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Hi everyone! This coming week marks the last week of Cells and Tissues (in which we essentially covered one semester of biochemistry and one semester of cell biology in a month) and the beginning of CFM (Clinical Foundations of Medicine) week!

CFM is a longitudinal course throughout the first two years that teaches us how to be a doctor, such as how to conduct a history and physical. Usually, a CFM week follows a particularly grueling sequence, as a way of allowing us to “relax” or, at the very least, remember why we signed up for this in the first place. One exciting note – we just ordered medical equipment such as tuning forks and a Snellen eye chart to go with the stethoscopes we received at the White Coat Ceremony. We may not actually know how to use all of them yet, but it certainly makes us feel more like doctors!

CFM week is jam-packed with required activities, so you may actually see those classmates that you thought dropped off the face of the earth, ie, the streamers. From what I have heard, all these activities can be somewhat tiring but offers the benefit of free time in the evenings – I’m not positive what this thing called “free time” is but maybe I’ll find out…

There are exams for CFM week as well, but these are also modified to make our lives easier. Unlike regular quizzes/exams, which have to be taken at a computer in the LRC (Learning Resource Center, computer lab and study space) or Fursty (Furstenberg, the student lounge space), CFM exams can be taken on your laptop wherever. Why this change, you might ask? It’s simple: CFM exams are open-book, open-notes.

Next week, we will be focusing on the patient-doctor conversation and various clinical experiences to which we may not have been previously exposed. These include learning about health disparities and a visit to a Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) practice. The goal is to broaden our knowledge of various ways to practice medicine, including the need to keep an open mind about non-traditional remedies.

For first-year MSTP students pursuing a “traditional” PhD field (as opposed to those who want to do a PhD in the School of Public Health or outside the Medical School departments, such as epidemiology or history), this past week was the first full week of our Biochem 552 class. Meeting at 8am Monday-Wednesday-Friday during various weeks in the fall term, we critically evaluate published articles in a Journal-Club-style format.

On Mondays in the Biochem 552 class, a faculty member will present an overview of the topic discussed in that week’s two papers, while Wednesday and Friday sessions consist of presentations about the paper and its clinical relevance along with our discussions thereof. The journal articles thus far have been pretty interesting, and it is fun to see more of our MSTP classmates than you can in a lecture hall of 170 people. The 8am start time is a bit early for most, but at least we can all commiserate afterwards, usually over coffee and apple fritters at Angelo’s.

In addition to seeing the undergrads back on campus, Michigan weather also reminds us that fall has arrived.  Common statements about Michigan weather, include: (1) diagnosing it as bipolar, (2) diagnosing it as schizophrenic, and (3) one place where you can (and will) experience all four seasons in a day. Last week, we pulled out our sweatshirts as the temperature dropped, then shed them during a rainy and humid 80-degree day, then brought back the sweatshirt, then fished out an umbrella as it began to rain sporadically. Despite all this, Michigan weather is generally beautiful in the fall, as the leaves start to showcase their distinctive fireworks of colors. You might want to always carry an umbrella and a sweatshirt, though, just in case…

Sara is a fourth-year medical student at UMMS. When not in the hospital, she can usually be found on the golf course or at a Michigan sporting event cheering on the Wolverines.