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Undergraduate Institution

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by DukeBluDevl02, Aug 2, 2002.

  1. DukeBluDevl02

    DukeBluDevl02 Senior Member
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    I find that 'Undergraduate Institution' doesn't matter as much as I thought it did during the application process. I chose my school (Duke) somewhat based on the challenge I would get and how it would help me in the future. Are there med schools that do so more than others? Does anyone else feel the same way? Reactions? Comments?
     
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  3. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    i think it matters, but i bet it matters more to private schools than public schools. i have nothing to back this up, but it's sort of a feeling i have and is something i found when applying to grad school.
     
  4. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    i hope the undergrad institution matters somewhat. i mean i gave up a full ride to my state school to attend a namey private school. now because im at a more competitive school i hope adcoms realize that. now im not saying state schools are not competitive because i know they are, but i hope med schools realize that my school may be harder to get a good gpa than at alot of other schools.
    just my .02 cents
     
  5. DukeBluDevl02

    DukeBluDevl02 Senior Member
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    See, that's exactly it. I feel that the class material at state schools are the probably same as private schools, but perhaps the curve and means are set differently at private schools. I had a couple of Deans tell me that it was too bad I went to Duke and that I didn't go to a state school because my GPA would be right there. It's a gray area which I feel is a little unfair, but I'm hoping my second attempt applying to med school is more successful having had two classes at a state school post-bac. (A's in both)
     
  6. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    i guess if you have a good gpa at a prestigious private school like a 3.8 or higher than i think you are really competitive for top 20 med schools (i know it depends on mcats too!). unfortunately getting a 3.8 is the hard part. my school said that 85% of premeds who have a 3.5 or higher get accepted into med school, now do i believe that now, probably not, but back when i decided on undergrad school it sure sounded like it was a guarantee. i guess if adcoms were to select between someone from an average state school or a student from duke, and the stats were fairly similar (i know there are many things that are involved in acceptance) the person from duke would have the upper hand.
     
  7. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    thats really lame they told you that. Its like they're saying "we know you're qualified and capable and we'd have taken you if only you went the easier route." God forbid you go to a tough undergrad like Duke or Penn or something.

    My lady is applying to med school (she's an emory undergrad) and the adcom at medical college of south carolina or whatever (its closed door only to S.C. residents, so i'm not applying) told her explicitly they add .2 to her GPA due to her school, but i dont know what other schools do stuff like that.

    good luck man, sorry to hear you're bumming. I dont know what your creds look like, but doesn't Duke med play serious favorites to its undergrads? Thats what a Duke alum in my MPH class tells me at least.
     
  8. The Mysterious Stranger

    The Mysterious Stranger Senior Member
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    Here's the thing though--

    it's generally the opposite--it's harder to get a high GPA at a state school. My roommate did her senior thesis on this topic--comparing the education one gets from a private v. state school. There is generally rampant grade inflation at most private schools-at Harvard I think about 90% of the class graduates with honors and generally no one gets below a B. State schools usually have a bigger population of students and are forced to use curves where only 15% of the class gets A's, and at least 15% of the class must receive F's. More private schools also utilize forgiveness clauses like if you fail a course, retake it and pass the F is wiped off your transcript. More private schools also utilize a GPA system with + and - making it possible to attain a GPA higher than a 4.0 I know there are specific schools, both pblic and private, that have opposite characteristics (for ex Hopkins has a really tough science curiculum) however that is not the general trend. What is more important then is not your GPA but your class ranking--top 10%, top 25%...

    i think the above poster was correct in that undergrad institution matters more to private schools, though, andthat private schools most likely well take that into consideration.
     
  9. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    i think the adcom should have a discrete eye when looking at a school, all schools are unique. At some privates where the "gentleman's C" and other forms of grade inflation that might be the case. i'm not sure about Duke, abut s in pbehzad's case (Emory), dear god there is definitely no grade inflation going on, if anything there's grade deflation/disparity between majors/hard curving especially if you're a science major (as in just getting rid of the "at least X percent of all ochem students must fail" rule 3 years ago)
     
  10. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    dw,
    thanks for the support bro. yeah i am wondering where "emory's grade inflation or the private school curve" is. i know harvard has grade inflation, i mean this was in the news for some time, but i know for emory, there is a lack of inflation. harvard uses grade inflation to keep their students from transferring. also the +/- system has its negatives, i get an A- in a class i get a 3.7 instead of a 4.0 which if i were at a state school that does regular grading system i wouldve got an A. i dont know of many schools that have higher than a 4.0, i sure know mine doesnt do that. i hope med schools realize that some private schools have extremely tough premed programs such as duke, emory, vandy, etc. and that a top notch gpa is not as easy at an average public school.
     
