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Can't Stay awake to study! full time job etc..

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by malamed, 05.16.14.

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  1. malamed

    malamed

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    I work a full time job, get to the gym, make dinner, and get 30 mins into my MCAT studying and literally pass out face in book most of the time. How do you get those hours in to study with a full time job?
    Those who have kids..how the hell do you do it?
    I want this SO BAD. I NEED a great score. I want a 30..nothing less. I am a bad standardized tester, but have so much drive and motivation..I am just damn exhausted:(
    Do I need to get off work and start pounding coffee or energy drinks? That doesn't sound particularly healthy, but if that's what it takes, ill do it. I've even tried going outside on my porch to study, but STILL find myself getting hazy eyed and eventually have to pack it up.
    Please help.. I need to get it together to test in august..
     
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  3. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    When are you applying? Do you absolutely need to work full time? " You have to be willing at any moment to sacrifice what you are, for what you will become."
     
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  4. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

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    I absolutely can relate with you, 100%. I work full-time to and have been studying late at night, only getting like 5 hours sleep max. It's exhausting, but I cannot quit my job, and like you I'm determined to make a great score. I also go to the gym every night as normal daily routine. Honestly, the only thing getting me through this is coffee (not as effective anymore), but also power naps. I drink coffee and take a 15-20 min nap every 2 hours of studying. I get about 4 hours of effective studying everyday, or try to. I work from 10am to 6pm, go to the gym after work, and from 8pm to 3am I study. I sleep by 4am and wake up by 9am, some days a little early when I'm totally exhausted. Some extra tips: Study in a cold room with a fan on, keeps your body alert. Take mild to cold showers (not warm). Drink lots of water. Staying hydrated is an important factor to keeping you energized (especially important if you drink coffee since it's a diuretic).

    Lay off the energy drinks though. Coffee is one thing, but energy drinks are loaded with sugar, and taking it regularly is definitely not healthy. At least caffeine has some health benefits and has been proven to stimulate memory. Also, certain foods stimulate serotonin synthesis -- makes you sleepy (I think foods with high tyrosine content). Turkey is one example.

    If you ever need someone to talk to for encouragement, drop me a message anytime. Goodluck with your studies.
     
    Last edited: 05.17.14
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  5. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

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    woops, ignore second post.
     
  6. House D.O.

    House D.O. 2+ Year Member

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    I would stop going to the gym so often maybe once or twice a week at max. Gym is not essential during ur study time. Go to the gym whenever you want after you get that 30
     
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  7. clairephillips

    clairephillips 2+ Year Member

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    I have a couple ideas, another full time worker, although I'm a teacher so I'll be a full time MCATer soon:

    If you're going to go to the gym, and I truly understand doing so, think about moving the time you go. If you went in the morning, it might help you wake up after being up late studying. If you had a gym in your apartment complex or very close by, think about getting some studying done, then when you feel tired, instead of going to bed, go to the gym and reenergize. You might be able to do more study after if you get your heart rate up. Also, who says you can't study at the gym? Lay your bio book across the treadmill while you're doing cardio, bring a cheat sheet with formulas and do you're reps while repeating them, and invest in an old CD player walkman and the EK Audio Osmosis series and listen to lectures instead of music. Or, ramp up the intensity and shorten the duration of your workout and just get it done, then get home and study until a goal time. I don't go to the gym, which I desperately need to start doing, but my schedule is to get up, go to work, cone straight home after, and study from 5 until 11, with a break for dinner. I'm extremely lucky though, because I live with my fiance, who is a chef, and he cooks and cleans so I can focus. He clearly wins man of the year honors for that, lol.
     
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  8. malamed

    malamed

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    Awesome guys. thanks for the advice. Guess I need to revamp my coffee maker and get into my apt complex's gym more. The working can't really stop..too many bills and have to pay for the mcat somehow, right? Glad I'm not the only one struggling with this.
     
  9. dutchie000

    dutchie000 2+ Year Member

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    I TOTALLY understand how you feel. I've been doing full time shift work (9am-9pm with two days 9am to 11pm) and I just couldn't do it anymore so I backed down to flex time and I will be picking up more shifts part time to pay for my rent. That was my solution, but clearly you're in a different situation. While working full time I learned about Chad's videos and those were really helpful even if I was exhausted after work because they require you to actively take notes while watching. On my days off I would do more of the practice question type stuff and my FLs after getting a good night's rest. I learned that I couldn't do practice well after my work days because I was too exhausted. If your job allows you to maybe you can go over notes, flashcards, etc while at work. I know that's where I got a lot of my memorization type stuff down. Try studying in an upright position, well-lit room. If I study on the couch I get sleepy, but at the dining room table I'm alert and slightly uncomfortable so it helps me focus more. Also, as someone who studied nutrition/exercise at school KEEP IT UP with the gym :) It'll help you stay focused and energized throughout the day. Eat a balanced diet and do some research on foods that help keep your energy up. I always eat eggs in the morning for some B12. Stay hydrated. Czarcasm is right about the energy drinks -- the sugar in them will cause you to crash later.

