Orientation Day 1…done!

Well well well…I am still alive and whole after my first 8-5 session in my new home, the school lecture hall. Of course, we did have a delicious alumni brunch to attend in the middle, our lecture hall is very very new (not even a year old I think) and beautiful, and “little” snacks (aka dinner in disguise) were provided. And we only covered orientation stuff.

Still, it was a very long day with tons of information thrown at us in the form of administrative/general overview necessities. But I’m already feeling excited (or shall I say…still feeling excited…have yet to become unexcited…)! I am impatient to start classes, to dig in and start morphing into this well-trained physician that all the faculty keep claiming I will become.

Highlights of the day in my humble opinion and in no particular order:
1.“Optional classes?” During a Q&A with M2s, the response to the inevitable “Optional classes?” delighted me. In undergrad, everyone practically brags about how much class they don’t attend, especially to wide-eyed high-schoolers eager for the wonderful experience of the magical college. But today, although there were plenty of jokes (see #4), all the M2s were unanimous in this: it isn’t “cool” to skip class. It’s not a bragging right, and you should definitely not start med school planning on never attending a single class. For a variety of reasons, but these stood out to me:
a) It’s disrespectful. Practicing physicians take time away from patients to give the lecture, so we should appreciate it and make an effort to come.
b) As future physicians, we shouldn’t be looking for shortcuts before we even know what the long way around is. Who knows? Face-to-face lectures may be a GREAT tool for learning, but you’ll never find out if you never go to one.
Of course, there were qualifications to these remarks. No one cares if you skip a lecture here and there, or if you find that one professor’s lectures simply do not suit you. This left me feeling immensely satisfied – like, these people care! And me and my class will turn into these kind of people!
2. ALLLL the small groups! My class is made of 190 people, so the 7 small groups we will have (yes…it is, in fact, actually seven and I’m not exaggerating one bit!) throughout the year (well, 2 of them will become different lab groups in the spring) is exciting! I really am enjoying meeting all of my classmates.
3. The constant reassurances…”you are here because we believe that you can do it!” For an anxious person like me, this is nice to hear.
4. Everyone has a sense of humor. They just do. Self-aware, clever, and don’t-have-to-be-dirty-to-be-funny (although these jokes do have their place, it isn’t funny when someone depends on dirty to be funny).
5. A misconception and relief: So, funny story – I looked at registration and choked in terror when I saw that I was signed up for 39 semester hours (well it’s funny now anyways). Luckily, the school is legally only allowed to require 26 hours of in class time. That was nice to find out 🙂
6. Depression and Anxiety: A few faculty members addressed this, and the prevalence in medical school students. It wasn’t a “well call this person if you’re sad.” They pulled out statistics, personal anecdotes, and very clearly demonstrated their concern and availability to us.
7. Theme for the Day: Don’t think what defined you before defines you now. Applies to study habits, mental health, and other general self-reflections.
8. Look it up: Apparently medical school is the equivalent of learning 4 foreign languages. Although I think this is a bit of an exaggeration, I do think there will be a ton of new vocab words. However, I am practicing getting into the habit of looking up every word I don’t actually know the definition too…this includes those words that I think I know, or anyways have a general idea, but definitely know I don’t really know what it means. Today’s words were portability (I just had to make sure because what I was thinking didn’t quite make sense in terms of HIPAA. You know, if there was a need to teach children about HIPAA, they would definitely use a cartoon hippopotamus as the mascot. Sorry, it just popped into my head. It’s late. I’m rambling.) and audit.

Well a few last notes –

Any opinions on stethoscopes from anyone experienced with such contraptions? I was thinking the Littmann II Classic or lightweight…Not too pricey, but still good quality. What do you all think?

I wish admissions would consolidated to do’s… One website or module that would have a checklist of every form we had to complete, every policy to read, and every app to download. Ah what a dream. Oh well, I’ve done everything now, so I’ll have to tell next year’s class liaisons. I never knew that word had two i’s.

Ok, it really is time for bed. Good night fine folks! 😀

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