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New student guide

From Radiological Sciences

Our offices are located on the 6th floor of the Medical School building. See the campus map to find RII, CTRC, and other related locations.
Our offices are located on the 6th floor of the Medical School building. See the campus map to find RII, CTRC, and other related locations.

So you have matriculated into the program. Welcome!

Now what? Where to go from here? What to do? How to plan? This page is meant to be a rough guide to help newly admitted students to find their way around here, once they plan to move here.


Contents

[edit] Transportation to and from the Med Center?

If you dont have a vehicle, the easiest way to get from the Airport to the Medical Center, where the school is located at, is via Taxi. Cabs are stationed immediately outside the terminal arrival gates (lower level) at the airport. A typical Airport-Med Center fare shouldnt cost you more than $25. If youre shuttling with someone else, it should be cheaper. There is no bus service directly from the airport to the area. But if youre going to be in the city for only a few days (visiting or looking around for options before moving here), renting a car will overall turn out cheaper. I'd recommend Alamo.

San Antonio does have a traffic problem, especially around Loop-410 and especially in the rush hours (8-9AM and 5-6PM). So planing where you want to live and how far is it feasible to commute is quite an important consideration.

Parking is a problem on campus, and often many students end up getting alloted parking spaces within a 10 minute walking distance of the Radiological Sciences labs (particularly during the first 2 years here). Some students prefer to live right next to campus (to eliminate the traffic and commute), while others prefer commuting.

If you dont own a vehicle, I would recommend that you start thinking about one. San Antonio is a large city, with spread-out places of interest. Public transportation isn't that big around here, and so it isn't feasible for many UTHSCSA students (time-wise speaking) to live here without a car. Especially if you will be taking classes in downtown (like the DX-1 labs for example). The most I've seen a Medical Physics student endure here without a car, was for 2 years. The campus itself is so big that they have shuttle services between buildings every hour or so in working hours.

[edit] Weather?

Remember to make use of the unique things South Texas has to offer! The Hill Country is a must-see, in my opinion. This view is within one hour driving distance of the campus.
Remember to make use of the unique things South Texas has to offer! The Hill Country is a must-see, in my opinion. This view is within one hour driving distance of the campus.

The weather here is generally considered well on the warm side. We generally have 6 months of summer (you can swim outside up until mid-October), and 6 months of cooler climate. No real winters. It never snows here.

The humidity varies here. Sometimes it is steamy humid (like Houston), sometimes it is dry. We get modest amounts of rainfall every year. Not too much, but enough to sustain the beautiful Hill Country.

The weather is considered "hot" here by many people. Yet it does have a pleasant balance to it that other large similar cities dont. The air doesnt boil with humidity (as for example Houston often does), or bake in the summers (like Dallas). Especially after residing here after 1-2 years, many people find that the "hot" weather grows on you, and they get used to it, and some even end up liking it (like me). Perhaps, it is a combination of the Hill Country and the outdoorsy culture of San Antonio (e.g. The RiverWalk) that wins over many people.

[edit] Which side is the "good" side of town?

Although highly subjective and variable, it is generally believed by many that the Northwest side of town (i.e. outside of loop 410), is considered among the best parts of town. The Medical Center itself is in the area, and you can find good to excellent residential areas from the I-10/I-410 interchange, all the way up to Boerne along I-10. Some people however consider areas such as Alamo Heights and Olmos Park as also high end neighborhoods. Outside loop 1604, and around hwy 281, there are also many good areas in the north side of the city, but many students consider them a bit far for commuting.

[edit] Proximity to other cities?

The university often brings in some good speakers. Make sure to attend these, even if they're not directly relevant to your interests, or even if youre not required to attend. These lectures give you a good idea of in what general direction youre headed in your career. (Youll often see the ads in the hallways). Seen here is the Nobel Laureate Michael Brown in our auditorium. Mario Capecchi, Bill Hendee, and "Patch Adams" are other notable speakers Ive seen in the past few years here.
The university often brings in some good speakers. Make sure to attend these, even if they're not directly relevant to your interests, or even if youre not required to attend. These lectures give you a good idea of in what general direction youre headed in your career. (Youll often see the ads in the hallways). Seen here is the Nobel Laureate Michael Brown in our auditorium. Mario Capecchi, Bill Hendee, and "Patch Adams" are other notable speakers Ive seen in the past few years here.

In terms of driving distance, we are 3 hours from Houston, 3 hours from Corpus Christi (and The Gulf of Mexico), 2 hours from the Mexican border (Laredo), and 1 hour away from Austin. This is good if you have collaborators in projects (for example in Houston or Austin), or if you have special needs that San Antonio might not have. For example, Houston has direct flights to many cities worldwide (that other airports dont have), so you wont have to switch planes 2 or 3 times when traveling. (For example, a highly convenient thing for me has been the fact that Houston has non-stop flights to Dubai, so I wont have to go through Europe)

[edit] Any international communities?

San Antonio does have a rather small, but existing international group of communities. The city is largely Latino populated to begin with, so there is a very strong aura of a colorful Latino culture present here, but there are large groups of Asian communities (Chinese and Japanese in particular), and there is also a sizeable Middle Eastern community in the Medical Center vicinity as well. Overall, the population here is quite mixed and cosmopolitan, comfortable for many tastes.

