Friday, August 5, 2016

COM Class of 2020 Introduced to Medical School During Orientation

The University of South Alabama College of Medicine welcomed 75 new faces this week for the Class of 2020’s freshman orientation.

During orientation, the first-year medical students’ schedules were packed with information sessions, icebreaker activities, policy briefings and campus tours.

“For so many people like me who have wanted to go to medical school for as long as they can remember, it is nice that the anticipation is finally coming to an end,” said first-year medical student Benjamin McCormick. “I am really excited to start this new journey.”

McCormick earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama. He said he chose USA because of the small class sizes and availability of research opportunities. “I am really looking forward to getting to know my classmates, the future physicians who will ultimately become my colleagues,” McCormick said.

First-year medical student Amber Bowie said she has a combination of feelings about starting medical school. “I am definitely excited, but I am also a little nervous because I realize that the next four years will be extremely difficult,” Bowie said. “In the end, I know all my hard work will be very rewarding.”

Bowie, who earned her undergraduate degree from Springhill College, said the Diversity Recruitment and Enrichment for Admission into Medicine (DREAM) program influenced her decision to come to USA for medical school. The highly competitive eight-week program provides a specially designed, comprehensive learning experience for economically and educationally disadvantaged premedical students during the two summers prior to their junior and senior undergraduate years. “Choosing USA was easy,” Bowie said. “After participating in the DREAM program, I knew that USA would be a great fit.”

Patrick Young, another first-year medical student, said he chose USA because it felt like home. “On my interview day the students and faculty were incredibly welcoming and receptive,” Young said. “I immediately got the feeling that everyone wants you to succeed.”

Young, who earned his undergraduate degree from Auburn University, said he is eager to begin this new chapter. “This is an opportunity of a lifetime,” Young said. “I am very excited to finally live out my dreams.”

For the first time at orientation, fourth-year chapter members of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society (GHHS) implemented their fall project using the “Tell Me More” campaign, an activity that normally takes place between patients and GHHS members during Solidarity Week in the Spring. The freshman students were given “Tell Me More” posters to display on their lockers, showcasing their strengths and unique qualities. The activity served as a way for the new students to further learn about each other. Faculty and staff -- along with second-year medical students -- were able to walk the halls to view facts about the first-year students.

Throughout the week, the freshman medical students were provided with an overview of what they should expect during the upcoming years as they study medicine. On Wednesday, a team of specialists was brought in to discuss adapting to and handling the stress of medical school. The students were also given valuable insight on effective study strategies. Orientation concluded with a class party on Friday and tubing on Saturday.

Click here to view more photos from orientation.

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