The much awaited post about Flinders. Well, it's been 3 months (almost) now. School is going well. I'm happy that I'm in medicine, it was the perfect choice for me and continues to be and I hope this feeling stays well into the future. I think this is largely due to Flinders itself. It's a wonderful little community and school they have here. I'll break it down into the specific aspects about the school that are particularly good (or bad).
The facilities range from ok to excellent. The school is built into the Flinders Medical Centre which is a public hospital and the FMC is attached to Flinders Private which is (obviously) a private hospital. Because the hospital is built onto a hill, the way you get to the school is by going to the 5th floor, but if you go out the back door of the school, you don't fall 5 stories, you end up walking onto a courtyard (the hill is rather steep). Anyways, when you get off the elevator, you have three main sections to the school. On your right, you have the clinical skills laboratory (will explain uses of these facilities in the curriculum section below). If you go straight, you'll get to the library and if you take a right at the libraries, you'll be in a hallway where the PBL rooms are located. Walking past the PBL rooms, you will get to the lecture theatres which are relatively old, but, and this is a big but, we don't use those anymore. See, the government of SA gave the Flinders medical school a buttload of money to build specialized lecture theatres for us. So, although we used these old lecture theatres for the first few months, we have no been switched to the newer, nicer, but unfortunately further away, theatres up the hill. To get to those, you walk past the old theatres, out the back door into that courtyard I mentioned earlier and up a rather steep hill to the new Health Sciences building. In there, the first theatre on your right will be the meds lecture theatre that we use and will be using for our remaining days (supposedly). There are pros and cons to this, the theatre is nice and new and has cool tech like streaming video and large plasma screens, but the fact that it's so far away from the school (well, it's only 5 minutes, but that climb is a pain when you're tired, sleepy, cranky and late for a 9 am lecture) makes getting back and forth between lectures a pain (eg. to get something from one's locker, getting food, going to PBL rooms, etc).
The library resources are generally fantastic and plentiful. It's funny, throughout my MSc and BSc back in Canada, I didn't once use the library resources other than as a place to study. Now, considering I'm doing something I'm really quite interested in, I find myself constantly getting books out and reading, taking books home, etc. It's good. The library itself is really nice with big, comfy couches, lots of desk space, outlets for laptops and plenty of private study rooms. The hours aren't as good as back in Canada, but I think that's just Aussie custom and something I've had to adjust to (generally, the library is open from 8:30 am to 10 pm except on Fridays and weekends). The really crappy thing though is that we can't study in the PBL rooms afterwards as we get kicked out of them by 11 pm. That is one thing I really don't appreciate. The School of Medicine also has a 24 hour mac-based (grrrr, stupid macs) lab that is available to med students. It has a couple of nice printers and it's nice that we can access it whenever we want (eg. at 8:58 when I haven't printed lecture notes for the 9 am lecture).
... to come in a future post