sunset823

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Hey guys,
I'm an entering M1 and I needed some advice. I have the opportunity to participate in a global health conference in Havana, Cuba (possibly fully-funded), and I really want to go, as it'll be a great experience. However, it is the week of Nov 16-20, the week before Thanksgiving and possibly the most inconvenient week that could have been chosen. According to our M1 schedule, there is an anatomy and med stats exam that Friday. While I likely could fly back Thursday and take the exam, I obviously will not have much time to study. I'm also not sure that med schools will even take such a conference as an excuse not to attend class (there is an 'attendance expected' anatomy class that Tuesday). Wondering if any of you has ever been through this, and what you think I should do.
 

MossPoh

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You have to look at your school's policy to see whether it is considered "excused" or whatever term they use. After that, you simply have to decide whether it is worth it to you. Personally, I'd find that a pretty unique experience and might try to jam a bunch of material in the week before and then get what I can done while traveling or if there is any down time. There are worse things to miss school for. You should probably wait to see how you are doing in class as well.
 

PBandJ

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sounds like a great experience! talk to your student affairs dean(s), since you will probably need their approval for an excused absence if your school allows it. most schools allow exceptions for things like that. you might even be able to take an exam early. i know some people at my school got excused absences for attending an AMA conference, so just talk to the higher ups if you're really interested in going.
 

alibaba

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Listen- You're starting medical school. Treat it like a new job. You haven't proven yourself. Don't be the person always asking for dispensation. Devote yourself to the task at hand - there will be other opportunities in the future-
 

Adam638

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I second that. You probably would be fine if you're diligent in your studies, but I wouldn't take the chance. It's too early in the year. I'd be worrying that I was missing something, not studying enough on the trip, etc. There will be many more opportunities for this type of stuff. Maybe find something that falls in your breaks? Either way, its your choice. That's just my 2 cents.
 
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Ask your student affairs dean when you start med school. I'd go for it if the dean will excuse you and you're getting funds for it.
 

pingouin

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Agree with the suggestion of talking to your dean of students. The worst they can say is no, and they may be willing to work something out with you. Like others have said, it's not uncommon for students to be excused for professional conferences.
 
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sunset823

sunset823

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Thanks for the suggestions. At this point, if I am not funded, I won't go. If I am, then I'll talk to dean of students and try to work something out (people who 'win' the competition and are funded have a pretty major role at the conference I wouldn't want to miss).
 

Mr hawkings

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Thanks for the suggestions. At this point, if I am not funded, I won't go. If I am, then I'll talk to dean of students and try to work something out (people who 'win' the competition and are funded have a pretty major role at the conference I wouldn't want to miss).
You might want to talk to them even before you find out about the funding. That way, if they are going ot allow you to do it, they can let you know what the conditions are and if you need to make anything up so you can plan ahead.
 

sprinkibrio

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Mandatory anatomy lectures/labs are something I almost guarantee you can get out of. If you win and are funded, I almost guarantee the dean will help move around tests for you. Keep in mind your grade will be lower... keep in mind you'll need to kill yourself with work before and after you go... I wouldn't go unless you won.
 

Perrotfish

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Listen- You're starting medical school. Treat it like a new job. You haven't proven yourself. Don't be the person always asking for dispensation. Devote yourself to the task at hand - there will be other opportunities in the future-
At least at my medical school the faculty has been very supportive of students who want to take time off for something medically related like a conference, mission trip, military medical training, or whatever. Even when they couldn't make it work they didn't hold it against the student. Where the Deans/Profs started getting annoyed and inflexible was when students tried to take time off for personal things like a bachelor parties, travel, homecoming games, or weddings. I think weddings in particular became a pet peeve of our professors. I don't think there was a single test where at least one student didn't beg to take it either early or late because their sister's boyfriend's cousin was getting hitched.

Bottom line, though: don't treat this like a job. If it was a job they'd be paying you. Treat it like an education. If what you want to do contributes to your education than you should ask if you can do it.
 
Last edited:
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As long as you talk with your administration, they will likely give you the excused absences. Just take your notes with you and study in the evening. Also would be good if you have lectures that are video streamed.... I missed two weeks of school to go to Africa during my second year and I did just fine on the exam I missed. Don't let med school control your whole life. :)
 

Law2Doc

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... keep in mind you'll need to kill yourself with work before and after you go...
Yeah, my bet is the school would find a way to let you go during first year, and maybe even get some PR out of it by putting it in the school newsletter. But it may be a case where you are going to pay handily for the opportunity. You might find that you already have to work crazy long hours even when you don't have a week to make up for, so expect your life to be more of a hell trying to stay afloat over this time frame.
 

Xerxes1729

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A friend of mine took off for a week to go to Morocco with some friends during M1. He didn't ask permission; he just told the dean he was going to be gone. There were no consequences.