  11. scamp

    scamp Member
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    I was just at an info session for a state school in Texas, and during our q&a the members of the admissions committee told us that they DO take the undergrad institution into consideration when looking at GPAs. They said that they understood that the curriculum at Rice Univ. (for ex) is more difficult than some other colleges in Texas.
     
  12. DukeBluDevl02

    DukeBluDevl02 Senior Member
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    The science mean (in general) at Duke falls at a C+, with some classes at a B-. It is true that we have +/- grading, but there is no additional GPA boost for having a 4.0. There is NO grade inflation whatsoever in the sciences or in pre-med classes as a whole. A study done comparing state schools and private schools is interesting, but when I noticed that the private school used was Harvard, I became disheartened. Harvard is well-known for rampant grade inflation, it's been in the public eye recently on just how bad it is. Most of the students who go there, however, are very, very intelligent and it's probably Harvard's way of rewarding those students. A reasoned, logical analysis comparing grades would better be done using a variety of state and private schools, but eliminate the extremes such as Harvard.

    Additionally, I would imagine most schools implement a curve in some respect. But, at a state school for example, the students competing for the top grades are not all from the top's of their high school classes and only a minority of the students in such classes are truly competing for the best grades. But, you cannot give C's or fail the bottom 90%, and so the curves are set differently. I have had the experience of taking classes at both a state school and a private school and I breezed through the material at the state school. I worked hard, but not as hard as I did at the private school to get the grade I did.

    I am in no way discrediting someone who graduates from a state school with a 3.8 GPA or better because that requires a lot of time, patience, and hard work. But, what I am saying is that someone who chose to be in a more competitive environment to begin with shouldn't be penalized for having gone that route. Afterall, medical school is competitive. Trying to get in is one thing, but being in it is another. Someone who has spent four years in a more competitive environment academically--I would think--has that much of an advantage while being in medical school. I don't want to sound high and mighty about being a private school grad, but I hope that makes sense.

    Also, I don't know if anyone else agrees, but I am wondering if this problem I face might have been more exaggerated last year due to the problems with AMCAS 2002. Because medical schools were behind in selecting students, perhaps undergraduate institution wasn't taken into consideration as much in order to fill the class.
     
  13. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member
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    harder to get 4.0 at state school than harvard?

    LOL

    that might be the case. but do u really think that the top 15% of students at the state schools would've (or did get into a top undergrad say harvard or princeton) and passed them up for state schools? LOL

    i'd say maybe in non-top 50 schools (whehter public or private), u'd find less than 10 of these students (from the entire sutdent population whether its 1000 or 20000) who woulda made it into a top underg institution and chose their lower one over top. at top 15-50 ranked schools, maybe a few more of these students (depending on how many merit scholarships these schools give.)
     
  14. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    dukebluedevil02,

    i totally agree with you. i think if you go to a school like duke where the competition is some of the best in the country and even the world, your gpa is bound to be less, and med schools should realize this. i know people at emory when we talk about duke, they are like man now if you make an A at duke you are hell smart. i am not trying to belittle any state school, but i am pretty sure that a person that went to a top 20 school and got a 3.5 at that school, could probably get a 3.8 or higher at a state school. the competition is so much more fiercer at the private school than at the state school (w/a few exceptions of certain public schools).
     
  15. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member
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    there r a lot of sucky private schools too so don't make it seem that its always a private vs public comparison.
     
  16. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    Yeah, I figured as much at durham, we had something very similar at EU. The average poli sci major gpa was over a 3.7 and business schools it was over a 3.6, and the two lowest departments my year were bio (3.1) and chem (2.8), and most chem majors aren't pre meds at all and that doesn't account for all the premeds who flamed out the first two years. In genetics, a req for the bio major, they set the curve so half the class got a "C" (totally lame, the hardest B- i've ever had to work for)

    definitely not trying to hate on state schools or anything, as there are some really tough non name brand schools out there. But fact of the matter is, some schools are tougher than others and hopefully schools take this into account like some say they do. (dont worry too much pbehzad, although EU doesn't have a traditional "premed committee", they have working relationships with top med schools across the country and they know what the deal is, i.e. i know several kids who bombed genetics or something who are in great med schools right now)
     
  17. kenfused

    kenfused Senior Member
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    Having sat on the Admissions committee for 2 years, I'd say that the school matters somewhat, but not Tons. A well known school definitely helps in comparison to a lesser or unknown college, but don't expect a numerical or substantial boost in how favorable your application looks if you went to a big name school.

