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zeja02

What is your lifestyle like in med school?

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Is it more of the same cutthroat rat race as undergrad or is there actually a life aspect to it. A lot of people seem to say it feels like "giving up your 20s", is there truth to this? Do you have time for yourself, to have fun, gym etc?

I ask because i've no-lifed it up to this point in undergrad and it got me a good mcat and gpa but left me down and burnt out never going to parties, events, bars etc.

Trying to make the most out of this last semester but hoping to have some fun in med school as well. The bar for "fun" is set pretty low for me given that i havent done anything but what are your thoughts?
 

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The first half (preclerkship) had lots of time for fun. There are times you had to study a lot, but largely this was the easiest time for me from undergrad through residency.  Because there are no grades, there tends to be almost no cutthroat-ness, and not too much competition.

Clerkship was a different beast.  I found it depended on the rotation.  I had no life about half the time, maybe more.  And carms becomes a stress by that point.  That being said, I still felt that it was less stress/busy-ness than undergrad at u of t.

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8 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

The first half (preclerkship) had lots of time for fun. There are times you had to study a lot, but largely this was the easiest time for me from undergrad through residency.  Because there are no grades, there tends to be almost no cutthroat-ness, and not too much competition.

Clerkship was a different beast.  I found it depended on the rotation.  I had no life about half the time, maybe more.  And carms becomes a stress by that point.  That being said, I still felt that it was less stress/busy-ness than undergrad at u of t.

first of all, go leafs; great shutout by mac and crossbar the other night.

 

Secondly, are you enjoying your life as a doctor overall, any regrets?

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I agree, preclerkship was really relaxed. Definitely less stressful than undergrad by a long shot. Clerkship is hit and miss. Some rotations - family was definitely one, and emerg - I had ridiculously good schedules and was able to have a lot of time to spend on my life outside of school. Slept well, relaxed. Surgery had the worst schedule by far and I feel like I basically didn’t see my husband or kids for the bulk of that six weeks.

 

I agree that the CaRMS application preparation period was stressful but life felt great again once that was done. I’m not stressed about interviews next month, though.

Honestly, I haven’t found med school that much worse than when I used to work regular jobs. I’m busy, sure, but it’s not like I wouldn’t be if I were not in med school. I have three kids; I like busy. 

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I can echo that preclerkship was a breeze. Lots of time to hang out with friends, family, SO, and enjoy your hobbies. The grades were P/F, and as long as you kept up with your reading you would pass. Clerkship in 3rd year was terrible. I didn't see anyone I was close to for long stretches at a time, and some of the residents and staff on certain rotations were borderline abusive. 4th year was great because I could choose what electives I wanted to do, and I personally found CaRMS fun because it allowed me to travel all across Canada. However, if you're going for an extremely competitive specialty or location I can see why it would be extremely stressful.

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2 hours ago, zeja02 said:

first of all, go leafs; great shutout by mac and crossbar the other night.

 

Secondly, are you enjoying your life as a doctor overall, any regrets?

Haha I agree.

And no regrets in the end!  Definitely some times in clerkship and residency where I hated my life a lot (1st year residency and final year with the exam were both brutal), but was worth it so far in the long run.  My hours are weirdly now better than a lot of my non medicine friends which seems crazy to say.

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5 minutes ago, goleafsgochris said:

Haha I agree.

And no regrets in the end!  Definitely some times in clerkship and residency where I hated my life a lot (1st year residency and final year with the exam were both brutal), but was worth it so far in the long run.  My hours are weirdly now better than a lot of my non medicine friends which seems crazy to say.

do you mind me asking what residency you went with and why

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4 hours ago, zeja02 said:

Is it more of the same cutthroat rat race as undergrad or is there actually a life aspect to it. A lot of people seem to say it feels like "giving up your 20s", is there truth to this? Do you have time for yourself, to have fun, gym etc?

I ask because i've no-lifed it up to this point in undergrad and it got me a good mcat and gpa but left me down and burnt out never going to parties, events, bars etc.

