So yesterday I am wearing the T-shirt I got in my orientation week package. I am showing my dad the front, which says “Canada’s Next Top MD”.
My dad responds by unbuttoning the front of his shirt and revealing the T-shirt he has underneath: “So You Think You Can MedSchool”.
Oh, and then he says “Pwned”.
(For those of you who don’t watch much TV, those phrases are parodies of the reality TV shows Canada’s Next Top Model and So You Think You Can Dance)
Anyways, I figured I’d share that tidbit with you, both because I thought it was pretty funny, but also because I feel guilty for not providing the Orientation week reflection I had promised. Orientation week was much more tiring than I thought it would be. I had intended on doing a detailed write up after each day, but I gave up on that idea after realizing how exhausting each day was and how little energy I would have to write up anything decent.
I am writing this as I sit in my new bedroom in downtown Toronto at a place I will be sharing with my brother for the foreseeable future. Although the beginning of university or college is often the big transition for many young people, I feel as if this was the real transition I was waiting for. Although I had lived on residence for a few years at York University, having a new “permanent” home is a completely different feeling.
It also has to do with the transition to medical school. The big difference between medical school and my undergraduate program is that medical school is very focused, and in a way, more obviously relevant – I am learning and training for a specific profession. It’s quite different from studying undergraduate biology where that could lead to numerous different destinations. Whereas I could choose my courses in undergrad, I will be learning the exact same thing as all of my peers over the next few years. In a way, all of this might be a good thing – by having to learn things that I know are directly relevant to what I will be doing long term, I will probably be motivated to take my studies more seriously.
There are ~225 students in my class. That’s a big number, when you realize most other medical schools in Canada tend to have a number in the 100’s. I actually think there is a good chance you could go the entire four years of medical school here without having met every single person at least once – it also doesn’t help that the class will have varying schedules once clerkship starts in 3rd year.
Going to medical school in a way seems like a step backwards, at least school-wise, because it’s like high school all over again. You are part of a small community, and you are all in the same class together (unlike undergrad where you and your friends could easily have very different schedules). While this is good because you can form closer, stronger, relationships right away, it can feel weird sitting in one single lecture hall for eight hours in a day (that’s exactly what I will be doing tomorrow!).
I have only been in class for one day so far, but all I can is that it is long. You don’t get breaks anymore. Most days I am going for 9am to 5pm with a one hour lunch break. Occasionally I will get a Friday afternoon off here and there, but for the most part, the program here at UofT is pretty packed.
Anyways, since I didn’t give a report on orientation week, I feel I at least owe a detailed report of my first day of medical school. I’ll do my best to keep it interesting, but no guarantees – sometimes it’s hard to make class interesting 🙂