    It helps if someone on the admissions committee can "vouch" that a particular school is tougher, but for most people on the committee, if they've heard of a school (like Duke), it will compare simliarly to all schools of the general same category. You will shine compared to someone from No Name State, but lumped together with all the other Better known schools.
     
  18. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    dw,
    i swear i am glad i met you. you have helped so much its not even funny. i owe you alot, maybe when i get back to atl, i can wash your car or something ;) . hopefully the system doesnt just want those that have the highest gpa, but those that are the most prepared which may have lower gpas.
     
  19. DukeBluDevl02

    DukeBluDevl02 Senior Member
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    DW,

    One of two C+ I had (I only had 2, but which is killing me, I feel) came in Cell Bio Genetics. You know anything about the Duke Ugrad reputation for medical schools. I applied last year to medical schools and the only thing on my mind during graduation this year was that I felt like I had nothing to show for it. Going to medical school would make me feel much better, since it's what I've always wanted to do. What's your take (I know Duke and Emory are very similar)?
     
  20. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    thanks for the input kenfused. I figured as much that the situation would be generally close to what you said its like at your school. thankfully from my undergrad we've got a great rep and our career center says some schools realize we dont do grade inflation, but definitely not treating it like a trump card. Where do you go btw?

    hey blue devil, i'll send you a pm when i talk to him, a guy in my grad program went to duke undergrad, duke med, residency, before he got tired of the area and came to atlanta, and did interviews for them and had some connection with their adcom, so i'll ask him if he's got any specific suggestions to relay to you. The least he's told me is that duke plays favorites for its own undergrads, and the state schools (if you can claim NC residency), UNC and East Carolina (?) are big Duke undergrad fans as well.
     
  21. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    p.s. dont lose hope, my roomate senior year was in a similar boat (Cs in genetic and biochem), and couldn't get in his first hack (a non URM, and the extra weight of being from cali). He took some time off, did americorps, retook and got a 35, and got into vandy off the waitlist. just find a way to compensate for it.
     
  22. The Mysterious Stranger

    The Mysterious Stranger Senior Member
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    glad to see all the debate going on. Harvard was just my example b/c that was a school i was familiar with. it wasn't my research, it was my roommate's. my whole point was that in applying to colleges, class ranking means more than GPA. class ranking controls for both grade inflation and grade deflation (for lack of a better word). while it would not be fair to punish someone who chooses to attend a private school, it would also not be fair to punish someone who is forced to attend a state school based on financial difficulty. There are not that many students who can afford a harvrad, emory, cornell education and there is only so much scholarship money available. By rewarding students who attend private schools you are essentially rewarding one class of society. The majority of students who attend private schools aren't lower class.

    texas schools do give consideration to undergrad institution--but the real difference is not if you attend rice or UT but if you attend rice or ACC. there are too many universities that differ in degree of grade inflation, with too many programs (science v. humanities depart) that also vary in degree to account for them all. this is why class ranking is considered. and the statement about rewarding students who got into harvard with high grades is kinda difficult for me to reconcile. succeeding in highschool shouldn't mean a free-ride through college, which Harvard's grade inflation basically is. i read an article where a harvard undergrad stated he didn't take his midterm, wrote a lousy paper, and recieved a B. I don't think that's typical of harvard, nor of private institutions in general. and i might have used the wrong words in stating it's harder to get a 4.0 at a state school than a private school. my point was private school doesn't necessarilly mean harder to get an A. duke is a great school. emory is a great school. i'm sure when ADCOMS read your app they will know you are well-educated. and if you score high on the MCAT you prove your 3.0 from Duke is due to the rigor of the program.
     
