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The Galens Smoker Network

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! SMOKER TIME! (Med students at Michigan smoke? *Eek Gads!*). The Smoker is an annual musical roast of the faculty that is written, produced and performed by about 250 Michigan medical students. This year marks the 100th Smoker, so it going to be bigger and better than ever (No pressure).

The picture is from a past Smoker titled “Oh Glaucoma”! Those sets? Created by medical students. The band? Medical students. The amazing actors and singers? Medical students. The script, the lighting, the backstage work….well, you get the idea. We sell out both nights of Mendelssohn Theater every year and perform in front of 650 fans.

I am one of the director czars for this year. We had 122 people audition this past week, so I am running on coffee while writing this post. Every year I am blown away by the talent of my classmates, and this year’s singers and actors that auditioned were extraordinary

The Smoker has been my most meaningful experience at Michigan Medical School by far. What I love about the Smoker is its core (unstated) mission to bring together students and faculty to build a stronger community at Michigan. We don’t turn anybody away and find a place for everybody who auditions. I met most of my friends through the Smoker and it is the best way to meet students from other classes. I met my girlfriend through the Smoker, and we are now trying to Match together. I’ve hung out with the faculty that I’ve smoked in previous years outside of the classroom. The picture shown is of me and my fellow Smoker leaders at Zach London’s fortress party. Dr. London is a neurologist and Smoker aficionado who hosts this elaborate party where he turns his house into a giant fort.

The biggest thing I didn’t realize until fourth year is the network that the Smoker creates beyond med school. On the interview trail I paid for only one hotel because I had a Smoker alumni to stay with in every city. In three of my interviews, I was interviewed by a Michigan Med graduate who either participated in or directed the Smoker during their time at Michigan. We would spend 30 minutes just talking about Smoker glory. In general, the Michigan alumni network (Smoker or not) is far reaching and will serve you well once you hit the interview trail.

I’m so excited about this year’s Smoker, my head is about to explode. Mark your calendars for March 2nd and 3rdand come see what it’s all about!

Nithin Ravi is a fourth-year medical student at The University of Michigan. He has been at Michigan for 10 years now, completing his undergraduate degree and Master's in Public Health prior to medical school. Outside of school, he is involved in The Smoker, a musical roast of the faculty, and enjoys running and biking as well.