On the 13th December, the Lucia Ceremony was held and was the first of its kind. During the ceremony, we had the opportunity to acknowledge and thank all our members who have been indispensable to Medicinska Föreningen. The ceremony ended with a speech by us as presidium, including a summary of our year behind the wheel .
The ceremony was the first time that we both were able to stand together with our capes and talk directly to our members, Karolinska Institutet’s students, alumni, faculty and friends. And unfortunately, it was our last.
We woke up in January this year with snow outside our windows, and to a year with endless opportunities – just like any other year. But just as we thought the world was outside our windows, we became aware over time that this year had other things planned for us. The beginning of the year was very productive and the union life as it is used to be; great events were planned. The year started with introductions of the new students and our wonderful members together with union bodies and associations at MF in Aula Medica, we (at this time with Vice President Josefine Andersson) toasted to our newly admitted members at the Amphiox gasque and had time to host a pizza party and move premises in Flemingsberg. The Board was in full swing planning a trip to our friends at the association Thorax in Helsinki, but something got in the way, and suddenly the world stopped for a moment.
Covid-19, a virus that has many names and leaves the expression of them as a sour taste on the tip of the tongue. The world reluctantly welcomes a pandemic, and the Board introduced recommendations regarding covid-19. The union’s events are adapted to the recommendations issued by government and agencies. A new era of digitalisation in education and within the union’s activities enters the stage. And with it came the feeling of powerlessness in a situation where you know your members suffer due to the consequences.
From a sense of panic, we had to decide what role Medicinska MF would play during the pandemic. We have a responsibility towards the well-being of our members, towards KI’s students to ensure that the education meets the standard, but also a responsibility towards healthcare as a future workplace for our members. Therefore, together with our inspector Carl Johan Sundberg we initiated the MF covid-19 resource group. One of the projects under the resource group was to keep MF’s aula available to Sjukvårdshjälpen, a non-profit organization which provided protective material for healthcare workers around Sweden.
MF’s activities had to be adapted to physical distancing. Meeting rooms began to empty, but the schedules started filling up with Zoom and Teams links. The sections and student representatives worked harder than ever to ensure that the quality of education was kept. The education faced a major change during the pandemic with extensive digitalisation, where student representatives had an important role making the transition as smooth as possible. Through daily reconciliation meetings with KI’s leadership, we highlighted the students’ situation, where we saw a genuine interest in every single student. We also had the opportunity to raise the situation for KI’s students to the Minister of Higher Education and Research Matilda Ernkrans. We would like to thank for the good cooperation we have had with KI and hope that MF will continue to nurture it.
The future may never have felt as far ahead as it does now, but MF’s future is being planned right now. Framtidens Kårhus, which is the project that intends to renovate our union house – Kårhuset, aims to create a meeting place for all of you students, members and representatives from the business community and academia and will in 2021 start in a very active phase where different renovations are planned. The renovation is paramount to be able to offer our members a place for development and career building. MF is a collection of 143 years of history and memories; happy memories, memories you want to forget and memories that will be formed over the years. And for that we need a well-equipped house.
We are incredibly happy to have received the honor, and the enormous trust to lead the work of Stockholm’s oldest student union. Covid-19 has limited us, but also made us more aware. We have had to endure together. And we have learned to spend time with each other, without risking anyone else’s safety. As presidium, this meant a great deal of work in rethinking the organization, together with all our union members. But if there is one thing that our members have shown us, it is that nothing is impossible.
And there’s something that will be different when we wake up in January 2021. We will still be in a pandemic – but we will be prepared for it. We will wake up in the hope of what we will be able to do when the pandemic is over, and not in the grief over the opportunities that the pandemic has taken away from us.
2020 has been a year with too little partying, but oh so much commitment and hard work. We know that 2021 will mean challenges, but it is with great confidence that Jessica leaves the President’s scepter to Alexander Klaréus who will lead Medicinska Föreningen as its President next year. We thank you and wish you good luck, it’s soon time for us to continue on new adventures. We want to extend a warm Thank you to our incredible board, the Union council, all sections, committees, commissions, councils and associations and our staff who made this year possible.
Thank you for a year beyond the ordinary.