Trying to make the most out of this last semester but hoping to have some fun in med school as well. The bar for "fun" is set pretty low for me given that i havent done anything but what are your thoughts?
 

It depends on your year in medical school and strongly strongly strongly depends on what specialty you want and how picky you are about location especially as you get more senior. 

Preclerkship is going to allow you to have more of a life. You'll have more time than undergrad but also not tons of free time. The main stress is keeping up with the schoolwork rather than excelling, but the other stress is finding what specialty you want because...

People who want competitive specialties basically end up no-lifing it especially if they also have preferences for competitive locations. If you want a less competitive specialty and are not picky about location you will have time for fun, the gym etc. during most of medical school barring a few rotations, mainly IM and Surgery. Everything else is in between.

Clerkship tends to be a bit busier than preclerkship as a whole, and your hours are more irregular during clerkship, you might find yourself suddenly having free time on a Tuesday afternoon post-call and having to work on weekends and have no control over which weekends you work and which you don't. Clerkship also changes you, whereas once you were a happy, young innocent thing, after seeing what you see in clerkship, many become jaded, bitter and more serious as training goes on. 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Edict said:

It depends on your year in medical school and strongly strongly strongly depends on what specialty you want and how picky you are about location especially as you get more senior. 

Preclerkship is going to allow you to have more of a life. You'll have more time than undergrad but also not tons of free time. The main stress is keeping up with the schoolwork rather than excelling, but the other stress is finding what specialty you want because...

People who want competitive specialties basically end up no-lifing it especially if they also have preferences for competitive locations. If you want a less competitive specialty and are not picky about location you will have time for fun, the gym etc. during most of medical school barring a few rotations, mainly IM and Surgery. Everything else is in between.

Clerkship tends to be a bit busier than preclerkship as a whole, and your hours are more irregular during clerkship, you might find yourself suddenly having free time on a Tuesday afternoon post-call and having to work on weekends and have no control over which weekends you work and which you don't. Clerkship also changes you, whereas once you were a happy, young innocent thing, after seeing what you see in clerkship, many become jaded, bitter and more serious as training goes on. 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for your reply. A couple questions. 

 

1) Is there a list of relatively non-competitive vs competitive specialities

 

2) What kinds of things do you mean that make you jaded and bitter

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5 minutes ago, zeja02 said:

Thanks for your reply. A couple questions. 

 

1) Is there a list of relatively non-competitive vs competitive specialities

 

2) What kinds of things do you mean that make you jaded and bitter

1) I would just go to CaRMS and browse the match reports. In general, surgical specialties are moderately to very competitive, derm, emerg are very competitive. 

2) I'm not jaded or bitter, but if you mean as a whole, these things are hard to explain, they really need to be experienced to be understood

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14 hours ago, zeja02 said:

do you mind me asking what residency you went with and why

Neurology. Why is complicated haha there are pros and cons to every specialty you really need to experience them/ask many different people in them once you are in med school to decide.  Work/life balance, how much you make, how interested you are in the material, whether you like the day to day, are the things that play the biggest role for most people.

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Relative to residency - medical school is a breeze (and getting more so as time goes on). Your medical school experience will largely be dictated by the type of person you are and your specialty interests. Some students have difficulty adjusting to no longer being 'the best'. Some would sacrifice family members to win awards in medical school. More competitive specialties tend to increase work/anxiety/stress levels amongst the 'gunners.' Medical school is really what YOU make it. Residency is another beast all together but again the pain depends on the specialty. If you are doing anything surgical (and I mean anything - there is no such thing as 'lifestyle friendly' surgical specialties - that relates more to being staff) you are in for a difficult ride.  

Current attending in 'lifestyle' surgical specialty.

