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They just don't understand

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by doctorp82, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. doctorp82

    doctorp82 Palpating preschoolers 2+ Year Member

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    Do you ever have trouble getting people to realize med school is as much work as you're putting into it? Some people I know who knew me before med school sometimes say I'm letting myself get too busy, or I'm too consumed with school, but when I try to make time to see people by planning it ahead, they can't seem to afford the time in advance. Or, some people just think that you're working too hard on preparing for tests AND boards.

    Anyone ever run into this and feel the only answer is "You'll just have to take my word for it, you just don't understand," ?
     
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  3. njbmd

    njbmd Guest Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

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    Gone Walkabout!

    It's your career and your goals. Do you want "understanding" or do you want "success"? It looks like, from the perspective of what you have written above, that you can't have both. If this is true, then decide what you want and what you can achieve and let the other stuff go. The only person whose opinion matters is your opinion. If you believe you are doing what you need to be doing, then you are not "too consumed" or "working to hard". If not, change what you need to change for the better and keep moving forward. If something is not working for you, fix it and make it work for you but the opinion of others doesn't figure into the equation.
     
  4. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    You cannot make people understand. Lots of friends get left by the wayside because of med school due to lack of time to "hang".
     
  5. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

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    Your friends and family will respect your decision without understanding if you maintain your word and keep your promises.

    Med school is only a few years so it will fly by quickly enough and then you will have some social time again and your disappearance will all end up just being a funny story at dinner.
     
  6. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    Most people are at least sympathetic, even if none of them ever studied that much in one week. The one thing that irritates me is the "Ah, you'll do fine." :mad: I need to find all the people who said that to me before the first neuro exam and tell them "YOU COULDN'T HAVE BEEN MORE WRONG!" :p
     
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Well, there's that nagging little thing called residency that may put a crimp in your style...
     
  8. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

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    Residency is part of medical school because you are still paying to learn...
     
  9. soeagerun2or

    soeagerun2or Banned Banned 2+ Year Member

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    There is a diminishing marginal utility for each extra unit of studying performed. While the people criticizing you may not realize the effort level you're passing, to them it may be to high. However, perhaps you are putting in too much work for what you're getting out

    You have to pay for residency in Canada?
     
  10. akpete

    akpete Drinks, anyone? 7+ Year Member

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    Madison
    um, no.
     
  11. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Um, in residency they pay you to learn. About $40k these days.
     
  12. Sophie

    Sophie Lead Foot 10+ Year Member

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    Most of my friends from college think that med school is like college, and that I should thus be able to hang out until a week before finals. :rolleyes:

    No matter how much you explain the workload, some people just won't get it, and will still say things like "Why are you studying now? Your exams aren't for another 3 weeks!" If they're good friends they'll be okay with it because you say it's necessary, even if they don't truly believe you.
     
  13. Skellington

    Skellington New Member 5+ Year Member

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    soeager makes a good point.

    It is in your interest to do as much work as necessary to achieve your goals and no more. If you goal is to get an A, if it takes you 5 hours/wk to get 91% or 10 hours/wk to get 95% you are better off doing 5 hours.

    I'm not suggesting that you do 'the minimum' because getting As is not the minimum but that you have to consider the 'big picture'.

    I was a crappy student the first time through, but my time in business has given me discipline and perspective on the 'big picture'.

    I know med school is tough though so this may not apply to your situation.

    Just curious though, how many hours per week do you put into med school?
     
  14. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    If you ever, in your med school career, achieve the point where you can accurately gauge how much time you need to put in to achieve a certain grade, please, let me know.

    I've studied 100 hours for exam A and gotten an 87%. I've then studied 100 hours for exam B and gotten a 72%. It's sometimes hard to tell how much work you "need" to do to achieve a "minimum."

    In 2nd year, there have been about 20-22 hours of lecture per week. You should plan on putting in ~ 4 hours of studying per weekday (if you attend lecture; it's probably around 7-8 if you don't go and listen to it at home) if it's not an exam week. Probably about an additional 15-20 hours on weekends. Obviously, this is different for everyone.

    Please note, however - staying home and not going to class is not an option for everyone because not all schools record their lectures. Mine does, but different schools have different policies.

    Exam week, of course, this all goes out the window, and you're basically studying when you're conscious (i.e. haven't passed out yet) and when you're not eating or going to the bathroom.
     
