We were told in last Friday’s introductory lecture that we’d be hitting the ground running, and having seen our timetable for the first week, I don’t think anyone could disagree. Not only do we have a packed programme, but our first block ‘Principles’ will be giving us a first introduction to all the background science we need, alongside subjects such as ethics and behavioural science, and our first classes in the clinical skills labs.
For all those interested in seeing what the timetable of a first year medic looks like, here it is. Note that 12 o’clock, traditionally lunchtime, has been replaced by ‘private study’, and before you think ‘ah yes, but you have a nice one hour break most days at 1pm’, understand that with the exception of tomorrow, morning lectures for the Principles block will be held on the City Campus, whereas the afternoon activities are down at Ninewells Hospital, 2.5 miles (4km) away. Having found a place to live close to Ninewells, I’ll be glad when we finish Principles, and I no longer have a 45 minute walk to reach 9am lectures!
Principles – Week 1
You might notice that Wednesday afternoon is surprisingly empty, this is a common thread throughout the term. Wednesday afternoon are generally kept free in all universities for sports, a fact which I never realised when I did my first degree, being blissfully uninterested in the topic! This small break in the routine is ours until Year 4, when entering the world of clinical medicine, it will be lost to the 9-5 schedule.
One of the things that impressed me about Dundee when I was going through the application process was how much more advanced their online services seemed to be than the other universities I applied to. As a former software developer, it’s hard not to be influenced by such things! So far, the course seems to be living up that expectation, with a blog for every subject, along with personalised calendars that you can stream to your iPhone, complete with links to the slides for each lecture, when available. It’s a far cry from my original undergraduate degree, when lectures were still given with chalk and blackboard, and if you were lucky you might get a typed handout.
One decision I have to make now is how far to use technology in my study. In the past I’ve always taken lectures notes with pen and paper. Well, I never really had any other choice! Now I have a laptop, and armed with Evernote (which I highly recommend you check out, if you don’t know it), I’m going to see how that suits me for lectures.
Given that we have 3 hour blocks of lectures most days, it could be that my laptop battery won’t be up for the task and I have to revert to paper by the end. In any case, I’m not sure that it won’t be easier to use pen and paper for subjects like biochemistry, I’ll have to see.