Orientation Week 2009: Neighborhoods
of New York
In mid-August 2009, one week before the start of
classes, incoming first-year medical students arrived for five days of activity-filled orientation. Students were familiarized with the medical school and the new curriculum and became acquainted with each other in the many events held during the week. The week featured friendly competition, with the incoming class divided into 10 teams; second-year medical students served as orientation leaders for each team.
During the planning process for Orientation Week, Class of 2012 P&S Club officers Tom Hickernell and Bess Storch received feedback suggesting that more time might be spent exploring New York City. Thus, this year’s theme was “Neighborhoods of New York.” Each of the 10 teams represented a different neighborhood, such as Harlem, East Village, or Financial District, and spent an afternoon on a walking tour of the neighborhood guided by the orientation leader.
The teams demonstrated their physical prowess during a field day in Central Park, competing in classic events such as wheelbarrow race, tug of war, and egg toss, and new events such as the “amoeba,” in which an entire team was tied together and moved as one unit through an obstacle course.
Students familiarized themselves with the local neighborhood and their classroom locations through a scavenger hunt of Washington Heights. Selected spots on the hunt included the anatomy lab, neighborhood restaurants, and CoSMO, to name a few.
A favorite among incoming and returning medical and dental students alike is the boat cruise, highlighted this year by a beautiful sunset over the water and “ooh”- and “aah”-inducing views of the Statue of Liberty. Everyone enjoyed spectacular panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline while dancing the night away.
Coffeehouse, a P&S tradition in which students from all four years showcase their performance talents, was held in Bard Hall. Among the many acts were dancers, rock bands, and a stand-up comedian.
The week culminated with the White Coat Ceremony, in which incoming students receive their first white coats and recite the Hippocratic Oath. The first full-scale White Coat Ceremony took place at P&S in 1993 and is now popular in medical schools across the United States.
Overall, Orientation Week was a great success. Team SoHo, led by orientation leader and second-year medical student Gene Scharf, won the week’s competition.
The week could not have been possible without the hard work and energy provided by Rosemarie Scilipoti, director of student activities and the P&S Club; her intern, Dana Prieto; and the orientation leaders.
— Reported by Tom Hickernell and Bess Storch,
Class of 2012 P&S Club officers