Big Sibs/Little Sibs

Just one of the many treats you’ll find in your first-year mailbox over the year.

The Big Sib/Little Sib program is a great way for first years to get to know the second years from the very beginning of medical school. Once you get to WUSM, you fill out a questionnaire and the social chairs find the perfect second year to match with you. It can be hit-or-miss, but my experience has been amazing! My big sib not only introduced me to a lot of the other M2s, but he even leaves me presents after exams. Everyone’s relationship is different; you can be best buds, or they can just be a contact for you whenever you have questions about which selectives are easiest. Regardless, it’s great to meet people in the other classes who are excited to give advice about surviving first year.

— Taylor G., M1

School Shows

Prepare yourself for greatness: The class show is coming! The production involves nearly the entire class and is extremely fun. Each year every class (except M3s) compiles an hour-long show of videos and live sketches. It’s a great bonding experience, and draws all levels of faculty, family, and students. It takes hard work to put together, but was definitely my favorite event of first year! Check out the link for 2016’s show: videos. Remember, this show represents your entire class, and there is a competitive nature to the game. The upperclassmen will be your worst critics, so make a quality product and if they still cross their arms and mutter, “Meh, lame,” stand atop a podium and scream “Are you not entertained?!”

— James V., M2

Diversity Retreat

Are you ready to conquer the Alpine Challenge?

The Diversity Retreat was the best part of Orientation Week, prompting both meaningful reflection and fun-filled partying and activities with your brand new classmates. The trip begins with a series of thought-provoking discussions and games, followed by an exhilarating day including a high ropes course and other team-building challenges. Though the exact agenda is a secret, you can be sure you’ll listen to memorable discussions and coin hilarious catch-phrases during an overnight trip that nobody regrets attending.

— Colton G., M1

Post-Exam Parties and Other Class Social Events

Students show their holiday spirit at the ugly sweater party.

One of the best things about Wash U’s Pass/ Fail first year: there’s time to socialize and still get studying done. As one of our class social chairs, I have the honor of spending a significant amount of money on social events. After exams, you can be sure that in the Olin Penthouse a raucous group of people are starting a 90s themed power hour, lining up to play flip-cup until the Natty runs out, or getting down to the groovy beats of Spotify playlists. Additionally, we went to Six Flags Fright Fest and ice skating, and we will be hosting an Easter egg hunt in Forest Park. Who ever said med school can’t be fun? Especially when Wash U pays for it!

— Harleen G., M1

Wash U Medical Plunge (WUMP)

Coming into med school, I was already interested in public health and was pretty excited to attend Wash U Medical Plunge (WUMP). Initially, I was hesitant to give up my final days of summer, but from the very first day of WUMP, all of my uncertainty disappeared. We heard thought-provoking lectures on health care disparities in St. Louis, the essential role of primary care, and others. We also got to volunteer at the Crisis Nursery, the Covenant House, and other organizations that work relentlessly to reduce disparities in St. Louis. By the end, we left motivated to make a positive change in the community! Even better, WUMP is THE way to meet your classmates. As a required first year course, WUMP has nightly social events that provide a great way to explore St. Louis nightlife together.

— Sarah W., M1

Summer Research (Before First Year)

I applied for the Summer Research Program (SRP) after reading someone rave about it in the Dis-O Guide. And the program exceeded my expectations. I met my wonderful PI working on a clinical research project, which I’ve continued throughout the year. Arriving early also allowed me to explore the city, meet first- and second-years (I met my best friend!), and shadow physicians. Having taken a gap year before medical school, summer research was the perfect transition to M1. If you are interested, there are many opportunities. Just talk to Roz or Dean Chung and they can set you up in days. (Mine was set up three days after getting my acceptance in May, while I was vacationing in Taiwan.)

— Vivian C., M1

Float Trip

If you haven’t yet been on a float trip, you haven’t truly experienced Missouri.

Get ready for the end of orientation with a bathing suit, your favorite cheap sunglasses, and more alcohol than you can carry for the “lazy” float down Meramec River with your new classmates. When you are not trudging your way up the rocky shores in your water shoes (seriously, bring water shoes!) to finish off another beer, you can either relax in the sun, tumble down the secret mud slides, or float for hours on the slowly deflating $1 inflatable alligator that you “borrowed” from a classmate. The float trip is one of the best things that you will do all year, so do yourself a favor and sign up. Oh, and in case you were wondering, “alcohol acceleration devices” (aka beer funnels), are illegal on the river.

— Jared G., M1