I’m just wrapping up orientation week and I have pretty much come to two conclusions:
1. Everyone has an ego and are not afraid to tell you
2. Upperclassmen will take any opportunity to scare freshmen
In regards to my first revelation, the moment I walked into our lecture hall for our first orientation session it was as if everyone had their chest puffed out and were trying to make themselves sound more important than they probably are. I remember my dad saying the following when I was starting undergrad, but I never truly understood until now:
“Nobody cares where you went to college”
I think as medical students we tend to ask each other where we went to school previous to this one because we want to size up our competition. “Oh she only went to NYU? Well I went to Columbia”, so she’s clearly beneath me.” In several situations, people will bring up a topic just so they can boast about themselves. They’ll ask if you did any research prior to school and they pretty much wait and act interested as you answer their question and when you’re done they dump all of their accolades onto you in an attempt to make you feel inferior or undeserving to be in their presence.It’s pretty petty and I find myself asking:
why does it even matter?
To be brief, it doesn’t. I’d say a vast majority of medical students (including myself from time to time) forget that we are all EQUAL. No matter what walk of life we come from, ivy league, public school, international, rich, poor, black, white we are all at the same place. If you start to think that there are people who are more undeserving that you, then I think that says a whole lot about you than it does them.
Now, I know I probably sound super cynical about the classmates I’ve met thus far (let’s be honest, I’m pretty cynical overall) but I have met some great people. People who are willing to share inside scoops of classes and exams that they’ve heard from upperclassmen and those who actually realize that there is a whole world out there besides medicine. Time and time again I’ve heard my medical school friends tell me the importance of keeping a BALANCED life. And they don’t mean balancing books on our desk as we cry over them. I’m well aware that this program is to be handled like a marathon, not a sprint – so it’s okay to stop every once in a while and take in some water and recharge.
The upperclassmen here, they’re hilarious. I’m convinced that there must be some class where they get extra credit if they make a newbie cry. When I was at the airport waiting for my 7 hour layover to end, I befriended someone who just so happened to go to my school. When I’d ask for advice on where and/or how to study for certain subjects he’d say things like:
“you haven’t taken anatomy before? You’re totally screwed.”
“You didn’t read the biochemistry book before coming here? Wow, you’re brave”
“If you get more than 4 or 5 hours of sleep a night, you’re doing something wrong”
“A quarter of my class dropped out after the first year“
Like…..what’s your end goal with telling things like that to me? I can tell you right now, he scared the hell out of the girl next to me. But I just took his “advice” with a grain of salt. Everyone works differently, and if barely getting any sleep and functioning with the cognitive ability of someone over the drinking limit works for you, then that’s great! But I don’t think it’s for me. I’m not naïve in thinking that my sleeping beauty self is going to get 9 hours of sleep a night but I definitely will make it a point to not make studying my life 25 hours a day, 8 days a week. That’s not what being a well rounded student nor doctor is about….right?
God I hope so. Maybe that’s what I tell myself over and over again to convince myself that it’s true.
Bonus: You’ll get an unofficial work out by carrying these bad boys up and down campus
Let’s see what the first day of class brings,