SerenaRN

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How much time are you able to spend with your children while in medical school? My husband stays home with our kids and is committed to supporting me entirely. But I am not sure if going back to medical school would make me lose out on too much time with my family... i.e. how much worse would it be than if I were to be gone at a full time job?

Any ideas, comments, or suggestions from people who have been in a similar situation?

Thanks,

Serena
 

12R34Y

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You can absolutely have time for your family in medical school. It just HAS to be a priority. Family #1, the rest a distant #2. I had my first child after my first year of medical school and have another one due this summer after (after 3rd year). The first two years are very very doable in terms of time. I rarely attended classes the first two years (that's what noteservice is for). I would study monday-friday from around 8-1 or so and then have the rest of the day and night off. weekends off etc... (obviously before a test block i would pick it up a little, but no all nighters or anything drastic like that). Anyway.....for two years there was PLENTY of time with fam now third year is a little different because of the time requirement and call schedule that you can't control. you have to be present, which does blow from time to time, but most rotations are pretty humane and I still have a decent amount of time with my family. fourth year of course is a joke and i think i ended up having 5 months completely off with electives i've completed already.

in a nutshell...family has to be a priority and it can work. family support is important which it sounds like you have. I have a stay-at-home wife which is invaluable and wonderful!!

later
 

sunnyjohn

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12R34Y,

This post is good news. So you can have a life? Thank you, Thank you.

Agape
 

Dr Who

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Hey Serena,
I understand your worries but sometimes you have to make some sacrifices, in this case time with your family, in order to achieve your dreams.
in the end you are doing this for them as much as for yourself, so dont worry and keep going.
The most important thing is that you have your family's support, that's what is important.
 

efex101

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It also depends on your intellectual capabilities some people can study for 4 hrs per day and do well others need more. Until you get there you will not know for sure. Also depends on your school...at my school you pretty much have to go and the days are pretty full and *then* you have to study. So check with the school you are applying to if it is half day or not. Assume that time will be limited (by limited I mean you will not have a LOT of time with your family but some) and then anything more than that is great.
 

ms. a

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It's definitely doable to balance school and family. One thing I've found is that I work best when I make clear distinctions between study time and family time. I study very hard when my family is not home, but once they get home and it's time for me to be with them, I close all the books and concentrate totally on them. Trying to study while you watch Sesame Street, for instance, is not very effective and makes everyone frustrated because you are not really "with" them. Of course, this also means that you have to be able to dscipline yourself and study when you really need to.
 

thackl

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I tend to be more absent around blocks, but othe than that, the kids and I get plenty of time together. We're hanging out right now (other than me doing this) and we're going out for icecream later.
 

12R34Y

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In reference to a previous post it doesn't matter if you have half days of lecture of full days. My school was full days and I still didn't go. Lectures generally aren't required and most schools have a note taking transcription service.

Again........sacrificing family is not a great thing in my opinion. Of course there is sacrifice, but I've drawn a line.

If something ever happens to my wife, daughter etc....I GUARANTEE I'LL NEVER LOOK BACK and think "Man....i just wish i could have spent more time at school studying instead of time with my family." or "It's just soooo sad that I didn't spend more time with my research etc..." no one will ever say that.

When there is a choice in my opinion you should always choose family because they are what matters.

later
 

8744

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I have three kids. My wife stays home with the children. In all my working career I have never spent so much time with my familiy as I have in medical school.

While it is true that some rotations in third year can be somewhat time intensive, most of them have pretty reasonable hours and it was a rare day when I was at the hospital past five PM. (Even if I did have to get in really early on most days.) Same with fourth year where other than a trauma surgery rotation and an "away" Emergency Medicine rotation I have been home early most days. Heck, I have been slacking off like the big dog of proverb since November. I have not done a night of call since August and I have not, with the exception of Emergency Medicine shift work, been at the hospital past two on most days.

Not to mention the unbelievable amount of vacation you will get. Three weeks for Christmas? Spring Break? Six week summer vacation? These things are unheard of in the working world.

First and second year was pretty good from a familiy perspective. We got out of lecture at decent hours and I rarely studied past six PM. Towards the end of second year I hardly studied at all.

Of course, take this with a grain of salt as your free time will depend on how driven you are to get good grades. If you want to match into medicine, family practice, peds, or psychiatry then there is no need to kill yourself. I'd even say that you could get a general surgery or OB-Gyn residency fairly easily with mediocre grades as long as you do well on Step 1 and charge hard in third year.

At most schools you will get some time at the end of second year to study for Step 1. We can take up to seven weeks at my school which is, as you will find, more than enough time.
 

efex101

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Yeah but in some schools classes are mandatory or it is frowned upon if you tend to just not show up just fyi.
 

Law2Doc

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... i.e. how much worse would it be than if I were to be gone at a full time job?...
First two years are probably the equivalent of a full time job. Third year is much more time consuming and there will be nights you don't come home at all and MANY days when you leave the house in the dark and come home in the dark. Fourth year you probably will have a few hard working months (esp sub-Is) but the bulk of that year can be easier than the typical full time job. Then residency is probably more like third year again.
 

metalgirl14

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I apologize for that. I accidentally made that post and I could not figure out how to delete it. I will be more careful next time. :confused:
 

pianola

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It's pretty interesting to see the change in Panda's posts from then to now.
 