  23. DW

    DW Fix me some sandwiches
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    oh we're not arguing stranger. but, i dont know about other schools and i'm curious, but does/did your college rank? Does everyone's school do this, cause they didnt at my school. At least myself (a bio and chem double major) would have been FURIOUS if they compared me to some of the knucklehead business school kids at my undergrad getting 3.9s when the profs dont change the tests for 10 years (not saying that all econ/bus kids are idiots, at most school's they're probably very intelligent, but the b-school at emory is an absolute joke). Anyone at a school with gross differences in difficulty of major that lumps all undergrads in one ranking? that seems pretty craptacular

    Hey, going to a private doesn't necessarily stratify for income! Hell, my family doesn't make emory's total cost of attendance in a year (thank god for all those Coke sponsored grants:laugh: )
     
  24. Hallm_7

    Hallm_7 Senior Member
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    I don't think it makes very much difference. There are thousands of undergraduate institutions around the country. There is no way to measure how competitive each school is. Adcoms realize this, and they know it is unfair to judge based on where an applicant went to school. Obviously the Ivies have the best reputation, but Ivy League med schools do not blindly accept all Ivy league undergrads.

    Because GPAs can be so haphazard, there are numerous other criteria that the adcoms put more weight on. The MCAT is the best measure because it is standardized for everyone. LORs are another thing that they rely on a great deal. Of course, the last step is the interview and that may be the single most important aspect of someones application.
     
  25. lilorchid

    lilorchid Junior Member

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    I certainly hope that someone's undergraduate education matters. Let's be honest here. I am at Harvard because I did something right in high school, and it should help me as I go through this process.
     
  26. gryffindor

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    To go alon with what kenfused said - My research advisor is on the admissions committee here. She was telling us that at our med school (SUNY Buffalo), a formula is used to generate a score to evaluate each candidate. Which undergrad you attended is one component of this formula. You get between 1 and 6 points added depending on the school with 6 being the highest. Harvard and Boston College (well known Jesuit School) were examples she gave of the 6 range. My school, a no name Jesuit school, was a 4. Her point was that the undergrad you attended may give you a very small advantage on your score, but a 3.0 from Harvard or BC would not trump a 4.0 from my school b/c GPA is weighted much more heavily in this formula. She said it is like this at a number of med schools, but we are a state school so that might have something to do with it.

    Sorry lilochild, just b/c you did something right in high school means squat for grad school admissions. When you make your resume for med school, let's hope you're not still putting "captain of varsity tennis" b/c you have to prove yourself in college. I just redid my resume after being in dental school for two years, and I had to delete almost everything I did in college b/c there is no room for it with all the stuff I have done since being in dental school.

    And passing up a brand-name school for a no-name school does happen more often that you might think, I met a lot of these students at my undergrad, myself included. It doesn't mean we were less motivated to be academically challenged b/c most of us still graduated at the top of our college class (our college did rank). I certainly couldn't foot the bill at a fancy Ivy with the amount of "aid" they gave. I'm just glad now that I am in grad school, which undergrad I attended means almost nothing.
     
  27. pbehzad

    pbehzad Faddayy
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    lilorchid,
    i am not trying to degrade harvard in anyway, i mean it is one of the best schools in the world, but harvard is now known as a school that inflates grades too much. i think many med schools know that harvard has inflated grades. i know the pres. of harvard (dont remember his name) is trying to stop the over inflation of grades. hopefully since you go to harvard it will help you in gaining admissions.
     
  28. MacGyver

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    Yes, undergrad school does matter to some extent. You know what else? The med school rep also matters, again to some extent.
     
  29. appomattox

    appomattox Member
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    1. To claims about Harvard and class and financial aid: I can only speak for a handful of the Ivies, but their financial aid is FANTASTIC, especially as compared to the large research universities that are ranked just below them (Emory, Stanford, etc.). I went to college with tons of kids who were paying $500-1,000 a year and getting the rest in grants (and the obligatory stafford loans, about $4k a year) because their families had no money. Claims otherwise might have been true prior to the 60's or 70's, but now it just isn't the case.

    2. At Harvard, all the pre-med courses, most other science courses, and many many other courses are curved, and harshly. My friends and I certainly did not experience this kind of blowsy, laze-about undergraduate experience which has been hyped by the media. My sense of the inflation thing is that there are a number of routes that one can take at Harvard where grading isn't so difficult, or important, for that matter. There are many other academic paths where this is not the case. My take on the "All of harvard's grades are overinflated" riff: It's inaccurate, and the product of a culture that loves to put things and people on pedestals and rip them down (witness the feeding frenzy over the yale-princeton "break-in." would anyone have cared if it had been university of nebraska and university of iowa?)
     
  30. tsman

    tsman Junior Member

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    From what I understand from speaking to several med school students and faculty, the class rank plays a key factor...thus a 3.8 at a small state school will probably only get you into the top 15%, where a 3.8 at a top private school will most likely put you closer to the top 10% (I know this goes against some of the former replies which said that Harvard students generally have better grades than those from state schools).
     
