Limited Seating

Leaving in the middle of class to catch a break on the couch in a neighboring lounge I ran into a small group of classmates. The conversation was not at all hushed, but was far enough away from the doors as not to leak into the lecture hall.

Student 1: “Saturated man. That’s what they said.”

Student 2: “Saturated? Who?”

Student 1: “S—-. S—- said it. So you know its true. Man, I’m going into a meeting with Admissions to see what’s up.”

Student 3: “I don’t get it. Why wouldn’t Admissions just tell us? Why do we find out stuff like this through a focus meeting? Not even an e-mail? There’s got to be at least half of us still pushing for school next year and we’re competing for seats not even available anymore?”

Student 2: “That’s fucked up man. I bet they think we’d just give up and the program will deflate if we actually knew.”

Student 1: “I’ll let you know what Admissions says. Man, I can’t believe this. They were saying that we’re all good candidates, but that there’s just not enough room…”

The thing that sealed it was the name Student 1 said. The name said it all. As one of the faculty that consistently supported and encouraged out class with phrases like “when you’re in medical school next year,” or “you’ll see this again next year,” if he said something so definite then it had to be true.

I imagine it’s hard to decide from an Admissions stand point who gets in and who doesn’t. Certain things are easy to qualify like MCAT scores and GPA’s, but while these are good indicators of academic prowess they do little to show ability to function as a dynamic social-medical component. But I get it – it’s a matter of risk.

It all seems quiet smoke and mirrors to me though. Why not just be more upfront so at least 70 people can figure out how they’re going to rearrange their lives next year? Maybe it’ll all make more sense in the next couple weeks.

Mutual Friends

The ice days really screwed up our schedule, but I think some good came out of it. Although Histology is still on Friday, the CardioPhys test got moved to Monday – giving a full weekend to go over the lectures for actual absorption. If I can finish the tenth and last lecture today and get started on memorization for the early lectures then I can call the day productive.

An e-mail just got sent out about a Facebook group for our incoming medical class. I’ll get around to joining eventually, but as we start in July I feel like I’m putting the carriage before the horse. I share the same sentiment with friending people I have yet to meet. What if  I shouldn’t be your friend? What if you shouldn’t be my friend?

At the center of the feeling though is a sliver of disappointment as I read through the list of fresh faces. Under the “mutual friends” category I’m able to make out who will be joining me from my Masters program. While I’m certainly excited for my fellow MedSci’s that are already listed, I think about those close to me who await their fates. Last semester was a personal hell for so many people and will continue to be until May.

It’s just not a great mix of feelings as I read the posts of my future classmates and see the struggles of my current ones.

Information Flow

The flow of information in academia is a peculiar thing. Although the profession we are preparing for has its fair share of competition, it should not take away from the significantly more important goal for people work together when it is to everyone’s mutual benefit.

Often times a student will make a study guide and choose to keep it to themselves. This is perfectly within their rights and even advisable if the guide is in any way a summation of the material or brief snippets of the information. The summary and briefings are a subjective idea of what is high yield information worth knowing. However when you make something comprehensive is when you get into a dilemma.

This is because an additional comprehensive resource could be the tipping point for others to grasp the material, understand it better, and become better trained for their future careers. That last point might be over dramatic, but it holds traces of the truth. When something can stand as a source for study on its own the responsible thing to do is to share it.

Of course, there are places where competition can triumph over compassion for your classmates.

Another snow day spent whittling away at Physiology. Hopefully the gym and a quick exodus to the grocery store are in my future.