Free time??

Discussion in 'Medical Students - DO' started by dancote, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. dancote

    dancote Senior Member
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    Hello Students,

    I am going to be applying to D.O. schools this year. I have a family of 5 and all of my kids are still young. I want to be able to spend some time with them while I am in school. Before I get into something I regret, how many hours will I have on average each day free for my family?? Will I have a couple hours each evening to take them out for a walk or whatever?

    Also, my cousin (as well as the D.O. I am currently shadowing) went to MSUCOM and describe it as much more enjoyable and no more difficult than the undergraduate years. Is this true of other D.O. schools? Are some much more intense and competitive than others?

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. I would love to get some idea about what I might be getting into. Free time hours for clerkship years and preclerkship would be very helpful. Also any feedback on which schools might be more friendly in this respect. I want to be a rural FP if that helps anything.

    Thank you!

    -Dan Cote' :confused:
     
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  3. cdreed

    cdreed Senior Member
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    Hi Dan!

    So far during my MSI year at AZCOM, I have managed to pretty much postpone most study time to the weekend when I will study 6-8 hrs each day except for immediately before an exam (8-12 hrs then). I utilize my lunch breaks and other down time during the day to study so my weeknights I am free to spend time with my daughter and husband. I also skip a lot of lectures and make good use of that time, as well. It doesn't take long for you to get into a groove. Don't worry about not having time to spend with your family. You WILL have time... maybe just not quite as much as you'd like. And of course, you will have to be a better time manager than single students with no other responsibilities. But it can and has been successfully done. Good luck with your quest! Feel free to ask any more ?s that come to mind.

    Cyndi
     
  4. Claymore

    Claymore Yankees Suck
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    This is really a difficult question to answer, because it depends mostly on you. During my first 2 years, I have had ample time to spend time at home, with my wife, and I've been able to do pretty well academically. It depends on how efficient you are in your study habits, how high you are aiming, and how much time you choose to spend in lecture.

    If ample family time is a priority, I would be sure to check out different schools' attendance policies and what the majority of students tend to do about classes. Here at CCOM, there are some people who go to every lecture and others whom you only see for required labs and exams. At the absolute latest, I have always been home by 5:15. And that is extremely rare; usually I am home by the early afternoon. Other days (like today) I decided classes weren't worth it so I skipped them. I also live pretty close to campus so I don't spend much time commuting; in addition, I don't usually hang around campus much after classes are over.

    The bottom line is that it is doable, but sacrifices will have to be made. Also, keep in mind that things get tougher as you go along (MS-3, MS-4 and residency obviously have much tougher hours). Good luck!
     
  5. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    if you make free time, you'll have free time. that make any sense? if you are a person who doesn't need to go to class, then don't. setting up a schedule will help you keep caught up and will let you have built in free time, even if you're busy. clerkship years are completely dependent on the rotation-- i've had some that were 7a to 7p, others that were 9 to noon (obviously more of the former than the latter). personally i would agree that it is easier than undergrad overall, and much more enjoyable.
     
  6. dancote

    dancote Senior Member
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    Mr. Caveman Homunculus,

    What school are you going to?

    -dan
     
  7. H0mersimps0n

    H0mersimps0n HMO CRUSHER
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    Well, if you applied to LECOM do NOT apply to LDP. They keep us in class until 5pm nearly every day which means we get about an hour to eat dinner and then less than 4 or 5 hours to memorize 8 lecture hours worth of material for that day. Then it starts again the next day.

    The problem based pathway utilizes group work and reading skills because those kids are basically handed 20-30 chapters worth of medicine and told that anything is up for grabs.

    Honestly any advice anyone gives you is not going to be useful. I have LDP friends that are such excellent readers they can read something once, not stress about anything, slap down a 80 or 90 and pretend like it was nothing. Then there are people like me who put in those 4 hours each night and wittle away most of my weekends trying to memorize by repetition because my reading retention stinks. You have to know YOU and your ability to learn quickly and learn things well. If you're like my friend, you'll be fine with a family, if you're like me, well, you'll have time but much less time.

    Whatever you decided to do, good luck.

    P.S. when I interviewed there I got the sense that UNECOM has a really relaxed environment, you might want to find some UNECOM students and see what they think, I have a feeling they will all say they love life and the time they have available.
     
