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  1. Hi all! Please forgive me if what I'm about to share is known to most of you, but after a disappointing experience with a SL "medical school," I wanted to share what I've learned in case there are others like me out there who are eager to get involved in medical RP and are considering paying to attend a medical school to get started. I signed up for a medical school in large part because I was eager to learn quality skills and because every clinic I went to wouldn't hire me unless I had "school" or experience. Hence, I think new people like me can be easily convinced that to be considered good at medical RP and sought after, they must pay for some sort of medical school. The pitch was that lots of people claimed to be good doctors, but this school was the best one for learning how to be the best SL doctor (or nurse, or admin, etc) out there. Sincerely wanting to learn how RPing worked in SL, I fell for it. These are some general things I wish I had truly considered before I paid for schooling and accepted the major time commitment: 1. Your "diploma" likely doesn't mean anything to future employers - As much as I was told this school would teach me "how it's done" across SL, the reality is, after talking to several different hospital and clinic owners, here's the bottom line: Your diploma doesn't mean anything to anyone outside of those associated with the school where you bought it. No person looking to hire you is going to trust that you know what you're doing for their clinic or place of business simply because someone else they've never met decided you were good enough. 2 If you want realism with creativity, you're better off googling it - I never expected my instructors to have RL medical training, but I did expect them to encourage outside research and realistic detail. Instead, students were expected to literally copy and paste information from lessons to do their homework assignments, which is not only lazy, but also plagiarism. Lessons contained limited or downright inaccurate medical or RP knowledge, and students received lower grades if they incorporated outside research and details with references. 3. You will be graded, but don't expect them to make sense - In short, you will only learn as much as your instructors know, and if they don't know a lot about medicine or what it means to be a teacher, you may find yourself confused and frustrated by your grades. You may receive a comment like, "This was good, but some words need changing." That's fine as long as you know which words the instructor is talking about. When you ask for specifics, you shouldn't be told to figure it out for yourself. A number of us had points taken for things we were never told to do in the first place, and considering instructions were given in text, that's not hard to establish, yet we were often told we "just weren't listening well enough." 4. .The equipment and procedures you learn at "school" may be completely different where you hope to work - Every clinic or hospital has their own procedures and equipment, and depending on where you hope to work, you may spend a lot of time unlearning things you may be told are standard. For example, where I work now, our equipment is all custom made, which means none of what I learned in school applied to the equipment I actually use. Ask yourself if you're prepared to undergo re-training later and if that's worth a four to six week commitment now. 5. It's about the $$$ - Unless you're well-established in SL and just happen to decide to attend medical school, you're probably a newbie with limited funds. 1000L of tuition for a month's worth of classes may not be a lot in the long run, but for a newbie trying to earn Linden on a free account, that isn't an insignificant amount...and surprise! It's actually 1050L because you must wear their uniforms to attend. Expect to pay again if you fail or miss more than 2 classes (Not unreasonable per se, but not something said upfront before purchase either) 6. Be prepared to spend more time inworld than advertised - The school was promoted as a three night per week commitment, with each session lasting about an hour. What we weren't told until after we signed up, is Hands on Training (HOT) with the equipment was done either on the other two nights of the week or right after class. Depending on the number of people in class, which in the beginning was about 6, class itself could be up to two hours, not even counting HOT... Homework was given every class day and sometimes required going places to observe, if you were lucky to find a place, that is. In short, don't trust the advertisement and ask questions about the time commitment. I was told the extra time required was implied in the "and more" part of the advertisement, as in, "You will learn X, Y, Z, and more..." 7. To be "certified," you must complete an internship of approximately 40 hours. You can graduate without it but that doesn't mean you're "cleared" to work anywhere independently until the Dean signs off on your hours of shadowing someone else. Where do you do that? At her clinic of course! Unless, that is, you manage to find a clinic who'll let you work as a doctor with your (sorta) diploma. See #1. Maybe what I've offered is a no brainer to most of you. I readily acknowledge I was naive and just eager to learn, and I'm prepared for the tomatoes that might get thrown my way for being so naive, but if I can help one person with this, all of that will be worth it. My advice? A. Learn basic role-play first. There are lots of classes and friendly sims out there that will allow you to observe RP before you associate with a school. Observation was actually harder once I was in school because people thought I was spying for another clinic or the school itself. B. Ask yourself what you want from medical RP and identify where you want to work so you know what's expected. That way, you can tailor your learning to a specific clinic or hospital. If you express a sincere desire to learn what's needed for your dream job, people will be more inclined to help or at least point you in the right direction. Demanding to be a doctor or simply calling yourself one when you have no clue what to do will turn people off. I was honest with people and I periodically stopped by my desired clinic to show I was still in SL and still interested. C. Join a SL group for medical role-play - There are several, and some are mostly used for sexual RP, but keep reaching out because there ARE people who will train you and let you observe them if you are polite and sincere. Thanks for reading my semi-ramble, ~Lori
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