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Does it (med school) get better?


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I'm in first year at U of T...I was wondering if someone who had difficulty or disliked the preclerkship years could tell me (assure me?) that it gets better?

 

I've found first year to be draining and extremely difficult at U of T - I don't have a huge extensive background in basic sciences, so this may have made things even more difficult.

 

I still really like the clinical parts that we have learned, I still want to be a doctor, and I am still motivated to work very hard. This year, however, has been quite discouraging. I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that someone went through the same thing and it got better for them. Can I still be a good physician if I didn't totally rock first year?

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I'm in first year at U of T...I was wondering if someone who had difficulty or disliked the preclerkship years could tell me (assure me?) that it gets better?

 

I've found first year to be draining and extremely difficult at U of T - I don't have a huge extensive background in basic sciences, so this may have made things even more difficult.

 

I still really like the clinical parts that we have learned, I still want to be a doctor, and I am still motivated to work very hard. This year, however, has been quite discouraging. I guess I am just looking for some reassurance that someone went through the same thing and it got better for them. Can I still be a good physician if I didn't totally rock first year?

 

Hi,

 

First year at UofT is definitely a challenge. I'm sure a lot of your classmates feel the same way even if it doesn't seem that way. The bright side is that you are almost done! Second year is so much better than first year, with way more free time and a curriculum that is clinically focused. And then third year is even better! So hang on for one more month, enjoy your summer and look forward to second year!

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This is kind of funny - I just posted the following (see below) in the thread about depression in med school. I think it should be apropos.

 

I think most (but not at all) of my fellow med students who were realistic, not in denial, or not trying to put a brave face on things agreed that the preclerkship years of med school really sucked. I make no bones about it: 2nd year was the worst, 1st yr was pretty bad too.

 

I loved clerkship. There are some downsides (no sleep, some minor abuse, disorganization sometimes, guess what I'm thinking questions and preceptors not up to date on EBM and guidelines, being bottom of the totem pole) but on the whole I would assume you applied to medical school wanting to be in the clinic, OR and hospital. . . rather than in a lecture hall for 35 hrs/week.

 

I've actually really enjoyed residency as well, with the exception of a few supervisors.

 

Hang in there, it's totally worth it. (BTW - I'm completely done in 2 months)

 

 

-------------------------

 

Depression is ridiculously common in medical school - particularly the first few years. I knew several classmates open about being on anti-depressants, a few others in the closet, would guess there were others I didn't know about, and am sure there were a bunch in denial.

 

The first few years of med school pretty much suck. Some people enjoy because they love the fact they're in medical school, but there's lots to be not happy about. (depending on the med school) you're usually stuck in a classroom for 35-40 hrs a week. We almost never saw daylight oct-mar in first and second year --> the perfect setup for SADS. Unless you've got extensive credit at the bank of mom and pop, you see yourself accumulate ridiculous amounts of debt (I surpassed most people's undergrad debt after my first year.) Med school is full of grunt work - memorizing lots of stuff for tests you'll never use later, unless you do that specialty. Most of us were the top students in high school or undergrad, and now you may find yourself middle of the pack. Considering middle of the pack wouldn't have gotten you IN to med school in the first place, lots of med students freak out over this. You're still not sure what you're going to do for the rest of your life, and rumours still fly around that if you're middle of the pack (which you likely are as most med students are by definition going to be middle of the pack of medical school) you'll end up in your least favourite specialty choice in your least favourite city (which for me would have been neurosurgery in Toronto.) It never seems like you can study enough. Many med students are used to getting high 90s on tests that were fair. . . some of docs setting tests in med school have never set tests before and throw in "guess what I'm thinking" questions or ones on topics never covered in lectures. Many of the curriculum in the country are ridiculously disorganized (I say this from talking to residents who were med students at places across the country) and what sounded great on paper (PBL, PCL, COPS, self-directed learning) turns out to be some buzzword attached to a poorly organized course. You don't have a whole lot of time for a social life and many med students find themselves in cities where they know nobody but their classmates, as they went wherever they could get in, even if it's half the country away. If you're a medical student, there's a good chance you're Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder (Not OCD) and all of this probably isn't sitting too well with your disorder. When you do get to clerkship, you find an archaic system where medical students are often expected to "pay their dues" by proving they can continue working for 36 hrs without sleep or food (it does happen!,) conditions no labour legislation would ever approve.

 

What's to get depressed about in medical school?

 

My vague memory of mental health issues was that the prevalence of psychiatric issues was similar between doctors/residents/medical students and the general public. . . but doctors have a lower prevalence of psychotic disorders, and a higher prevalence of mood disorders.

 

But seriously, seeing as I'm now less than 2 months away from being done residency, I can honestly say it's all worth it. You just have to keep perspective.

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...the preclerkship years of med school really sucked. I make no bones about it: 2nd year was the worst, 1st yr was pretty bad too.

 

I loved clerkship...

 

Dr R - I can't tell you how glad I am to read that. I'm getting *really* tired of sitting in M146 looking at the painting of Hell. :rolleyes:

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For me 7th year was better still, as I was a senior and actually got a bit of responsibility/respect. 8th year totally rocked, as I was actually in my specialty of choice. I expect 9th year to be even better, since I'll have my #$%#$% internal medicine exams done with. 10th year, last year of cardiology, and I'll be setting up my sub-sub-specialty fellowship. Good times. 11th-12th year... I'll finally REALLY be in my specialty of choice, and will get my cardio exams done with. 13th year... I'll be DONE (hopefully). At this point, I'll be old enough to retire and start putting in my applications for old-folks' homes!

 

*It does continue to get better and more interesting. Trust me.

 

LOL, you must love it or you wouldn't get to your 13th year :)

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