Lessons learned from orientation

1. Smart packing is important.

Yeah, my 2 pieces of luggage were over 50 lbs.  I’m moving across the country, I refuse to feel bad about that.  Instead of paying the airline $90 per bag in overweight fees, I went to the curbside check in and gave them a $10 tip before they weighed the bags.  No problem, and I still have all of Boyfriend’s medical books.  Excellent.

2. True Blood has really made it.

150 bright people from across the country get together, and this is the #1 topic of conversation.  This is a little weird to me, because I love all things pop culture and yet haven’t seen a single episode of this show… which is probably what I get for getting all of my tv from hulu instead of HBO.

3. Nobody’s opinion on med school is trustworthy

Second year student: “Yeah, I like to lift around 7am.. usually skip class, podcast it at double speed, play some hoops, head to the anatomy lab and then peace out to play Wii with the roommates.  I love it.  Study for 8 hours, then sleep for 2; good times.”

Professor: “If you study every day, you’ll be fine – you don’t even have to study that much!  Have a life, we want you to have time for yourself!  In fact, you should all feel free to take next summer off instead of doing research.  Remember, it’s most likely the last bit of free time you’ll have until you retire.  You’ll all be exhausted from the stress of first year by then anyway.”

The corollary to this point is that everybody’s opinion is probably trustworthy – I’m sure med school has its highs and lows – but, dude.  Seriously.

4. The window for meeting people is about 6 days

At least, that’s how long it was before we all stopped introducing ourselves to each other in the dorm elevators.

5.   Whoever makes the orientation schedule is at least a little sadistic.

Included with the schedule was a ‘To-do list” filled with things like, “Open a bank account, confirm financial aid, set up direct deposit, etc.” Yes, orientation schedule-er, I would love to open a bank account!  But I question my ability to do it between the hours of 11pm and 6am, which seem to be the hours we have available in between “fun” activities like mandatory pizza lunches and field day.  (I shouldn’t complain about field day, actually – I met a couple of good friends there.  But three-legged races in the rain sure haven’t gotten any more fun since 3rd grade.)

There were lots of implicit to-dos as well – things like, “unpack, buy groceries, buy everything that you didn’t bring in your 2 suitcases to Metropolis Med, including – randomly – several things we didn’t even tell you to bring, like a specific color of scrubs that no store within a 10 block radius will carry.”

I think they were preparing us for the time crunch of studying.  Either that, or they just think it’s funny to watch 150 first years scramble around frantically trying to open bank accounts and buy food in each 10 minute break.  If so, I can’t blame them for that – it was at least a little hilarious.

6.  Nobody can prepare you for the first day of class.

Coming straight from orientation – a week of lots of fun and little sleep – into a 9 hour day of Real Med School is like a butterfly happily flapping its way into an oncoming train.  The dorm hallway doors that had been propped open for the last week all pretty much slammed shut as soon as the day was over.  You could practically hear the amino acid flashcards being shuffled as you walked down the hall.

Hello, med school.

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One thought on “Lessons learned from orientation

  1. Pingback: Halfway to Action Potential, MD | Action Potential

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