Getting to grips with HYMS in your first few weeks

So you’ve done it: you’ve made it through your A level or degree finals and are finally out the other side with a place at medical school. Congratulations! Hello my name is Amika, a second year medical student at HYMS and your social secretary this year for York MedSoc.

MedSoc is a society that aims to represent the medical school and its students, organising social and academic events for members: there is a MedSoc for each of our respective HYMS campuses. Whether you’re based at Hull or York, I’m sure you will have as a fantastic time in freshers’ week, as I did, and I’m looking forward to meeting you all.

My first week at HYMS was a whirlwind of running around campus, socialising, and very little sleep. It was exciting and scary at the same time (even for me as a graduate), and I made some great memories and friends. My primary piece of advice for you is to try to go to as many events as possible. Each and every event has been lovingly created by your MedSoc Freshers’ Committee and is an invaluable opportunity to meet the course-mates you will be working closely with for the next five years.

During your first few weeks there will be taster sessions available for a variety of different societies – HYMS societies, and also those on offer from the Universities of Hull or York. Take the opportunity to try out as many as you possibly can. You can find more information about the many different societies offered by HYMS at the “cross-campus” Freshers’ Fair in Hull (scheduled for Saturday the 8th of October). This is an extremely important event to attend as it is where you will meet students from ‘the other side’ (York/ Hull) for the first time, as well as being able to speak to students representing the different MedSoc societies. Important form-filling-in also happens at the Fair, such as signing up to the British Medical Association (BMA) and the Medical Defence Union (MDU). You will also have the opportunity to buy your first stethoscope at a discounted price, in a range of colours.

It can be daunting not knowing what to expect from medical school, which is why we think it’s helpful to speak to people who were in your shoes just a year ago. At our “meet the parents” night, you should have already met your assigned ‘medic parents’ – two students from second year who become your surrogate HYMS mothers and fathers and are there to support you throughout your first year. They have signed up for this scheme so are willing fonts of knowledge about everything from exams to living in York/Hull. First and second year students (collectively known as Phase I) are a close knit community at HYMS. From third year, you move to be based at different hospital sites, leaving Phase I students together on the university campus. Second years join in with some of the freshers’ activities and other events throughout the year, so feel free to ask them any questions you may have and they will be more than happy to help.

You may feel a little overwhelmed by your first few weeks of HYMS teaching. Don’t panic too much about this, as without even realising, you will get into the stride of weekly lectures, PBL, clinical skills and clinical placements, and will figure out a method that suits you when it comes to note taking and keeping up with your work. Focus on getting to know your PBL group as you will be spending a lot of time with them, and in my opinion, a PBL group that really makes an effort with getting to know each other ultimately learns well and has a really enjoyable year.

Finally, a couple of key tips: (1) Hold on to your fresher’s booklet! It is your key to knowing where and when events are happening during your first week. An online copy is also available on the appropriate Facebook group for your campus. (2) For the yorkies amongst you, it is important to remember that college life is an integral part of life at York University, so balancing the two is important. I managed to go to almost every event that both my college and HYMS put on during my first two weeks, and as a result, I was able to make some great friends from both sides.

I hope I have helped you feel a bit more prepared for your first few weeks at HYMS. In summary, go to a variety of events, try lots of different societies, and most importantly enjoy yourself. Second year, especially your MedSoc and Freshers’ Committee, are looking forward to meeting you!

Amika McCulloch is a second year medical student at HYMS and a Neuroscience graduate from Nottingham University. She is currently Social Secretary for York MedSoc as well as Academic Officer for the Pre-Hospital Care Society.