  15. doctoresse

    doctoresse Member 5+ Year Member

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    Med school is just one of those experiences that you can understand only if you've been thru it. Even I as a premed knew it will be a lot of work and heard it from all my med students friends but I didn't think it would be THAT much work. I'm sometimes amazed at how much studying I do and I didn't think I had it in me to study like this (good old undergrad days were a walk in the park)
    I do relax a bit after a med school exam but I'm still conscious that if I relax too much I will have to study 10 hrs/day starting 2 wks before the next exam to catch up.
    Even my hubby sometimes doesn't get it but is still supportive, I always make time to spend with him but definitely can't do that for all my friends. So yeah, I'll see them when they can fit in my schedule, they can't always understand it but they'll accept it.:p
     
  16. SOUNDMAN

    SOUNDMAN Senior Member 10+ Year Member

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    I'm amazed at how much time I study sometimes. It's pretty similar to most people. Get here at 8AM and stay to 5PM if no tests that week. However two days of the week are late night until 10PM or later. Once tests start rolling like in the next week, i'll spend 8AM until midnight at school studying fairly consistently. So far it's worked I guess, but it's crazy for sure.
     
  17. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

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    Yes, when you work 80 hours per week and make about $6 per hour after taxes, then you are paying to learn. Otherwise you could make the same money flipping burgers with a 40 hour week.
     
  18. Skellington

    Skellington New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Just for the record, I'm not in med school, just want to be...

    >>If you ever, in your med school career, achieve the point where you can accurately gauge how much time you need to put in to achieve a certain grade, please, let me know.<<

    True. I always end up studying a LOT for the first tests of the semester until I get a hang for what the teacher tests for.

    How many science course pages do you end up reading per week (that you are expected to know)?

    --s
     
  19. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    True. Unfortunately, in med school, each "semester" is only about 2-3 tests. By the time you figure out what they're testing for, the semester is over.

    Well, in med school, it's ALL science courses. The other stuff is the stuff I read while waiting in line at the grocery store or waiting for the bus or something.

    In the next 5 days, we will be covering about 90 pages of clinical/science material.

    They really do need to add a crying avatar....
     
  20. dewdrinker23

    dewdrinker23 Banned Banned

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    There is a difference between being a professional and having a social life and being a successful professional. We keep saying to ourselves that we need to be well rounded individuals. Well, the truth is that the most successful people in this country (meaning name recognition, prestige, money, and job title and responsibility) are not well rounded individual people because they can't be. In order to be at the top of your game you have to pick and chose what is the most important to you. You will not be able to keep everyone around you that you have on your way up to the top of your profession. You will leave many people behind because that is the nature of the game.

    A rising professional is better of having more close professional connections then you do personal friends. This is a good thing though. When you get to the top of yoru game, you are not only judged by the work you do, but you are also judged by what you drive, how you talk, and who "hangs" around you. If you want to try and keep people around you that just don't understand what it takes to do what you do, then will only drag you down and will not allow you to advance as a professional.

    I have had to let a few friends go on the path to where I want to go in my life. It sucks to loose connections with old friends, but when we take different paths in life, it is just the way it works. I don't consider an email once a year or a some random useless message on Facebook keeping in touch.

    Think about being an NFL coach or a Nascar driver. You can play all of the video games you want, you can do all of the non-race training you want, you can be on the sidelines of a football game as much as you want, you will never know what it is actually like driving a race car in a Nascar in the heat of the moment until you are doing and you will never know what it is like calling a play in an NFL game until you do it.

    No person can understand what it is actually like in medical school until you are in it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  21. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou 2+ Year Member

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    Fundamental misunderstanding apparent here.

    I also don't know anyone who calls up to 9 years, a "brief" disappearance.

    That and doctors aren't known for the easy work schedules.
     
  22. McGillGrad

    McGillGrad Building Mind and Body 10+ Year Member

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    What is apparent is a fundamental lack of imagination. I was under the impression that medical school students have a basic understanding of metaphors and hyperbole.

    Doctor's schedules vary enough that your last sentence is an erroneous blanket statement. ER docs definitely work a set schedule and are not slaves to their jobs.
     
  23. Orthonut

    Orthonut Garryowen 5+ Year Member

    What everyone else said. When I found out my in-laws were only masquerading as nice but were in reality...psycho daughter-in-law-haters I tried to get them to understand how important school is to me (would you like another free-loading child-in-law or would you rather have someone to take care of you when you're old and out of money) for about a week, then I was like ****this, they can gth. I probably shouldn't have lost my temper with my father in law and told him "*(!&*)!*& !(*&!)*&! you !(*!)(*!!! This whole thing was YOUR son's idea" but hey, Mr O was in ICU and I had a short fuse those two weeks.

