White Coat Ceremony & My First Day of School

Monday, August 12, 2013

I'm writing this blog post as a way to avoid the 70 pages of Anatomy I should be reading (I have it on good authority that the reading is terribly exciting!)

So. Here I am. A medical student. An OMS1 (that's osteopathic medical student year 1). 

I had orientation last week, Wednesday through Friday which was a whirlwind of technology training, meeting a million different people, getting acclimated to our brand new building, and trying to get organized! 

There are many reasons why I love my school - I love the location, my fellow classmates, our outstanding faculty, the community-wide support, etc. I could go on and on. I was even excited when they decided to provide us with iPads for studying and class but the technology aspect of medical school is going to be the BIGGEST adjustment ever. That's right - not the volume of material or changing my study habits - it's the dang computer stuff.

I'm a paper and pen type girl. I never took my laptop to class in college and I thoroughly enjoy the sight of new school supplies waiting to be christened by hours upon hours of rewriting notes. I love the smell of books. I love being able to turn pages, highlight important points, and write all over the margins. Most of all, I like that books don't have apps like Facebook or Twitter to tempt me from my reading assignment.

This is me in lecture trying to make my iPad notes work.
This iPad business is going to be messy for all involved. All our books are electronic, all our tests are electronic, all our notes and communications are electronic. I guess that's the way the world works now...pray that the wifi remains speedy and uninhibited.

Now for the fun parts! I've already had the privilege of meeting some outstanding people in the short time that I've been here in Indy. Everyone is very friendly and willing to work with others - so far, so good! Wait until the stress starts adding up! After orientation on Friday, a big group of us girls went out to dinner in Broadripple and ended up going back out later that night with another group of classmates! That's probably the last time any of us will be going out until after our first exam on September 16th! (Ok, maybe this weekend too. We need to celebrate surviving our first week!)

Saturday was a chill day. Nick came up to visit me and help we get a few things for my apartment. He even ironed my white coat for me! 

On Sunday, it was time for my White Coat Ceremony! This is basically when we get to officially call ourselves "student doctors" and wear our short white coats. For those that don't know, the long coats are reserved for doctors. (Kind of like cowboys and the size of their cowboy hat).

The ceremony was short and sweet and was held at an awesome venue in downtown Indy. Several of my family members attended and it was a lot of fun to kick off this journey in style! 

As for today, I started my first day of medical school! My school does block scheduling and an integrated systems course which is a little different than the "traditional" view of medicine. 

Just as an overview: the first two years are my pre-clinical years which basically consist of my basic sciences. The last two years are my clinical years or clerkships where I rotate through all the different specialities. During my pre-clinical years, instead of having classes called "Biochemistry," "Pharmacology," "Histology," etc., we have blocks. My first block is a basic review of all the my undergrad science (that's four years into about 2-3 months). Then we will start with Hematology (the blood and related tissues/structures) and this will include all the courses I listed above for that particular system. We continue with this block system with skeletal muscle, renal system, respiratory system, etc. I will do a post in the future explaining this set up more in depth soon!

So the first day wasn't too bad actually. Thank goodness I took an excellent physiology course in college! I think I learned and retained more from that course than any of my others combined so thank you, IU! The morning material was all review and not very hard to integrate back into my brain. I really can't imagine what will happen when I don't recognize the material and have to sit through 4 hours of lecture. UGH!

My bear gets a white coat too!
In the afternoon, we had OPP lab or Osteopathic Principles & Practice. This deserves its own post but for now if you have questions, feel free to email me or wikipedia osteopathic medicine! This was unlike anything I've ever done before - everyone is a little lost and confused after our lab!

So that's been the past few days!  I'm really going to try to keep up with this blog - as usual I'm a little behind on emails and comments but I'll get there! I'm trying to develop a routine and a groove so I will do everything possible to keep up with things here!

How was your weekend?
What are some topics you'd like me to write about? (Medical school or anything!)


  1. I take all of my notes on my MacBook Pro using Word, Powerpoint, or Google Docs (depending on the lecture), but I tend to write things out as well and use the whiteboard to memorize pathways. I would recommend getting the free "Self-Control" app if they have it for iPad. It lets you block any websites that are tempting to you, for 15 minutes up to 24 hours at a time. You can't do anything to unblock the websites, not even re-starting your computer (trust me I've tried =P), until the time is up. I also use the Pomodoro method and computer timer for studying to limit my distractions and make sure I'm really studying for a good amount of time!

  2. I'm so glad you had a great first day of classes and that you're getting settled into med school! How exciting! Adjusting to an all virtual method would be so hard for me in school - I literally go through notebooks like underwear and write down everything! Maybe you can still use writing as a primary method, and then backup with the high tech stuff?

    Loved your outfit for the first day of classes! Can't wait to hear more about your med school adventures!

  3. Actually most "traditional" medical schools also have an integrated curriculum and block scheduling.

  4. Heather Pretty Strong MedicineAugust 13, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Thanks for stopping by. I should have explained what I meant more clearly but I wrote this on the fly. By "traditional" I am referring to traditional curriculum vs. integrated (systems-based) curriculum. I'm not referring to allopathic schools as traditional and osteopathic as untraditional, or some variation of that implication. Most schools still follow the traditional curriculum model but many are starting to adopt a new model, some of which adopt the systems-based approach.

  5. Nicole Rubackin HaywardAugust 13, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    Congratulations on your first day. I am a podiatrist and my favorite subject was pharmacology.

  6. How funny. I'm reading this to put off studying my back dissections for anatomy. I'm only two days in and it's already nuts! My school follows a traditional calendar and it's been a little overwhelming doing three crazy classes (medical embryology and gross anatomy, medical microscopic anatomy, and medical biochemistry) all at once. But I'm loving dissection so far! My preferred method of note-taking thus far is to take my notes on my computer in the notes section of the powerpoints, then print off the slides and rewrite my notes in. That way I get to write it and study it when I can take the time. The professors pack so much info into an hour!

  7. You look adorable in your white coat! So awesome! I'm sure you're going to make a great doctor! :)

  8. I am glad you had a great day and I enjoy reading your blog! But most of all I like your humor!

  9. Barbara Mizzoni-YoungAugust 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

    Interesting, I didn't realize that's why I saw some Dr's in long coats and others in short coats. Now I know the secret. You are a very busy girl. I hope the rest of your week goes as well as Day 1.

    Barbara @ www.allmylivesnow.com

  10. Wow! I love getting this glimpse into medical school and I will definitely be following your blog!! I considered being a doctor (and seriously, too) for a little bit but I went down a different path. But it's really cool to see someone doing it who seems to have a lot in common with me... a little vicarious living, if you will?

    Man, I am sure that was such a proud moment for your family, seeing you in the white coat! And I am really glad that you're adjusting well to med school and your roommates and everything. I can't wait to read more! :)

  11. Look at that white coat!!!!!!!! Congrats Girl! Go get 'em! :-)

  12. Good luck darling! You're going to have a blast! Also invest in a pdf annotating app that allows you to write. I jot down my notes, just like pen and paper, using a stylus. So handy!

  13. As an aspiring pre med, I was just curious what GPA and MCAT score you had. I'm TERRIFIED I will NEVER get into med school! :(