Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10 Reasons to Come to Penn

Now that it's almost Penn Preview, here are 10 some-typical-and-some-slightly-more-atypical reasons why Penn is the best med school on the planet and Philly is a great place to live, in no particular order except #1 (at the end):

10. The city—it's pretty! This one is not because I'm running out of reasons already. This is what I see on my way home from school every day:
A little bit of extra happiness every day adds up to a lot over four (or eight) years!

9. The second anatomy exam. Which is the only way to take an anatomy exam, as far as I'm concerned. It's taken in learning teams, and each learning team dresses up to a theme.

We had a Pac-Man team,
Photo by Dr. Rubinstein

a Sesamoid (Sesame) Street team,
Photo by Dr. Rubinstein

and an Avengers team,
Photo by Dr. Rubinstein
among others.

Our team dressed up as Dr. Fisher! He's one of the anatomy professors, and he wears black scrubs and black gloves every day. He even took a picture with us :)
Photo by Dr. Rubinstein
(The rest of the pictures, taken by Dr. Rubinstein, the Mod I director, are here.)

8. Learning teams. I'll be really honest here: I don't think anyone starts out loving their learning team. Well, actually, maybe some people do, but I think for most people (myself included), there's an adjustment. When you randomly put seven people in a group, there will probably be some people who wouldn't normally interact much with each other. But, I also don't think there's anyone who doesn't end up loving their learning team, and that's the important part. 
Photo courtesy of Winnie Lin

7. Everyone in Suite 100 is super nice and wants to help you. Suite 100 also has everything from mailboxes to tissues to candy.

6. Every student gets an iPad. Because we can download lecture slides onto our iPads and take notes from there, (nearly) everything is electronic. I mean, seriously, you decide:

5. All the med buildings are connected, and mostly above ground—that means avoiding the elements when it’s raining/snowing/too hot/too cold, without giving up the benefit of sunlight. Here’s one indoor trip I took with Rebekah, who is on my learning team, with a detour to show off how pretty the buildings are (apologies if anyone gets dizzy/sick):

No sound, because played at 5x recording speed, we sound like chipmunks. Literally.

Here’s a rough map of where we went. Green rectangles are elevators.

4. SPOOF! Spoof happens every spring, and it is basically what it sounds like. It’s always hilarious, and also always includes a “first-year skit,” which is written, directed, and performed by first years. This year, the first-year skit was “Perelman Avengers.” This is Casey, one of our classmates, demonstrating Perelman Avenger Dr. White’s power stance (Dr. White teaches anatomy and writes the USMLE review book for anatomy, and is awesome!):

3. VC2000. I know I’ve written about this before, but it is really convenient if you ever need to miss class for anything, or just to review lectures afterward—for example, I’ve used VC to catch up when I missed class because I was shadowing at HUP, and Rebekah used VC to stay up-to-date with the lectures last time she was at a conference. Many people also VC because they just prefer to watch lectures at home. It has lots of useful features:

2. Three free classes in whatever you want. Mine this semester is ESE603, Simulation Modeling and Analysis, and I'm enjoying it, but there is definitely the option to take classes that probably sound more fun to everyone else. For example, my roommate took a Wharton class last semester, and one of my learning team-mates is taking a bioethics class. All of Penn is also on one continuous campus, which means getting to class isn’t a problem!

1. The students. This time last year, I was mostly choosing between two places. When I came to Preview, I had so much fun that I ended up missing my train back to school and booking a last-minute bus ticket on a friend's phone instead. I decided that was a pretty good indication that I should come here, and it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. I guess what I learned is that some things, like the atmosphere at a school, are hard to quantify. But, it's those un-quantifiable things that make a decision which might seem whimsical at first the right one in the end.