Saturday, November 17, 2007

social studies

Oh… is that an MSTP thing?

So it appears that the divide between MSTPs and MS1s has been widening. I first started noticing it at the med school applicant parties. When all of the next day’s applicants are relaxing and enjoying free pizza courtesy of WUSM, the first years will descend and answer questions, eat free food, and shoot the shit. Every once in a while, an applicant would ask a question and an MS1 will finish their answer with something like “… unless you’re an MSTP, then it’s different.” This evolved over the weeks into some variants, such as “unless you’re an MSTP. They get all the money/they’re spoiled/they’re special.” Sometimes, an applicant would ask me a question and an MS1 will cut in and say something like “he wouldn’t know, he’s an MSTP.” Aggravating, huh? Really, we are just like MS1s. The only differences are that we have the option to take one different class than the MS1s do, we get paid tuition (ahem… 16 MS1s have free rides, but who thinks of that?), and that we have the occasional research talk over lunch.

Well, it went to a new level last Thursday. I was talking to a MS1 that I consider a pretty good friend. We were talking about Indian restaurants in the area, and she recommended her favorite. I said “Hey! I’m going to be there on Sunday!” Her response was “Oh, is this another MSTP lunch?”

This bothered me. Yes, some of the MSTPs are good friends. About a third of us are very, very close, at least half are good enough friends that we often will eat dinner/see a movie /etc. with each other. When we do so, however, there are usually MS1s there as well. We are by no means exclusive. Now on the flipside, the person that organized this Indian lunch on Sunday invited only MSTPs, but that’s her prerogative, not ours as a whole. In fact, last night I was hanging out with 9 people, of whom I was the only MSTP. Basically, what I’m getting at here is that there is no such thing as a Sunday MSTP lunch. It’s just a lunch among friends, but I guess some in our class feel otherwise and see the MSTPs as an exclusive group. Oh well, I guess it’s bound to happen to some extent.

On a related note, I am now also in a hard place because of my lack of social exclusivity. The class as a whole is 123 people. I am now involved in planning a trip with some friends (mostly MS1s, to relate this to the previous story). I want to have my friends with me, of course, but there’s a problem. Because I refuse to be cliqued off, many of my friends come from separate social groups. No big deal, as most people still get along fine. The problem lies in that there are some seeds of contempt here and there. What to do when some of my friends really don’t like some of my other friends?

Oi. They weren’t kidding when they said med school = high school with smarter people.

1 comment:

CCLCM Student said...

I think the double length of MSTP training more than anything is what tends to bring the MSTP students together. Well, that, and not too many other med students understand what it's like to be trying to deal with med school and grad school requirements at the same time. ;-)

Try not to let the comments bother you too much. The grass always looks greener on the other side to all of us, and I'm sure right now it does seem like you and the other MSTPs get special treatment from their perspective. But they may feel very differently in a few years when you MSTPs are stressing about your PhD quals and they're graduating and going on to residency. Then it will be more obvious to them why you MSTPs got all of your well-deserved "perks." :-)