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On Hiking/Exploring Nature

Helen W., M1

St. Louis has so much to offer for nature reserves and outdoor activities. The Medical Campus is located right next to Forest Park, which is one of the largest urban parks in the U.S. (Yes, it is nearly 500 acres bigger than Central Park in New York City). It is easily accessible for jogging, picnicking, and meeting new friends with social distance. Within a 30-minute drive from campus, there are plenty of choices for hiking, such as Castlewood State Park, Rockwoods Reservation, and Cahokia Mounds (a prehistoric Native American city). One of my favorite hikes is at Pere Marquette State Park in Illinois. It is an hour away from St. Louis but features a terrific scenic drive along the Mississippi River, especially during peak foliage in late October. 

A group of M1s at Castlewood State Park in September

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On Playing Ultimate Frisbee®

Emma L., M1

One of the first things I did after deciding to go to Wash U was to google: “ultimate Frisbee® leagues in St. Louis.” I started playing ultimate Frisbee® in high school and it has been one of my favorite activities ever since. Although joining the broader St. Louis community ultimate scene has been put on hold due to COVID, I have been so excited by the number of people in our class who have shown interest in learning the sport! Forest Park is an amazing space to have right next to the school, and the perfect location for some socially distant throwing. Although Frisbee® this fall looked a little different than usual, it was still a super fun way to stay active, be outside, and meet people in the class. 

An M2 ultimate player has told me that there is an active St. Louis ultimate community that is super welcoming and inclusive of players of all abilities. They organize a range of opportunities to get involved, including pickup games in several locations, summer league, club, and youth development at local high schools. Ultimate Frisbee® is a fantastic sport and St. Louis is a great place to play. Everyone should give it a try!

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On Running

Ruple J., M1

If you’re a runner, St. Louis is the place to be. The city has so many beautiful parks and trails around where you can go for a run of any distance. Whether you want to be able to escape the heart of the city to go for your run, or you just want your run to be in your backyard, St. Louis has a fitting place for you. The hidden gem of this city, though, is most certainly Forest Park. For students living in the Central West End, The Grove, and other surrounding neighborhoods, this park is quite literally steps away. This beautiful park is a massive 1,300 acres and is full of surprises. Almost every time I go for a run, I find myself discovering a new path to follow. Forest Park has been an incredible asset for so many of us during this period of quarantine during COVID. Many of us have bonded by forming running pods of all speeds (quite literally we have a “fast” running group named “WUSM Running From Our Problems” and a “slow” running group named “Running Backwards”) and this has helped to keep us sane throughout the stresses of medical school. Also, there are so many other beautiful trails within a half-hour drive at Castlewood State Park, Weldon Spring Conservation Area, Cliff Cave County Park, Creve Coeur Lake, and so many other locations! Also, after COVID, many of us are looking forward to participating in the many races hosted in the city — including The Hot Chocolate 15K/5K, where you get some awesome swag and goodies, and the medal is a delicious, huge bar of chocolate! Whether you need to a quick study break or you’re training for a marathon, St. Louis parks have got you covered!

Group run in Forest Park
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On Starting a New Hobby

E’lysse S., M1

When you think of hobbies to take up when you move to Missouri, you don’t immediately think of rock climbing. While climbing in Missouri may not compare to out west, there are still a good number of opportunities to develop your skills. I’m from Florida, and have always wanted to get into rock climbing, and so I signed up for the ClimbRx discount at Climb SO iLL, the indoor climbing gym here in St. Louis. Through this new hobby, I’ve been able to make great friends and go on some really fun outdoor climbing trips. Starting a hobby from scratch is surprisingly easy here, since other students are so willing to offer help and even join you in taking up something new. I would highly suggest trying out different things and seeing what you might like — and even if it doesn’t stick, you’ll probably make some great friends and memories along the way!

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Ian M., M1

Lifting in med school is a lot easier than what I was expecting. With the flexibility in our schedules, you can gym before, after, or even during class if you’re feeling up to it. The Core gym is conveniently located and is a SICK gym with everything you would need for lifting and cardio. It’s also a place to run into your classmates, and meet other medical professional students that you normally never run into. When you are looking to flex on some young people, the Danforth Campus gym is a quick drive away and is a bigger, more open gym. I find deadlifting and Olympic movements easier to do at the Danforth Campus gym, since there are more platforms, but overall we have everything you could need to get jacked, lean, and everything in between.