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Second-year Medical student Marshall Balk spends at least eight hours each day in the classroom. But unlike other students, Marshall and his Medical School colleagues spend these hours behind the Quadrangle, on Hamilton Walk, far from the center of campus and other University schools. The combination of a rigorous schedule and the physical separation from the rest of campus leads to a sense of isolation on the part of Med students and a lack of interaction with the rest of the University. In fact, many Medical students said that the only time they see the rest of the University is when they venture off Hamilton Walk to the food trucks on Spruce Street. And second-year Med student John Alexander said that most students have very little reason to spend time outside of the Medical School complex. "There should be more formal interaction between the Medical School and the rest of the University community," Alexander said. "Unless something is pushing you to interact with the other schools, you can spend all your time and never leave the med school." · Because Med students spend most of their time with their classmates, they seem to have created a community of their own outside the rest of the University. Alexander said that their isolation from the rest of the campus fosters a stronger sense of community between the Med students. "I think that, on the one hand, we're very busy," he said. "But after spending eight hours a day with the same people, our lives tend to revolve around our time together, which is one of the reasons we're such a tight community." Barbara Wagner, the Med School's associate director of student affairs, said that numerous extra-curricular activities have sprung up within the Med School that are drawing students. "The Medical School in itself is an all-encompassing experience," Wagner said. ""It's a very cohesive student body." Wagner pointed to Penn Med Horizons, a performing arts group comprised of medical students, as one of the main attractions for Med students. The group performs two shows each year. In the spring the group performs a "spoof" -- a legendary series of skits lampooning the faculty, administration, and the Medical School experience in general. "If the administration makes a decision about something, it usually comes back to haunt them," Wagner said of the humorous skits. "But it's all in fun and taken in good humor." Alexander said many students play intramural football, soccer, and lacrosse and work out. In addition, most Med students spend a lot of time interacting with the West Philadelphia community. According to Med students, there about 70 work with the Community Health Group. Participants, under the supervision of residents, travel to shelters in West Philadelphia to give physical exams, provide medical histories, and educate shelter residents about health maintenance. · Many Medical School students and administrators said that the atmosphere in the school is much different than most would expect. Paul Mehne, associate dean for student and house staff affairs, said that students have created an atmosphere quite different from that experienced by pre-med students. "One of the reasons I was so enthused about coming here is that the students are so supportive of each other," said Mehne, who came to the University in January 1990. Stuzin said that courses are graded on a pass, fail or honors basis and that students are motivated to learn as much as they can without being directly competitive with one another. "In the very beginning people may come to Med school with the pre-med mentality, but the reality is there is no reason to be that way any more," Stuzin said. "Med school isn't the hellish process everyone makes it out to be," she said. "You're just trying to get a base foundation of knowledge for when you go into the hospital. What was stressful to me in college was not learning the material but worrying what my final grade was going to be." · Med students said that they really want to increase interaction with undergraduates and other graduate schools despite their tight schedules. Stuzin said that, academically, interaction between the Medical School and other schools in the University could be stronger. "Med students feel like they're in their own separate community," said Stuzin. "When I was an undergrad, I thought the whole world consisted of undergrads, now I sometimes forget that they are there." She added that many Med student may be missing out on what the University has to offer by limiting themselves to the campus south of Hamilton Walk. "I don't think Med students realize what's out there," she said. "We get this blind statement about a One University concept, but you have to go out and find what's available." But Balk, who received a bachelors degree from the University in 1988, said that the fact that the Med students spend so much time together leads to a lively social atmosphere. He added, however that there is a need for more parties and increased communication between Med students and students from other schools in the University. "The undergrad lifestyle revolves more around off-campus and fraternity parties, and Med students just aren't a part of that," said Balk. "I wish there was one place for all students to hang out. It would be nice to have a central location for everybody." "Med School is similar to undergrad in that students certainly don't just study," he added. "We have a life, there's no doubt." Third-year student and Graduate and Professional Student Assembly representative Mark Weiner, who received a B.S. from the University in 1988, said that Medical students are even interested in being a part of the diversification of Locust Walk. "We've had less time to participate in University activities so we've tried to organize them ourselves," said Weiner, the president-elect of the Medical Student Government.

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