ndab Ah Yes, Medical School: Hypertalkers

Saturday, September 13, 2003


So now I've been through about six weeks of medical school, and I am definitely starting to feel more familiar with my classmates, the curriculum, and the school in general. In fact, I think I have gotten a feel for the class so much that I'd like to use this entry to discuss those precious few classmates that everyone knows. You have them in your school, whether it's medical school, undergrad, law school, high school, junior high - hell, I bet this personality type emerges even in preschool. You know them, and yet you may not even know their names. But you hear their voices every day in class. Yes, you know who I'm talking about. It's those precious, select few, who cannot, will not, and dare not go through one class period without asking at least 3 questions. These questions can be relevant and clear, but more likely they are utterly pointless, confusing, off-topic, and likely the beginning of a string of followup questions. To which a logical person might ponder, why ask such questions? Why take up everone's time (see calculations below)? Why not ask off-topic questions in a more appropriate setting, like office hours?

As with just about everything else in medical school, I don't know the answer to these questions. I have my suspicions, but these are more med-specific and would likely not apply to other areas of study. What one must consider is this: all medical students were premeds at some point. And, generally, premeds just suck. There are many types, but the most noticeable ones are those that always sit in the front and ask questions because they are kissing the professors ass with the hope of getting the professor to write a recommendation for him/her/asshole down the line. Unfortunately, these premeds, upon fooling medical school admissions interviewers across the country into thinking they are genuine and normal and not idiotic competitive fools, evolved into medical students but forgot that they no longer have to gently press their overactive lips onto the waste disposal mechanisms of their professors for approval.

What are the consequences of these so-called (by me) hypertalkers? All this leads to profs going way overtime to finish lectures that were planned for ~50min, angry students who don't get a break between lectures and now can only focus on their overflowing bladders, and confused audiences who can't get any continuity in the lecture because it gets interrupted every four minutes, so they don't know what the hell is going on after having to tune out for 5+minutes while this moron asked a completely useless question and the prof struggled to answer it without making the person feel bad.

To these hypertalkers I have this to say:
2) I can't speak for every medschool, but mine is Pass/Fail (and most are some variation on this trend). Simply put, everyone passes, and residency admissions directors don't give a shit what you did the first two years anyways...they only look at your step 1 board scores and care more about what you do during your rotations. jackass.
3) A couple of friends in my class did a little experiment, observing our most notorious hypertalker for one two hour lecture block, counting the amount of times she asked questions and the length of time it took to answer/disregard each question. They then used that info to calculate (yea well we're all dorky at this point so it's no big deal) how many lecture hours of our lives they are taking up in a given year, and that number came up to 27 lecture hours per year (at first that seems like not a big deal, but think about it...those are LECTURE hours, as in, amount of time you spend sitting on your ass in an uncomfortable chair struggling to stay awake and pay attention). 27 hours of me missing out on old people telling me stuff I need to know because these people don't know how to shuttup. Which leads me to point #4...

(To undergrads who pull this shit, I would suggest reviewing steps 1 and 4 of the above, as well as the following piece of advice: Professors are not dumb. In fact, they have to be pretty damn smart to get those jobs in the first place. Don't think they can't see through your bullshit, because they can and will note such behavior on the recommendations you so desperately seek.)

So this leaves us with the greatest of all questions...what to do with these people? Well there doesn't seem to be any obvious way to have them kicked out, so that's not an option. Things that help include professors who won't put up with their crap. My personal favorite is this one prof who told this hypertalker last week in front of the entire class, "Isn't there some sort of limit on the amount of questions you can ask?" Which leads too...

THE GRAND SOLUTION (shout out to a few members of class of 2007 for providing most, if not all, of the ideas below...names witheld because i don't remember who said what)
This is how it's going to be: At the beginning of each semester/quarter/block/whatever, each student is given a certain amount of question tickets. The total number equates to the amount of questions this person is allowed to ask per semester/quarter/block/whatever. Every time he/she asks a question, the student must give a ticket to the professor. If they use them up in the first week, tough shit. If they lose them, tough shit. If they forge them to be able to ask more questions, that's just fucking sad (and I'll individually number and track them so I'll know which are frauds). Students who don't normally ask questions can set up a black market and sell them to the highest bidder, making them feel at least financially compensated for all of the time that these people are taking from their lives. It's a beautiful system...

This entry is dedicated to all the HumBio hypertalkers who made it such a great premed core for Stanford class of 2003.