  8. Homunculus

    Homunculus SDN Caveman Administrator
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    graduating from OSUCOM in about 3 weeks. :thumbup: :cool:

    homer is right, everyone is different and you will have to do what works for you. however, i would advise you to *not* go to a school with attendence policies simply because if you happen to be one of the people like me that don't get that much out of lecture, you will want to have that option available to you.

    oh, and i'm an out-of-stater, so don't let that deter you from applying to OSU if you aren't from OK.
     
  9. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    If you want a family practice residency, especially rural, all you really need is to pass your classes, pass your boards, have a pulse, and be a nice person and hard worker.

    I would figure out what the minimum amount of work it takes to make B's and some C's (for you), and go with it. Use the first few tests to guage yourself. You don't want to fail, so study a fair amount at first then cut back if you are doing better than low B's and C's. Any time you aren't studying or in labs or other required school activities, be with your family.

    Even though I personally get a lot from going to class, I don't recommend it for people with families, especially young ones at home. If you have a note-taking service or recodings available at your school, take advantage of that and be at home as much as you can.

    You can do this! Best of luck!
     
  10. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    Without sounding 'holier-than-thou' and critical, please dont enter medical school unless you are committed to giving your best effort. This is a very noble thing that we do, and it deserves a substantial portion of our time. With that, here are some things people choose to do where I am:

    Get up earlier to study/work out (I have a three year old, so I work out in the morning rather than miss time with her at night.)

    Choose whether it is better to study at school for a shorter time or study at home for a longer time. i get about 3 days worth of 'home-studying' done in one day of 'school-studying', with fewer distractions.

    Make sure that your significant other and/or your kids understand that this is a sacrifice and they are prepared to do a little more to help out. Nothing affects school performance more than stress at home.

    We dont do note-taking groups, per se, but some school do, and you can get into one for those days when you might not go to class (friday is big around here, as it is only 8-12).

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do. I have found medical school to be completely different from undergrad, but definitely more confluent, and more 'together'...i hated having to go from calculus to history to biochem to english every day.
     
  11. Doctortobee

    Doctortobee Senior Member
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    Hey

    I'm a 1st year LDP at LECOM...we rarely have been in class until 5pm. Last week we were out by 3 and on Friday we were finished at noon. Granted these next few weeks we are in class until 5....It is tough when you do have those 5pm days. You really don't want to go home and study after sitting in class all that long. But then again there are LDPers that I only see during labs and exams.
     
  12. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    If you are concerned enough about sounding "holier than thou" enough to mention it in your post, then you probably already come across that way.
     
  13. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior Member
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    That is kinda like saying, "No offense, but.......". I also worry when people start off with, " To be honest...."

    To OP, and the question of free time. To be totally honest, I have enough free time to appreciate my free time, but not enough to be corrupted by boredom.
     
  14. Backpacker-DO2B

    Backpacker-DO2B Junior Member
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    I agree with idiopathic....

    I don't know how some choose to look at the art of medicine, but it is a very real fact that what we don't know as doctors can definitely harm and sometimes kill someone. I know the old argument that, "I'll learn it all my third and fourth year." But truth be told if you don't put the effort out now you won't do it then either. I am not down playing anyone without experience, but too many people come to medicine straight form college with no idea that your abilities can have a direct impact on a patients outcome. As a former Paramedic I fully understand what implications my decisions (good or bad) had in the lives of people in my care and their families as well. When your alone in an ER in po-dunk Kansas your call is the law, and people are hurt by stupidity (like calling it quits on a code with the patient down for only 3 minutes and still in v-fib - that person should be given the chance to live!) So if you just want to just get by, then I would suggest you place a plaque in your office/ER/lab coat that denotes the fact that you have the least possible amount of knowledge/skill necessary to become a doctor. Just my two cents.


    "When a man looks at you with dying eyes, will you extend the healing hand or turn away in despair to find his death shroud?"
    - Me (from a book of poetry by me)

    Me MS 2.8476
    OSU-CHS
     
  15. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    Look, this discussion has happened before.

    The thing is, there is no human way you can remember and absorb everything you are taught in years one and two. That is why medical school is full of REPETITION. Do you think they are going to give us one shot to learn the stuff that will save peoples' lives? Of course not.