    As far as kids, depending on age maybe they can quiz you? Haha I don't know about that since I don't have any kids yet.

    Good luck!! Props to you for working full time, having kids, and pursuing your dreams. Don't forget to take a day off every once in a while to truly reenergize yourself. It's so refreshing to take a day off and have some fun outside, and while you may feel guilty for doing so it'll make your studying more efficient. :)
     
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  10. KevinGnapoor

    KevinGnapoor Bad-Ass M.C. 2+ Year Member

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    Your routine is such an inspiration!
     
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  11. jpost2479

    jpost2479 2+ Year Member

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    I feel ya guys. Its rough working FT and studying for deh Mcat.
     
    Last edited: 11.29.15
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  12. swolebrah

    swolebrah Misc Brah. Hugh Myron? 2+ Year Member

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    I think its time you start looking into prescribed sleep deprivation pills/nootropics. Some times you have to take drastic measures, I know plenty of colleges who got prescribed pills to keep them awake and actually increase cognitive ability.

    Again this is completely legal if you have shift work sleep disorder. It's an actual diagnosis, look into it. I got my PCP to prescribe me the pills.

    I know I'm going to get hate from a lot of people, but you have to level the playing field some how when your working full time + going to the gym + studying for MCAT. I can relate since I was in a similar position. I also compete in the NPC (non tested Bodybuilding, so I know what it's like to be dedicated to the gym)

    Nobody cares how hard you try or what your position is, results are the only thing that matter. RESULTS!
     
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  13. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

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    I would go to the gym four days a week and go before work.
    Shift your schedule around to align things a little bit more with your circadian rhythm.
     
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  14. bambam92

    bambam92 2+ Year Member

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    Okay, how much are you sleeping to begin with? I am amazed at the amount of people that feel they need to sleep 8-10 hours a day. If you're an adult and are convinced you need this I am not so sure. I have gone weeks on 3-6 hours of sleep a night if need be (working 30 hours, 18+ credits, extra currics, and finals/midtems happening). When doing this it was just a matter of not enough time in a day, and I chose my grades and success over my sleep and body honestly lol--I nailed 3.9+ semesters readily doing this, so I didn't turn into some non-critically thinking, sleep deprived zombie, which is what many claim will happen. I have read into sleep research, and there is significant findings that not ALL adults need 8 hours, so test yourself and see what you need. Everyone is different.

    But have some caffeine, and lots of it. If you are going to gym everyday, maybe lay off on that while studying. I am all for exercise, but if I am crunched for time I will literally just run around my neighborhood a few miles then shower quickly rather then going to gym. This saves a ton of time, and allows you to get the most important aerobic exercise in (releases dopamine :)), and is way more efficient then doing trips to the gym. I think you can do this, but you have to really want it. I would also if at all possible cut back on the hours at work for the few months of MCAT studying, this test will determine your life essentially, and I would bet being a physician will provide much more compensation than whatever you are doing now. So try to think long term. I think you can do this if you really want it. :thumbup: I am about to begin my MCAT prep as well (8/27 taker here utilizing sn2ed 90 day split). So I will be struggling through this journey too.;) If you ever find yourself lacking motivation watch some eric thomas motivation videos, here is one:

    take up this guys mentality if you can, and you will undoubtedly find success in life. The thing is not many are able to adopt this mentality, but if you can you will be set. And about the sleep thing I was hitting on, Forbes magazine interviewed the CEO's and CFO's of top companies and a common trend was that NONE slept above six hours a night. Donald Trump is a complete dbag, but is a billionaire, and credits much of his success to only sleeping three hours a night! http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-barely-sleep-2012-9?op=1
    This is pretty extreme I know, and I don't recommend it. But maybe just sleep 6 hours a night. But I am just trying to show some of the most successful people in the world claim to not nearly sleep the status quo 8 hours a night. There is something to be taken from that I believe. Best of luck OP!
     
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  15. bluespoon

    bluespoon

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    I'm a full-time worker also, and one way I try to carve out more time is being really efficient in meal prep.

    I do like the salad bars do: prep all my veg, fruit and snacks for an entire week on the weekend. I just store each item in a big container, and portion out what I need when I need it.

