lovely Sruthi…love you hun <3). We also had daily NMO hours, where at the beginning we took time to hear about everyone’s day and gave people the space to voice any concerns (no matter how many bylaws, candidatures or policies we had to discuss).
Taking part in a GA can feel like a heavy responsibility, with so much going on you can feel a pressure to try and take part in everything. We had a shared responsibility to encourage each other to put self-care first! We supported each other to take part in that which Medsin could input to and was relevant, shared the workload and made sure we all had time to see some of the beautiful country, Montenegro. Nap time was 100% necessary and encouraged when required!
In our final NMO hour, we dedicated it entirely to celebrating our wonderful Georgia’s birthday and shared our “Headache (bad thing), Highlight (amazing thing) and Horizon (thing we are looking forward to)” from the GA. This was actually a LOVELY moment, it was so fabulous to hear everyone’s reflections. Throughout the final days we created postboxes (aka envelopes with our names in cute bubble writing on) that we all put a note in to each of our fellow delegates – we handed these out at the airport which left each delegate with a memory of Thank Yous and LUVVVV for the time we shared together in Montenegro (cute no?).
So here is a FINAL thank you to the WONDERFUL delegates I shared MM2017 with…Anusheh, Behrouz, Claire, Gemma, Georgia, Iain, Jess, Julia, Lizzy, Lucy, Rachel, Millie and Sruthi! It wouldn’t have been the same without you – you’re all SO fabulous ❤ Thank you Liban, our AMAZING Director of International Affairs for all your hard work this year, meaning that we could attend on behalf of Medsin. Thank you to all the fabulous IFMSAsians from all over the world who made MM2017 another unforgettable GA! Thank you!