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I am in month four of didactic year, and I wonder if I am unknowingly part of a weird social science experiment.  I have witnessed the worst behavior from my "colleagues" that I have ever seen in a professional setting.  We actually have a group of bullies in our class that have taken it upon themselves to cyber text (bully) other students during lecture.  They interrupt and insult lecturers.  They have a point system game that grades people's questions on level of stupidity.  They got together and assessed who was worthy to be in the class the first week of school and have since then hated on the people that they didn't feel deserved to be there.  Physical safety has been jeopardized; a few students have felt physically unsafe.  They even have a little following of female participants who dislike the victims because they were asked to come forward and identify the predators.  OK... you get it.  This is weird.....  My question to you..... Is this normal?  I mean, I truly thought caring people were drawn to healthcare, not elitist, prejudice and racist (yes I said racist) jerks.  I guess I assumed that we would all work together and help each other through some very challenging times - but alas I think I was wrong.  Is this normal?  Is this stress?  WTH is going on?  Our university is doing a great job handling the nonsense (one person was kicked out today) so don't worry about that. but is this common?   

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Not common and not to be tolerated!


Hopefully this will change now that someone had to walk the plank. You all should be talking with your faculty advisors about this.


There is some teasing to be sure. We had someone in our class who was sometimes teased (by some) about her questions but ignored the comments and did fine. Any time there is a small group under stress for a long period, some weird behavior can come out. If people are being bullied or are feeling unsafe physically, it's gone way, way too far.


As I said, talk with your faculty advisors if it persists.

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I chose my program in part because the grading system is engineered to foster ongoing collaboration between arbitrarily assigned groups for the entire didactic year.  Our groups were formed by listing everyone alphabetically by last name left to right, in a number of columns equal to the number of advisors, and simply assigning a core faculty member to each column.  I somewhat lucked out because my group ended up with the highest proportion of married students and parents.


Our systems-based testing approach was that for each test, passing was 80%, and every test was administered twice: once for the individual score, and a second time in the group, the "chair" (read: the person actually entering the consensus answers) of which rotated among the students from test to test.  If the group score could hit 95%, each individual got a 5% bonus to their scores... but since there were not GPAs and no class standing, it only really made a difference if the individual students' scores were in the 75-79% range.

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I echo what rev stated. Most programs attempt at fostering collaboration. My program definitely did and for the most part everyone jumped on board. Those that have the "mightier than thou" complex your experiencing will probably soon be put in check. Once the full academic load of PA school gets dumped in their lap, I suspect they won't have time to do any shenanigans and will learn that they aren't in grade school anymore. Totally unacceptable behavior though. I suspect that this is a class that is younger and low on life experience given the junior high-ish behavior. So to answer your question, no it's definitely not normal. Good news is that your university is attempting to rectify the situation. Keep your head down. You've only just begun. The real test/fun/mental grind is just around the corner.


Good luck!

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Could not even get completely through your post without wincing/cringing. 


Not normal. Not tolerable. Glad to hear the faculty is doing damage control, maybe they will scrutinize their admission values and tighten up their interviews a bit more. 


You don't need to be a "hero" or anything, but I would speak up if there is no one already willing to do so. Those bad weeds need to be nipped in the bud. 

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I'm surprised administration isnt cracking down harder.


In my class we had a few students who made a snide joke about a professor on facebook, and got placed on professional probation for the remainder of the entire program. They almost got expelled. Oh and they had to give presentation on professionalism in front of the entire 150+ student program.

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I'm surprised administration isnt cracking down harder.


In my class we had a few students who made a snide joke about a professor on facebook, and got placed on professional probation for the remainder of the entire program. They almost got expelled. Oh and they had to give presentation on professionalism in front of the entire 150+ student program.

That's a good idea. One of them started a fantasy football team using a profs name in a very hateful way. They found out about it.


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Here's hoping your class gets a little smaller by self selection or administrative selection.  If those don't work, there's something many military folks here are familiar with - negative motivators.  If we had an idiot/idiots in our sections/platoons in training, the Drill Instructors (who literally knew more about each us than we did AND what was going on) would set group punishments in motion that were directly associated with said creatures...by pointing this out to the group publicly, especially if it became a frequent thing - ie "Recruit Bloggins has YET AGAIN not met the standard they're supposed to by this point in time, so you're ALL going to pay for the transgression" - the person either sorted themselves out or got sorted out by the team.  Sometimes this sorting out was by helping them, but more often than not, it was by helping them realize that the world didn't revolve around them - wrecking their kit prior to an important inspection, failure to assist them on an arduous task, failure to assist them with chores they were responsible for, or failure to warn them of the soap on the floor in the shower or obstacle on the stairs that resulted in accidental/on purpose injury.  One way or another, they either came around or they were re-coursed or they quit. 


Medicine. like soldiering, is a team sport.  Learning medicine though, is much like relay racing in swimming or track and field - they're individual sports within a team concept.  Therefore if you fail your leg, everyone is playing catch-up for you...but you can still win a medal if the rest of the individuals do their share AND take up some of your slack.  If you don't help them with their slack, well they might have some problems then...I was in a study group of 4 when I started school - got kinda difficult to study when the other three quit or failed out within the first 7 weeks.  2 were family issues, 1 couldn't keep up academically, through no fault of the rest of us.  Things were not easy on my own and other groups were reluctant to add anyone new (and I wasn't a social pariah)...luckily my lab partner and I got along well, so we could get together once in awhile.  With these clowns, best thing is to socially isolate them, not back them up, call them on BS in the class - if they interrupt an instructor, make them look like an a$$ (even if the instructor hasn't already figured it out); if they ask for help with something, don't give them any, even if they're in your group; if they survive long enough to get to clinical year, don't assist them with scut work or projects if you're on rotation with them.  People (especially those that are the problem children) will notice eventually...and likely some of the rotation sites will be well aware of what's coming their way as well.


If the majority of the class are on board with this, things will eventually turn.



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