 

PMD

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1 hour ago, PilotMD said:

Relative to residency - medical school is a breeze (and getting more so as time goes on). Your medical school experience will largely be dictated by the type of person you are and your specialty interests. Some students have difficulty adjusting to no longer being 'the best'. Some would sacrifice family members to win awards in medical school. More competitive specialties tend to increase work/anxiety/stress levels amongst the 'gunners.' Medical school is really what YOU make it. Residency is another beast all together but again the pain depends on the specialty. If you are doing anything surgical (and I mean anything - there is no such thing as 'lifestyle friendly' surgical specialties - that relates more to being staff) you are in for a difficult ride.  

Current attending in 'lifestyle' surgical specialty.

 

PMD

This is a bit surgery specific though.  I found clerkship to be harder than most (except for parts if 1st and 5th year) of my residency, mostly due to the stress, uncertainty, and lack of knowledge/feeling of incompetence.  

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1 hour ago, goleafsgochris said:

This is a bit surgery specific though.  I found clerkship to be harder than most (except for parts if 1st and 5th year) of my residency, mostly due to the stress, uncertainty, and lack of knowledge/feeling of incompetence.  

Yes - that's a good point. Though stress, uncertainty and lack of knowledge/feelings of incompetence are commonplace in residency as well. Again, in my opinion it comes down to the individual. I had classmates that found clerkship relatively easy while others struggled. The same can be said for residency, though on average, in my experience I would say that most find residency more 'challenging' than clerkship. In the end med school/residency/practice is what you make it - your choices/attitudes/etc. can significantly alter your experiences. My advice to the original poster - try not to make your medical experiences the same 'cutthroat rat race' you experienced in undergrad. Work hard, be nice to everyone/easy to work with and enjoy the ride. 

 

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Preclerkship was very chill. I never attended class and studied on my own schedule. I had tons of time to do hobbies and lots of exercise. I also attended UofT for undergrad as goleafsgochris did and found it to be a huge burnout.

As others have said, clerkship has been different. I'm in a 3 year program with essentially no breaks. I'm very exhausted right now leading into the holidays and feel physically awful. I've exercised when I've had the time (and motivation<--mostly this). I've found when I've had downtime, I really just want to do absolutely nothing and sleep. Also, poor nutrition. Tons of eating out. I don't think I cooked for almost 5 months and I love cooking. Surgery, MTU/internal in general, obs/gyn have all been very tiring on a baseline work/hours level. Then, you have unnecessary busywork projects that take hours on top of your clinical duties, the necessity to study for exams, and CaRMS (which is a massive and fairly stressful time-suck) on top of it. Family, Psych have been very chill. I've yet to do peds and emerg/anesthesia. I expect peds to be fairly heavy. 

So, it's been a mix. Overall though, I'm pretty exhausted right now and feel physically horrible. I'm very thankful for the 2-ish weeks of holidays even though work will need to be done for CaRMS interviews and research projects. Pace yourself and enjoy preclerkship while there's that opportunity.

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^^^ yeah I had a very similar experience to you, both in terms of med school and undergrad it sounds like.  Others disagreed, but I for sure found that the exams/study requirements made clerkship worse than much of residency.  Like there were times especially in R1 where my residency hours were brutal, but I was also off-service and could kind of put in my time and then go home and forget about it.  I did basically no studying as an R1 except the few months I was with my home specialty.  Some others found the stress of "real decisions" as a resident bothered them, but I never found that too stressful.  I guess I'm saying it does for the most part improve after clerkship (if you have my experience)

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1 hour ago, goleafsgochris said:

^^^ yeah I had a very similar experience to you, both in terms of med school and undergrad it sounds like.  Others disagreed, but I for sure found that the exams/study requirements made clerkship worse than much of residency.  Like there were times especially in R1 where my residency hours were brutal, but I was also off-service and could kind of put in my time and then go home and forget about it.  I did basically no studying as an R1 except the few months I was with my home specialty.  Some others found the stress of "real decisions" as a resident bothered them, but I never found that too stressful.  I guess I'm saying it does for the most part improve after clerkship (if you have my experience)

