16 September 2019
Being at a medical school that has only just begun is a unique experience, to say the least!
Many other medical schools in the country have had decades (even centuries) to perfect how to train their future doctors. Their reputation is steeped with history and prestige. Their medical students apply because of this reputation and form a picture of what to expect based on this but any blanks can easily be filled in by anyone from the four years above them.
For us it was quite a different story. We had no-one to turn to who had been through what we were going through, and the staff were also going through this process for the first time.
Despite all of this, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
So, what are the perks of going to an infant medical school? The first word that springs to mind is flexibility. You could say that other medical schools might be ‘set in their ways’ and the course is dictated largely by what has always been. In contrast, we have a fresh canvas and the faculty have often asked us to set up the paint and easel. Throughout the past year I felt like my voice was heard and the course was very much adapted to mould around our likes, dislikes and strengths and weaknesses.
In addition to that, I love how our course takes the best aspects of new and old medical training. Take our cadaveric dissection for example. A lot of medical schools have started to move away from full body cadaveric dissection and move towards prosection (where you just study and dissect one specific area of the body at a time). For those in my year group who want to be surgeons, the opportunity to carry out full body dissection is invaluable and a traditional element to our curriculum that we cherish.
On the other hand they have embraced the fairly modern concept that better doctors are made from earlier patient exposure. We meet our first patients in our very first term which is something that simply doesn’t happen in traditional medical schools.
And finally, I love being part of the first cohort because we are pioneers and have the ability to build our own reputation. I remember my first day and walking through the doors of the medical school to beaming grins from faculty members who had been working on getting everything perfect for us for at least a year. For them, we were their blood, sweat and tears coming to fruition and from that day on they have given us more individual attention than I think you would experience in any other university.
Each of the faculty know all 100 of us by name and always stop to chat and make sure we’re not struggling. Medicine really is a course where you can’t afford to fall to the wayside and I know that I have plenty of people willing to lend a hand before I get to that stage.