Second-year Yale School of Medicine students lampooned their administrators and celebrated their class last weekend in Harkness Memorial Auditorium.
A tradition since 1949, the Second Year Show mixes singing, acting, dancing and films to parody the school’s way of life and its faculty. The show marks the start of second-year students’ seven-week study period for their board examinations, and is one of their final events before they begin their separate clinical rotations next year. This year’s theme, “The iPocalypse,” featured Assistant Dean Michael Schwartz represented as a giant iPad — a reference to the school’s initiative this year to give every student an iPad 2 to save paper and increase coursework accessibility.
“It’s a great event for us,” Samantha Wang MED ’14, co-director of this year’s show, said. “It shows that we don’t take ourselves too seriously, and it reminds us that in moments of stress we need to just relax and keep laughing.”
The show started with a live performance of “Kid Doc” led by music director Max Petersen MED ’17 GRD ’17, followed by a striptease from the male students. The “deans” of the school appeared next — students dressed up with fake beards and powdered hair, each with exaggerated personalities.
Alexandra Thomas MED ’17 GRD ’17, who played Associate Dean for Student Affairs Nancy Angoff, said she enjoyed her role, adding that Angoff helped by lending her clothing and jewelry.
To the tune of Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night,” the class’s video showcased student life pictures alongside lyrics such as “Only pass and never fail, thank God I got into Yale,” referring to the school’s pass/fail grading policy for the first two years — notable among medical schools.
Performers also tackled common medical student stereotypes during the show, including academically obsessed Harvard graduates dreaming of becoming neurosurgeons and Peace Corps volunteers committed to deworming children in Africa. A film called “MD/PhDs don’t give a s—” presented the dual-degree candidates as lab-consumed, overworked and uncaring for patients.
James Jamieson, professor of cell biology and director of Yale’s MD/PhD program, commended the show, adding that the collaboration between the students needed to organize the show is important for future doctors and scientists. He added that the parody of MD/PhD students is just “a spoof” that does not really represent a division between MD and MD/PhD candidates, as “they are all on the same boat.”
Planning started in October, Wang said, adding that about 95 percent of the class of 2014 participated in some way. She said she decided to co-direct the show along with Conor Grady MED ’14 because both had experience in acting.
Thomas said that she thinks the show was a good way for her class to bond in culmination of their preclinical years before starting their separate rotations. She added that she was glad so many people made time for the show in spite of the time constraints they have as medical students.
Schwartz also praised the students’ performance — especially those that depicted him.
“Their exaggerations, I hope, of my mannerisms hit home and were humorous for me. I think that the goal of the show is to parody life at the school and to be a bit silly, so one needs to take the negatives with a grain of salt and be able to laugh at oneself,” Schwartz said. “In speaking with one of the students at the show she said the goal was to be ‘funny but not mean.’ I thought that they hit that goal in how I was played.”
Around 600 students attended the Friday and Saturday performances. All proceeds were donated to the Medical School’s Hunger and Homelessness Charities.