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Wanting Time Off Before Residency


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Hey,

I'm an MSI4 and, as I'm sure a lot of you are, am in the midst of starting my CaRMS applications and personal letters etc. 

The only problem is I'm exhausted. I know I signed up for this, I know this is what I should have expected but I genuinely just want a break. I have put so much time and energy into this goal and now I don't even know if I want this anymore and it is terrifying me. 

Has anyone ever taken a year off after 4th year before starting residency? Is this the stupidest thing you've ever heard of ? I'm too scared to bring this up to my friends because they're gonna tell me it's a horrible mistake (which is what my gut is telling me) but what do I do if the thought of doing this for the next 5 years makes me want to give up?

Any advice would be great.

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How competitive is the specialty that you're applying to? If you're serious about taking a year off, what would you plan to do during the year. Unfortunately I think if you take a year off just to chill, I would be worried about some programs falsely assuming that it was due to academic reasons or that you may not have the resilience to handle residency, which is in many ways significantly more exhausting than medical school. If you have a plan laid out and can explain your rationale in personal letters/interviews (e.g. if you're going for a graduate degree or some kind of unique employment opportunity) then I think it could work out and possibly even in your favour.

But beyond that, really think about if you need a whole year off. I know 4th year is really tiring with the combination of clinical duties + studying + CaRMS but it does get easier after the CaRMS process. After matching, you already essentially have a few months of downtime before residency starts (although admittedly this may be shortened due to COVID delaying the process this year). For most people that is plenty of time to de-stress.

Good luck with with the path you choose! Medical school is a long haul  but the silver lining is that you are nearing the finish line.

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Carms and electives is a process that typically burns out even the most resilient individuals, and COVID on top of that isn’t helping.

 

from my experience however, after the match you have few months of pretty stress-free time, not to mention the two months of vacation post lmcc you ll have before July 1. I felt very burnt out through CaRMS, but that few months after match really rejuvenated me so unless there is a specific reason to wanting a full year off, I feel like most people will be fine (again, only my opinion and not sure how others feel)

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18 hours ago, 1998 said:

Hey,

I'm an MSI4 and, as I'm sure a lot of you are, am in the midst of starting my CaRMS applications and personal letters etc. 

The only problem is I'm exhausted. I know I signed up for this, I know this is what I should have expected but I genuinely just want a break. I have put so much time and energy into this goal and now I don't even know if I want this anymore and it is terrifying me. 

Has anyone ever taken a year off after 4th year before starting residency? Is this the stupidest thing you've ever heard of ? I'm too scared to bring this up to my friends because they're gonna tell me it's a horrible mistake (which is what my gut is telling me) but what do I do if the thought of doing this for the next 5 years makes me want to give up?

Any advice would be great.

My advice is don't go that route in your best long term interests. Yes residency is grueling, you are always learning as you prepare for the next stage. You've come this far, you can do the rest! On the basis that your intent is to enter the profession, suck it up and do what is coming next! There is no other reasonable alternative. Thousands of us have done this, you can too. :P

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You're basically signing up to go unmatched for a year so you can relax. If you're doing family med, path it's probably doable to match somewhere the year after.

If anything else, you're just adding onto the stress the year after when you have to face the reality of possibly being unmatched "for the first time" (and in the eyes of many programs, for the second time).

Honestly if I were you I'd consider applying to another specialty if the one you're looking at makes you want to give up already.

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If you absolutely have to take time off for mental health then talk to your med school to take a LOA and defer graduation a year. Applying after YOG is an automatic red flag as it usually implies that you didn't match. You will be expected to explain, and using the excuse that you were tired after med school is going to be pretty lethal for most programs looking at how you will cope in a generally much more intense residency

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I agree with many of the above comments. Your health comes first and you should take a leave of absence if truly needed. No job is worth your health. However, you have to carefully navigate this situation as playing your cards wrong is a huge red flag to many residency programs. On the other hand if you take a leave of absence during residency I believe you may need to explain that on your annual registration forms which may be a greater hassle. There's no good solution to the fact that medicine is just a grind at times.

If you don't finish residency your options are rather limited so I would advise trying to choose a path that maximizes your chances of matching first and foremost.

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I'm MS-4 as well. I feel you OP. I also want a break. I don't I will need a year though (at least that's what I tell myself). It's likely we will get a few months off though, which I am hoping is enough to recharge. But this year is truly exhausting. More so than third year, I think because we didn't get a break between third and fourth year at my school. Just went straight ahead.

 

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I remember this time well. 
I had the thought if I don’t get around to finishing my application then I don’t have to worry about matching abs can relax for a year. 
I snapped out of it and it was the right thing to do. I’m sure it’s tough in a 4 year school...think about your fellow clerks in 3 year schools (like me) who were totally beat!

sleep away Xmas holidays if you can. Take a short LOA AFTER CARMS if you must (I actually did end up needing a brief medical leave myself—I wasn’t alone in that!).

I am strongly on the side of don’t delay residency unless forced to by being unmatched or deathly ill. Residency is better than med school and comes with choose your own vacation—if you still need it by the time July rolls around you can always schedule some early on in.

Take care

LL

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