    What is possible and common (and what I have already observed), however, is that people get so freaked out by grades and learning every scrap of minutiae that is hurled at us in our first two years, in addition to juggling families and the normal stresses of everyday life, that there are nervous breakdowns, drop-outs, divorces, etc. It's simply not worth it.

    This was told to me by a residency program director and physician mentor of mine when I was an undergraduate: nobody ever killed a patient because they made Bs and occasional Cs in the first two years of medical school. As long as you are getting the basics, the important things like understanding electrolyte balance, how drugs work, hemodynamics, etc...which you can absolutely do and still make Bs and Cs in the first two years (the difference in getting As is often the minutiae, which can always be looked up when necessary when you are in practice)--there is no reason why you can't be a totally competent resident at the end of 4 years if you do well and learn well on your rotations.
     
  16. daveyboy

    daveyboy Senior Member
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    This is very true! It has been my experience that the difference between an A and a B (or an A and a C, for that matter) is knowledge of minute, trivial points. If B and C students were less able physicans than A students, the world would have a serious f-in problem on its hands.

    I have heard the argument that Idio makes about striving for high grades, and I think his reasoning is sound and laudable. However, there are a lot of grade gunners that seem to know how to rock high grades without seeming to understand the material as well as some C students.

    The important thing is to do your best to understand the material on a meaningful level, then memorize the minutiae to maximize grades if that is your thing.
     
  17. fuegorama

    fuegorama Senior Member
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    I reckon I am holier than thou.

    Giving a half-a##ed effort to make C's defines the stereotype of a primary care dolt. It's an insult to the specialty and our DO degree.
    The balance between striving for excellence in medicine and being that family guy is a tough order.
    You will find your way, but please don't sell yourself, your colleagues, and most importantly your patients short.


    Sorry for the harshness but I got a gutfull of slackers today.
     
  18. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    duplicate--sorry
     
  19. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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  20. fuegorama

    fuegorama Senior Member
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    Hey SJ at my institution there is a 20 point spread between passing and failing. 70=pass, 89=pass and pi##ed off, 90=high pass, and 69= miscalculated what it would take.

    The difference b/t that 70 and that 89 means nothing on your transcript. However, I feel pretty sure the info. missed over that 20 mark difference has some nutmeats worth tasting.

    I'm saying give it everything you have. If your choice is between being a dedicated doctor and a piss-poor father...that's a pretty easy selection.

    If you have to be a crummy doc so you can be a parent, for the love of gawd find another profession.
     
  21. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014
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    Fueg,

    You're establishing a false choice. You keep saying that there's a substantive difference in the 20-30 points between excellence and failure, but what's your justification for that?

    As for "give it all you have," that's a platitude. You seem by that to be saying that if one's in medical school, there are no other avenues of personal development as worthy of one's time until one reaches some certain standard of excellence. Is that a fair summary of your argument?

    And if so, what's that standard of excellence? 90%, 95% ? Or are you saying that there should be no such cut-off, and that med students should shoot for perfection at whatever personal cost? Or if you're not saying that, what does "give it all you have" really mean, then?

    Any way you cut it, it seems to me that you're setting up vaguely-defined arbitrary standards that you yourself don't have too clear a picture of. The problem with cliches like "all you have" is that they sound good enough to impose on others, without themselves really meaning anything.

    As Sophie mentioned, we've had this discussion before. A certain poster on this thread (who now, thankfully, seems a bit more subdued in his opinions) was quite adamant that if someone wasn't studying more than six hours a night, they weren't getting it. Unless their school had more classtime than his. Or unless it was really good studying even if it wasn't six hours a night. The qualifiers piled up until the original point became more or less meaningless.

    Can you avoid the same fate in your argument? What's your test for whether someone's apportioning their time properly? Can you show it correlates with good medicine?

    As a personal motivator, I suppose cliches and platitudes have some use. I just don't see how you could possibly have remotely enough evidence to berate others with them. I'd be interested to hear whatever you've got, though.
     
