First semester: Complete

August 5th marked the beginning of Pre-OP and our official upgrade from MS0.9999999999 to MS1s. During these few days, we sat at lunch for the first time with our anatomy tank and plotted our strategies to win the amazing race. We sat through many presentations, meditated, some of us even slept a little, and drafted our very own Class of 2018 Mission Statement. The fun really began on Friday afternoon when we boarded charter buses to the campsite. The week was eventful, and though many of us came into UTSW not really knowing anyone, we boarded the buses feeling like maybe, just maybe, we were all in the right place. 

After a restful Sunday, Nobel Laureate Michael Brown kicked off our medical education with our first biochemistry lecture, which will also be remembered as for having the highest class attendance. The rest of August became an act of finding balance and discovering ourselves. We survived our first exam and though some of us were surprised by our performances, we continued onwards. The month was full of socials, including the Ice Cream Social and the Dallas County Medical Society Dinner, and we soon became acquainted with each other.

As September approached, the talk of elections filled the air. Goodie bags for the class kicked off the week of campaigning. Soon after, the smell of coffee and donuts, flyers, hand sanitizer, and a make-your-own-sandwich event attempted to capture your vote. The polls closed and the class elected our current student government officers. The rest of September passed quickly. We still remember our first recorded skills clinic. Oh the joys of watching oneself on camera acting like you knew what you were actually doing! 

October was a whirlwind. We finished biochemistry, took our first anatomy practical, and completed genetics. We survived #blacktober and savored #slacktober like there was no tomorrow. The most memorable event of the month, and arguably of the semester, was finally donning our white coats. The indescribable feeling we felt when we buttoned it made the 15-hour program worth it. This year’s white coat program included a new component we made possible—a student speaker who delivered an unforgettable narrative of her white coat experiences. #slacktober was full of down time and socials, including the first annual pumpkin carving contest and the Halloween celebration at Plush.

November saw the end of pass/fail and the start of physiology. We held the first semester UTSW-wide social. We kinda had a break from school over Thanksgiving and returned to finish the semester.

December came. The last two weeks were busy. We hosted a Town Hall for the class and the 6th annual Anatomy Candlelight Vigil to honor the lives of our first patient. We wrapped up the semester Caroling through the Carrels and reached 1/8th doctor status after finishing our first physiology exam.

Through our first semester as medical students, we laughed, cried, and learned much about our future professions. The next semester promises to be just as exciting. 

Submitted by Juan Herrejon and Paul Rizk, co-presidents of UT Southwestern Medical School's Class of 2018.