Drop some Jewels!!

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I am writing to all the MS II, III, IV and residents (alumni of UMDNJSOM) that are not completely fried enough to write a complete sentence. It would need a lot to those who will be following your footsteps if you could drop some jewels of wsidom on us. The first year is ugly enough, so any piece, crumb, or speck of advice would be greatly appreciated!!
  • Do we really need all those damn genetic books?
  • Where are the really decent places to live, or should I just start firing range practice now?
  • Where to go in Philly to blow off steam?
  • What professors have issues, and which ones have them everyday?
  • Did anyone have a gig during their first year, and if you did; how did you manage a job and school?
  • If you had a boyfriend/girlfriend/ baby's momma/baby's daddy/farm animal, how did you make it work?
  • If there are soaps that remove the formaldehyde smell from your clothes and/or body?
  • Scribe service or books?
  • Any other comments?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and we all thank you...


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15+ Year Member
Oct 2, 1999
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Being as I'm not _completely_ fried (yet), I'll see what pearls of wisdom I can dredge up. Hmmm...

Do _not_ buy genetics books. Any of them. In fact, there are very few books that you need to buy first year. You'll need Netter's and probably a histology book and atlas, and that's really all that I found crucially necessary. The school wants you to buy Greenman (the OMM book), but I'm not crazy about it. I suppose it doesn't hurt, though. Clinical Microbiology Made Ridiculously Simple is fantastic, but I didn't get it until second year for Infectious Diseases and board review. For all of the other classes, I found that the scribes, handouts, packets, and books on reserve were enough. However, people study differently, so keep that in mind.

If you do want to buy books, buy either online or at the used book sale next week. The "bookstore" (i.e. the pharmacy) is rather expensive, so avoid buying there when you can. Also, at the booksale, buy my books! Please! :)

My living situation is rather odd, so I'm not really current on good apartment complexes. I've heard good things about the Village, Echelon Glen, and Pine Hill Garden, though.

I have no life and I'm not overly fond of Philly, so I can't help you there (unless you want the name of a really fantastic Thai restaurant- Lemongrass).

I liked most of the first year professors, and I thought that Dr. Naegle (histo), Dr. Lee (biochem), Dr. White (neuro), and Dr. Mulheron (gross) were absolutely fantastic. However, my attendance was rather... substandard. At best. (Not to mention the number of hours I actually spent awake in class... but that's a different story.)

I know that some people worked first and second year, so it's possible. Probably painful, though.

There are lots of people in long-term relationships. As a huge number of them got engaged immediately after boards, I wouldn't worry too much. :) However, med school is stressful and time-consuming, so communication is key. If you're in a relationship, make time for each other. A point or two either way on your exams probably isn't going to make _that_ much of a difference to your life.

For gross, I liked to put on one pair of gloves, squish some liquid soap on them, and then put a second pair of gloves over them. After lab, I would wash and wash (and wash and wash...) my hands. Then, I would run over to the gym and try to sweat the smell out of my system. After that, I would shower (scrubbing myself still more times) and wash my hair with some zinc-containing shampoo. (I figured that anything that smelled that strongly had to help.) With all of this, I managed to avoid picking up the smell until around April. It's almost inevitable, so don't stress about it. No one in your class will notice, and the second years will discreetly make themselves scarce. :)

Scribe service all the way! It was by far the best investment of the first two years for me. Unfortunately, I've almost completely lost the ability to take decent notes myself, now. It's also useful on those mornings where you just don't want to get up... which, for me, were almost every morning.

Relax... first year isn't that bad. (Second year, now _that's_ bad! :)) It'll probably be more work than you're used to, but it's not impossible. Take time out to relax and have fun, and try not to stress too much.

Good luck, and e-mail me if you have any more questions!

Paige (currently on lunch from her OB/GYN rotation)