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Dear readers,

In the spirit of WordPress, Hello World, and Hello University of Michigan Medical School! It is truly an honor to represent the UMMS as an M1 on the Dose of Reality blog this year.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Andy Zureick, I grew up in Bloomfield Hills (~45-50 minutes northeast of Ann Arbor), and I graduated from Dartmouth College this past June. I loved being in scenic, rural New Hampshire for four years, but I’m even more excited to be back in Michigan for medical school.

My class of 172 students brings together an insurmountable level of diversity, especially when it comes to post-baccalaureate experiences. I believe Admissions informed us that the incoming ages of our class ranged from 20 to 36.  I have classmates with PhD’s, MPH’s, years of work experience, years of living abroad, spouses, children…and it’s incredible when you wrap your head around the idea that we’re now all sitting in West Lecture Hall (or streaming lectures after 3 days, you know who you are) and working toward the exact same goal: to become excellent physicians. Furthermore, no longer is my straight-from-college 21-year-old chemistry major self the traditional “norm” in a first year medical school class: the University of Michigan brings together quite the astonishingly impressive group.

Nevertheless, I loved taking the brief summer vacation to relax. I traveled to Cape Cod, MA and Baltimore, MD in June, and visited Traverse City, Mackinac Island, and Frankenmuth on a Michigan road trip in late July. The R&R really helped with the transition, and I rebooted just in time for the new school year (except for the completely messed up circadian rhythm from college, but I haven’t missed a lecture yet *knock on wood*).

I chose to attend Michigan for a number of reasons, one of which was the strong sense of community I felt during my visits for my interview day and second-look weekend. During our whole orientation week, we were welcomed with open arms by a number of faculty, the whole M2 class, UMMS alumni, and many members of the staff and medical school administration.  The University of Michigan Medical School also happens to be ranked in the top 10 for both research & primary care, in the top 5 for NIH university funding, and tied for #2 by residency program director evaluations (i.e. having extremely desirable students in the residency match process) according to USNWR…among other things. But the amazing numbers don’t even come close to encapsulating the energy and excitement I’m already feeling as a medical student here.

Before I knew it, August 4 had arrived, and I traveled down to Ann Arbor with my family for our class’s White Coat Ceremony, not sure exactly what to expect other than finally being able to proudly wear a white coat without cries of “premed!” left and right (note: this never actually happened to me; my very reliable sources are word of mouth and the Student Doctor Network). As the ceremony began, our class had an inspiring talk from Dr. Gay, Assistant Dean of Admissions, about how he picked the best class ever (and that we should be able to properly fold our white coats…). We marched into Hill Auditorium with beautiful chamber music in the background, spotlights blinding our eyes, and hundreds of family members and friends gathered on the main floor and balconies to celebrate this momentous occasion. We each had the opportunity to introduce ourselves to the audience before being cloaked by Dr. Wolliscroft, Dean of the Medical School, and receiving our own stethoscopes, generously provided by the clinical departments at UMHS.  This set the tone for four amazing years in medical school, as well as a career devoted to taking care of patients.

Orientation picked up early on Monday morning (8/5) with the usual registration activities, and featured a few interesting presentations including one on the history of the University of Michigan Medical School by Dr. Howell.  In the afternoon, we had three-hour scavenger hunt (a campus tour disguised by cutthroat competition and incentives), and finished the day with a barbecue by the Huron River. Tuesday gave us a chance to get BLS/CPR certified, familiarize ourselves with flextime quizzes/exams and the honor code, and have a small-group discussion on our summer reading book, Complications by Atul Gawade, MD. Wednesday was a leadership development and team-building day filled with interactive sessions to begin to develop important skills for medicine.

We’ve now had a few days of our first course, “Patients and Populations”—a mix of genetics, pathology, and biostatistics/epidemiology/informatics to provide the groundwork for everything to come over the next four years—and I’m already getting the feeling that I’ll really like medical school. Our class has already had some amazing lecturers to start off the year, and I’m going to enjoy continuing to bond with my M1 class (Class #167!) and experiencing everything that UMMS has to offer.

-Andy Zureick, M1

PS: I loved the cookies at the reception following the White Coat Ceremony: