Monday, August 20th, 2012

It’s finally here!

Devon Taylor

Wow! I can’t believe it’s finally here; school starts tomorrow! It came so quickly. As I reflect upon my first week in Boston and anticipate the week ahead, I get even more excited.

Over the last several days, I have gotten to know many of my classmates very well through a voluntary pre-matriculation program called the First-Year Urban Neighborhood Campaign, or FUNC. This week-long program focused on service to the community and cultural awareness. We met for breakfast before heading off to the Roxbury Boys and Girls Club to teach minority students about science and show them how it can be fun. We conducted science experiments, built solar-powered cars, made Oobleck (which I highly recommend), built electrical circuits, and extracted DNA from strawberries. The kids also came to the medical school one day to experience seeing and touching human organs, viewing human cells through microscopes, and trying to assist a mannequin who was having a simulated asthma attack. Programs like this play an integral part in getting minority children interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, and I am so glad to have taken part in it.

After we left the children each day, we spent several hours discussing the –isms (i.e. racism, sexism, heterosexism, classism, etc.). All I can say is “Wow!” We really hashed out the dirty details of some pretty charged issues. Not only did we learn a lot about each other, but we also learned a lot about ourselves. Although FUNC is unique to Harvard, I know that many other medical schools have pre-matriculation programs that one can participate in. I highly suggest them. They are not only extremely enriching experiences, but they provide great bonding time for you and your future classmates!

Although this past week has been one of my most enjoyable, it hasn’t been all peaches ‘n’ cream. I’ve been trying to balance FUNC with trying to find a home for myself and my family. Although this may seem like an easy task, it definitely isn’t easy in Boston. There simply aren’t many apartments on the market here and no leasing agents seem to have the time to call me back. I’m willing to pay nearly double what I was paying in Virginia Beach and more than triple what I would pay in my home town of Flint, MI, but I still cannot find anything! For now, a classmate of mine and her husband are allowing me to use their empty apartment. Although I am confident that I will eventually find a place,  I would do it much differently if I had another go at it. So, please learn from my mistake and take care of your housing arrangements as soon as you decide on your school; you won’t regret it!

Well, that brings us to today – the night before my first day of school. Today I’ve experienced the expected hodgepodge of emotions, everything from excitement to nervousness. I tried to relax by going to get some food in Little Italy with my lady, Adrienne, which was great. I also met up with some of my classmates to get to know some of the non-FUNCers. However, none of that seemed to subdue my constant focus on what lies ahead. It’s like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this very moment. I doubt I’ll sleep well tonight, but I’ll try because tomorrow is going to be a long day! We are beginning our orientation and starting our first class, Introduction to the Profession (ITP), a two week course. I’m extremely excited for our White Coat Ceremony on Tuesday, the second day of class, which I think is fairly unique in that parents aren’t invited. Altogether, I suspect it’s going to be a really fun and intense week. I can’t wait to let you know how it goes. Take care.

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