A big hello to my lovely readers!
As many of you have seen all over my social media, last week was my first week in medical school. All of the first year students took part in OWeek, one of the most fun, exciting weeks of medical school. On one hand, OWeek familiarizes students with each other, the faculty, the curriculum, and the medical buildings. However, on the other hand, it is also full amazing events, nights out, and activities. This year, our events included a night out at The Ballroom, a breakfast with the Dean, Academy orientation at our hospitals, a dinner boat cruise on the Toronto Harbourfront, Olympic Games at High Park, a night out at our university pub, a day at the Canadian National Exhibition, and finally a Blue Jays game!
Monday morning, everyone met up bright and early for our registration. There were 261 of us all bunched together in one of the atria of our Medical Sciences Building. Everyone mingled while we drank coffee, ate breakfast provided to us, and searched through our med swag bags (yay to free stuff!). This was the first time we all saw each other since our Academy tour day, at the beginning of the summer! It was so nice to see familiar faces, meet new friends, and learn about our amazing classmates.
After registration, there were welcome speeches from the faculty, a brief introduction to the new Foundations curriculum, and presentations from the OMA and CMA. This was also our first time in the infamous first-year lecture hall.
Next, we were all provided with a light lunch and received are iconic MD financial backpacks! This a moment all Canadian first-year medical students eagerly anticipate! This year our backpacks were a beautiful royal/navy blue (which just happens to match UofT’s colours).
After we all received our backpacks and ate, we got to play some fun icebreaker games with fellow first-year students. We rotated throughout a variety of stations. Some of the games we played were charades, tug of war, and a relay race. It was a lot of fun and was a great way to meet new friends.
All of these activities were followed by a long break so that students could go get ready for our final event of the night: our stethoscope ceremony. The stethoscope ceremony is UofT’s take on the white coat ceremony where, instead of receiving white coats, students are draped with their very first stethoscope. The medical school believes that the white coat represents a power position, which can make patients feel uncomfortable, whereas the stethoscope is a tool for listening and involves two people becoming connected. It was quite a beautiful experience and definitely brought up so many different emotions. It was so special seeing everyone being draped with such an iconic tool while being watched by their loved ones.
Tuesday morning was another early one. We all met again for breakfast with the Dean at a beautiful historic hall. We were welcomed with speeches from the Dean, faculty, as well as some words of wisdom from Philip Hebert, the author of Doing Right and Good Medicine. One could say that almost every first-year was hard core fangirling when the famous Dr. Hebert stepped on stage. Not only is Doing Right one of the most popular pre-interview books that premeds read but it is also so incredibly well-written and teaches medical professionals about the importance of understanding biomedical ethics.
The afternoon was not incredibly eventful as we just listened to speeches from several banks about their student line of credits, followed by optional wellness activities. However, most of us students were so exhausted that we went home and took part in our own wellness activities (naps, face masks, etc.).
That night we all went to The Ballroom Bowl, which is a bar and bowling alley combined! We had a free poutine bar, the option to bowl, a live band, a DJ, and an amazing rooftop patio to explore. This may have been one of the best events of OWeek. There were also upper year students who attended, so we all had the chance to hear about their experiences at the university, as well as in clerkship.
Yet another early morning! Let’s just say it was a challenge getting out of bed after Tuesday’s late night, but that morning we were all headed to our respective Academy hospital sites.
At the hospital, we received our ID badges, completed our mask fit test, and went for a tour of the hospital. It was a busy morning, but it was all worth it since, right after, we received an amazing catered lunch at the beautiful Sunnybrook Estates. At lunch, we met our academic coordinators, who are also incredibly talented physicians with a passion for teaching, and got to mingle with the rest of the academy directors and administrators.
Finally, we returned back to campus where we had a long break before our dinner boat cruise at the Toronto Harbour. The cruise was another amazing event where everyone got to dress up and have a delicious dinner catered to us. There were photo booths, DJs, and a lot of dancing. The views were incredible. We were able to see all angles of the city and great views of the CN Tower. It was amazing!
Thursday began with everyone meeting on campus, where we boarded a shuttle to High Park for the Academy Olympic Games. Each Academy was given coloured swag to wear so that we could all represent our respective groups. Our faces were painted, we made up cheers, and we were ready to begin the games.
Everyone got divided into groups, and each group participated in a different game. There was dodgeball, a scavenger hunt, a banner decorating station, and kickball. We all spent the day playing our games and representing our Academy. This was a great way to get to know our fellow Academy members and bond as a group.
After we arrived back to campus, we had another break before our night out at the campus pub.
The night was incredibly eventful. There was a lot of dancing, laughing, and bonding between all of us. We made amazing memories with one another, and definitely made friendships that will last a lifetime!
Thankfully, Friday’s activities commenced in the late afternoon (which was very necessary after another late night).
Everyone met at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE), where we ate an incredible amount of fried food, went on rides, and explored the various tents. There were lines of food trucks, carnival games, rides, and so many deep-fried treats.
After a few hours, everyone headed back downtown to catch the Blue Jays game. Again, everyone sat together and bonded as a group while we watched the game. We also got featured on the huge Megatron screen to celebrate our entry into medical school! It was amazing!
Although there was a camping trip event over the weekend, I chose to stay home and recover from the incredibly busy week I just had. Even though I’m sure it was a great time, I really needed to take a break from all the partying and late nights before our classes began.
Honestly, I rested and spent time with my friends and boyfriend, which was incredibly relaxing. To me, that was the break I needed from the week I just took part in.
OWeek was definitely one of the best weeks I have ever had in my entire life. I met such incredible friends who I just immediately clicked with, and got to experience so many fun events. It was a great way to kick off medical school, and really get me excited for the next four years of my life. I could not have had a better time!
Let me know what you guys think of this post by commenting below or hitting me up on social media!
The Girly MD (to be)