    For hot cereals, grains, rice or beans I use a rice cooker (with a timer, so I can start it when I leave the house to be ready when I return.) So that leaves just the protein, which is just pan-grilled, or steamed mostly.

    I also invested in one good cook's knife (sounds crazy, but dull crappy knives can slow you down a lot). So that's 2 pieces of kitchen equipment that permits me to can get dinner on the plate in 10 min. Also, washing up is also quick because most of the prep was front loaded and done on my day off.
     
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  16. Czarcasm

    Czarcasm Hakuna matata, no worries. 2+ Year Member

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  17. malamed

    malamed

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  18. RC4L

    RC4L 2+ Year Member

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    Throughout college and while studying for the mcat I waited tables, was a local musician playing almost every night of the week, part of a fraternity and multiple other campus organizations, maintained an exercise routine, and had a relationship. I am prescribed to Adderall and honestly I don't think I could have maintained this schedule without it. I don't abuse it and I take plenty of precautions to ensure it doesn't take too much of a toll on my body. Some may disagree with this but If you are required to give 100% of yourself to more than one cause than something has to give. Just my opinion.
     
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  19. Action Replay

    Action Replay

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    I'm currently in the same predicament. I have a demanding full time job which I cannot quit. I successfully juggle everything for a few days but then the exhaustion catches up with me and I'm unable to study for a week which subsequently brings me back to square 1. My plan is to design a new study schedule along with a diet and exercise plan that facilitates more efficient studying. This will require some experimentation but hopefully it'll work.
     
  20. Strudel19

    Strudel19 5+ Year Member

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    You need to sleep. Work everything around 7 hours of sleep. It's doable.
     
  21. Gauss44

    Gauss44 2+ Year Member

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    OP: It can be difficult to impossible to study for the MCAT with a full time job, especially if that job requires OVERTIME or is mentally and physically exhausting.

    2 Ideas (and I hope at least one will work for you):

    1. Studying before work and before the kids are awake. In all likelihood, this will require a coffeemaker.
    2. Find a financial way to work part time or stop working: One way to do this that might work is by maxing out my Roth IRA and 401k contributions especially if your employer matches part of that.

    -Roth IRA: Note that you can withdraw up to the amount you put in your Roth IRA without penalty or taxes. Some people even use a Roth IRA to double as an emergency fund for this reason.

    -401k: If you need to withdraw funds from a 401k, you need to consider 4 things: 1. The penalty (or avoiding the penalty, see early withdraw rules and the educational exception rule), 2. taxes withheld immediately by the custodian (fyi - if you convert a 401k to a Personal IRA, then withdraw, they might withhold zero initially), 3. taxes at the end of the year (and how to counter that to some extent with tax deductions - read up on what qualifies for the lifetime learning credit, american opportunities credit, tuition credit, and schedule A's job-related education expenses. Think creatively. Certain MCAT prep material might fall under "school supplies" if they fit the right definitions in the tax book and if you took the right classes toward the end of the year.), 4. Last thing I can think of that you need to consider is how you are going to retire if you take money out of your accounts now. The simple answer for most pre-meds is by making more money later on as a doctor. I mainly mention #4 since people are in different situations and at different ages on here.

    Aside from saving up money, you might consider volunteering to be laid off if your company has lay offs. In some states, you'll get unemployment payments for several month (if the unemployment rate becomes much higher, they will almost certainly activate extensions again so that payments could last over a year). If you do the lay off option, you should have an emergency savings in place as well.

    Good luck!
     
  22. malamed

    malamed

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    Thanks for the thoughts! @Gauss44 -I am a medical assistant at a small primary care office..As far as I know, I have non of that lol. Also, I guess I was unclear, but I don't have kids-just wanted to know how in the world people with kids found the energy..I may need to reduce my hours, but unfortunately my job is very dependent on me. I swear I leave the office for lunch and everything falls to pieces..and of course, I need that moolah for the bills!
    @RC4L - I have always thought I need to be on some sort of stimulant for my focus and this very reason. Despite my desperate attempts to keep my lids open, I just can't! I tried going to the doctor for this a few months ago, but she said my ADD was very mild and I just needed to change my study environment..o_O
    I'm really not concerned about "how many hours I sleep," just keeping myself awake and focused for quality study time. Since I first posted this I have been drinking a lot of coffee lol
     
  23. dutchie000

    dutchie000 2+ Year Member

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    On that note, crockpot is awesome to just dump food into and leave for hours and then have a meal ready. Or in my case, dinner for the rest of the week haha
     
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  24. RC4L

    RC4L 2+ Year Member

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    Doctors are so variable when it comes to ADD. If you can make it work with coffee then power to you!
     

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