    Mr O'Nut supports me in this and that's all I need. My family thinks its great and knows it will consume me (heck, my 10yo niece just emailed me and told me to 'make sure to do all your homework and study a lot so you can get good grades on your finals') BIL is excited to "have a Dr in the family" Even my Sis and BIL's neighbours think it's awesome.

    The only thing the supportive people have done is to remind me to take a little time for myself, get some rest, and eat properly.

    I take Abraham Lincoln's advice on this one: "You can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time"
     
  24. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin 10+ Year Member

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    Seriously.

    90 pages/week is relatively light for med school too. This past week we went through 185 pages of syllabus in neuro. This does not include any of the lab/practical stuff that we have to know. Unfortunately the lab stuff is probably twice the work that the 185 pages covers.

    When we took histo, phys and immuno together we would go through around 250-300 pages per week. Now that might not sound like a lot if say you were in a literature class but unlike lit classes, you have to memorize those 300 pages not just read 'em.

    It's hard to swallow just how much work there is in medical school. While med school (thus far) is more doable than I thought it would be, I had no idea how much work it really would entail. And I'm just a first year...
     
  25. Sophie

    Sophie Lead Foot 10+ Year Member

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    We typically have 1 test per block of classes. So, for example, we'll have 7 weeks of heme classes, and then one final (or several finals all in the same week). The head of whatever block we're in oversees the test we get, but usually the individual professors (of which we probably have ~30 throughout the block) make up their own test questions. The styles of the questions vary radically from one prof to the next, and the styles of the tests vary radically from one block to the next.

    There is NEVER a point before any test where I'm able to make any sort of reasonable guess at what my grade will be.
     
  26. Dookter

    Dookter Senior Member 5+ Year Member

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    I also get annoyed when it really does end up fine. I get accused of crying wolf over and over again, so it's like people think I'm lying about things being hard...
     
  27. Skellington

    Skellington New Member 5+ Year Member

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    Damn, 300 pages a week of science? That's like getting through a normal 1 year textbook in 3 weeks. That's a lot of memorization. Too bad those books don't come as index cards (it's annoying to have to make so many index cards, but I memorize best on cards).

    :)
     
  28. pagemmapants

    pagemmapants Unknown Member 10+ Year Member

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    Unless you go to the right school. :D

    Seriously though, our tests right now are every 2 weeks (or every week, depending) and cover about four times as much as the material I'd cover in an entire upper division science class at UCLA. I used to make outlines to review: for the UCLA upper div classes I'd have maybe 10 pages in 10 pt font for a 10 week class. Here? 40 pages in 10 point font, in two weeks.

    And that's not including drug lists.

    Yeah, the "why do you study so much?" comments from the friends get kind of annoying. Thank heaven I have a dad who slept every OTHER night while he was earning his Ph.D. so he kinda gets it. :)
     
  29. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    haha, get used to it.
     
  30. RokChalkJayhawk

    RokChalkJayhawk Muck Fizzou 2+ Year Member

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    I understand hyperbole and metaphor just fine. Furthermore, I can understand tone. I don't like yours.

    ER docs are not very representative of the schedules of most doctors. Go look and see what the schedule of MOST doctors looks like, and it comes nowhere close to representing the average physician. This chart isn't the best, but if you look closely, you'll see that only pathologists and dermatologists work less than ER physicians.

    http://www.medfriends.org/specialty_hours_worked.htm

    A vast majority of doctors will be entering IM, FP, Peds, and a variety of other specialties. Several of these approach 60 hours a week, and are designated as having an "uncontrollable" lifestyle.
     
  31. Pontifex Maximus

    Pontifex Maximus Rads-a-palooza Physician 10+ Year Member

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    People always say this when they have no clue about your study habits and/or body of work this far. Very frustrating.
     
  32. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    I guess so. I wish they would just wish me well, instead of stating that I will do well.
     
  33. browniegirl86

    browniegirl86 10+ Year Member

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    Luckily we have a fully integrated curriculum, so we only have one "class" which encompasses all the disciplines (medicine, anatomy, phys, path, pharm, etc) for a certain system. Right now it's neuro.

    I'd say I spend between 8-10 hours a day on school. Longer if I'm volunteering at clinic, but that doesn't really count. It's usually 4 hours in the morning of some combination of lecture and small group, then studying or lab or patient care small group in the afternoon. Then after dinner, studying for a few hours at night just to read the syllabus for the next day and re-read from the current day.

    We had 230 pages, mostly neuroanatomy this time, in 2 weeks. It's not bad at all, actually. Midterm was this morning and I have anatomy practical in 3 hours.

    But yeah. My friends at home have no idea, except for the ones in med school. My parents just know I study a lot. Since I moved so far to go to school, all my local friends are in my class, which is kind of lame but also nice since they always understand the need to study.
     
