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Any other clerks incredibly burnt out right now?


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I'm really tired. I'm barely going through the motions in terms of clinical stuff. Academically I feel like I've lost any ability to learn new information, and I'm pretty sure I failed my last exam. The stakes for failing an exam at U of T are ridiculously high and faculty has confirmed on multiple occasions that they will not be doing anything to ease the load, despite the fact that our class's failure rate is double the usual rate and students have been asking for support for literally months. 

I'm supposed to start surgery this week and I'm so filled with dread. I don't know how to survive the next 4 months of CC3 and then go straight into electives and somehow try to impress people. Just really tired and frustrated because I feel like it doesn't need to be this hard.

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A lot of people at my non-ON university feel this way, if it's any comfort. Similarly, if it's any comfort, I dreaded surgery and ended up being yelled at exactly 0 times (in fact, attendings + residents + nurses + other staff were all super nice to me), so it's not a rule that your experience must suck. Having said that, this is a terrible time to be a med student, with most of our healthier ways of coping (gym, meeting friends) unavailable to us.

I think you might benefit from taking it easy as much as you can for the first week of surg, and just making sure you're getting enough sleep and exercise: for me, that meant going to bed by 9 so I could be up in time to make it to rounds, and taking a 15min walk outside after finishing for the day. If you want to study in that week because you're afraid you'll fall behind, use something like online meded while making/eating food or surgery 101 podcasts while driving.

 

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I felt the exact same last year, however I did not go to UofT and our school is quite relaxed when it comes to examinations (so did not have this added pressure as well). If it's any consolation, you are not alone. I hated a lot of clerkship too. It too will pass in time. Almost there.

The benefits of a surgery rotation are that your responsibilities are minimal in the OR aside from retracting and getting pimped. Rounding is quick and I feel the culture in general surgery is changing. Most residents were quite nice.

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On 5/23/2021 at 3:09 PM, mew said:

I'm really tired. I'm barely going through the motions in terms of clinical stuff. Academically I feel like I've lost any ability to learn new information, and I'm pretty sure I failed my last exam. The stakes for failing an exam at U of T are ridiculously high and faculty has confirmed on multiple occasions that they will not be doing anything to ease the load, despite the fact that our class's failure rate is double the usual rate and students have been asking for support for literally months. 

I'm supposed to start surgery this week and I'm so filled with dread. I don't know how to survive the next 4 months of CC3 and then go straight into electives and somehow try to impress people. Just really tired and frustrated because I feel like it doesn't need to be this hard.

CC3 rotations are the worst. Not only do you work 80+ hours in general surgery but you also need to study for your exams. Paul Bolin/Osmosis/surger101 podcasts and videos are super helpful for gen surgery. Also feel free to PM you and I will share with you my Gen surgery high yield notes :)  You are almost done with CC3 and that's amazing.  Electives are much easier and you don't have to worry about exams during electives, you are almost there :)

 

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You are definitely not alone. I relate to your last paragraph hard. My school only started clerkship in Jan 2021 and I already feel I'm on the train to burn out real fast, but there's no way to hop off. We get a week 'off' from clinical duties in August and we are ALL very much looking forward to it. But a whole week off right about now would've been wonderful. It's getting to the point where I'm looking forward to block exam days because it means it means I'll prob get the afternoon off. But hey at least we get mandatory wellness meetings where they make sure we're not suicidal and tell us exercise and nutrition are important.

I'm sorry you're having a rough go right now. Someone else was complaining about how poorly UofT has handled adjusting their expectations of learners during the pandemic on **DELETED**; it sounds like you guys are getting the short end of the stick.

All I can say is, if you get any personal days at your disposal, don't be afraid to use them.

 

 

 

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I know this will sound super lame, but assuming you have no aspiration in surgery or need their LOR, if you lower their expectation, you might get a bit more slack. When the senior resident/staff ask you what specialty you want, just say something like psych/pathology/public health etc, and a lot of times instantly they become disinterested in you and just tell you to hold the retractor and never ask you a question again, worked like a charm when I didn't want to be grilled in the OR at 7pm haha.

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3 hours ago, shikimate said:

I know this will sound super lame, but assuming you have no aspiration in surgery or need their LOR, if you lower their expectation, you might get a bit more slack. When the senior resident/staff ask you what specialty you want, just say something like psych/pathology/public health etc, and a lot of times instantly they become disinterested in you and just tell you to hold the retractor and never ask you a question again, worked like a charm when I didn't want to be grilled in the OR at 7pm haha.

https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/521fbf3ee4b0eadbe918441e/1509654929431-2VAFR6R3Z669YV7HEV2K/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kFitVLlCHWWWXBq9M-YKMD9Zw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWhcwhEtWJXoshNdA9f1qD7Xj1nVWs2aaTtWBneO2WM-tdQO6SS0j2gAmvawSNOjcHhmEoyutdQk94cOMWlYsBQg/images.jpg

Seriously, just say that you're more interested in clinic.

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4 hours ago, shikimate said:

I know this will sound super lame, but assuming you have no aspiration in surgery or need their LOR, if you lower their expectation, you might get a bit more slack. When the senior resident/staff ask you what specialty you want, just say something like psych/pathology/public health etc, and a lot of times instantly they become disinterested in you and just tell you to hold the retractor and never ask you a question again, worked like a charm when I didn't want to be grilled in the OR at 7pm haha.

If you want to do something competitive, I would caution against this. Residents talk and demonstrating a good work ethic on rotations you are not interested in is a good predictor of a hard working residents. Conversely, doing poorly on rotations you are not interested in is a red flag. I can confirm that on the selection committee for a small competitive specialty, this did play somewhat of a role. That being said, don't burn yourself out. Wellness is important and ensuring you are healthy enough to continue to succeed is important.

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10 hours ago, shikimate said:

Oh yeah you guys are absolutely right, for people who are gunning for something, they gotta work 996/007, perform like lang lang and practice like ling ling 40 hours a day. But honestly sounds like OP is just trying to keep their head barely above water and not drown, so we're talking survival mode lol.

Agreed. My advice was more for others who would stumble upon this page. For OP, if you are in survival mode then you need to do what you need to do for self preservation.

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