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social life of physicians

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by curious dummy, Dec 31, 2001.

  1. curious dummy

    curious dummy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2001
    i'll start college in january and i'm thinking of becoming a doctor. the salary is alot and the job sounds cool. but before i plan my ways there, i wanna know just how hard it is to be one. do med students and residents have time to work 20 hrs./wk and time to go out on weekends or do they have to study 24/7? surgery looks cool as hell. just how much sleep do these guys get? what about when in practice? how many hours of work a week? not just for surgeons, but other fields too. any one with any clue or info for these questions, please tell me so i will see if i should take a shot at medicine. thank you
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  3. snowballz

    snowballz Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 29, 2001
    Unfortunately, social lives are difficult to come buy in medical school and residency. Relationships may suffer. I know a physician, 30, just came out of residency and is now trying to get back into the swing of being social. He's having a hard time, but then again, he may just be a unique case.

    I will say, a social life is not all that appealing to me. I'd rather work and accomplish things.

    And I hope that 20/hour work week for surgeons was a typing error. If not, I seriously think you should do some research into the lives of doctors.
  4. Jamier2

    Jamier2 SDN Hillbilly Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
  5. mhaddi

    mhaddi Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 21, 2001
    You should talk to medical students and doctors for the low down. I am a medical student. It is very hard, emotionally, mentally, physically, academically. It is a huge sacrifice. You have to put it above everything else. You can't take it lightly, unless you have a photographic memory, which if you do, congrats, you can have a social life. College at least has its breaks after tests. However, in med school there is always a draining 4 hour written exam followed by a draining 4 hour pratical awaiting for you around the corner. It is a HUGE, HUGE amount of rote memorization, it's like 5 college courses combined into one. And the questions are not straight forward what so ever. Teaching doesn't help anymore. It's how many more hours you can spend sitting in your desk chair memorizing a dictionary. Many students spend many fifteen hour days glued into their desk chairs before the test. Bottom line- you have to really, really want this. And if you don't no amount of money can make up for it.
  6. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    I'm a medical student, too.

    Though I don't advocate working 20 hours a week (or any hours a week, for that matter), I don't think it has to be a life draining experience.

    It is a pretty tough life being a first year medical student (that is the only year I have experience of). For some (like the above poster), it is a totally time and life consuming affair. For others, it is a matter of memorizing a lot of information in a short period of time. And the key point is that it is different for everyone.

    For me, it has been a matter of memorization, because the conceptual and problem-solving aspects has been quite minimal (most liberal arts majors will feel the same way).

    I think you wil find it challenging, but if you challenge yourself in college to the maximum, medical school may not be quite as hard.

    Don't fret, and continue to work hard.
    It's not so bad, and you'll probably like it a lot.

    Good luck,

  7. Purifyer

    Purifyer Dr. Funk 7+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2001
    Jeez! You moopy .. mope mopes :D. Curious Dummy, it really depends on the person you talk to... medical school for me is a breeze. I think it's more to do with the fact I have a semi-photographic memory than any intelligence :) I _always_ go out friday nights (till ~4-5am), usually saturday, and wednesday too. I _never_ study except when theres an exam (which is quite often :( ). I go to all my labs and tutorials, but probably only ~10% of lectures :0. This will all probably change when I hit clinical years.. (6 year system here, so a a year to go before I hit that).

    So I'm trying to get as much booty as I can (= not much :) before I become a '30 year old professional, seeks soulmate, must like long walks and rainy nights.. etc :)'

    BTW I'm not a med 'frat boy' bum, I've got an A grade average so far :p
  8. Yah-E

    Yah-E Toof Sniper 10+ Year Member

    I agree with Purifier, I strongly believe that it depends on who you are and what you want to get out of your medical and dental education. I personally know ample current medical and dental students who works hard, but plays hard at the same time. I believe having a social life in med/dent school is just as important as getting "A"s and "B"s! Some of the craziest partiers I know are medical and dental students! I'm currently in a post-bac. program where I'm in classes with the first year medical students, we study like crazy when needed during the day and early evenings, but when we have the time to relax, WE PARTY!!

