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Budget Cuts Lead To More Musical Theater: Redefining the PTTP Curriculum

Budget Cuts Lead To More Musical Theater: Redefining the PTTP Curriculum

THORNE AUDITORIUM—First-year medical students were baffled Friday by a required lecture from Dr. Rishi Agrawal as part of the Personal Transition to the Profession, entitled “You Deserve To Be Here.” Excited students poured into the packed auditorium, eager to learn about self-awareness and overcoming Imposter Syndrome.

“I like this part of our curriculum, so I was pumped to hear from Dr. Agrawal,” confided first-year student Ali Khan, “but the talk was really weird. It seemed to be about an ongoing turf war between Northwestern Medicine and the University of Chicago. Are we that strapped for cash?”

A sweating Dr. Agrawal drew lines, circles, and squiggles on this map of Chicago, highlighting areas of overlap between purple and maroon. When students pointed out the overwhelming purple presence, Dr. Agrawal threw down his clicker and reportedly muttered “we deserve the west side.” He then lectured about “rumbles” and Medicaid cuts decreasing hospital profits.

“I stayed after class to ask Dr. Agrawal about self-care methods,” said an outraged Nell Birch, “and he told me I was demonstrating a fixed mindset when it came to accepting feedback. Do you know what he suggested I do? Learn musical theater choreography. What does that have to do with managing stress?”

Confused students were divided into groups of ten and instructed to stand on street corners around the city with signs and flyers advertising new Northwestern Medicine clinics. Others were sent to throw stuffed wildcats at University of Chicago clinics and sing “Something’s Coming” from West Side Story through the windows.

Kelsey McAfee complained, “I didn’t know that part of the PTTP curriculum would be to star in a musical. No, really. Dr. Agrawal told me I was randomly assigned to play Maria and to memorize my lines by next week. He said acting would help me find new skills and overcome ‘performance anxiety,’ which I think was used out of context.”

Interested readers can purchase tickets to the Feinberg production of West Side Story, running through February 4, on the Office of Medical Education website. Proceeds will go towards a block-long banner advertising Northwestern as “Chicago’s Premier (and only) Medical System.”

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