No Student is an Island

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

I just came out of the one Interprofessional Education class of the quarter and just like that, I’m back to my own little grad school bubble. I can see why Interprofessional Education classes are needed — it truly is alarming how small of a bubble you can find yourself in, even in the mini-world of UCSF.

The small campus in which we reside is filled with isolated islands of students that know only a small fraction of people. And with technology leading to further lack of physical and personal interaction, the school needs to seize the opportunity to force some old-school hand shaking.

But how effective are two hours of mandatory Interprofessional Education classes meant to promote interschool communication, when we immediately forget the names of classmates who have repeated them at least three times (once every quarter).

How does anyone expect to remember who or what goes on in a class that happens for two hours once every four months?

The point of these classes, as the name states, is to bring the different schools together, but my classmates (and I’m sure most students) dread these as they have a hard time feeling like any meaningful connections are being made.

We share interesting perspectives of our daily education, but beyond everyone's mere five-minute contribution, our interactions are no more consequential than those of a mediocre first date. In fact, it’s worse because you’re expected to know these people, but when you see each other in the hallway you don’t even say hi.

I’m not saying that we should stop these sessions, but the school needs to change their approach.

It’s no revelation that the school needs to break the inter-school barriers and integrate its students. Recent events have shown that there is a horrible lack of intermingling.

The Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) elections highlight how isolating on separate islands can create a lack of caring among students. Most positions only had one candidate running, making it easy for anybody to get a shining resume builder.

The Last Lecture nominations were just as ridiculous. How can we vote effectively for the last lecturer if we don’t even know who these professors are? And even if we do vote, seems to me the largest school’s vote would always win.

To be frank, the school does a poorer job than my Coffee Meets Bagel dating profile of getting different schools to talk to one another. While the school tries to promote intermingling, I find myself talking to far more UCSF people outside these mandatory classes and school events.

The six hours a year the school mandatorily makes us meet people have become more dreaded than celebrated. In the hopes of bringing back some UCSF unity, I hope that the school can provide alternative methods of bringing the school together.

On the brighter side…

At least, if one of my dates at UCSF doesn’t go well, I can hide away forever.