  34. kdburton

    kdburton Ulnar Deviant 5+ Year Member

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    60 hours/week is more than what 9-5'ers work, but I don't see why everyone on this site thinks that 60 hours/week doesn't allow you to have a life outside of medicine. I frequently work 60 hours a week and I have plenty of time to screw around and have a good time with my friends.
     
  35. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    $40k salary is still $40k in your pocket -- i.e. they are paying you to learn, not vice versa. The issue is never whether you can earn more elsewhere (you always can -- just as the resident could earn more per hour flipping burgers, the fry cook could earn more doing landscaping and so on). The issue is whether you are paying out or an employer is paying in. Making $40k for a long houred job is a heck of a lot different than borrowing $40k like most of us do during the preceding 4 years of school. So no, residency is a job. It's a job with a low salary and crummy hours, but it's a job, not school.
     
  36. Green Chimneys

    Green Chimneys Meatwad's Worst Nightmare 7+ Year Member

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    You may have 200-300 pages of text to read in the "required" textbooks per week but if you actually read them, you're almost definitely wasting your time. I find that most of my friends in med school significantly overstudy in terms of hours spent, but many of those seem to be bulls--t hours. Either their studying the wrong stuff, or more likely they are "social studying" (chatting, net surfing, TV watching, daydreaming, emailing, taking breaks every 30 minutes to go to starbucks). If you budget your time properly and study smart instead of studying a lot, you should have a lot of free time in your first and second year and get reasonably good grades.

    Beware though, if you do this, don't brag about your study hours to your friends at school. People tend to resent others who do well but aren't working as hard as they are (in reality, you are working as hard, but they don't realize it).

    I apologize if this post comes off in a condescending manner, I don't mean for it to be that way. Everyone has their own study habits that work best for them. I just hate to see pre-allo kids told that medical school is so rediculously difficult that they will have to flush their personal lives down the drain. It's just not true.
     
  37. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    From what I can tell for the first year, this has been true for me, too. I study a lot less than I expected to and have a decent amount of spare time. I can't tell you why it's worked out that way, but that's how it's been. I'm not one of those people who only misses 2 questions on a test, and I doubt I'll make AOA, but I'm doing fine.

    Who knows, though, maybe I'll make a 205 on the boards or something like that because I didn't study more.

    One question for those of you complaining about your friends not understanding. Do you take the time to understand what's going on in their life and what their stressors and time constraints are? If you're not doing that for them, I don't see how you can expect it in return. Big hint -- you're probably not the only one working hard, and you're not the only one with problems.
     
  38. Skellington

    Skellington New Member 5+ Year Member

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    GreenChimney,

    Your point is kind of what I was getting at when I replied way above. That with good time management you should have plenty of free time (from what I've heard). If you do 40-60 hours/week for school that's just like any other semi-demanding professional job (not implying that med school isn't hard - since I have no experience in one).

    -s
     
  39. smq123

    smq123 John William Waterhouse Administrator Physician SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

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    Actually, I rarely read the "required" textbook reading. If I did that, it would double what we read.

    What some of us were referring to were the class notes that we're given. I think, based on your previous posts, that your school doesn't distribute free pre-printed lecture note sets. Mine does, and that's what I spend so much of my study time with. Each lecture comes with its own set of notes, and, together, that's the 90 pages that we're going over. If I did the required reading, I'd probably double that...which is why I'm not going to.

    I don't think anyone was saying that you have to flush your personal lives down the drain. They're just complaining about the disconnect that seems to exist between med students and non-med students. It's there, and sometimes it's more frustrating to deal with than at other times. But it's not such a terrible thing - just irritating at times.

    See above. Some schools "teach" out of textbooks, which is what GreenChimney is referring to. Many other schools teach out of their own noteset - i.e. notes that the professors have written themselves. Not just powerpoints, but actual notes.

    Of course we're not the only ones with problems. One of my friends was recently diagnosed with AIDS (NOT HIV, everyone seems to assume that I don't understand the difference yet, despite 2 years of med school) - he hadn't had any symptoms (and never got tested) until he developed KS. His problems are, obviously, quite a bit bigger than mine. And, obviously, I take the time to talk to him and listen to him. But I can't do that with all of my friends. And my friends are not about to unburden their problems to me if they're suggesting that we go to a nightclub.

    But the biggest disconnect, for me, is that everyone else's schedule and mine just don't coincide. Yeah - it's sort of like a 50-70 hour work week that the average professional works. But it's lopsided. My mornings are free (if I don't go to class) and my afternoons and evenings (when we have clinical skills and study group stuff) are busy.