  22. HeavyD

    HeavyD Member
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    Word! Luke, sing it.
    The only one who can actually answer 'what does it take' is oneself. For the original post, I have a classmate that also has 5 children. Mind you, this guy has his 'stuff' together when it comes to time management, priorities, etc. This individual has done quite well in the first year of classes. He is a deeply religious person who has no qualms about putting his family first (not to say religion has any correlation with family values). He is also a successful student; porbably in top 1/3 of the class.
    I personally don't sweat the grades, I learn the material sufficiently by my own standards. Having worked intimately with physicians over the past several years I have a fair idea of what I will need to take with me and what is represented on exams merely to establish a curve.
    Any of these clowns try to tell you what you should do based on what may or may not work for them is just silly. Yes, silly.
     
  23. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    Sophie...it isnt about the grades, its about the effort. Dont assume that just because you have a family that you do not owe it to yourself and your patients to put in the work to actually learn something about medicine. I am so sick and tired of hearing "so-and-so always said that nobody ever killed people 'cause he made B's and C's" because thats a copout. I know plenty of people who worked their asses off and know quite a bit who get B's and C's, and I know quite a few ****-ups who get B's and C's...who would I rather have as my doctor? NEITHER! I would rather have the guy who put in the work (like it is a job, because it is), and was able to balance his life outside of school.
     
  24. DireWolf

    DireWolf The Pride of Cucamonga
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    hmmmmmmmmm.
     
  25. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014
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    Wow, the arrogance of that statement is just astounding. First, I'm not sure any of us are entitled to insert whatever nasty word you've bleeped out for the children for people who are managing to pass their classes in med school quite nicely. This isn't junior high--if someone gets B's and C's in med school, it's hardly as if they're destined for a future of mediocrity.

    Those in med school are for the most part at LEAST in the top one percent of the professional world as far as cognitive ability goes. To distinguish your high honors self from the person who barely passes because you manage to be in the upper standard deviations of a population that is itself already preselected for the upper eschelons is to cut things pretty finely.

    I suppose it's inevitable, as people like to preen. But again, it's all cliche and platitude, and in your case, Idiopathic, it seems to be bordering on incoherence. To paraphrase your comment: "Some people work hard and get mediocre grades, and some people don't work hard and get mediocre grades. I don't want them to be my doctor; I want someone who works hard! And balances life!"

    It's quite possible I'm missing something, but I don't at all follow the logic of that. What I do see is the same pattern that cropped up the last time this discussion rolled around--an amazing determination to dictate standards of quality to others based on criteria that are at best subjective, and more often than not totally meaningless.

    I, for one, would love to see those arguing for a "best effort" to put forth some definitions, objective standards, and supporting evidence. But that's admittedly a lot harder than holier-than-thou cliches, and would surely cut into all that study time.
     
  26. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    Thats funny, because we at OSU (and I am sure you at TCOM) spend ALOT of time 2nd year (and some 1st year) learning clinical skills and problem solving...case-based learning. Without saying that the grades are important, would you not agree that excelling in that arena is certainly of value? Understanding complexes of real diseases and developing effective treatment plans, learning how to write prescriptions, etc...do you not group any of that into the '1st and 2nd year minutiae'? Because we still get tested on it and we still have to work on it to succeed, and many docs still expect us to know this stuff when we get on the wards. I think this rhetoric is what is wrong with many med students these days...no drive to be the best, or even to do their best, in a field where it is truly needed.

    You can do well in school and have a quality family life...I think sometimes your short-term sanity suffers, but isnt that what medical school is about? Jeez, I yearned for it...I wanted the 1400-page textbooks and the mounds of papers and the sheer stuff of it all. I was practically begging for it. Perhaps thats odd. Maybe there are a lot of people who really dont care about any of that and just choose medicine because they dont want to leave school or they find lab work boring, or the job market dried up. I dont attend every class, and I probably am not as involved as I could be at school, but I manage to split my time fairly evenly between school and family, in the hopes that neither will suffer.
     
  27. Idiopathic

    Idiopathic Newly Minted
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    As usual, you miss every point. At least you have finally completed a year of med school, so you have some skins on the wall. My comment was a little off-color, yes, and it certainly wasnt meant to single out any one person, but just to suggest that in every place there are people who you wouldnt want to be your doctor, for whatever reason. I have mine.

