Class of 2020
Alexis del Vecchio
On our first day of medical school, way back in July, the administrators announced that we would all be split into groups that they would serve as our group for every class for the remainder of the year. We’ll never know how they split us up that day, but I know that I’m glad that they put me with the lot in group 7.
As we all sat together for the first time, there was a lot of judgment going around. Do we have any “gunners” among us? Who is the most intense? Oh wow, that person seems a little intimidating. That guy over there isn’t saying much. I wonder if he is just quiet or secretly determining how to defeat us all in test scores.
It’s okay, everyone does this when they meet new people. It’s natural to worry about who you are “stuck with” for the year. Are they nice? Will you get along? Among all of the things you are stressing about on the first day, working with those strangers is just another thing to plop on the pile.
However, I quickly found that my group members were indispensable and being put in a group with them was one of the best things that could have happened to me. Throughout the year, I have spent a lot of time with them, and I have come to know them all individually very, very well. We’ve gone through anatomy lab together (where tempers tend to flare), struggled our way through grueling tests, sought each other out when we reached our breaking point for a good rant and woe-is-me session, practiced being doctors together, allowed our group mates to poke us and shine lights into our eyes through EMT and physical exam training, and developed a note sharing plan when we just couldn’t handle it all on our own. We’ve been through a lot together, and I don’t know how I would have done it without their support.
Our first day in Clinical Diagnosis and Reasoning (a class that gives us two hours a week with our group alone and a faculty member), the clinical faculty leader looked around at us all, smiled, and told us to get to know each other well because we will remain friends for years to come. “No matter how busy you become, if you see a first-year group member in the halls at the hospital, you will jump with joy, wave and run over to catch up.” One of my group members responded, “Wave? I think I would cry and give them a hug.”
Your group will become your best friends. We all have friends in the class outside of the group, but we always look back to the Grape Dynasty when we have something even remotely entertaining or useful to share. We have our own Facebook group to share relevant or funny articles, a Dropbox for sharing notes, and a group text message which always racks up about 60 texts in ten minutes. Your group is your support system, and my group has always been there to cheer me up when I was down. Also, you become so close in the group that you learn A LOT about who you are as a person because they will set you straight. If you have a character flaw that prevents you from being a good team member or a good friend, they will be the ones to let you know so you can work on it. I think I’m a better person because of some of the feedback I have gotten from them.
Why do we call ourselves the Grape Dynasty? Well, the group’s inside jokes abound, but this one comes from first semester when we dominated a game of class Jeopardy on nutrition and vitamins. All of the groups picked a fruit or vegetable as a team name. We were the Grapes. Due to the health nuts in our group with undergraduate backgrounds in nutrition (you know who you are), we came out on top. Also, I happened to watch a lot of Duck Dynasty at the time. Grapes. Duck Dynasty. Grape Dynasty. A legacy was born.
No one ever knows what we are talking about, but it is a name that has bound us together and prompted more laughs than I can count. When asked if they would mind if I posted pictures on the internet, one responded with, “I am pro anything that promotes the dynasty.”
I love my group, and I hope everyone else in the class has bonded with their group members like us. I am going to miss them next year if we are torn apart and thrown into new groups, but the Grapes will always be the ones I turn to in times of crisis or laughter for years to come. Here’s looking at you, Grapes. I’m sorry but you’re stuck with me.
Overall, don’t overlook the importance of medical school groups, especially the first one. They will know you better than anyone else by the end of the year, and, despite how much you bicker, they will always be there for you when you need them.
I am from North Augusta, South Carolina, and I am a born and bred Carolina girl. When it came time for college, I happily made my way to Columbia to attend the University of South Carolina (USC). I started college in Biomedical Engineering because I figured it would be an acceptable fall back plan. The only problem was, I forgot just how dismally boring the combination of calculus and physics could become. Also, all of my medical volunteering and biology classes made me realize that medicine was actually the best match for me. I loved it. So, I made one of the more difficult decisions I’ve had to make in life and switched to biology, committing myself to a medical track. Graduating from USC with a major in biology and minor in chemistry was a big moment for me, because I was among only two or three people in my uncommonly large extended family to receive a college degree. And, I was the first to be going on to further my education. I am very excited to be starting my medical education here at USC School of Medicine Greenville on behalf of my family and myself. It is going to be an adventure and it will be difficult, but my experience here so far has made me feel that I definitely made the right choice.
Copyright 2014 USC School of Medicine Greenville