The Vanderbilt Advisory College Program launched at the start of the 2007-08 school year as a component of the VMS Wellness Program. It was designed to improve and update the advising system at that time, with a focus on the twin goals of wellness and career counseling. Now the role of the Advisory Colleges is changing, most notably with an expansion into curriculum. The 2015-2016 academic year will be the ninth year of the Advisory College system. This structured and comprehensive advising system allows medical students to identify and connect with trained faculty and student mentors who are able to model and promote healthy lifestyles within the context of a successful medical school experience.
Four Advisory Colleges were established, each bearing the name of a former Vanderbilt University School of Medicine dean: Batson, Chapman, Gabbe, and Robinson. These deans were selected for their especially significant contributions to VMS. They each also chose a color and designed a crest to capture their unique spirit and character. Each advisory college is led by two faculty members – called college mentors – and is comprised of one quarter of the students from each year. Each college maintains a list of Affiliated College Mentors who have been selected from the prior pool of advisors in the School of Medicine as well as others who have an interest in student mentoring. These Affiliated College Mentors represent a wide range of specialty options so that students can easily identify someone with whom to speak regarding specific career choices.
Although each of you has established study habits that have served you well, you may need to make some subtle adjustments to remain afloat in this swamp of new information. It can be disconcerting if you find that your “tried and true” method of studying is not working here. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t worry – you are not alone, and there are plenty of ways to receive assistance. The office of the Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs (Dean Rodgers) and the course director of the course you are struggling in are probably your best resources for finding a tutor (e.g. a second-year or a graduate student) who is suited to help you. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – LOTS of people have tutors – you shouldn’t be embarrassed. Remember, doing well in medical school requires a team effort and everyone at Vanderbilt is willing to help out. Just don’t wait until the last test of the block to ask for help!
Traditionally, the first-year class will go to a nearby park for a short retreat in the fall. Think of this as Part II of orientation. Last year’s retreat was focused on wellness in medical school. It is an excellent opportunity to reacquaint yourself with your classmates outside of the classroom and to ground yourself. Some of your professors may even show up. Buses will leave Light Hall at approximately 9:00 am in the morning. You don’t want to miss this!