Big Sib/Little Sib
Big Sib/Little Sib is one more way WUSM helps ease us through the medical school transition. In the deluge of pre-M1 summer emails, you will receive a questionnaire about your interests and hobbies, and from that you are matched to a second-year student with whom you will share an informal mentoring relationship. Relationships can vary, but everyone values their Big Sib. Big Sibs can advise on the best way to manage your life from the perspective of someone who has recently experienced the same dilemmas. Ask your Big Sib which selectives to take, which student groups to join and which physicians to shadow. Even ask about activities that your Big Sib is not interested in; chances are that he or she can connect you to another student who will tell you more. I’ve been lucky that my Big Sib and I have interests that closely align. We both like complementary medicine and baking healthy desserts, and I’ve received great advice and countless homemade snacks. Other Big Sib/Little Sib relationships center around eating brunch or grabbing fro-yo. Regardless, the BigSib/LittleSib program has resulted in a much better use for the carrel mailboxes than handing back physiology quizzes.
— Laura L., M1
As one of the more sober individuals at the Float Trip, I can recall that everyone who participated had an amazing time. I think some of the strongest bonding among our classmates happened while we floated down the Meramec for six hours. Classes hadn’t started yet. No laptops on the river. Just us. You’re forced to really get to know each other, and hey, you end up really loving your classmates. Several M2s also joined us, so we got to really bond with them as well, which has been really important as we struggle through M1 and get their support every now and then. While some people were worried about the weather being a little cold and rainy, I highly recommend everyone go. Of course, even if you don’t drink, it’s a great time. You get to experience what Missouri has to offer and do something totally different than what you’ll be doing for the rest of the year.
— Jeanette W. S., M1
Oh man, what can be said about post-exam parties. They are some of the highlights of our first year, no doubt. Each class has four social chairs (I’m one of them for our class) who pour their hearts and souls into planning sweet parties in either the Shell Café or Olin Penthouse the night after exams are finally over. It’s a great time to unwind with your class and completely let loose, whatever that means for you! We always have an open bar and beer games, but also a dance floor and snacks for those who don’t like to drink! And inevitably, our parties lead to groups of people going out, for those of you who are strong of liver and high on energy. Overall, it’s an incredible way for your class to get closer as a whole, and really get to enjoy each other’s company with absolutely no school-related stress on your shoulders.
— Andrea T., M1
Summer Research Before First Year
Doing research before first year is a great way to spend the summer before medical school starts! Email Dean Chung, and she can send you the application forms as well as help you find a mentor. There is a lot of exciting research going at WUSM, and this is a great time to participate and get paid to do it! An additional benefit is that you can move in early and not worry about unpacking after school starts. There are also social events just for incoming and visiting students, which are great opportunities to meet people.
— Derek S., M1
Washington University Medical Plunge (WUMP)
The Washington University Medical Plunge (WUMP) is an intro to public health, using St. Louis as a case study, and acts as our orientation to WashU during the first week of the semester. However, WUMP is far more than just an orientation to our school and medical center; it orients students to the history and demography of the region they will be serving over the next four (or more) years and, even more importantly, to the social, political, economic and personal responsibilities we will have as physicians. Exploring the challenges of delivering medical care in increasingly complex contexts is very humbling. However, the series of speakers heard during WUMP are doing extraordinary things to improve the lives of people in St. Louis and beyond, inspiring students to take initiative in improving health care. WUMP lays a contextual foundation that empowers students to better contribute to their community, and creates a societal and ethical compass for our training to come. Plus, lunch is provided all week and there are awesome social events every evening (into the wee hours of the morning) to take the edge off, all supported by WashU.
— Victor K., M1
Becker Medical Library
Becker Medical Library has quickly become my favorite study spot at WashU! Most of its seven floors have lots of study spaces available, including group study rooms, large group tables, individual carrels and comfortable couches. It’s quiet enough that you can concentrate more easily than in the carrels, but you can still have whispered conversations with study buddies without getting glared at by other people. All of the furniture is pretty new and comfortable. There is also ample lighting and outlet availability throughout the library. The basement has coffee, tea, vending machines and free hot water available, while computers and printers are available on the first floor. The seventh floor also has a great rare book collection that you should check out. In addition, the library gives you access to lots of journals and catalogs through its website. You can also check out books, including many of your textbooks, up to three times (and even more if you bring the books back in person and then check them out again) with no fines on late books. If you loved to study in libraries in undergrad, Becker is probably the place for you.
— Anjlie G., M1
If you ever decide to venture to the opposite side of Forest Park, you will find the telltale neo-gothic architecture of the WashU Danforth Campus. There are always lots of performances going on almost every weekend, whether it be a cappella (WashU is HUGE on
a cappella), a musical/play by the Performing Arts Department, a student-run cultural show (ex: Diwali), or a professional touring group as part of Edison Theater’s Ovations series. Every fall and spring semester, WashU also puts on a huge concert in the Brookings Quadrangle called W.I.L.D. that features big headliners (past examples include Fitz and the Tantrums and Icona Pop). If you get tired of studying on campus and want a 24-hour library that also contains a café then try visiting Olin Library on the Danforth Campus. Bonus: As a WashU grad student, you can use your WUSM ID to swipe into special graduate study carrels on the second or third floor so you don’t have to compete with undergrads for a quiet study space. It’s only a short two-stop MetroLink ride, so venture over sometime and explore its beautiful campus!
— Sonya L., M1
Hospital Conferences and Grand Rounds
Morning conferences and grand rounds are a great way to get some exposure to a field that you think you may be interested in. You get to see some of the interesting cases that the individual departments have seen and how they went about treating the patients. You also get an inside look to how the attendings interact with their residents (hint: PGY1s and 2s get picked on the most, no surprises there). The only caveat is that they are before classes, starting as early as 6 a.m., but they are by no means required. Beware that most (if not all) conference topics will go over your head, but it’s still a great learning experience. In fact, I met my current research mentor at a morning conference!
— Andrea T., M1
Though the admissions office may have seemed intimidating on your interview day, as a student it is the headquarters for everything related to the medical school. Room 100 is where you can find all the people who work hard to keep WUSM running smoothly and interviewees who call it their home base for the day. This is where you can talk to Andy about anything related to student groups or events or Dean Chung about research opportunities on campus. Pop in at any time to say hello to the people there and get some free coffee, tea or candy. Don’t forget to wish the applicants good luck while you’re there!
— Kristen R., M1
When it comes to a place to study, what could be better than the student carrels? The carrels offer a studious yet social atmosphere with a little space you can personalize and call your own to store your study snacks and books. The lounge in the carrels offers a great place to nap, relax with friends over lunch, play a game or two (or 15) of Super Smash Bros, and enjoy the leftover culinary delights of whatever meeting just ended that you didn’t go to. Overall, the carrels are simply the best place for comfortable studying with your best resources at hand — your classmates. Then you can cap off the night of studying by taking the MetroLink (light rail) right next door for some study-reward beers. Also, with the carrels being randomly assigned first year, you could meet your new best friend (or possibly more than that) just a carrel or two away from you. You know what they say, the number one determining factor for relationships — platonic or not — is proximity.
— Julia K. & Doug H., M1