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Surviving 1st year burnout

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RaginMD

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I know I am definitely not the only one but as the end of 1st year coming along I'm getting more and more burnt out and depressed, which is bad considering our last course of the year is Med Neuro and its a nightmare!
First med neuro exam is Tuesday and that means that I missed out on my "spring break" and Easter to study. I haven't seen my family or taken a day off since New Year and its really really getting to me. Does anyone have some tips for fighting the burnout or depression that goes with the end of 1st year or basically how do I survive neuro without failing but also avoid wanting to jump into oncoming traffic because neuro sucks?
 

takeurmeds02

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It always helps me to take a full day and not do anything medicine related (some people take more haha). Binge netflix, go grab lunch by yourself (or with friends), go see a movie, or do something that you've really been meaning to get to. Be unapologetic about it and then hit the books hard the next coming days

A lot of people run into the issue of "half-studying" for days and are not effective bc they feel burnt out. To combat this, give yourself a break.

You'll be alright to at least take a day off. Btw, neuro is easy LOL
 
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sliceofbread136

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Realize it's only going to get harder and get used to it
 
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IslandStyle808

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I think I am hit 30 credit hours per week now thanks to neuro... Its sucks hard!
 
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meurotic

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Your school really shouldn't have left that as the final block. Not enough gas left in the tank for a class like neuro at that point for most M1s.

Regardless, it might be time for you to step away from your studies for a day or two to sum up some newfound motivation. A fresh perspective could take you further than that extra day or two of studying would.
 
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Levo

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Realize it's only going to get harder and get used to it

This was my general experience in med school. Every day is harder than the last but every day you're tougher than you were yesterday. You'll get used to it. I definitely agree with the "half-studying" thing. You're more productive when you force yourself to go hard for a few hours a day, then have scheduled fun time rather than waste your entire day studying less intensely.
 
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takeurmeds02

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Your school really shouldn't have left that as the final block. Not enough gas left in the tank for a class like neuro at the point for most M1s.

Regardless, it might be time for you to step away from your studies for a day or two to sum up some newfound motivation. A fresh perspective could take you further than that extra day or two of studying would.

Yea, I'm so glad we got that out of the way early. We're finishing on cards which is half as bad lol
 
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sovereign0

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This was my general experience in med school. Every day is harder than the last but every day you're tougher than you were yesterday. You'll get used to it. I definitely agree with the "half-studying" thing. You're more productive when you force yourself to go hard for a few hours a day, then have scheduled fun time rather than waste your entire day studying less intensely.

Totally agree with this. I happened to look back at material from the first block at my school (Genetics) which I thought was ridiculously voluminous and detailed at the time (first class after a gap year). Looking back, yeah it was detailed, but I viewed the material differently and more efficiently.

With a well-structured curriculum, the class material grows as your competency as a student grows. Even without a good curriculum, I think that we are able to adapt better than we give ourselves credit for.

None of that helps OP though, to whom I'd echo what others have said. Find some time to take a break. Investment in yourself will yield greater returns than trying to power through.
 
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Pathman1000

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It only gets worse from here on out buddy boy!
 
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DJNYY

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So I'd disagree with the few who keep saying it gets worse. I am graduating this year and can legit say the first two years were the most soul sucking drudgery ever. 3rd year will have its downsides (I spent 11 weeks rotating with a derm gunner) but it was much better than the first 2 years since you have variety between your clinical rotation responsibilities and studying for shelfs as opposed to merely studying morning till night.

Remember, output = effort*efficiency. Better to put in slightly fewer hours and be more productive than the opposite. Schedule breaks and little things to look forward to each day. Could be dinner with a classmate, a little bit of video game time, something off Netflix or swiping randos on tinder. Whatever floats your boat. Once you get through this phase it gets better.

But as I sit here studying for step 3 as I write this, I can barely will myself to study more than 4 hours in a day so maybe lend me some of your motivation and you can have some of my chill pill..
 
