Among the myriad reasons to be a part of SGA, one of the most appetizing (and I use that word advisedly) is that you get to attend social functions. The only caveat is that it’s usually only the Presidents and VPs of various class councils that are invited (along with the Exec board), but there are also occasions when everyone gets to go. Now, I can hear you ask, why is that a good thing? Why would we, in the middle of our medical education, a field notorious for its harsh course load, want to take time out of our schedules to go to and meet random visitors whose name nor face we know? A simple answer underlies this. Food.
Yes, these visitors can be interesting people and it is fun to mix with the professors in a non-classroom/office hours setting. All that is a bonus. As someone who is taking loans, and is parsimonious at the best of times, these events are like manna from heaven for those of us who relish the thought of free food. Especially for vegetarians like myself, as we face some difficult choices sometimes. I do not consider salad to be a kind of food. At least, not for humans. [Note: per the advice of a friend, I thought I would state explicitly – Food is NOT the only reason, nor even the most important. Serving your fellow man is the highest honour to which we can aspire.] Indeed, food is one part of the equation that makes these dinners so much fun. The other is the ability to mix with people who are either professors, have been in the field for a while, or are not living the same life you are right now, which in and of itself makes them fascinating conversationalists.
The reason I bring this up is that there were two occasions this semester where we got to rub elbows with attending dignitaries and they were most enjoyable. The first was the California board visit, where, after the performance, we were invited to a dinner and got to sit and talk to various representatives while feasting on various delicacies. Thus, a combination of good food and excellent conversation turned the evening into one of the most fun evenings I have spent on the island. The other time was when we had pre-med reps visit from various undergrads and graduates of the 2011 AUA class. This also was extremely enjoyable and gave me another chance to practice my social skills.
Indeed, these dinners are good practice for the real world, where you will have to be able to be social at public events and set people at their ease very quickly. It is also a good training ground, especially for those people who are not comfortable in social situations or in social situations outside of their normal experience. The best part is that this is one of the few occasions that you get to interact with your current professors/deans as future peers, which is indeed what they will be. Thus, it is one of the more lighthearted previews of the future, especially when contrasted with the doom and gloom that surrounds the USMLE Step 1, which I heard lives in a castle in the middle of a forest, and sucks out people’s blood.
by Prakash Jayanthi, Class of 2014