Author: Hamed Shahnam
At the start of first year medical students are provided with a really fun and exciting first week. This is commonly referred to as O-week or orientation week. This is as action filled week where you meet many faculty members, get introduced to students in other year levels and most importantly interact with your year level in predominately non-academic situations. The first day, actually the first week of medical school can be a bit daunting and the purpose of O-week is to ensure that you meet as many of your peers as possible.
There are lots of fun activities that are planned both throughout the day and usually in the evening. I really enjoyed the evening events held at our medical school. I recall a quiz night which was lots of fun and we got to interact with other first students in your PBL. Seated at the table were also second year students so it was fantastic to be able to have chat and hear about their experiences thus far. Throughout the day various medical student organisation would hold events, which were usually catered. We were provided with a taste of the diverse range of organisations that we could be involved with such as the rural health, global health and the medical student society.
We also had some lectures during O-week, however these were mostly introductory in nature. We were provided with an outline of topics that we would come to study over the next couples of week. Advice was provided on useful textbooks to help us navigate the complexity of medical knowledge. Overall, the lectures were not critical to understanding subsequent weeks that awaited us. Nor should this be the focus. I think at our medical school more emphasis is placed on social interactions during O-week than academia. So don’t take O-week too seriously. Take it as an opportunity to meet lots of students in your year level and form the initial bonds of friendship.
There is plenty of time for studying in medical school so make sure you make the most of all the fun socialising during O-week!