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Questions about school/life balance at McGill


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For those who currently attend McGill or recently graduated, I had some questions for you. I’m a parent and I’m hoping to get into McGill this cycle (like everyone else here lol) and I was wondering at what point in the program does the schedule get more demanding. For example, my kids go to bed at 7:30pm, so at what point in the program will I likely be home after they’re asleep, and will this be on a full time basis? What about weekends/evenings/nights? I heard the first two years are mostly classes but I’m just trying to see if med is something that will be really hard for me to manage as a parent or if it’s doable (with a lot of support). Also, do you know if McGill is accommodating at all for parents in terms of scheduling during clerkship (ie preference for days versus evenings/nights). I’m not expecting them to be but just curious. If you prefer to DM me that would be fine, although I know a few others who would be interested to know the answers as well. Thank you! :) (Also I know residency is a completely different thing to discuss, I’m just curious about med school for now). 

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Hi! There a many parents in my cohort, some of them had kids before med school and others during med school. You're right, the schedule over the first 2 years is pretty good in terms of lifestyle. During clerkship, you're requiered to do 1 month of rural family medicine, which means you might be unable to see your family during 4 weeks if you end up in Val d'or, but they also have sites that are closer to Montreal such as Valleyfield - however, there is no guarantee that you'll get a stage near Montreal. Otherwise, schedule varies a lot depending on your rotation. Family medicine is pretty much 8-16h most of the time, whereas in General surgery you need to be in hospital at 5h30 and you're not out before 18h on most days. On most of hospital based rotations, you'll have some on-call weekend days here and there, but nothing too crazy. In some rotations like IM and peds, you get some mandatory evening shifts, and a couple of night shifts in Obs-gyn. In any case, it's absolutely doable, although it definetly is an additional challenge that most of your collegues won't have. It's up to you to see if it fits you! I hope this is helpful :) 

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@Elgar thanks so much this helps a lot :) How long is each rotation roughly and are they 5 days a week? And so as of 3rd and 4th year you have these rotations, but are there also classes? How is the year set up? Is it like, you do classes, then one rotation then classes again and a different rotation? Or do you just do back to back different rotations. Definitely sounds like it will be doable but lots of work and support. Thanks again, sorry for all of the follow up questions! 

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1 hour ago, ceelbe said:

@Elgar thanks so much this helps a lot :) How long is each rotation roughly and are they 5 days a week? And so as of 3rd and 4th year you have these rotations, but are there also classes? How is the year set up? Is it like, you do classes, then one rotation then classes again and a different rotation? Or do you just do back to back different rotations. Definitely sounds like it will be doable but lots of work and support. Thanks again, sorry for all of the follow up questions! 

Core rotations are 8 weeks, but almost all blocks are subdivided in smaller blocks. To go back to fam med example, it's an 8 weeks block, with 4 weeks rural and 4 weeks urban. You also have selectives in some of the core rotations, so in core surgery, you do 4 weeks of general surgery and 2 weeks x2 in subspecialties (like ortho, urology, etc). Similarly, in the pediatric 8 weeks block, you can do selectives in NICU, adolescent medicine, etc. Electives can be 2, 3 or 4 weeks.

In clerkship there is almost no stability in your schedule beyond the 2 weeks mark haha so yes it'll need a lot of support! And there are very few classes, usually it's a half day per week where you are free from clinical duties, and few simulated activities once in a while. Otherwise, you are expected at clinics/hospitals! There is also a policy on absences and leaves (you can google it for more info), where basically you can ask in advance for absences provided it's approved and that you don't miss more than 25% of the course (this is very tricky sometime). There are also sick days that you can use without prior notice, but again the 25% rule apply.

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5 hours ago, Elgar said:

Hi! There a many parents in my cohort, some of them had kids before med school and others during med school. You're right, the schedule over the first 2 years is pretty good in terms of lifestyle. During clerkship, you're requiered to do 1 month of rural family medicine, which means you might be unable to see your family during 4 weeks if you end up in Val d'or, but they also have sites that are closer to Montreal such as Valleyfield - however, there is no guarantee that you'll get a stage near Montreal. Otherwise, schedule varies a lot depending on your rotation. Family medicine is pretty much 8-16h most of the time, whereas in General surgery you need to be in hospital at 5h30 and you're not out before 18h on most days. On most of hospital based rotations, you'll have some on-call weekend days here and there, but nothing too crazy. In some rotations like IM and peds, you get some mandatory evening shifts, and a couple of night shifts in Obs-gyn. In any case, it's absolutely doable, although it definetly is an additional challenge that most of your collegues won't have. It's up to you to see if it fits you! I hope this is helpful :) 

Did any women in your cohort have children while in school? Did they take mat leave and return to finish school afterwards?

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