Well folks, its been quite a mix of emotions this past year and change, but I'm ecstatic to say that I have passed the 4th semester and I am on my way to Miami! Overall I would say 4th was a lot less stressful than 3rd. I would like to give my final thoughts of this island and give hope to those who are somewhat doubtful of pursuing a career in medicine here.
First of all, know that it is possible to get off this island. I was an English major fresh out of undergrad with no real major science or medical background aside from my core requirements I had to take. With an sGPA of 2.8 and my MCAT score of 24, out of some miracle I had a great interview and wound up at Ross, straight into their basic sciences program. Granted my block grades weren't as near as stellar as my peers, I still managed to pass every semester.
My class was the "guinea pig" class because we were the first ones to be put through the new System's based curriculum. I would say that this new system is better because you really get to see the big picture and how the different subjects (i.e. path and micro or biochem and path) interplay with each other. It sticks in your head a lot better as well. They have implemented a lot of positive changes within the curriculum since my class has completed them: [i.e. 2nd semester 1st mini (Neuro/endocrine) is now divided up into two exams (Neuro as one and endocrine as another) and plus you have 6 weeks in total (whereas we had 5).] They have also implemented some things to make it harder (i.e. moving up the MPS to 70-60).
The first advice I would give to anyone considering on coming here is to get help when you need at earliest time possible. Get it anyway possible. If you fail your first exam, its not too late! Go and utilize the resources you have whether it be via tutoring, TA's, academic success, your peers, etc. Making an efficient way to study is the key to getting out of here. You need the discipline to really take yourself away from your habits of studying that might have worked in the past. You need to figure what is the best way to study. A lot of people fail out because they become stubborn to get help and think that they can work out their drawbacks on their own and unfortunately it doesn't work out for them.
More than anything try to do well on your Minis because this way you will have a good buffer when it comes time to take to take that dreaded final. Remember 1st and 2nds have a final worth 45% for each block and 3rd and 4ths have a final worth 50% of each block. Ross is known for going from very high yield to not high yield at all for their exams so you really have study hard. For the exams utilize the upperclassmen and the things the profs say during class (no brainer). Upperclassmen will tell you what are the more Ross high yield things you need to focus on. There are also many files floating around compiled by students that will help you in your studies. Do not neglect these. Remember to stay on top of your stuff because it will pile up so fast that by the time you get around to doing it, it may be too late. The advantage to doing well on the minis is that 1. you've studied from the beginning which means you have a good grasp on material 2. the weight of the final is less stressful, 3. you don't have to cram. and 4. if you did well on 2 minis and poorly on one other one you know what to really focus on.
For me medical school was 50% studying and 50% mental. Before exams I was under an intense roller coaster of emotions and to be honest there were times where I asked myself why I picked this profession. This place really can f*** with your mind. I've always said that in the future when they ask me why I don't freak out when a patient crashes, I'll say it's because I saw it everyday during finals week at Ross University. Anyways just make sure you give yourself a break when you need the break. The key here is not how MUCH you study; its about how SMART you study. Go to the gym, hang out with friends, go out to eat; do anything to decompress and once you're relaxed get back up on it.
You'll hear students complain about the administration, professors, grading and the politics behind it all, all the time. Some of it I really do believe hold merit while other things are just straight up **. The fact is that you will hear a lot of things that go on in the school and a lot of it is really messed up, but at the end of the day, you are on the island for one reason and that is to study like you've never studied before and get out that place as fast as you can. Focus on yourself and what you need to do to succeed. Do well on the exams and really put in the time. If the administration or the teachers try to pull something on the entire class (i.e. for us they tried to revamp the grieving policy in the middle of the semester at one point) that the majority of you think is unfair, band together, write a petition and have everyone in your class sign it. Also express your concerns to your class reps or the SGA president. Usually the admins don't budge but they have been known to make exceptions. Remember, its always easy to complain, but its harder to do something about it or go on with your own work.
That's all I can think about. I will keep you updated as I go into AICM, the COMP and USMLE and all that fun stuff. If you have any questions feel free to get back to me. Good luck and study hard folks!