1st Semester

Hi everyone,

So I wanted to outline a little bit about the courses I took my 1st semester. So today I’m going to describe the set up of my semester and a little about each course. Also things I learned and resources that I found useful for successfully completing my first semester of medical school. So to begin the first semester at SUSOM (Saba University School of Medicine) is set up in 2 blocks. The first block lasts 4 weeks and the second block last 11 weeks (each semester is 15 weeks).

  • Block 1
    • Scientific Foundations
      • This course was a base for multiple science courses that included biochemistry, genetics, pharmacology, cardiology, and physiology
    • Clinical Skills
      • This course is 1 of 5 (one taken each semester). In the first semester we learn how to build rapport with our patients and do the patient interview which includes taking history and going through a thorough patient interview.
  • Block 2
    • Clinical Anatomy
      • This was my favorite course 1st semester, the title basically explains it except its nothing like the anatomy course taken during undergrad. The clinical portion helps you to not only learn anatomy but learn what can go wrong and what disease states can be caused by it!
    • Anatomy Lab
      • So at my school the anatomy lab is a cadaver lab. Yes you heard me CADAVER LAB!!! It was a little menacing at first but I got so accustomed it wasn’t unusual to find me and my study buddies there late at night!
    • Histology
      • This was a study of cell structure. Since I had never taken a histo class it was a tad difficult at first, but with persistence (and good Profs!) I made it through!!

Things I learned during my first semester

  • repetition is key
    • the more often you see something the better it is for you! Each time I looked over my notes I saw something new or another thing clicked into place.
  • Cadavers are your best friend
    • I am truly a hands on learner so being able to see the different parts that we are learning about in front of me as I go over stuff was very beneficial.
  • Dont be afraid to ask for help
    • I know that medical school is a competition, but if you don’t ask for help no one knows you need it. You can’t be afraid to reach out to professors or even other students to get the help you need
  • Study Groups are life
    • I love, love, love studying in study groups! However, you have to be smart about who you select to be in your group and designate study time and break times so that you’re not wasting time!!!

Resources I found useful during 1st semester (sorted by course with links to amazon)

  • Anatomy
    • BRS Anatomy
      • This book was extremely good for condensing material as review right before the exam and the questions were a great practice resource before the exam
    • Netter’s Anatomy
      • This book is full of images from different angles and is a great resource for multiple courses
  • Histology
    • Histology Color Atlas
      • This book had lots of images and gave great details on the different systems and histology photos. I have also heard from upper classmen that it comes in handy for pathology courses!

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