I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the past week have searched about medschool applications/ results/ decisions and stumbled upon my blog.
I’ve already blogged about the tedious process of applying last year. A far as results are concerned, the only thing I know is that the UST Med final list of qualified applicants has been posted this Friday. You may go to the Dean’s office and see for yourself. The list, I think, will be available online soon (probably this coming week). Congratulations to all those who passed! I hope to see you around school.
Some search terms from my blog stats report also showed that a lot of people typed in things like “UST or UERM? UST or ASMPH? PLM or UERM?”. Unfortunately, I cannot give a definite answer to those questions. But what I can do is give you a list of the up and downs of being in UST Med for me so far. Hopefully, this can help you decide the med school that’s best for you.
Pro # 1: UST-FMS is a well-known and well-performing school.
This is the main factor that pushed me to choose UST-FMS in the end. When you look at the number of passers vs. the non-passers for the boards, you’ll see that UST produces the most number of doctors (among the well-known schools). This fact continues to amaze me because it shows that UST-FMS is capable of turning an ordinary person to someone extraordinary after four years of training.
You can look at my school’s curriculum at the UST-FMS website. What I can personally share is the academic load we go through:
- Five shiftings per year
- 1 or 2 long exams for each subject per shifting (except for the fifth)
- 1 shifting exam for each subject per shifting
- Almost-everyday short quizzes for each subject
- Almost-everyday case discussions for different subjects
- 2 or 3 lectures per day
- 1 laboratory session (If it’s anatomy day/ histology day), we also have intermittent lab sessions for biochem and physio (though of lesser frequency)
- Practical exams for anatomy and histology
That’s a rough estimation of what we’ve been through this past year, not including the coming grand final practicals, grand final finals, and comprehensive exam. I can’t really describe it yet, since we would be experiencing this combo for March (please pray for me!!)
During our freshman orientation, the dean also emphasized that UST-FMS has a broad alumni base locally and abroad (since it IS the longest-running medical school in the country). I’m not yet sure how this would be of advantage, but perhaps it will show once you go onto the complicated career track stuff after graduation.
Con # 1: Major adjustment for non-UST graduates
If you’re a social butterfly, then this wouldn’t be a con for you at all. But if you’re a bit socially-challenged like me, I think that one of the biggest obstacles in medschool are finding friends. It takes effort and time especially if you’re surrounded by people who’ve known each other from undergrad. Being one out of the four UPCN students that enrolled in UST, it wasn’t very easy for me to adjust. Good thing I ended up in the same subsection with one of my former batchmates, which made the matter of making new friends less pressing. But do not let this con hinder you! In time, I was able to adjust and make new friends (thank God!). :)
Pro # 2: Excellent Faculty
Majority of the faculty members really “do their thing”. Meaning, most of them are really good at what they teach. Though there are a few here and there, who left me unimpressed. Nonetheless, I can assure you that most of our lectures, lab sessions, and SGDs, are handled well; and you will really learn a lot especially from the really OWESOME POSSUM teachers.
Most of the faculty members and staff are approachable, too! Matters can be brought out into the open and inquiries are entertained. One thing I really appreciated about the departments is that they promptly posted the answer key after each and every quiz/exam. What’s more is that when you disagree about a certain answer, you can approach the departments with a letter for clarification, and if you are able to provide evidence (usually from the reference textbooks) then they will change/ consider the answer.
My favorite so far is our faculty for physiology because they really handle the subject well. Almost all the concepts are more or less retained because they have this course structure that encourages repetition for reinforcement. For instance, for one topic, we have one short quiz, one figure-review quiz, a lab session (depending on the topic), a long exam, and a shifting exam. Ewan ko na lang kung walang magretain kahit konti after all that, diba?
Con # 2: Some Treat Us Like Children
We have this “attitude” component in our grade, which is more or less used to elicit good behavior. We get penalized for being absent (unexcused), for leaving the room dirty, and stuff like that. While I recognize that this comes with good intent from the faculty, I hate being treated like a child. The use of external reinforcement (grades) is too elementary for me. Aren’t we old enough to be trusted to have the maturity and innate drive to do the right things? Nonetheless, you’ll be surprised to see that even if you are already in grad school, some people just really don’t mature enough. There are students who still tend to be noisy during class, be ruthless and inconsiderate… you get the point. I just take refuge in this fact that some people really need this “attitude” thing to behave well.
