Looking back on my first year at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, I clearly remember a piece of wisdom that one teaching assistant shared with my class on the first day of our human anatomy class: “Whether you choose to complete medical school or enlist in the military, your journey will be very similar.” And, surely, my classmates and I soon realized exactly what he meant as the year progressed. Bombarded by a sea of medical terminology, hours of back-to-back lectures, countless patient visits, and exams, many of us struggled to find the energy and willpower to push forward in this “mental marathon.”
On one particularly harsh winter evening, I remember walking down a long hallway in our medical school building and seeing a few of my friends in the library cramming information into their brains prior to our final exam. As I stood there wondering what I could do to brighten their day, and hopefully give them a surge of energy, a decent idea hit me. That day I had packed walnuts, chocolate and raisins- my “pre-exam concoction”-an old energy-boosting recipe I learned from my mom, and I decided to share it with them. Within a few seconds, I was pleased to see large smiles spread across their faces that energized the library on that dark and gloomy winter day.
As my stash of nuts and chocolate ran out, I began looking for readily accessible alternatives. Coincidentally, the coffee cart near the entrance of our medical school always has a container full of delicious Lake Champlain chocolates, so I made it a habit to grab two or three of them along with my coffee each morning and hand them out to my classmates in the library. The UVM tradition of handing out small Lake Champlain chocolates had begun. Unexpectedly, almost every time I handed a piece of chocolate to one of my classmates they would return the favor by giving me a piece of LC chocolate later on, leaving me with a heap of assorted LC chocolates on my table each day.
As winter progressed, so did this beloved tradition as more and more people picked up the habit. Eventually, my classmates began to use the phrase “getting Rossed” to refer to the act of receiving an LC chocolate. Brian Till ‘17, one of my closest friends and a frequent “Rosser,” said that for him, showing others you are thinking about them through a simple LC chocolate loosens up the edge of medical school and allows us to succeed as a group. All in all, I am really fortunate to be part of the College of Medicine Class of 2017 and in a program that emphasizes teamwork. And if lending my name (and some chocolate) to that spirit of camaraderie furthers the cause, I hope our class keeps “getting Rossed” for years to come.
A version of this blog post also appeared on the Lake Champlain Chocolates blog: Chocolate Wrap