The Soft Skills Workshops are a set of workshops organized every six months by the Mentoring Project Partnership. It is aimed at students from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Lisbon (FMUL). The main objective is to complement the students' curriculum and provide them with tools and competences transversal to their academic path. This is fundamental as it enables them to become more complete professionals and more aware of the world around them.
These workshops started in the academic year 2016/2017, when the Mentoring Project was only conducted by the FMUL Student Association - AEFML. Subsequently, with the integration of the Mentoring Project in the Student Support Area (3A's), currently the Student Support Office (GAE), it was considered important to maintain these training activities, currently in its 5th edition and with several workshops held so far.
The Mentoring Project Partnership seeks, edition after edition, to innovate in its offer of topics, promoting a sharing of knowledge as transversal as possible that, otherwise, would be more difficult to obtain.
The spectrum of trainers was also broadened. As usual, it involves older students who provide some training, establishing partnerships within our school, such as with the Library and the Nutrition Laboratory. There are also external trainers specialized in areas considered relevant regarding Soft Skills.
Given the pandemic situation, it was necessary to convert these activities, previously face-to-face, to a distance format. Accordingly, trainers and participants started to meet online via the Zoom platform - which, a priori, could seem to be a limitation to the spontaneous sharing of ideas and thoughts. However, given the active intervention of all participants, it was found that the usual quality of the Soft Skills Workshops from previous editions was in no way compromised. This was attested by the feedback from those present, who highlighted the Workshops' important contribution to their training.
Thus, this semester’s Soft Skills Workshops - “Relaxation Techniques”, “About living the University”, “Finding Evidence” and “Lockdown without mincing words” - and this second semester’s Workshops - “Study Materials”, “Sustainability”, “Emotional Management” and “Vegetarian Food”- focused on topics as varied as the importance of one's own mental health, time management and study organization, bibliographic research, applying the principles of mindful eating to food in a context of social containment, types of learning and acquisition of new study tools in Medicine, more sustainable consumption, promotion of emotional well-being and the relevance of a healthy vegetarian diet. All of these topics are considered current and pertinent for the students' personal development.
“I attended the Study Materials workshop and I think it was a very enlightening session, in which I gained several skills that will be useful for the future. In my view, this was due to the good communication of the trainer as well as his receptivity to issues and the informal atmosphere of the session. For all these reasons, I will certainly sign up for one of the next editions ”(Sofia Martins, Year 3 IMDM).
The trainers also see the Soft Skills Workshops as an opportunity for growth, always describing their collaboration as highly enriching and worthwhile. As an example, the Mentoring Project Partnership invited trainer Eunice Maia - responsible for the Sustainability masterclass - to give her testimonial:
“(…) I immediately accepted the invitation and would like to commend the initiative of the Mentoring Project in organizing several Soft Skills Workshops in different thematic areas, including sustainability (…). Educating for health is also, without a doubt, educating to guarantee the health of our planet, through the way we consume and eat (...) After discussing the problem (food waste, consumerism and overproduction), we addressed the field of solutions: small gestures that make a difference and contribute to the reduction of waste at home, in our kitchen.
Throughout the session the students shared doubts, difficulties and good practices. (…)
Thank you very much for the invitation! I will closely monitor all projects and underline my availability to continue to collaborate. It was an honour for me to be able to participate in the Mentoring Project.”
Ana Catarina Raposo and João Leão Lopes (Mentoring Project)
Ana Rita Sobral (Student Support Office)