    Bottom line, I believe there is a balance between your extreme studious colleaques and your "I'm fine with straight "B"s colleagues! A social life, you ask? It depends who you are, but it's attainable!
  9. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum 10+ Year Member

    Nov 8, 1999
    Alta, Ut

    med school is what you make of it. i certainly find myself studying quite a bit, but somehow find time to ski 3-4 days/wk and usually go out 2-3 times a week. the nice thing about med school is that, as far as studying goes, you can do it when it is convienient for you. i am dedicated to school, i want to do the best that i can do, but at the same time if i didn't have time to ski and go out with friends and my girlfriend then i wouldn't be as happy, and i wouldn't be doing nearly as well at school. there are others in my class that study all the time, but the aren't doing any better than i am. what i have discovered is that you find what works for you. some of us go to very few lectures, others go to all of them (usually the paranoid types). i think that the bottom line is you have to love the profession. the work, whle difficult, becomes manageable and all the nights spent in anatomy lab are fun.
  10. I think it is important to try and find time to socialize with your friends, sig. others, and family even when med school and residency get incredibly busy. It is a matter of setting your priorities and scheduling the time in. I think having a life outside of medicine keeps you grounded and helps you relate to the patients better. Although I intend to work hard in anatomy next semester (we have it second semester at Tufts), learn as much as I can, and do my best, I also want to try and be a balanced person. I actually tend to perform better and school and at work when I am in a relationship with a guy (I'm not in one at this time :( ); my best semester in college was when I was dating a guy that I nearly ended up being engaged to.
  11. Arohanui

    Arohanui Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 11, 2001
    New Zealand
    Purifier i start proper this year - so not having a social life - have to do the A pass thing for all of the papers. Happy New Years Bro!
  12. Purifyer

    Purifyer Dr. Funk 7+ Year Member

    Nov 29, 2001
    Are you going to Otago next year Arohanui?
  13. whodamonkeyman?

    whodamonkeyman? Junior Member

    Dec 18, 2001
    MHADDI, if you don't mind me asking, where do you go to med school? Do you think your experience in med school would have been different if you went elsewhere?
  14. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Chief Administrator Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member
    Since the question also asked whether or not it was possible to have a social life as a resident, I thought I'd reply that it is indeed. I met my current boyfriend as a first month resident and while it IS difficult to find time together, we try and arrange our call schedules to match (he's a resident at another local program) and spend as much time as possible together. Sometimes that means reading/studying, othertimes sleeping/dozing and other times actually doing something social (we saw Lord of the Rings last night). I find it works quite well dating someone in the field - he TOTALLY understands when I have to call and say I'll be late for dinner (again and again) or am too tired to really do much. OTOH, it would be easier if on occasion our call schedules didn't conflict.

    Like medical school, it is possible once you decide where your priorities lie. My apartment is not nearly as clean as I would like it and I eat a lot more fast food and exercise a lot less than I used to, but if it means we spend more time together, then I'm all for it.

    Hope this helps.
  15. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    chicago, IL
    my social life in med school is almost as good as it was in college. it is certainly less stressful- not nearly as much competition. i am extremely happy to be here. i go out 3-5 times a week, although the intensity of my drinking has gone down, although that is because getting trashed in NYC is harder than it was in south bend, and less appropriate. studying before tests is kind of rough, but i have never put in more than 5-6 hours of studying per day. and i do not have a photographic or even semi-photographic memory.

  16. penelope

    penelope Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2001
    AAARGH, all you guys who say "Med school is a breeze, I go out 3-5 times a week" are making me sooooooo jealous!!!

    I find med school to be difficult, not in terms of the content but in terms of the pace of the courses. It's difficult for me to get honors when I'm surrounded by brilliant people (unfortunately, I am not so mentally well endowed), and it's not worth it to me to hole up in the library 24/7 in my futile attempt to get honors. So I'm trying the more balanced approach of "work hard when I feel up to it, and play when my infinitely more motivated friends decide to take a little time off." :D

    But seriously, anyone expecting medicine to be easy with a huge salary is going to be very unhappy with the reality they discover. Even if you find med school classes easy, at some point you will find yourself working your butt off and getting paid jack...i.e. internship.

  17. TheThroat

    TheThroat SDN Moderator Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Arlington, Texas
    I am a surgical intern on my way to become an otolaryngologist. Becoming a doctor is something that will affect your social life on many levels. In college, you must study more than the rest to get in. That said, I still had plenty of time to do all the things I wanted to do in college socially (be in a fraternity, play sports, meet women, all that). Avg. work hours/week: 30

    Med school was difficult, but I did have time to hang out on the weekends and visit my fiance, who lived 100 miles away. I did not socialize much for about two weeks before test blocks (a week of tests). Avg work hours/week: ranging from 30 to 110 before tests.

    Fourth year was a year of little work and all play, especially after the match.

    Internship has been demanding as well, but my wife understands that this lifestyle is temporary and we have had time to spend together and with other residents on weekends. Avg hours/week: 80-90. I expect things will improve in the years to come (at least I hope they will, as my wife is pregnant). Hope this is of some benefit.
  19. SocialistMD

    SocialistMD Resident Objectivist 10+ Year Member

    Jan 29, 2001
    As you can probably tell from the responses you have received thus far, the answers to your questions depend on the individual and his/her strengths and preferences. I have some classmates who never go out, opting to instead study all of the time while others go out almost nightly. Personally, I have a part-time job, work in a research lab and still find time to go out at least once or twice a week. This level works for me; I have enough distractions from school yet can still keep up. I tend to be more focused when I have more on my plate, but for many people medical school is enough of a chore to swallow without adding extra activities. Generally, after first semester you will realize what is necessary for you to do in order to succeed and that is what you will do.

