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Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by DrSRBS, May 19, 2001.

  1. DrSRBS

    DrSRBS Member
    10+ Year Member

    May 22, 2000
    Likes Received:
    I see nobody's taken me up on asking questions (in the previous MSUCOM thread), so I guess I will do what someone did for us last year--"pay it forward" and post some information that I think you might want to know about. I'll just cover some generalities. First two comments on the school itself and then lots of goodies to think about.

    This college is a very special one. I love it because 1) it is more down-to-earth than other programs I have heard about--the students are on the whole pretty mature and have a wealth of diverse backgrounds and life experience under their belts (remember, this is graduate school!), and 2) we're not a dog-eat-dog student body. I have not seen or heard of anyone gaining advantage by witholding information or misinforming others and wouldn't expect it here. We all share information freely and make sure everyone is up-to-date. The student body has a proud history of community service which won the East Lansing Award for Excellence in Community Service this year (--collectively, which is not often done in their tradition.) I can honestly say there's no other school I would rather be at.

    The school's foundation is the practicing D.O.s of Michigan. The MOA (Mich Osteopathic Assoc.) was the delegation which in 1959 put forward "The Michigan Resolution" at the national AOA conference, which led all states (apart from the then-seceeding California D.O.s) to remain a "separate and complete school of medicine." (This was at the time the C.O.A. merged with the C.M.A. in California, which is a very exciting point in Osteopathic history you should read about in Norman Gevitz's The D.O.s: Osteopathic Physicians in America).
    Michigan D.O.s do a lot to make this school what it is. They volunteer of their time and offer preceptorships to our students and pass on their expertise. There is a strong tradition of mentoring in this school of medicine.

    Now, off my soap box and on to the more practical points...

    I strongly recommend getting the move-on for this one as soon as possible. Come see apartment places and reserve one for the fall before you end up with the pick of what's "left over." If you can get a couple of classmates to go together with you on a three-bedroom townhouse, I would recommend it. I live at Peppertree Park off Wood and Lk. Lansing, and pay $800 a month. I have a garage and full basement and side yard. I like it out here, about 15 min. from campus. If you want to live near campus, be careful of high rents and also the tendency for groceries to be more expensive (taking advantage of the campus-bound undergrads).
    A word of caution: not all places are listed in the rent.com website. Make sure you go through the locally-available apartment publications (usually in rental offices) so you don't miss out (that's how we found this place).

    A word about environment--it's important. A lot of people envision going to med school like they're going to be studying all the time anyway, so why invest in nicer digs? The reason is that anything which can reduce stress is good. My philosophy is that debt for med schoool is high, so why not make it a hair higher and live better? Take care of yourself and you'll get through the three phases of med ed.--1st and 2nd yr basic sciences, 3rd and 4th year clerkships, and three to ? year residencies--with stamina. Don't let yourself become deconditioned to the point you won't be able to cope with the more demanding schedules which will present themselves at each step.

    Those of you not new to the MSU campus are well aware that the Fuhrer did not actually commit suicide in a bunker at the end of WWII, but rather took a position with Parking "Services" at MSU. Find a legal place to park. Lot 100 is located about 100 yards from Life Sciences, via the Clinical Center, both of which will be the venues for classes (all basic sciences at Life Sciences and some OMM lectures in the Clinical Center. About 300 yards from Lot 100 is the center for COM students, Fee Hall. This is the location of the anatomy lab, histology labs, OMM lab and all second year courses. Lot 100 is really your best bet. I bought a year pass at the Eyde lot, at a business about 200 yards from Fee and about 350 yards from Life Sciences because it was cheaper than the Lot 100 passes and since it was not a university lot, I didn't have to register my car (and therefore could use metered spots without getting a ticket for being a students (yes, sieg heil...)). The benefits didn't outweigh the inconvenience of the walk every morning to Life Sciences, esp after a late night the night before. I began to envy the Lot 100 people. I would recommend registering your vehicle and taping the student pass to your inner windshield so you can remove it when you want to park in metered spots. This is the best of both worlds, even though it costs a bit more than the Eyde lot. Still better is if you can get a research position or some other job on campus (should you find yourself with an overabundance of time...(unlikely)), which comes with the perk of a staff pass to a lot even closer to Life Sciences and the option to drive over to Fee after class and park in a staff lot there. (This is particularly useful in the winter!!)

    I recommend waiting to get equipment until the SOMA-sponsored sale, which is very competitive in pricing. You can order all your equipment at once and pick it all up at once without having to shop around. I did a lot of comparison shopping prior to--and found it was pretty much unnecessary. If you should find yourself feeling the urge to buy a stethoscope or something--be careful. Some companies on the web, for example, pretty much take advantage of those who don't comparison shop. A stethescope I was considering varied within a margin of about $50 from the average. Of course, if you can get grandma to buy you a stethoscope for a congrats present--go for the Littman Cardiology III or Littman Cardiomaster. I have the Cardiomaster and I love it. A lot of my colleagues have the Cardiology III and I don't think they're as good, having tried them out. The Cardiomaster has the ability to convert between flat and bell-head (for high freq auscultation) with applied pressure. A drawback is that it doesn't have the ability to convert to a peds head.

