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This week marks the beginning of the Winter term as medical students return from a two-week vacation. And what better way to mark the beginning of Winter term than our latest rendition of Snowpocalypse, with over 11 inches of snow in Ann Arbor and wind chills reaching -50 °F !

My classmates and I are certainly happy for the ability to stream our lectures from home, especially this week. Michigan is known for hardly ever calling a snow day, even when every other school in the state cancelled. In fact, the last time Michigan cancelled school, it was in 1978! Auditions for prospective School of Music students continued nevertheless – the show must go on!

These past two weeks have been a wonderful respite – I went back to my hometown of Brighton, MI and slept. Then, I slept some more. I love sleep. Although I made sure that I received enough sleep during the past term, I was still starting to run on fumes by the end of December. It had been a long term, and the sheer volume of material we learned in the past five months was staggering. I found myself becoming even more absent-minded than before, as my brain regularly decided to discard “unnecessary” information to make room for the new. Oh well, that’s why we have to-do lists, calendars, and reminders.

As the Fall term wound to a close, students started looking ahead, particularly for their summer plans. For the MD students, this may involve participating in the Summer Biomedical Research Program (SBRP), in which students work with a faculty mentor for ten weeks on a research project; in Global REACH, a program in which students conduct research in foreign countries with faculty mentors; in medical mission trips; and many other options.

For MSTP students, the process of choosing a summer rotation lab begins. The MSTP office sets up a Research Rotation Advisory Committee (RRAC) for each first-year student. The committee is composed of three Operating Committee (the governing body of Michigan’s MSTP) members, one of which is our Director or Assistant Director. In early December, MSTP students meet with our RRAC members and determine the short list of faculty members that potentially will become the rotation advisor.

Well, a new year, a new term: I’m looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store!

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.