On Going to Classes
Regularly going to class doesn’t mean you’re just some “gunner.” There are plenty of reasons to wake up in the morning and enjoy the fresh air on the way to class. First of all, you can ask your questions directly to the professor instead of having to rewatch the same five minutes of video repeatedly when you don’t understand the material. Secondly, you get to bond really well with the 20 other classmates who show up every day. Most importantly, if you know that you have a hard time concentrating while studying, lecture is a great way to learn the material with the fewest distractions. Lastly, attending class when there is a guest lecturer ensures that they come back to teach future classes.
— Deepak L., M1
On Skipping Classes
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Class is overrated; don’t go!” I may be paraphrasing, but truer words have never been made up. But then again, I never went to history class either. Critics will tell you the academic and social benefits of attending class clearly outweigh the pros of skipping. But I ask you: Would you rather zone out while learning about tyrosine kinase inhibitors or watch Breaking Bad for the third time while eating breakfast pizzas in bed? Exactly. Whether it’s a gorgeous day to go relax in Forest Park, a snowy afternoon perfect for sledding on Art Hill, or the soothing sound of rain beckoning you back to bed, there’s always something better than class. Skipping allows you to stay sane and truly enjoy your life during medical school. For those diligent skippers, lecture video recordings are available to watch at gunner speed (>2x) within hours of the actual class. As for the rest of us, live it up and visit old friends, family and significant others during the weekends. Then, prepare for a week of cramming and impressively little sleep. Don’t worry though, you will repay that sleep debt and more in the weeks to come. So channel your inner Lincoln, listen to that little voice that tells you to hit snooze for the tenth time, and SKIP!
— Joni L., M1
On Being MSTP
Five reasons why WashU MSTP is awesome: 1. We are one of the largest and most well established MSTP programs in the country. You could say we know what we are doing. 2. The MD class is great. Okay, your MD classmates may cast you a jealous look when you go to your MSTP-exclusive lunch talks, but despite the free food discrepancies, we all really love each other. 3. Research at WUSM is awesome. Like, world-renowned awesome. Need I say more? 4. St. Louis is a wonderful place to spend eight (or nine? 10?) years. There are tons of cool activities to do in and around the city, free entertainment abounds and the food is great. If you’re not convinced, see the Food, Entertainment, and Travel/Outdoors sections for proof. 5. You can basically live off of free food here. You may think that’s trivial now, but I promise, once you’re a busy MD/PhD student, it will be a life saver. I could easily list five more reasons, but I guess you’ll just need to come here to see for yourself!
— Chuner G., M1
On Applying MSTP
Congratulations, you have decided upon a fantastic career as a physician scientist. You’ve likely spent many hours at the bench, taken all the classes, mastered the MCAT and are ready to apply to one of the best MSTP programs in the country: WashU. I remember the moment I received my interview invite. It was a very exciting moment for me and I trust the same applies to you. So now what? Perhaps the best advice I can give you is to enjoy the interview. The MSTP office makes the entire application and interview process as smooth as possible (a trend you will find continues into your tenure as a student here). During your interview you will have the opportunity to speak with many students and faculty. Ask a lot of questions. Some people are initially intimidated by the committee interview, something that is somewhat unique to WashU. However, I want to assure you that the process is not designed to intimidate you. It’s your chance to shine! Walk into that room with confidence and you will do great. We are excited to meet you and hope that you will join our great community of scholars.
— Josh A., M1
On Throwing Apartment Parties
Just took the first anatomy test? A friend’s visiting from out of town? It’s a Wednesday? APARTMENT PARTY! If you’re ever wondering, “Would tonight be a good night to have people over?” It is. “Work hard, play hard” is a motto that WashU med students live by. But it’s up to us to honor and maintain WUSM’s long-standing tradition. For those of you planning on hosting a sophisticated soiree-rager, here’s some advice: 1. Tell people about the party earlier rather than later, especially if it’s themed (which it should be!) 2. Befriend your neighbors, and DON’T forget the unfortunate few who live above and below you. Giving them a heads up/inviting them typically ensures the cops won’t be knocking on your door. 3. Ask for a few bucks from people (Venmo is your new best friend)! They understand these parties cost money and require hours of cleanup. And don’t forget the cut for the bail bondsman. 4. Have an end game. Cops come, landlord calls, not enough room for dancing? Have a bar in mind so the party can migrate! Oh, and last but certainly not least, every good party has hummus and pita.
— Joni L., M1
On Staying Sane in Med School
Follow these eight simple rules for med school sanity: 1. Do your own thing, and don’t compare yourself to others. There are many ways to succeed in medical school. Try different approaches to studying and focus on what works best for you. 2. Take care of yourself. Medical school is busy, but you should make time to keep up with your hobbies, eat well, stay active and goof off. 3. Explore St. Louis. Break out of the bubble of the Central West End and see all that this city has to offer. 4. Get involved outside of class. Extracurriculars are a great way to explore your interests and avoid studying. 5. P=MD (Pass=MD). Challenge your own preconceptions about what goals are important for being successful as a student and doctor. 6. Keep in touch with your family and friends. Tell them about your experience and stay connected with the outside world. 7. Maintain a sense of perspective. Remember that you belong here, think about all the reasons why you want to be a doctor, and don’t blow your daily challenges and frustrations out of proportion. 8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Medical school is challenging for everyone. Reach out for support from friends, family, deans, upperclassmen, Student Health Services, etc. when you need it.
— Zach R., M1