>Today was the big day! First day of medical school. Actually it was just the first day of a pair set aside for registration and orientation. One hundred and seven of us (100 new students and 7 holdovers from last year who are having to repeat first year due to all sorts of reasons) gathered in a large tiered auditorium. We were handed out information packets and a new catalog before being welcomed to the school by Dr. Wallace Conerly, the Dean of the School of Medicine. We spent the morning going over all sorts of mundane things while everyone looked around trying to size up all the people around them. Around 11:30 we broke up into groups of ten or so and met our faculty advisors. Mine is Dr. Davis Manning. He is a research physician and professor doing work on cardio studies.
We ate boxed lunches in a large conference room at the Student Union while listening to a presentation by the Family Practice department. They pitched a program that the State of Mississippi funds with the large tobacco settlement funds our Attorney General sued for a few years back. The deal is that 20 scholarships are funded each year in perpetuity to recruit Family Medicine physicians. $25,000 is given for each of your four years of school, in return for a commitment to practice in a “critical need area” in Mississippi for 10 years upon completion of a three year residency, which can be done in state or out of state. It turns out that there are “critical need areas” in all but seven counties in the state, so it looks like a great deal for student who want to go into that area and wants to stay nearby.
We had several upperclassmen speak to us after lunch about student activities and the like. The director of the Rowland Medical Library then spoke to us about the resources in the library. I was impressed with the amount of information that is accessible via electronic database. After visiting Information Services to get my user ID and password for the school network I was done for the day.
Tonight the second year class threw a barbecue dinner for us at the Ag Museum. It was catered by Red, Hot and Blue, and spouses were invited. All of us first years were paired up with an M2 “buddy” who is supposed to be available to answer our questions, give advice, share old tests, and so on. My buddy is a nice guy named Jason McManus.
Of the most interest today to me was our schedule. We have only Biochemistry and Gross Anatomy for the first 13 weeks. After that we get courses in Histology, Physiology, and Neurobiology. We have five “board exams” that we will take during the year upon the completion of each of those subjects. These are national standardized tests that you must pass to proceed to second year. We also have brief courses Psychiatry and CPR. We received detailed schedules which even show when all exams will be given. The first year ends on May 24th, so it looks like about nine full months of studying. Even the Christmas break will require studying because we have a Biochemistry exam three days after we get back and a board exam the next week.
Another cool thing is the use of a “Virtual Instruction & Distance Learning” site on the web. Our Gross Anatomy class is supplemented by material posted on our class web site. We can go there to get notes from the professors, syllabus information, etc. It appears our grades will be posted as well as class averages and statistics. It looks pretty cool.
Well one more day of prep before we dive in!