Well it's been just about a month since the first day of orientation and I have been extremely remiss in posting updates on here. I've started writing a few posts about surviving the "pre-med years" and hopefully those will be finished up soon. I'm hoping that this page will become a useful resource for others and perhaps more importantly a source of laughter, something that is much needed when discussing the very serious enterprise that is medicine.
Believe the hype?
Medical school has been both an intense and enjoyable experience so far. In many ways it's more like high school than college. I see the same 160 or so people everyday. We take all the same classes. We take them from 8 am to 3 pm (there is no study hall). And for the most part we all socialize (read: drink) together too. Coming from a University where one could exercise their right to anonymity to such an extent that it often seemed no one even knew you were alive, this has all been quite a shock. Our teachers and administrators seem to really care about us and have been receptive to many of the issues we have raised. I'm very thankful I was able to attend Penn and I feel they have put together an amazing class this year.
I remember hearing someone say, "believe the hype, this place is as good as everyone says." In my limited experience (and at the risk of sounding like an ass) I would say that this seems to be the case at Penn. This is not to say that I like everyone I meet or that some of the lectures don't suck. I have heard some pretty dumb and offensive questions since I've been in medical school. Sometimes it's the professors who don't have a clue. One professor, when asked what a normal curve was responded with, "Well, it's a curve...you know...like in Math." Oh yea, like in Math. Now I get it! Clearly having your PhD doesn't always mean you can or should be teaching. Other people are just douches. I'm still wondering why some people enter a profession that revolves around helping others if they clearly only care about themselves. Thankfully these sorts of things are the exception rather than the rule. When I hear my classmates cracking on these same people, I get a little warm and tingly inside.
But in a broader sense, I think it's important not to believe some of the hype about medical school. People tell me my relationship will fall apart, that I will live off of hot pockets, and that I will no longer be able to drink more than 6 beers at a time. I say bullshit. We are lucky enough to have a pass-fail grading system here at Penn and that means I can take my work seriously but also take time to do things like update this web-page or play some lax (brah). So if you're in the same boat as me, four weeks deep and wondering if you'll make it through the gauntlet, work hard, stay positive, and have a beer every once in a while.