Adjusting to My New Life

When I first interviewed at USC School of Medicine Greenville, one of the more appealing aspects to the school was the family-style atmosphere. Everyone, staff and student alike, has the drive and desire to be successful. After only a few months, in October, the students and staff seemed to know each other so well, and I often heard laughter as I got a tour of the building (genuine laughter in a medical school, you wouldn’t think that would happen often).

As my first week of orientation and classes as an M1 approached, I got my first taste of what it was like to be a part of such a tight-knit group. My fellow classmates, so many of us strangers to each other, were already forming friendships before we even walked into the Health Sciences Education Building.

The dynamic I had always hoped for in medical school is one that doesn’t always exist; often times you find a very cutthroat, competitive environment. There will be hard workers and serious students in my class (myself included), but despite our backgrounds, we are all starting on the same level, facing the same challenges this upcoming year. From what I have seen the past several weeks, it seems our class will work together to help each person achieve their goals, and successfully manage our first year of medical school together. We have a very diverse group, with many different interests, but we are all held together with the dream to become a doctor. I am working with an amazing group of compassionate students and faculty. Laughter has occurred often during lectures, as we have an entertaining group. I particularly enjoyed being carried from the grass on a stretcher to an ambulance, due to a fake broken leg.

Coming into this new school is very exciting; as the second class, I am still able to make an impact on the development of this institution, and shape it into one of the best medical schools in the country. That being said, we are only the second class; the charter class before us has exceeded the expectations of the staff this past year. They have worked extremely hard and been so successful, making changes so that our class may have a smoother first year. At times, we M1s feel like the invading younger siblings, making the older brothers and sisters share their toys; the M2s made the school their home last year, and they have to adjust to our presence. These students, so above our level after one year, have welcomed us graciously and have made our transition so much better. They developed a peer mentoring program, assigning each of the M1s to an M2 for advice and assistance, and have welcomed us to their interest groups and activities. They are a great class to have above us for guidance and I am so grateful for their presence. And I thank them for making sure we do NOT have an exam immediately following Christmas break.

 Thus far, it has been a difficult adjustment beginning classes. This year, our schedule has been slightly revised compared last year’s charter class, in that we begin our education with only three weeks of EMT training, which continues on into November along with Anatomy and Medicine and Society I. It could be said that real medical school hasn’t yet began, but waking up at 6:30 and staying at school until 5:00 has made my days long. Despite the exhaustion, I now know will follow me for the next 2…4…10 years, I am enjoying everything about school. The information wave medical students are said to face is coming, but it’s information I am so interested in learning. I feel as if I already know a lot more about EMS than I ever did.

 I have had moments of self-doubt. I am certain that all of us at some point have, or will, question why we chose one of the most difficult routes of life, such a stressful and difficult profession. Will I be able to make it through this year? Will I still have a life? But unlike many medical schools, where students lose sight of what all the studying and work leads to, we as M1s will get constant reminders of why we chose this profession. We get early patient contact, as soon as we get on our first EMS truck. The patient is what it is all about.

 We are urged by the faculty to maintain a well-rounded life. Our personal health is stressed, not only for our benefit, but to be an inspirational model for our future patients. We must practice what we preach in the medical world, and maintain our own health to be successful in school.

 I am so happy to be a part of this school and eager to begin my medical career here. I am ready to make a difference in health care, and excited to work with all these wonderful people that surround me. I am so grateful for this opportunity and I know that USC School of Medicine Greenville will move up in the ranks to be one of the best medical schools in the country, developing us all into caring, successful physicians.


Laura Simon


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