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Keona

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Neuro is awful. It was not taught well at my school. They've changed their curriculum now but I finally managed to pass it using Axiom Neuro. Get the software safe and easy.

You can review my posts and see that I am not affiliated with the company. Someone messaged me a year or two ago and said it was gone but looks like it is available again.

I had a horribly difficult time mastering neuro and understanding the spatial relationships of the different tracts. For some reason this program made it click. I also watched spinothalamic Tract and corticospinal trace on a YouTube singing video. Draw it to know it also has neuro available, drawing the tracts a million times helped me as well. I feel like after using lots of resources I finally developed a true understanding of neuro and can recall more of it now than my classmates who didn't struggle as much as I did.
 
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Moose A Moose

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You must take time off and for yourself. It's well-worth the point or two lost. Trust me... or don't, and burn out.
 
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Azete

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Also disagree that it gets worse. I'm finishing up MS2 and I can confidently say first year was much worse at our school. Which is honestly how it should be, schools should be killing students their first year and going easy their second year while they study for boards.

As far as burnout, please for the love of God do not stop exercising, eating well, or sleeping. Stay in shape, enjoy your meals, get your 8 hours, and I promise you'll not only perform better but be infinitely happier doing it.
 
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IslandStyle808

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Also disagree that it gets worse. I'm finishing up MS2 and I can confidently say first year was much worse at our school. Which is honestly how it should be, schools should be killing students their first year and going easy their second year while they study for boards.

As far as burnout, please for the love of God do not stop exercising, eating well, or sleeping. Stay in shape, enjoy your meals, get your 8 hours, and I promise you'll not only perform better but be infinitely happier doing it.

Its the same way at my school, our credit load is going to drop by 1/3 in 2nd year. It will be sweet to get out by 12pm everyday from here on out, but of course that extra time will be for the boards.
 

DJNYY

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Every day for the first 6 months of first year M2's would say, "Oh it gets way easier after [course]," and then it didn't. First it was anatomy. "Oh once you're done with going in and spending so many hours blunt dissecting fascia you'll have way more time." Neuro started, that definitely wasn't true, but everyone then said, "Oh, yeah neuro is hard, but after that it's much easier." Then the heavy physio (pulm, renal, cards, GI, endocrine) started, and record numbers of students started failing the exams (sometimes as much as 30-40% of the class, which the professors blamed on us being too stupid), and the M2s said, "Oh, yeah tons of people fail physio. The tests are very hard, but M2 is actually easier because they lay off a bit so you can do some step studying alongside coursework."

So far nothing they have said has been true. It's been hard and getting harder every day. You just have to like the material, because the work isn't going anywhere.


Now THAT sounds like a malignant med school. And to think, just a few short years ago we looked at med school acceptance like a golden ticket to the chocolate factory...
 
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Mr Roboto

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Screw neuro. We just finished. It doesn't get easier.
 

Goro

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Go visit your school's counseling center STAT.

Then visit your school's education or learning center, because you should have been able to have some time off. If my students can do it, you should too.

Start learning and using some mindfulness techniques.

I know I am definitely not the only one but as the end of 1st year coming along I'm getting more and more burnt out and depressed, which is bad considering our last course of the year is Med Neuro and its a nightmare!
First med neuro exam is Tuesday and that means that I missed out on my "spring break" and Easter to study. I haven't seen my family or taken a day off since New Year and its really really getting to me. Does anyone have some tips for fighting the burnout or depression that goes with the end of 1st year or basically how do I survive neuro without failing but also avoid wanting to jump into oncoming traffic because neuro sucks?
 
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3characterslong

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Neuroanatomy MRI/CTs just look like blobs to me. Then the professor circles some random blob and is like: "Can't you tell this is the medial lemniscus? Are you ******ed???".
 
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Psi Corps

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Neuroanatomy MRI/CTs just look like blobs to me. Then the professor circles some random blob and is like: "Can't you tell this is the medial lemniscus? Are you ******ed???".

Doesn't look like anything to me.
 
