rocketbooster

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Um no. 3rd year is the hardest. You are worked crazy hours, don't have control over your own schedule, and are expected to remember and apply much of what the prior two years taught you; and are at risk of being berated verbally at times. It is also the best year of med school (Those aren't mutually exclusive concepts), though you may not think so as you are being pimped mercilessly after being on the wards for 30 hours straight.
The first two years are actually the easiest, but you don't realize how good you have it until you are further along, and look back.

If every med student you know tells you that the first year is the hardest, then I think you need to meet some new med students.

I've heard ppl say either 3rd or 1st. I'm excited for the 3rd year because, if you are actually in med school because you like medicine, you actually get to somewhat start practicing some real medicine!
 

Law2Doc

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I've heard ppl say either 3rd or 1st. I'm excited for the 3rd year because, if you are actually in med school because you like medicine, you actually get to somewhat start practicing some real medicine!

You can be excited for it, but that doesn't make it less hard. It is exciting. It is also ball-busting. You will spend more hours in the hospital than you imagined possible. You will spend more hours on your feet than you thought possible (get good shoes). You will be mercilessly pimped by certain attendings, verbally abused by others, lauded by others -- making you unsure whether you are smart or an idiot. You will end up working 10-12 hour days and come home to read up on your patients and study for the shelf exam many days. SO yeah, it's hard. But you may also enjoy it. Those concepts aren't mutually exclusive. But you won't get it until you get there.

First year probably seems hard coming from college, which by comparison is quite easy. But it isn't. Looking back, you see it for the joke it really is. But what's hard is less the material and more about not having a system. In fact, you cover a lot more ground in second year, which is more important and thus more heavily tested on the boards, but most are probably better organized by then, so it "seems" easier, even though the hours often go up, not down. But then 3rd year is a totally different animal -- you don't know what to expect on a number of different levels.
 

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You can be excited for it, but that doesn't make it less hard. It is exciting. It is also ball-busting. You will spend more hours in the hospital than you imagined possible. You will spend more hours on your feet than you thought possible (get good shoes). You will be mercilessly pimped by certain attendings, verbally abused by others, lauded by others -- making you unsure whether you are smart or an idiot. You will end up working 10-12 hour days and come home to read up on your patients and study for the shelf exam many days. SO yeah, it's hard. But you may also enjoy it. Those concepts aren't mutually exclusive. But you won't get it until you get there.
Both the number of hours and the amount of verbal abuse seem to vary significantly by school, much more so than for preclinicals. At least so far, I've never heard any of the 3rd years in my school complain about the sort of verbal abuse I hear about so regularly from students at other schools. I don't know about the hours, but I definitely haven't heard a lot about that kind of yelling (not that I know the entire 3rd year class, of course, but I know a few). Most of them have told me it's an improvement from years 1 and 2, which aren't all that bad so far (knock on wood). On the other hand if your school encourages q4 call on every rotation with lectures thrown in besides and thinks screaming at you is a valid method of teaching, I could see how that would suck.
 
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Law2Doc

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Both the number of hours and the amount of verbal abuse seem to vary significantly by school, much more so than for preclinicals. At least so far, I've never heard any of the 3rd years in my school complain about the sort of verbal abuse I hear about so regularly from students at other schools. I don't know about the hours, but I definitely haven't heard a lot about that kind of yelling (not that I know the entire 3rd year class, of course, but I know a few). Most of them have told me it's an improvement from years 1 and 2, which aren't all that bad so far (knock on wood). On the other hand if your school encourages q4 call on every rotation with lectures thrown in besides and thinks screaming at you is a valid method of teaching, I could see how that would suck.

The amount of yelling not only varies significantly by school, but probably varies by student within each school -- there tend to be a handful of attendings in any hospital who are not "student friendly" but it only takes bad luck of getting a couple of them to really taint an elective. Others in your same school may skate by without working with these types and have a totally different experience. I think that's part of why some people end up loving the specialty you despised and vice versa -- med students are easilly influenced by the experience they had on those rotations. As for the hours, many programs will have portions of various electives being q3 or q4 overnight, so you absolutely might experience what an 80 hour work week, or being at the hospital for 30 hours straight is like. That doesn't make it bad, but it does make it hard.

Again, 3rd year is very enjoyable, and it's really what most folks were waiting for when they came to med school -- no longer being exclusively in the classroom, and actually seeing patients and doing stuff. But that doesn't mean it isn't also the hardest year. It is. You may end up sleep deprived, your time won't be your own, you may end up verbally berated at times, and you still have to find time to study for shelf exams every couple of months.
 

thoffen

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I'm a medical student who went to Georgia Tech engineering undergrad; I also spent a summer in a research program at Caltech, so I feel I'm apt to respond. In a sense, your brother is right. Medical school requires little math knowledge and overall moderate logical aptitude. Many smart kids at Caltech & elsewhere would be able to do well in med school without having to work as hard as most others. That being said, medical school requires more hard work than engineering undergrad. And doing well in coursework does not equate to being a good physician.
 

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I do not think medical school (or practicing) is going to be intellectually difficult. Medical school is basically memorization and not as much critical thinking as some other fields (eg engineering, some phds, etc.).

From what I have learned, your brother is correct. There are many math classes that are more difficult than medical school and medical school is more about tons of memorization than about difficult problems.
 
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