Every week, The Chronicle collects pre-medical students’ questions about the field of medicine and asks Duke medical school students to provide their insight. This week, The Chronicle’s Grace Wang sat down with Phil Kemp Bohan, a first-year student in the School of Medicine, to discuss his first month of medical school. Bohan is a graduate of Northwestern University.
The Chronicle: What did you do when you first got to Duke?
Phi Bohan: We were moving in when we first got here. I met my roommate on the first day, who arrived around the time I did. We had a week of orientation, where we got to know all our classmates. During O-week we also had a camping trip to the lake, which was fun.
TC: What were you thinking while you were in your first class, either before or after the professor came in?
PB: I remember feeling it was a mistake, like, I don’t belong here at all, and someone will just tap on my shoulder and ask, “What are you doing here?” I think it was just because Duke is such a great school and that I’m surrounded by people who are all so amazing. I still remember calling up all my friends and telling them the good news immediately after I got admitted. But as soon as the professor walked in and started the lecture, I sort of got into the mode and everything was just awesome.”
TC: Has the work met your expectations?
PB: The reality is probably a little bit easier than what I expected. Although we have been dealing with some intense biochemistry work, I kind of expected it to be even a little more difficult. But my answer might change next week, when I know we are going to start something really tough.”
TC: How are medical school classes different than those in undergrad?
PB: I think the biggest difference is what’s expected of me in terms of the learning. In undergraduate school, I was under a quarter system where I would never touch certain materials again which I wasn’t expected to remember after the exams for each quarter. Here, in medical school, I am trying to remember things I learn now for the next four or eight years, which will all be related and important to my future career.
TC: What are you looking forward to most now that you have gotten an idea of how things work?
PB: I am looking forward to doing work on normal body anatomy. I am very interested in surgeries, so these few weeks’ biochemistry work loads weren’t exactly what I’m here for. Right now, I shadow doctors over at the Duke University Hospital, so whenever I have time I’ll head over there and observe surgeries. The first-year students don’t actually have classes in the hospital, but I’m definitely looking forward to doing more surgery-related work in the hospital.”