As a WashU medical student, you get to take advantage of some great discounts around the city. My favorite is the student discount at the local cinemas. (One of them is conveniently located in the CWE.) you get matinee prices at all times. You can also get some discounts on phone services if you need to get a new cell phone, as well as a number of other corporate discounts (see https://resourcemanagementsecure.wustl.edu/suppliers/sl/SitePages/Staff.aspx once you have a WUSTL key). Additionally, you can get amazing student rebates at the St. Louis Symphony! For a measly $10, you can usually get great seats at an amazing performance by one of the best symphonies in the country! And, last but certainly not least, just present your medical student ID at the St. Louis Children’s Hospital cafeteria after 4 p.m. to get a great discount on good food on those nights you are in the carrels late. Also, check out the fish tanks!
— Brett T., M1
I have always had a cat, so of course I wouldn’t come to school without one. Cats are perfect for busy medical students because they’re happy to lounge around all day long without you. In fact, I suspect that my cat prefers having the apartment all to himself. For what it’s worth, St. Louis landlords also seem really open to pets. The Central West End is full of people out walking their dogs, and there are plenty of pet-oriented shops and veterinarians close by. There is even a doggy costume contest during the Halloween Neighborhood Block Party on Maryland Avenue!
Also, I may be alone in this, but I think it’s fun to listen to cats purr through a stethoscope.
— Elizabeth D., M1
I used 5th Third Bank for three years as a research technician and had a good experience with them. There is one conveniently located in the Central West End. They offer a pretty good deal for students: no minimum balance, no fees and five free non-5th Third Bank ATM withdrawals. That said, there are lots of options. Pulsaki Bank, U.S. Bank and Bank of America have locations in the CWE, and U.S. Bank even has an ATM on campus, in the hospital.
— Brett T., M1
St. Louis Community Credit Union
The St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) is a local full-service banking institution with a primary mission of actively improving the prosperity of the greater St. Louis metropolitan area through economic empowerment. As a credit union, it is a not-for-profit entity, which is reflected through the competitive rates and lower fees it affords its members. In addition, the SLCCU maintains a business partner relationship with WUSM and BJC HealthCare, meaning that high-value checks from these organizations — stipends, tuition refunds, etc. — can be deposited without a hold period. Both deposits and withdrawals can be made from an ATM conveniently located on the second floor of the Wohl Hospital Building, which is accessible from WUSM via the overhead bridges (less than a five-minute walk from the carrels). Members also have access to all CO-OP network ATMs located across the USA and Canada. Finally, it is one of the few banks with a branch located within walking distance from the MetroLink (SLCCU Wellston MET Centre Branch; MetroLink Red Line: Wellston MetroLink Station). Among others, there is a branch located on Forest Park Avenue (314-534-7610).
— Umber D., M2
Libraries are always special places. I love books, and any place that is willing to give me books for free is fine by me. Moving to St. Louis from Los Angeles, I appreciate that the St. Louis Public Libraries cater to my weak tolerance for drastic weather. The Schlafly library provides the usual perks of a great book selection, DVDs, interlibrary loans, free Wi-Fi and printing, but when it is too cold for a reasonable person to walk anywhere outside, I appreciate the eBooks, audiobooks and other downloadables much more. You can even stop at a St. Louis County Library to check out a telescope and stargazing guide for free.
The medical school library, Becker, is your very own home away from home/the carrels. It has snacks and hot water in the basement, computers, printers and helpful librarians on the first floor, comfy sofas on the second floor, and the most amazing rare book collection on the seventh floor. If you need 24-hour service, head to the Danforth Campus. The Olin Library has a special room for graduate students and its own cafe to keep you caffeinated and fed during those late-night cramming sessions.
— Emily D., M1
Student Health Services
Pain in your leg? Deep vein thrombosis. Headache? Aneurysm. One disease you are sure to catch during your first couple years of medical school is hypochondria. Fortunately, the staff and faculty at the Student Health Services are very good at taking care of you and helping assuage your neurotic fears. And they are definitely the quickest doctor’s office that I have ever been to! I am always in and out within 15 minutes. And as a medical student, you have a really great dynamic with the doctors and nurses there because you have a mutual respect for each other, which is probably the biggest difference between health care here compared to many undergraduate institutions. WashU also gives you baller health insurance, so most visits and many medications are free of charge!
— Andrea T., M1
Parkside Cleaners on Forest Park Avenue is right in middle of the Central West End and has great reviews on Yelp. This is likely your most convenient option if you live in the CWE.
— Brett T., M1
On Surviving St. Louis Weather
As I write this blurb, I am sitting in the Ft. Lauderdale airport, mourning the fact that I am about to leave the glorious 80-degree paradise that is Florida and return to the cold of St. Louis. As someone who has lived in warm places for my entire life, surviving St. Louis weather can be a struggle. For the first time ever, I had to scrape ice off my car’s windshield (I didn’t even know ice scrapers were a thing). All that being said, though, the weather here is not as bad as I expected, and, admittedly, seasons are pretty great, especially when you can take walks through Forest Park to admire the fall foliage. If you’re from a warm place, just buy a few coats and scarves, turn up your radiator to full blast, and if all else fails, avoid going outside by getting to class via the elaborate skywalk system that connects all the hospital buildings and spare yourself those 15 minutes of turning into an icicle. If you’re from a cold place, you’re ready. Go ahead and make fun of your classmates who are freezing.
— Manuela M., M1
Given the recent national news coverage of the events surrounding the Ferguson community, a lot of you may be wondering whether St. Louis is a safe place to be for med school. In spite of recent events, the region around the medical center in the Central West End is quite safe. Police patrol the surrounding area often, and the medical center buildings are locked after hours, requiring your ID badge to gain access. They are also patrolled by security. When it is time to head home after a (mostly) productive study sesh, you have more than one convenient option. I don’t mind walking home alone at night, but most of the time you will probably end up walking home with the rest of your wonderful med school friends anyway. You can also dial 2-HELP and get a free ride from WashU Protective Services (available 24/7) straight to your front door. To sum up: WashU actively provides a safe environment. Be smart and you’ll be safe.
— Cliff P., M1
St. Louis Neighborhoods
Most people will end up living in the CWE, but don’t let yourself get stuck in the bubble! STL has a lot to offer, and there are several unique neighborhoods to check out that have their own nightlife and vibe. Some favorite neighborhoods for the nightlife are Soulard, The Grove, and of course downtown, where you can stroll down Washington Ave., visit the Arch and surrounding Landing, or stop by Ball Park Village. I suggest you all explore the city as it has much to offer, regardless of your interests. Check out nextstl.com and its St. Louis City Guides that have pictures and descriptions of the city’s 79 neighborhoods.
— Brett T., M1
Barnes & Noble Bookstore
Barnes & Noble College Bookstore at Washington University School of Medicine is the official bookstore for the WUSM campus. You will find textbooks (used, new and rental), tradebooks, school spirit clothing and giftware, school supplies, snacks and convenience items. You may also relax in its Café, which serves a large selection of Starbucks products as well as pastries plus breakfast and lunch items. Barnes & Noble is located at 4905 Children’s Place (314-362-3240).