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Pros and Cons of 3-Yr Program

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Hi Confluence,

As a student in Calgary I can speak to both sides. I will say that in any medical program you will receive excellent education and the friends of a lifetime. 

This is shorter than I would like, but ask more if you have specific questions.


- Become quite close with you group as you spend 3 years together and are there for everyone in your class through the highs and the lows. At Calgary Med, we have some pretty strong school spirit, with Jerseys, class groups, hockey and social events so that helps create the glue to support each other.

- If you have taken longer to get into medicine, it helps speed the process. For me it made sense because I was working before this so I just treated it as a job that has some, but minimal holiday. 

- By continuously learning the material, I find I continually reflect on the past knowledge, and use it to grow. This helped me keep more in touch with the info that I learned in the past year, with the hope of maintain strong knowledge and notes into clerkship.

- Speaking to our matches, we are just as competitive (if not often more competitive) because of our three year program. I chalk this up to the idea that since we have limited breaks, we also have no spaces to explain away in our resume when applying to CaRMS. Also we can directly speak to how we will handle the pressure in residency.


- You need to actively find ways to balance your life. I would suggest that unlike undergrad or 4 year medical programs where you can burn the candle at both ends for 8 months and then rest, you do need to actively seek ways to maintain wellness throughout your degree. This can be hard to sometimes remind yourself.

- Time WILL fly by. There is limited time to consider what type of specialty you would like, so you often need to start figuring this out quickly. I would suggest that four year programs give you a bit more time to contemplate this, but for Calgary, we have to figure out some of our pre-clerkship electives by 6-8 months in. I dealt with this by just spending the time before medicine (when I was working, etc) to really outline what impact I want to have for medicine/in my career, and then kinda built up from there.

- You will develop a serious addiction to the free candy in the SAW (student Affairs and Wellness Office). They are seriously the best people and usually will help you through any issue. I guess not downside, except for my belly.....


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