    If I were you, I would not worry about it just yet; you still have college to enjoy. Do your best, test your feet in some of the required courses for med school (organic chem, bio, etc...) and see if they work for you. You may also want to volunteer at a hospital or shadow a physician to see if you might enjoy doing it for the rest of your life, but above all, have fun.
  20. curious dummy

    curious dummy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Dec 27, 2001
    thanks for all the responses. your inputs are very valuable to me.
  21. hosskp1

    hosskp1 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Jan 30, 2002
    This is silly, if you want to do something you have to prioritize everything else to get there. There are very few people who can do it all, all thetime and with 100% of their effort. You will not be able to spend 18 hrs. in the hospital every day/ work out every day, complete a research project, and spend a few hours with your family every day. You will have to make choices-- your own decisions. I might want to become a surgeon at an academic center and do research and train for marathons, but then I will not be able to give much time to my family. YOU HAVE TO REALLY WANT TO BE A DOCTOR-- or else you will really hate your life. Let me let you in on a secret-- there is no such thing as balance-- it is a lie. You will have to be hardcore in some aspects of your life and not as caring in others. there is no way to be hardcore in everything.
  22. Notorious F.O.B.

    Notorious F.O.B. Junior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jan 31, 2002
    curius dummy, greetings young grasshopper! dude, med school's a roller coaster ride and then some. it's all about taking it in stride. you can get into med school, knowing that you want to be the best, and then become a recluse who studies 24/7, in effect staying constipated all 4 years. then, before you know it, you're a miserable wanker resident (this of course pending that u go into something competitive), and you look back on your life and realize you've lost 4 years of youth, lost 4 years of social relations, lost 4 years of YOURSELF. or, you can get into med school knowing that it's going to involve a lot of sacrifice, discipline, and dedication, but u can make a pact with yourself stating that u will NOT let your physical and mental health spiral into oblivion beyond the point of no return. look at it this way- unless you get your jollies off of being able to memorize 10 more facts from a book as compared to the nerd next to you, 10, 20, 30 years from now it won't matter to anybody, including yourself, that you got every question right in class. chances are though that it WILL matter to u that u didn't learn to socialize, didn't take a chance on asking that hottie out to a movie, didn't go to the zoo. as u go through the process of getting your mind reformed (others will call it "getting educated"), just stay true to yourself and taste life to the fullest while you're still young. best of luck dude/dudette. :)
  23. Firebird

    Firebird 1K Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by overdose:
    <strong>chances are though that it WILL matter to u that u didn't learn to socialize, didn't take a chance on asking that hottie out to a movie, didn't go to the zoo. </strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">That last one just doesn't seem to fit...haha...just kidding. :)
  24. Overdose,

    That was very well put!
  25. JJ4

    JJ4 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    But aren't pass/fail schools pretty light??
  26. Homer J. Simpson

    Homer J. Simpson 1st and goal from the 1 yard line. 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    San Fran, CA
    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by snowballz:
    <strong>I will say, a social life is not all that appealing to me. I'd rather work and accomplish things.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">:confused: <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> :confused: <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> :confused: <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" /> :confused: <img border="0" title="" alt="[Eek!]" src="eek.gif" />
  27. tr

    tr inert protoplasm Physician PhD Faculty 10+ Year Member

    Nov 17, 1999
    Hey JJ4 -

    If you think 'pass-fail' means 'do nothing and pass,' you're sadly mistaken.

    a) Pass-fail at most schools means, work your butt off just to pass :(
    Really, there's nobody who doesn't work. Some work more, some work less. Everybody puts in an appreciable chunk of time.

    b) if you're interested in a competitive residency, you should know that, although the school is nominally pass-fail, your dean is still required to mention which quadrant of the class you fall in when he/she writes your dean's letter for residency applications. That means that they're still tracking your class rank, even if they won't tell you what it is.

    c) I seem to recall from some other thread that you're interested in MD-PhD programs? You should know that most of them encourage or require graduate courses in the first two years, in addition to the standard medical curriculum.
  28. JJ4

    JJ4 Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Sep 19, 2001
    Hi tr. I wasn't implying that they are "light-loaded" but I totally understand that's what it looks like I meant -- my mistake. I guess the better question would be -- does it change the "atmosphere" whether your school is pass/fail or Honors/High Pass/Low Pass/Fail??

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