Twenty-two members of the College of Medicine Class of 2020 are getting a clear view of medical school this summer in Upstate’s MedSET program.
MedSET – Medical Science Education Transition – is a four-week immersion into the College of Medicine curriculum. Entering first-year students apply to the program, which covers anatomy, molecular biology, genetics and physiology.
MedSET also encourages students to experiment with different learning strategies, and introduces skills to help with stress and time management.
“Medical school requires a different set of academic skills than most undergraduate and graduate programs and also requires students to have a heightened ability to reflect, assess and adapt quickly,” said Mary Ann Grandinetta, director of Student Success Initiatives.
Isaiah Buchanan, a Union College graduate from Brooklyn, said MedSET has helped confront “imposter syndrome — just that thought that you don’t have what it takes to get through medical school. This program helps alleviate that pressure.”
Tanesha Beckford, a Syracuse University graduate from the Bronx, said she’s “learned a lot about my success type and how I learn. I never thought about it before, but now I use it as a strength for the medical school curriculum.”
Tanesha has also come to appreciate the subject of human genetics, thanks to Margaret Maimone, PhD, associate professor of Cell & Developmental Biology.
“She’s very invested and makes complicated topics like genetics relatable,” Tanesha said. “By the end of the unit, I had the hang of it.”
MedSET’s academic benefits, said John Kahler, a Colgate University graduate from Oriskany, include helping to gauge how much time to set aside for studying and how to better recall material.
The program has helped the group get off to a good start in other ways, he said. A discussion about sickle cell disease and the racial and social components surrounding it was very beneficial.
“It raised awareness and was definitely good to talk about,” John said.
“It was a lively discussion,” Isaiah added. “The conversation about race was interesting, and made us as a group more comfortable discussing it.”
Any incoming medical student can apply for MedSET. It’s especially designed for students who have been out of school for an extended time; come from non-science backgrounds; have family or competing responsibilities, or may feel unsure about their preparedness for the demands of medical school.
“Even if you were a great student previously, it is important to recognize you will have to adapt to this new environment and style of instruction,” Grandinetta said. “Students who recognize this early and figure out the appropriate strategies for their own success tend to be less stressed in the long run.”
Isaiah said MedSET’s benefits will extend to the rest of the Class of 2020.
“We’ll be able to identify helpful resources — not just tangible things like certain books, but interpersonal connections with administrators, faculty and among our peers,” he said. “We’ll be able to share information, because we’ve had snapshots of what’s coming down the pike. We’re a little like ambassadors.”