Pro # 3: Good Facilities
The first thing that struck me during my first week in medschool was that each and every room in UST-FMS had projectors and Mac computers for the lectures! HAHAHA. Forgive me if this doesn’t strike you at all, but please try to understand that I came from a government-subsidized school where the facilities aren’t that good.
I can assure you that the state of the facilities in the school somehow compensates for the BIG tuition fee. Haha. As an example, let me point out that we have a Medical Informatics Center where you can do research work using TOUCH SCREEN computers!! Again, TOUCH SCREEEEEEEEN! I hope my over-enthusiasm doesn’t make you stop reading.
Like other schools, we also have a library, auditoriums, a classroom, some chairs… Haha, you get the point. We also have access to the other facilities of the whole university. And just to add, we have a good “outside” environment too!! Nothing beats walking along lover’s lane, breathing (somewhat) fresh air, and basking in that university feel. Ok, medyo sumosobra na promotion ko pero promise maganda talaga. HAHAHA.
If there’s one complain I have about our building, it’s that the med cafe is too small for the student population and the food is too expensive!!! But this is saved by the fact that Dapitan (the haven of cheap street food and canteens) is just a few steps away from UST. With only 40 or so pesos, you have a hearty meal of sisig/buttered chicken/adobo/name-it-you-got-it. Haha. You just really need to look for the “safe” carinderias which serve clean food.
Con # 3: Student Population
Our batch is composed of 500+ individuals which is a tad bit too many for me. Although the classrooms are able to accommodate us all, I think that 100+ students under one wing is too much. There are a select-few classrooms that I find “unconducive” for learning, because of its size and lay-out. But generally, it’s A-Ok. It just sometimes bothers me that we are SO MANY. I think that our batch, in particular, went a little over the limit of the number of students allowed. Not sure, though.
So I guess if you learn well in a small class, and you find yourself unwilling/unable to adjust to a HUGE class, then UST isn’t the school for you.
Pro and Con # 4: Pseudo-Traditional “Spoonfeeding” Curriculum
The general view about UST is that it has a traditional curriculum, focused more on the theoretical aspect with lectures and exams. This is mostly true, because as compared to other medschools, we are really battered with consecutive quizzes and exams to evaluate our learning. But actually, it’s not wholly traditional! There is also a PBL aspect incorporated in the curriculum in the form of SGDs, lab conferences, and the SCOFYL (you’ll know what this is soon enough! :D).
And personally, I prefer this pseudo-traditional approach. I think that one needs to really understand the theories before applying them. The UST curriculum gives us that, as evidenced by the high board passing rate. I have heard that our graduates also do well in their clerkships/internships/ residencies.
Another issue about the school’s curriculum is the spoon-feeding. I will not deny this. Coming from UP, I readily observed that UST definitely spoon-feeds in the sense that almost everything is prepared for us. Almost all departments are fond of giving hand-outs (which are very useful, if I may add). But really, other than this, you’re on your own. At the end of the day, it all boils down to how much a student is willing to take in and study.
The only con I see with the curriculum is that it is somewhat conducive to the G.C. (aka grade conscious) culture. Which, in my opinion, shouldn’t be the case. Studying should be driven by learning and not solely by high grades. But that’s just me generalizing and being ideal. It all really depends on what kind of student you want to be! To be honest, I’m also guilty of being grade-hungry sometimes, but I really make a conscious effort not to.
And because I’m sleeeeeeepy and out of ideas, I’ll just leave this post at this point and add to the list in the following days. I hope that this little guide helps you come up with the best decision!!
Just always remember that medschool should fit you perfectly like a velvet glove. Go to a school that you know you will love, because when things go tough (academically), having a good school environment and school pride will be one of the major factors that will push you to finish med.
Excited for med? Here’s a book guide for the texts to read for 1st year.