    Some get by without even buying one text, since there is a complete collection of multiple sets at the Kobiljak Center (pronounced "Ko-bee-ack"). Coursepacks are a must, however. Review books are nice--Boards come up at the beginning of second-year summer. For 1st year, I strongly recommend buying Netter's Atlas, Barbara Bates' Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking (as current an edition as you can get), as well as Lippincott's Biochemistry (IF you don't have a strong biochem background).

    Scribes are something I am very proud we have at our college. They are, for those who don't know, a detailed written account of class sessions written from notes and audio tape recordings by students in the class hired to write them. They are often very useful since they can present a different view of the material given (or NOT given) in the coursepacks. I am a scriber and I like it because 1) it earns me $40 a scribe, and 2) I get free scribes and 3) I learn my lectures' material really well which helps me get ready for exams. Another option is to be an auditor--someone who proofs the scribe, inserts images, arranges for copying, and distributes the scribe. They don't get paid per scribe, but do get free scribes. Scribe costs (for a complete set) usually range between $150-250 per semester but they are usually well worth it.

    There is a coffee shop in the Clinical Center for in-between class caffeine fiends and also an array of vending machines on the second level of Life Sciences. In the basement of Fee, there is a "Sparty's" attached to the bookstore, which sells sandwiches, coffee, pop, reheatables, etc.

    There is a computer center at Fee and in the Clinical Center. Both are for use of COM and CHM students. They have Macs (for those of you living in the past :D) and PCs. Also, there is a separate scribe lab with Macs only from before WWII. Additionally, there are a few Macs with limited capabilities in the student lounge.

    There is a copy center in Life Sci and Fee. Also, there are coin-op machines in both locations but the one at Fee is notoriously unreliable. If you need something copied, I recommend taking it to the copy center if it's open.

    Lectures are taped and piped directly into the media centers in Life Sciences and Fee. You can bring up to 5 blank tapes per day for copying and they will make them, usually within about 2 min. per tape (which I think is pretty fast--they record in both directions at once). Alternatively, you can check out tapes of lectures in the Kobiljak center if you leave your ID.

    Get your ID. Carry it with you. You will have problems on test days without it (so don't hock it for a tape the day of a test!). They verify identity on exiting exams pretty rigorously. Your spouse can also acquire an ID, which will allow her access to certain campus facilities.

    Walking from Life Sci to Fee is a good walk if you do nothing else. However, there is also a Gold's Gym in the Hannah Plaza across from Fee Hall as well as the M.A.C. (pronounced "mack") behind the Hannah Center. The M.A.C. (Mich. Athletic Club) is a multi-million dollar facility with some high dues, but I am told it is very very nice. There are also Intra-Mural Sports facilities on campus which you (and your Spouse) are free to use (apart from small fees for special classes like aerobics).

    MSU Stores is located on Service Drive and they sell office supplies for very reasonable rates. Of great moment is the 25 cent/AAA battery offer, which those of you with PDAs will want to avail yourselves of.

    Don't get me wrong--you don't need a PDA. However, it is extra nice to have one! I use mine all the time and with the schedules set the way they are (often with changes we're emailed about after the calendar goes out), I have never regretted buying my Handspring Visor. Also, it is nice to have Epocrates, a program which has all commercially-available prescription drugs indexed with uses, etc. Free online. (If anyone wants to get in contact with me while on campus, I would be very happy to lend you a CD with lots of Palm programs I got from my big sib.)

    A nice program which is optional. You can pair up with a second-year who serves as someone who can help you learn the "ropes." Also a nice person to get books from if they bought them in the first place.

    There are lots of clubs in the college which have varying levels of activity. I am sure you can look in the reference guide for a comprehensive list. It is probably a good idea to join a few of them, especially since you'll have the opportunity to run for office at the end of 1st year. (Each club has officers.) This is not only a service to the class, but looks pretty nice on a C.V. when looking at residency application. There is also the honors fraternity (coed fraternity), Sigma Sigma Phi, into which you can apply and become elected. Also, volunteer organizations such as the Friendship Clinic, which supports health care for indigent and uninsured populations, runs many Saturdays of the year--once you've gotten some clinical skills experience, you'll be eligible to actually take on a patient for a few hours and do some good. (As a matter of fact, I just volunteered there this morning. I took care of a patient with muscle pain from a fall and chronic alcoholism. I gave him a full history and physical, presented his case to the supervising volunteer doctor and arranged for meds and a future visit. We also ruled out heart problems, which concerned this patient.)

    The class elects several officers. What I can recall of them just now are of course Pres, VP, Treasurer and Secretary, as well as Student council representatives.

    Class dues can be a bit of a surprise for some. For our class, they were $400 spread over the first two years (remember, years 3 and 4 are not going to be in Lansing unless you got to Ingham for your clerkships). Some complain about this, but it is important to remember that the class does things throughout the four years for bereaved faculty and students, as well as make charitable contributions, host parties and guest lectures, publish the class yearbook (4 year-book, really since there's only one), etc.

    Good luck to you all and feel free to write.

    Your colleague,

    Scott Strom
    MSUCOM 2004
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  2. R. Dale Jackson

    R. Dale Jackson Senior Member
    10+ Year Member

    Mar 2, 2000
    Likes Received:
    ;) Thanks Scott, your efforts are very much appreciated.

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