The first week of school can be an exciting, yet overwhelming experience for many students. Incoming students are bombarded with a wide array of information such as class schedules and school policies, lab requirements and financial aid options, all while settling in to a new home routine and, for some, a new state altogether. To make the transition to medical school less stressful, Rocky Vista University’s Department of Student Affairs, with assistance from current students and multiple departments, hosted an Orientation Week for Class of 2023 packed with information sessions, as well as fun activities (and delicious lunches).
The week started off with a scavenger hunt to help the student doctors familiarize themselves with the campus and meet faculty and staff. Students also participated in wellness exercises as part of the Holistic U at RVU initiative. Second-year students presented on their experiences in medical school and how they overcame certain challenges such as struggling with a healthy work/life balance, and imposter syndrome. Towards the end of the week, students also participated in a Service Day Project. Organized into teams, students put together hygiene kits for the homeless, which included sanitary items and thoughtful handwritten notes. The kits were donated to The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, a non-profit organization that provides integrated housing, health care, vocational and support services for the homeless, and The Gathering Place, the only daytime drop-in center in metropolitan Denver that serves women, their children, and transgender individuals who are experiencing poverty or homelessness.
Other activities included financial wellness and email etiquette workshops, corn hole and volleyball games during Backyard Picnic Day, and second-year student presentations. Kade Rucker, LPC, MAC, NCC, Counselor for the Department of Student Affairs, gave a presentation on finding a balance between different aspects of life while in medical school and how students can still step out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. Most importantly, Class of 2023 students learned about self-care techniques (such as getting enough sleep) and that, as strange as it might seem, study breaks are essential to success.
The week culminated with the White Coat Ceremony at the University of Colorado South Denver on Friday, July 19th. The ceremony is a traditional way to welcome new students to their medical careers, during which they are coated (the act of officially receiving their medical school white coats) by physician faculty members. Multiple speakers addressed and welcomed Class of 2023, including keynote speaker Bruce Dubin, DO, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean for the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine; Thomas N. Told, DO, FACOFP-dist., Dean of RVUCOM; and Clinton E. Adams, DO, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer for RVU. Joseph Nathanson, OMS II, President of RVU’s Student Government Association, also addressed the class, telling the seated students that “the single best piece of advice I can offer you today is that you belong here.”
Students also recited the vision statement that they, as a class, had written to express their goals and values for the next four years at RVUCOM. In their statement, they pledged to “find strength in the long honing of compassion to act with goodwill; to comfort the distressed and the dying, to be their unwavering capstone.”
Welcome, Class of 2023! We can’t wait to see the great things you will do these next four years.