This really highlights the point - that experiences in medical training really depend on the individual. Some individuals will struggle through clerkship for various reasons, others not so much. In general, I think we can all agree that clerkship is much more difficult than the first two years for reasons highlighted above. Residency experiences also depend on the individual - if you match pathology, for example, your life may be much better relative to clerkship (no more surgical hours, endless rounding on internal medicine, shift work in the emergency department, etc). If your matching to something surgical - your life will be much more difficult. However, the impact on the individual will depend on the individual him/herself - surgical folk would, in general, hate their lives if they had to stare down microscopes, engage in 20 min discussions about the causes of hypokalemia, etc. compared to putting in 12-14 hour days doing surgical things. The opposite is true of internists, pathologists, etc.

 

I was personally much more busy in residency training. On average, I was preparing between 10-15 presentations every year (half days, journal clubs, research, grand rounds), preparing for practice exams (aka - studying) which included a quiz at every half day (every week), full OSCE 2x per year and a standardized written exam every year. In addition was the principals of surgery course culminating in a royal college exam at the end of second year of residency; oh, and I also had to write the LMCC part II half-way through second year as well. This is in addition to actually learning how to become a surgeon. Added stress was the fact that residency is, in actual fact, a (insert length of residency here - ie. 5 year) job interview - so you actually need to work hard and impress some people. Guess what's waiting for you at the end of residency - the biggest exam of your life. Sprinkle in the stress of securing fellowships, future jobs and research commitments (we had to present one project every year of residency). Plus I was balancing spending time with my wife and kids. So yeah, residency was way more difficult than clerkship. BUT, it was way more fun, because I was doing the things I wanted to do. 

Everyone's experience will be different. Again, in one man's experience (mine), most I have chatted with found residency more demanding, though much more enjoyable. It's what you make it (choices, attitude, etc). Will you get to 'smash' more in residency - YOLO would say yes, though in my experience when someone users a descriptor such as 'smash' to make a particular point, there is little to no smashin actually happening. Again, just an observation from an old dog.

PMD

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1 hour ago, PilotMD said:

 

Everyone's experience will be different. Again, in one man's experience (mine), most I have chatted with found residency more demanding, though much more enjoyable. It's what you make it (choices, attitude, etc). Will you get to 'smash' more in residency - YOLO would say yes, though in my experience when someone users a descriptor such as 'smash' to make a particular point, there is little to no smashin actually happening. Again, just an observation from an old dog.

PMD

well the number of sti checks i do each month has gone up a lot. god bless family docs and me supplementing their incomes :)

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On 12/12/2017 at 8:11 PM, #YOLO said:

my residency life is way better. chillin more. working out more. getting paid. smashin more. its great.

what residency did you get into, if you dont mind me asking

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4 hours ago, #YOLO said:

well the number of sti checks i do each month has gone up a lot. god bless family docs and me supplementing their incomes :)

zeja02 - I'm offended that you didn't ask me the same question....:D

YOLO - keep up the good work. GP's gotta eat!

 

PMD

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Hi zeja02,

I can understand why you'd be concerned since a lot of people who want to go into medicine might not get to experience a lot of the things that other students get to do more regularly. Fear not, though! I just wrapped up my first term of second year, and I can promise you that there is plenty of time for socializing and spending time with all the friends you'll have in medicine. I would say that medicine is not the "cut-throat" environment that "pre-med" can be; all of my classmates are incredibly collegial and there are always people going above and beyond to help one another do well. One certainly needs to be organized and keep up with things, but I can very easily manage the work load and still have time to do things that I enjoy such as going to the gym four times a week, cooking meals for myself every night, and extra-curricular soccer and basketball with classmates and clerks.

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4 hours ago, NLengr said:

Residency fucking sucked ass. If I was given the choice between repeating residency or getting both of my nuts crushed in a vice, I'd take the vice every time. At least the pain would be over relatively quickly.

Surgeon-like typing detected. 

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