Hello Accels, Goodbye Accels

No one knows for certain who first coined the phrase “here one minute, gone the next”, but I’m pretty sure he misplaced his car keys a lot. This phrase, commonly used to explain short amounts of time that go by too quickly, also lends itself to a good explanation of our Accelerated Classes.  They arrive in May of every year for Orientation, and then the next thing you know, BAM, it’s July, and it’s graduation.  13.5 months can go by unbelievably fast, especially when one is in this type of program.

Just like every year, we come to this time of transition (and also Transitions, but that’s beside the point). A month-and-a-half ago, we welcomed the Accelerated Class of 2010; 130 bright eyed students looking forward to some heavy duty book learning.  Their counterparts are 12 months ahead of them, finishing up their Spring Semester exams, and preparing for Transitions, and eventually, Graduation.  For many, the only interaction between the two classes is during orientation, some school activities, maybe out in the courtyard or café, or around the school.  They don’t share any classes, or clinical rotations, or pretty much anything in the 50+ days they inhabit the same space. The entering class is busy starting; the exiting class is busy finishing up.

This is not to say that they don’t share anything in common, in fact, they are very similar.  If you threw them all in one room, you couldn’t tell who was who. Each class is filled with bright, intelligent, and diligent students. Each is diverse; students coming from all backgrounds, walks of life, geographic distribution, previous Academic institution, etc.  Each has similar stories, previous experiences, and for many the “Hey, remember that time in the Peace Corps? Yeah, that was awesome,” moments.  On the other hand, each class is also unique in their own right.  That is how, as a Student Affairs person, you remember each class as they go by, and distinguish one from another. The intranet directory also comes in handy when you question yourself, “now did that student graduate in 2007 or 2008?”

Unlike their fellow students in the Traditional program, there is not that long overlapping time and mentorship.  There aren’t any grizzled veteran Accelerated students who can turn to a newbie, wipe the sweat from their brow, and say “I remember Pharmacology, we lost a lotta good men out there”.  Instead, they’re like recruits arriving at Parris Island for Marine Recruit Training; the new class watches the old one march away as the Drill Instructor points, and challenges them by saying, “You are not Marines, those are Marines” (Well, just like that, except without all the yelling and screaming and pushups, but you get the analogy).  The new Accelerated class does have the Senior Traditional students to guide them through most of the program, but while the curriculum and programs are the same, the experience can be, and many times is, different.

As we say hello to our new Accelerated Students, we get ready to say goodbye to our veterans. They head out on July 24th to far off places or just across the street. Some will start jobs, while others will continue their education (some we’ve snookered into staying at JHUSON). In the end, as they walk out the doors of 525 N. Wolfe Street for the last time, somewhere someone is saying “Those are Hopkins Nurses.”


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