Here are some possible starting points:

[edit] How expensive is this place?

Compared to other large cities, San Antonio is quite affordable. You can still find 1-BR apartments next to the medical center for ~ $500/month.

For traveling, I usually use Southwest Airlines for most of my personal traveling needs, since they (in my opinion) tend to be more comfortable, and better priced. If you book early, and frequently check their specials, you can find really low fares (like one-way fares for sometimes even $20-30) on their website. But there are other competitive airlines here as well.

[edit] What professional organizations should I join?

The AAPM (and SWAAPM) is the first and foremost organization that you should join, as soon as you become a Medical Physics grad student. Other organizations to join or keep an eye on (for attending conferences and giving talks) are ACMP, ASTRO, ISMRM, RSNA, and SPIE. Of course it also depends on which track youre in. Consult the senior students in this matter for the best options.

[edit] Places to shop?

Opinions differ obviously, but I find that if one considers overall both the quality and price, H-E-B (a locally owned chain, similar in quality to "Kroger's"), is the best place to buy your routine groceries. Walmart is too far from campus, and usually overcrowded. The closest H-E-Bs to campus are on I-10 and Wuzbach, and Babcock and Huebner.

The closest shopping malls are the NorthStar Mall, The Shops at LaCantera (which is among the most expensive places to shop in town), and Ingram Mall.

If youre really looking into shopping designer brands at a bargain, The San Marcos Outlet Malls (located 40 minutes north of San Antonio) should satisfy your urging shopping cravings. I've been told that the prices they offer for their designer top-of-the-line name-brands have made this shopping outlet, "one of the world's best".(according the Austin Business Journal)

Cheapest gas station: usually is located at 410 and Evers. But I often check this website too.

[edit] Where are the closest apartments to campus?

Many students eventually prefer to commute, but here is a list of the closest apartments I know of:

San Antonio Station apartments
Legend:        Campus property        Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices        CTRC        RII        Location of the apartment complex        Adjacent hospitals
Legend:
     Campus property      Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices      CTRC      RII      Location of the apartment complex      Adjacent hospitals

This is probably the closest apartments to the main campus buildings. It is right across the street from the Dental School, and near the library. Rent can be found starting from just under the $500+ range (2008-2009 figures), but the quality is medium. Many foreign students however live here, because of the proximity.

Broadstone on Medical
Legend:        UTHSCSA Campus        Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices        CTRC        RII        Adjacent hospitals        Location of the apartment complex
Legend:
     UTHSCSA Campus      Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices      CTRC      RII      Adjacent hospitals      Location of the apartment complex

This is a good choice if you will be woring at CTRC or CCRI, or RII. It is right across the street from the medical center's Post Office, and near the University Hospital. Rent can be found starting from the $500+ range (2008-2009 figures), but the quality is medium. Specifically, alot of students think it's pretty noisy. Still, the closeness is a big advantage.

Medical center Apartments
Legend:        UTHSCSA Campus        Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices        CTRC        RII        Adjacent hospitals        Location of the apartment complex
Legend:
     UTHSCSA Campus      Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices      CTRC      RII      Adjacent hospitals      Location of the apartment complex

This is an apartment complex right behind the Broadstone apartments, but is a bit more expensive. Supposedly, in return for a more secluded area and better ameneties, it has higher prices, starting at the $600s. This is the closest apartments you will find to the RII and CCRI. Thats why it's very popular with Neuro-imaging students.

Deer Oaks Apartments
Legend:        UTHSCSA Campus        Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices        CTRC        RII        Adjacent hospitals        Location of the apartment complex
Legend:
     UTHSCSA Campus      Main Rad Sci classrooms and offices      CTRC      RII      Adjacent hospitals      Location of the apartment complex

This apartment complex is located at the Wuzbach-Babcock intersection right across the street from the McDonald's. It is a bit noisy, and medium quality, but has cheap pricing starting at the upper $400s. Some CTRC students have lived here.

There are other apartments close by, such as Las Cimas, Broadstone Colonnade, Signature Ridge, Carlyle Place, Hyperion Apartments, and La Mirage, but these are not within walking distance, but they are still a short drive, and you wont get stuck in traffic.

The UT Officle of Student Life also has (or at least used to have) a list of apartments and housing for rent, which it updates once a year or so. Email them and ask them to send you a copy of the list.

[edit] More questions?

A good Medical Physics student is a healthy Medical Physics student :-) Make use of the facilities we have on campus.
A good Medical Physics student is a healthy Medical Physics student :-) Make use of the facilities we have on campus.

If you have more questions that were not addressed here, drop our student rep a line! That's why she's there!

[edit] Other links

This page was written and compiled by Nima (a student as of 2009-2010), and it does not necessarily reflect any views of the department, faculty, or the school.

Updated October 2011

Retrieved from "https://radsci.uthscsa.edu/index.php?title=New_student_guide"

This page has been accessed 36,828 times. This page was last modified 12:32, 1 November 2011.


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