    All this is just an ideal, for me. It is not something that I demand of people, and I certainly do not condemn anyone for not enjoying this as much as some. I think medicine is to be admired, loved and honored. I think the first two years of med school still play a large part in the education of doctors, and I think that any mystique that used to exist has been stripped away. It saddens me to see people drawn to med school not because of the desire to do medicine, but rather, as an alternative to business school, or lab work, or bartending. For me, effort is not as quantifiable as you would like. Take the thing that you like doing the most, and then put that same kind of effort into your schoolwork...hows that. I dont claim to be there yet, but that is my best definition.

    So, to end the rambling...give me the guy who knows what it takes to balance work and school, loving both and putting enough time and 'effort' into both so that neither one suffers. Its sappy and nonsensical and luke just doesnt get it, but it also has nothing to do with grades. Everyone wants to keep exclaiming how 'C's dont make you a bad doctor'...of course they dont, there is nothing inherently wrong with a C. Some people test better than others, some people have ridiculously overactive SANS activity and cant focus well, some people are big-picture learners...whatever...but to say 'just make C's and get out and you will know all you need to know to be a great doctor for your patients' is foolish and irresponsible. I know that grades are artificial constructs, and around here they can be rather inflated, on occasion, but the desire to do your best is very real, and one that I take seriously.

    Thats what I mean.
     
  28. LukeWhite

    LukeWhite USC Pulm/CCM 2014
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    And if you limited said view to some sort of personal motivator, it would be defensible, however misguided. When you start applying it to your colleagues, casting aspersions on your classmates simply because you deem their effort insufficient, then you've crossed the line from naivete into out-and-out arrogance.

    For all your talk about lost mystique and the joy of medicine, your argument boils down to two criteria: if people aren't going into medicine for your reasons and going about their studying at a level you deem sufficient, then they're degrading the profession. You may be right to defend this as personal opinion; others are also right to label it spectacularly arrogant.
     
  29. HNS

    HNS Senior Member
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    WOW!! Lots of fighting without a purpose in sight. This was the reaon I left the medical school track 7 years ago. You all have to get back to the question at hand. I too am maried and value your advice, not your quibling. I just want my family to make it through medical school. I love my wife and the potential medical education I have availabe to me, but I like others before me, realize that there are priorities. My wife understands but at no time can she be left behind. She is family, this is a career.

    What I have understood the issue to be is that of how to blance, not all or none. Medical school can be easier for the single people as they can be self centered. It is more difficult for those of us with family. Any positive sugstions are greatly appriciated. Thank you.
     
  30. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    As long as you are saying that the obvious choice would NOT to be a poor father---that's exactly what I am saying, as well. We are on the same page.

    Look, I work my butt off for B's and the occasional A. I learn all I can and then some--but I don't have a science background, so I work twice as hard as many of my classmates. Save the preaching about slacking because not only am I not advocating slacking, but I'm about as far from a slacker as you can get.

    I just think it's really easy to get sucked into being neurotic about grades and losing sight of what really matters in life. It's a marathon, not a sprint. I think it is more important to give it 150% in years 3 and 4--and if that means saving some energy in years 1 and 2, so be it.
     
  31. fuegorama

    fuegorama Senior Member
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    SJ-
    I think we are on the same page when it comes to priorities. We also share a paddle in the "work hard for Bs" boat.

    I take serious exception to your quote,

    "I would figure out what the minimum amount of work it takes to make B's and some C's (for you), and go with it. Use the first few tests to guage yourself. You don't want to fail, so study a fair amount at first then cut back if you are doing better than low B's and C's. Any time you aren't studying or in labs or other required school activities, be with your family."

    Do you see my issue here? From what I'm reading it seems you are instructing this guy to give a 2nd rate effort. Family or not, it is my opinion as a future colleague and present consumer that that is not a trait I want to see in a DO.
     
  32. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    I will give you that--I can see how that was misconstrued. I should have said that I think it's wise to make sure you are easing your family into this thing while maintaining your sanity in the first year, so if there was ever a time to figure that balance out, it would be the first year. We have had 4 divorces in our class this year--one with kids. It's very sad. I just think it's really easy to let family slide when you've got a big exam staring you in the face two or three times a month.

    Grades can be brought up. Time with family and the damage that being absent from family cannot be remedied--you can't go back in time and be at that ball game or read that bedtime story. But you can give school more effort next time around if you see that family is happy and you still have some time that you can dedicate to your studies.

    Hopefully that explains better what I was getting at.
     

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