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cellsaver

Start learning and using some mindfulness techniques.

Mindfulness rocks!

So does not having social media accounts like FB, IG, Twitter, not reading the news online, do not watch TV, use the internet only for medical studies and have friends with whom you associate. My husband and I gave up the newsmedia for Lent and it impacted us very positively. We dont miss the negativity. We cancelled Netflix, and now spend time communicating and being with each other when we have finished our jobs for the day.

People make time for their own priorities. May yourselr a priority
 
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Foot Fetish

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Neuro is no harder than any other subject I've encountered in med school. I've gotten to the point where my brain just refuses to accept anything as being too difficult to manage. When I encounter a seemingly difficult topic, I don't dwell on how uncomfortable it is to learn it. I just start making passes until it sticks. "No time to complain" has become my motto. It seems like a lot of my classmates spend more time trying to figure out what is going to be on the exam / whining about the difficulty than actually sitting down and studying.
 
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Giovanotto

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Every day for the first 6 months of first year M2's would say, "Oh it gets way easier after [course]," and then it didn't. First it was anatomy. "Oh once you're done with going in and spending so many hours blunt dissecting fascia you'll have way more time." Neuro started, that definitely wasn't true, but everyone then said, "Oh, yeah neuro is hard, but after that it's much easier." Then the heavy physio (pulm, renal, cards, GI, endocrine) started, and record numbers of students started failing the exams (sometimes as much as 30-40% of the class, which the professors blamed on us being too stupid), and the M2s said, "Oh, yeah tons of people fail physio. The tests are very hard, but M2 is actually easier because they lay off a bit so you can do some step studying alongside coursework."

So far nothing they have said has been true. It's been hard and getting harder every day. You just have to like the material, because the work isn't going anywhere.
This has been my experience so far too. "I'll get way easier after Anatomy," except it didn't, in fact, Anatomy was CAKE compared to pretty much every class that followed. I, do, however, hope second year really is less busy, but I'm not holding my breath.
 
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jqueb29

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Don't worry, it gets much worse. Wait til Step 1 studying and 85% of your third year.
 
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jqueb29

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What happens during 85% of your third year that sucks so bad?

You live at the hospital, and you probably die at the hospital too because of how much you live at the hospital.
 

Levo

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What happens during 85% of your third year that sucks so bad?

I would argue that the hours of third year feel shorter than those of first or second year because they're much less monotonous. You can only stare at a text book for so many hours at a time before you start going crazy, but when you're talking to a patient one minute, writing notes the next, and doing a minor procedure the minute after that, 12 to 16 hour days go by reasonably quickly. What does make third year depressing at times is always having to kiss up to the people who control your grade and can give you a great or awful one with very little objective evidence or justification.
 
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JB50

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The burnout of second year lololololololololololololololololol.

but idk yet
 

OTOSwap

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It only gets worse from here on out buddy boy!

A physician I work with told me "there is light at the end of the tunnel, but it is a oncoming train". First year of med school is by far the best. Wait until residency unless you do something easy. You need balance to prevent burnout.
 

GoodWillShunting

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Yeah, I definitely understand.
For me, reading is really difficult in terms of maintaining focus.

My suggestion for maintaining study while also maintaining sanity is to grab a book, like High Yield Neuro (but really can be anything, like Robbins, BRS, etc.) and start sessions off with 10 or so practice questions. Questions are dynamic and game-like (but yes, also frustrating), but it at least gets your mind active and can be "therapeutic" once you get in the groove and just knock away a ton. Usually I put in my headphones and just do questions, and it's how I make it through. Can also do it with flash cards.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
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P0ke

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First year was (mostly) easy for me (doing an SMP and having seen everything beforehand probably helped). Second year is brutal though. My school is jam-packing all of our tests so we start summer earlier, and have more dedicated step time, and we haven't had a week without a test in over 2 months, and the past month has been 3 tests/ week. It's more of a test of my stamina/willpower/ability to forego sleep at this point than my ability to learn medicine.
 