  31. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    they didn't rank at my school either. but the premedical committe puts the average GPA along with the average science GPA for your graduating class in their letter. i think this gives a good idea of how you did compared to other students in your class -- science and non-science.
     
  32. jot

    jot

    we have percentiles listed on the trancscript- which can give an approximate rank (within 10 people). however, this includes all majors in arts and sciences - and there definately is a disparity in ave gpas for different majors. but i wouldn't worry about it - i imgine its all taken into consideration. if not - what can ya do:)
    -jot
     
  33. DukeBluDevl02

    DukeBluDevl02 Senior Member
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    My understanding of the Duke system, for example, is that if you want to know your rank, you can find out. But, other than that, it's useless. Most people don't really care what their rank is and it doesn't show up anywhere. I think using a rank would be a huge mistake. I'll admit I was a humanities major, but I was still pre-med, chem minor, and health policy certificate. So, I definitely experienced a LOT of the Duke science curriculum. If I didn't and I was solely a non-science major, I don't think you could even compare my GPA.

    I'm sorry for starting all of this debate and talk. I was just curious about what people thought. I applied last year unsuccessfully and have been very disappointed and kind of depressed ever since. Graduation was just okay, almost down because I didn't and still don't really know what's going to happen. Compared to high school graduation where I was one of three people who went to "Namey" schools and loved the "oohs and aahhs" people gave me when they found out where I was going. This time it's different. I've always wanted to be a doctor and my experiences over the past 5-6 years in different areas have really confirmed that. I just feel terrible that I'm in a position of uncertainty when I've always known what I wanted and I have friends who haven't ever known, still don't, and are in the same boat. This disappointment has led me to question my undergraduate education, and that shouldn't be the case. I refuse to make regrets. I absolutely loved Duke and I would do it again 100 times over if I had to make the choice (I would love to go to Duke Med for all kinds of reasons).

    Anyway, that's my story...now I have to focus on this application cycle and keep trying, I guess!

    By the way, if anyone is interested in knowing anything about Duke's campus (perhaps you're applying to med school there), I can tell you about it.

    GO DUKE!!
     
  34. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    Here's the problem with this statement: it may be generally true that attending a highly-ranked university is indicative of a good high school performance, but A) that is not always the case, B) the inverse is not always true either, and C) high school performance has nothing to do with ability to do well in medicine.

    To elaborate:
    A) In every class at every school there are a bunch of people there because their parents went there, their family donates money, they are athletes or other extra-curricular standouts, etc. These characteristics have little or anything to do with medical potential.
    b) Some people choose their colleges based on factors other than name recognition. A smaller name school does not indicate a less good high school performance. I passed on 4 top-20 schools and UC Berkeley in favor of a smaller, Jesuit university for undergrad. Did I make the right choice? Well, I'm going to my top choice med school in September, so I guess so.
    C) In high school you have barely scratched the surface of what you need to be exposed to in order to confirm that you want to study medicine and in order to evaluate one's ability to perform well in this arena. There's a reason med schools don't ask for your high school transcripts -- and that reason is that they don't mean sh!t.
     
  35. dr kevin40

    dr kevin40 Senior Member
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    diogenes,

    i think duke asks for hs things tho, like ur class rank and sat/act score

    congratson ucsd. i know 5 ppl going there for med school, one really good friend.i'm sure u'll like it. plus its close to TJ :)
     
  36. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    Duke didn't require them last year. I think SAT/ACT scores were optional. Even then, to even look at them, even optionally, is a rarity in the system as a whole.
     
  37. poloace

    poloace Senior Member
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    TJ is overrated... just donkey shows, kids selling chicklets, and 40 year olds in sombreros either trying to mount you or pour ass tequila down your throat while they blow a loud rape whistle in your ear.
    p
     
  38. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    I'm not suprised they blow a rape whistle around you. Try being less "hands-on" next time.
     
  39. lola

    lola Bovine Member
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    i sorta like those zebra donkeys ;)
     
  40. Diogenes

    Diogenes Succat
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    I know you're talking from personal experience here.:laugh: :laugh:
     
  41. gryffindor

    Dentist 10+ Year Member

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    Hey Diogenes - thanks for the plug for the small, Jesuit schools! Of course, I'm assuming your small Jesuit school is in sunny California, while mine is nesteled away in snowy, gray Buffalo...
     

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