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JulianCrane

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Hi! I was wondering if someone could outline a typical week for a first year medical student. Also, could someone please explain the Clinical Practice I course in further detail? How much time do you get to spend out in the field your first year? Did any of you apply to PBL schools? What do you think are the advantages/disadvantages of the P&S curriculum.
 

indianboy

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Look me Julie, let's have a heart to heart. I only want whats best for you. I think we've known each other long enough that you know it's true. Go to Columbia. It's better in every way. Think about it. 'I goto Columbia, College of Physicians and Surgeons!' vs 'I goto Cornell, I guess'. Which is ranked higher? Columbia! No brainer. Do the right thing. For me, and for you.

Hope that Helps.

P 'The Honest Truth' ShankOut
 

jed2023

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Wow, there are a lot of you guys posting here at SDN asking about Columbia's curriculum. So, be sure to check out the other postings, many of which ask similar questions.

To address the previous poster, it's almost always a bad idea to pick schools based on rankings alone, the validity of which is questionable. I applied to about 20 schools and was accepted to 7. Some were "ranked" above and others below, but that wasn't my most important criterion. To each his own, however, I suppose.

Anyways, first year is mostly basic sciences like it is at almost all med schools. You sit in lecture 3 hours a day from Monday through Friday 9:00 AM to 12:00 noon, then break for lunch, and come back at 1:00. Two days a week you have Anatomy, for which you have 1 additional hour of lecture and 3 hours of lab (Tuesday/Thursday), so these feel like the longest days of the week and you get out at 5:00 PM.

On one other day of the week on a non-anatomy day (Mon-Wed-Fri) you will have your clinical selective from 1:00 to 5:00. Most people shadow a physician in a field in which they are interested. How much you actually get to do depends mostly on the doc. One of my selectives was with a doc working at a methadone clinic. The other was with an academic neurologist here at Columbia specializing in neurodegenerative diseases.

So, that leaves two days per week where you basically have your afternoons completely free w/ only 3 hours of class. Pretty sweet.

Clinical Practice I, the course you referred to, is held on Fridays. This is known as "the touchy feely course" and isn't taken as seriously by most students as it probably should be. You learn about things like: how to talk with patients; patient concerns; behavioral science stuff; biostatistics; etc. We usually have an hour or two of lecture (depending on the day) and then an hour of small group, where you discuss issues brought up in lecture. You also role play different case scenarios and practice interviewing actor-patients, which can be fun or stressful, depending on the actor and script.

One course which is semi-unique to Columbia (at least in terms of time commitment, since it runs for months on end) is Neuroscience. You basically run through most of the chapters in Kandel's (2000 Nobel laureate) Neuro book. Kandel, who is 70+, is a very thoughtful, logical lecturer and still gives some of the lectures, although most of them are handled by other specialists.
 
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lyragrl

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Is there anyone who can speak to 3rd and 4th year training at Columbia? I would love to hear more about the clinical years beyond the very basics I can get from the student handbook. What are the strong clerkships? Weak ones? How good is the teaching? Is it brutal and competitive or supportive?
 

bez2

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As a first year student I have to disagree with some of what jed2023 said about the curriculum. The schedule is significantly better than he portrays. The hours are not as bad and there is a good amount of small group scattered throughout most classes. On a more general note, the curriculum at P&S is flexible in that you are treated like an adult and you can pick and choose what classes to attend based on interest, quality of the lectures, or learning style. I believe this is our most significant advantage over PBL. Although in theory PBL sounds great, when you are required to attend class all day and be active it can be taxing.
 

jed2023

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Originally posted by bez2
The hours are not as bad and there is a good amount of small group scattered throughout most classes.


What do you disagree with, specifically, in terms of my layout of the first year schedule? The schedule is the schedule. Unless they have changed the curriculum significantly (and this would be total news to me), the 1st year schedule this year is pretty much the same as last year.

During second year there is a large increase in the amount of small group at P & S, so that the curriculum more closely resembles PBL (the split between lecture and small group is probably 60/40). But during first year it is mostly lecture (maybe 75/25), with small groups only sprinkled into the less "hardcore classes" like Clinical Practice and Psychiatric Medicine. For the basic sciences 1st year there is no small group stuff. If I am off my rocker, please fill me in.
 
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