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byaaaaaaah23

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Med school just keeps getting worse and worse until match day. Then your life is awesome for about three months until intern year starts. If you don't figure out how to deal with stress now, you're gonna have a bad time.
 
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Entadus

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First year was (mostly) easy for me (doing an SMP and having seen everything beforehand probably helped). Second year is brutal though. My school is jam-packing all of our tests so we start summer earlier, and have more dedicated step time, and we haven't had a week without a test in over 2 months, and the past month has been 3 tests/ week. It's more of a test of my stamina/willpower/ability to forego sleep at this point than my ability to learn medicine.
That's brutal.... personally i think m2 year / step1 culture is malignant and out of control
 
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DJNYY

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You live at the hospital, and you probably die at the hospital too because of how much you live at the hospital.

Idk about that, I did a pretty good job on not working ridiculous hours. Of course it varies by rotation but when attendings or residents were like "you can go home", I already had one foot out the door lol. First rule of the hospital life, get out of there at the earliest possible chance
 
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cellsaver

That's brutal.... personally i think m2 year / step1 culture is malignant and out of control
Good call and totally agree.

How much of it is created by our peers and hence foment a surreal, malignant, psychiatric environment ? (e.g. memorize Step 1, use Anki Bros, ignore lectures, "must have" Sketchy Micro, etc)

For students who pay medical schools hundreds of thousands of dollars, they sure undermine their ROI by disregarding their school admins and faculty...and brag about it
 

Lannister

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We just finished week 7 of our 14 week neuro block. This class needs to end.
 
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Azete

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We just finished week 7 of our 14 week neuro block. This class needs to end.

14 weeks? Aren't most schools doing neuro in 6-7 weeks now?

Ours was 7 and I thought even that was excessive.
 
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Lannister

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14 weeks? Aren't most schools doing neuro in 6-7 weeks now?

Ours was 7 and I thought even that was excessive.

I have no idea why ours is so long =/ Supposedly people from my school rock the neuro questions on Step 1 but honestly I'm not sure it's worth it lol. We had spring break last week and I have completely checked out. Our exam next week is going to be a disaster.
 

W19

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That's brutal.... personally i think m2 year / step1 culture is malignant and out of control
Almost everything about med school is malignant. Can't wait to be done with 3rd year :(
 
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Giovanotto

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Tomorrow it all ends for me! You'll get there, hang in there. Our block is 7 weeks.
We just finished week 7 of our 14 week neuro block. This class needs to end.
 
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AlbinoHawk DO

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This has been my experience so far too. "I'll get way easier after Anatomy," except it didn't, in fact, Anatomy was CAKE compared to pretty much every class that followed. I, do, however, hope second year really is less busy, but I'm not holding my breath.
Second year is different. Even if you mastered how to do well with a lot less effort, any free time feels like you should be spending it on boards.
 
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RaginMD

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Update: Took some advice after the first exam, which was pretty awful but I still did okay and talk to some of the student affair people.... went camping, went to a music festival and decided that I wasn't going to kill myself over this course. One week left and a 60 lecture exam to go, I can't wait to get it over with. I don't know how some of you people like neuro. :eyebrow:
Also good luck to all you MS2s studying for STEP 1 right now!
 
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68PGunner

I did pretty well on this class once I embrace the fact that I have to remember every detail on every single slide like a monkey. However, I'm pretty sure that my retention for this class is like 15-20%.
 

takeurmeds02

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Last cardio exam is next Friday. Finishing our MPH presentations today. Our last week is first-year H&P exams. 2 more weeks....

We just finished week 7 of our 14 week neuro block. This class needs to end.
Omg. 14 weeks? I'd die. You guys got short-changed out of another subject.
 

MerYangBey

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Just finished up our Neuro exams yesterday- currently waiting for scores....:bag:
I felt like our neuro block was taught horribly. I also had no previous exposure to anything Neuro so it was all new. Also I found it a little cruel to have Neuro be the last block!


Good luck OP!
 
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