    And instead of saying "Well, you can't hang out with us tonight, that's fine," they kind of brush off my study schedule, like it's not important. And that's fine, but I wish that they'd validate my stress, and not just act like I'm over-reacting. Or they seem to think that I'm a teacher's pet and studying hard because I think it will make me look better. That's what I think other people were referring to.
     
  40. Instatewaiter

    Instatewaiter But... there's a troponin 10+ Year Member

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    The only difference is that in a demanding job, when you leave the office you are done for the day. In med school you always have something hanging over you.
     
  41. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie 7+ Year Member

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    That's the rub. Also, how many jobs require you to spend at least a few hours working every day? I miss my weekends off.
     
  42. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    Congratulations on your impressive attention span. Trust me, not all of us have it. If I sat in a room and just tried to grind out four hours of studying, it wouldn't work. I wouldn't learn. I'd daydream, zone out, or just plain fall asleep. I need to break up my study time with things like SDN, calling a friend, etc. I know my weaknesses, so I never bring my laptop to school, I never study at home, and I go somewhere where I can focus, but I'll always get thirsty, tired, bored, etc. Honestly, I'd rather spend 6-7 hours studying at a casual pace than 4 hours of intense memorization. There's still another 18 hours in the day anyways. My social life doesn't really bite the dust until the week before (and during) exams. Even then, I see my wife every day for at least an hour or two (if not a lot more).
     
  43. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

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    And this is a big difference. I've worked very long hours before, and being able to forget about work when I leave (trust me, I don't stress over landscaping) is pretty key.
     
  44. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    But you don't have to let it hang over you. It's perfectly reasonable to say I'm going to do x amount of studying today, and once I've done it, I'm done. Sure, you might worry about stuff, but when I worked, I worried about stuff, too. It wasn't because I had to or because it was productive, though. School's the same way.
     
  45. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Personally, I take most weekends off, but we have test blocks, so I guess that makes it easier. If you can't take the weekend off, I think you could probably at least take off one day a week. I guess I'm undisciplined, but I couldn't study every day of every week.

    Wow, I guess I'm sounding like you guys' friends who don't get it. I'm a med student, and I don't get it. You need to make it a priority to have spare time and to spend time with friends. I don't think med school makes it impossible to do that. It's just we're all a little too neurotic.
     
  46. naegleria brain

    naegleria brain 2+ Year Member

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    its been said before, and ill repeat it again. our neuroticism got us here, so its helped us out. if you cant find the time for your friends, it doesnt have to be something wrong with you. it sometimes IS just way too much.

    what would you rather do? make time for friends, fail, drop out, owe 40 grand, and figure out what to do with your life?

    forget those idiots, make new friendships with guys who understand, become a doctor, and move on.

    it sounds harsh, but someone's got to say it. very few people have friends theyve kept in constant contact with for over 20 years. chances are you'll fall apart anyway in 20 years, and its no point failing medical school over it.

    if you cant do both, its time to prioritize
     
  47. shivasHeroLike

    shivasHeroLike 7+ Year Member

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    all my friends were business students in undergrad that now work in the city makin that chedda' , by 6 pm they are out chillin at some bar drinkin it up.

    its just a completely different lifestyle for me to follow and keep up with.
     
  48. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    That's a classic false dilemma right there. You can indeed make time for friends and time for yourself and not fail. Maybe you can't be a #1 in your class (or great superhero future doctor like you seem to want to be), but you're not going to fail because you go out with your friends occasionally.
     
  49. DoctorFunk

    DoctorFunk Get down with the boogie 7+ Year Member

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    Tell that to the person who's currently getting a 46% in our pharm class right now and needs to get a 97% on the cumulative final in order to avoid repeating the entire second year.

    I agree that MOST students can find time for friends/hobbies/family/watching paint dry and do fine (although maybe not derm fine), but there are always a few people in every class that really don't have that luxury.
     
  50. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

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    Dec 20, 2004
    Agreed. Different people are fighting different battles. There will be the person who has to spend every free second because he needs to honor, and there will be the person who has to spend every free second because he is truly struggling. Time management helps but it isn't the end of the story. There are truly going to be people for whom med school is a full time all encompassing obligation (because of goals or by need).
     
  51. 45408

    45408 aw buddy 7+ Year Member

    16,981
    36
    Jun 13, 2004
    Wow. :oops: I'll probably be saying hello that that guy/girl in the fall. I agree with your post though - some people will have plenty of time, but there are definitely some people who can't afford to go out and hang out.
     

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