you know, if their profiles didn't suggest otherwise anamod and xc1999 could even be attending the same school. I think a lot depends on your personal approach to things. I know a lot of upperclassmen and teachers describe my class as uptight and chockfull of gunners. Being the slacker that I am, however, I haven't really noticed it.
I mean, I know there are a dozen kids or so who squabble with the profs over ever friggin' point and just need a good beat down, but since I'm not in the thick of things up at the top it all seems pretty relaxed to me. I guess life is what you make of it.
I'd have to disagree about the cutthroat/gunner comment. 1/3 of our class rarely comes to lecture, 1/3 comes to lecture most of the time and studies 2-4 days before the test and the last third studies throughout each block. So if you want to be in the top 1/3 all you have to do is show up for class and start studying the week before the exam. If you want to make class average, 3 days of studying before the exam will land you consistently above average by a few percent. That Doesn't sound too cutthroat to me.
I think some of those people who don't show up regularly are smart people because they've known the materials already or because some lectures are exactly the same as their undergrad courses (if they go to the same university), so they think it's a waste of time for them to go to classes.
I always study the day before the exam. No wonder I couldn't finish all the lecture notes for any of the course since the beginning of the school last year. Only one day of study...maybe that's a bit exaggerating. Let's say two or three days, but I simply didn't have the mood studying if it wasn't just before the exam....maybe just stared at the notes and pretended I didn't waste my time.
Ok, so maybe I should change my habit and study real hard for 2 or 3 days before the exam?! But, it's so tempting to do something else than study....
Some people seem like gunners, but they're simply working their butt off to land a solid B, or possibly an A. That doesn't make them a gunner, just hard working and realistic.
To get by in dental school, not much effort is required. However, C territory isn't really a comfort zone. Fail one exam, and you end up in D territory. It's a matter of what your time and sanity is worth. Even if you don't plan on specializing, you'll find yourself working for that B, which can be a bit of work for some classes or a breeze with many others.
Generally speaking, you will definitely have a lot of time for yourself if passing and graduating is all you strive for.
BTW, my class seems like a big group of noncompetitive overachievers, myself included. We help each other out freely, and I haven't noticed anyone being cutthroat. Ask anyone a question or for some help, and they'll gladly help out. I do think that my class as a whole is a little more scared than some others. I know I am.