Doctor J

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It's pretty interesting to see the change in Panda's posts from then to now.
There is a world of difference between working 80-120 hour weeks, week after week after week, with only 3 weeks of vacation a year, and medical school which is, for most, a 45-60 hour a week job with a ton of vacation thrown in. This difference alone would more than account for the difference in tone of his posts.

For what it's worth, I have found that most medical students are horrifically melodramatic and vastly overestimate the amount of time they spend "studying". There is absolutely time for your kids when you are in medical school. I cannot say the same for residency, but I imagine a lot of that depends on the program and specialty you match into.
 

pianola

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There is a world of difference between working 80-120 hour weeks, week after week after week, with only 3 weeks of vacation a year, and medical school which is, for most, a 45-60 hour a week job with a ton of vacation thrown in. This difference alone would more than account for the difference in tone of his posts.

For what it's worth, I have found that most medical students are horrifically melodramatic and vastly overestimate the amount of time they spend "studying". There is absolutely time for your kids when you are in medical school. I cannot say the same for residency, but I imagine a lot of that depends on the program and specialty you match into.
Good to know.

I mean, I figured residency was a different beast than medical school.
 

Law2Doc

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For what it's worth, I have found that most medical students are horrifically melodramatic and vastly overestimate the amount of time they spend "studying". ...
Totally disagree. Some play it up, but at least as many play it down (as you are doing). It's somewhat school and student dependent but the average is someplace in the middle (meaning more than you are suggesting, but less than the most melodramatic). Prepare for the worst and if it's not that bad, count your blessings. 3rd year is a shocker for lots of people, and many will break the 100 hour barrier with some regularity in some rotations.
 

DrJD

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Totally disagree. Some play it up, but at least as many play it down (as you are doing). It's somewhat school and student dependent but the average is someplace in the middle (meaning more than you are suggesting, but less than the most melodramatic). Prepare for the worst and if it's not that bad, count your blessings. 3rd year is a shocker for lots of people.
I think he's right, if you remove time spent on Facebook, Myspace, SDN, walking over to the table your friends are at in the library and whispering loudly, news reading, etc... People spend way less time studying than they say or let on is necessary. "Oh my gosh medical school is so hard I study until midnight every day." Now, what they dont' say is that if you subtract all of the time I mentioned above, you'd end up them studying until 6 or 7 and they could have spent the rest of the night doing whatever they wanted. But hey, you get the same amount of time "off" either way, personally I'd rather focus when I am studying and save my time off for the end to spend with family.

Can't comment on third year, so I'll trust that it is a shocker...
 

Law2Doc

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I think he's right, if you remove time spent on Facebook, Myspace, SDN, walking over to the table your friends are at in the library and whispering loudly, news reading, etc... People spend way less time studying than they say or let on is necessary. "Oh my gosh medical school is so hard I study until midnight every day." Now, what they dont' say is that if you subtract all of the time I mentioned above, you'd end up them studying until 6 or 7 and they could have spent the rest of the night doing whatever they wanted. But hey, you get the same amount of time "off" either way, personally I'd rather focus when I am studying and save my time off for the end to spend with family.

Can't comment on third year, so I'll trust that it is a shocker...
I was mainly talking about 3rd year in the post you responded to. As I've said before, if you treat the first two years like a long-houred (65-70 hour) job, you will do fine. So if you put into it what you would put into that job at the law firm or financial institution, you are going to have the same kind of family time as those folks who hold those kinds of jobs. The facebook/myspace/talking in the library really can't be subtracted out - most people can only study effectively in short, 1 hour-ish bursts, and then must take a few minutes to break. So if you are studying all day (as many do in med school), you will be working an hour, then doing SDN/facebook/chatting for 10+ mins, then working another hour etc. and so on. To a bystander who only notices the breaks, it looks like you are goofing off more than you are. But in fact those breaks are what is keeping you sane and productive, and sitting in that seat for an extended period of time. Show me someone with thousands of posts during the first few years of med school and I'll show you someone sitting in the library for an extended period of time. That's just the way it works -- you don't subtract this, any more than you would discount an employee's work day due to a few trips to the water cooler. You NEED to unwind a few minutes every hour to get that next hour.

Third year it goes out the window. You WILL be working very long hours during your sugery, IM, and OB rotations. You will be on the wards overnight. You will have rotations where you show up when it's dark and leave when it's dark. Really no way to deny it.
 

DrJD

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I was mainly talking about 3rd year in the post you responded to. As I've said before, if you treat the first two years like a long-houred (65-70 hour) job, you will do fine. So if you put into it what you would put into that job at the law firm or financial institution, you are going to have the same kind of family time as those folks who hold those kinds of jobs. The facebook/myspace/talking in the library really can't be subtracted out - most people can only study effectively in short, 1 hour-ish bursts, and then must take a few minutes to break. So if you are studying all day (as many do in med school), you will be working an hour, then doing SDN/facebook/chatting for 10+ mins, then working another hour etc. and so on. To a bystander who only notices the breaks, it looks like you are goofing off more than you are. But in fact those breaks are what is keeping you sane and productive, and sitting in that seat for an extended period of time. Show me someone with thousands of posts during the first few years of med school and I'll show you someone sitting in the library for an extended period of time. That's just the way it works -- you don't subtract this, any more than you would discount an employee's work day due to a few trips to the water cooler. You NEED to unwind a few minutes every hour to get that next hour.

Third year it goes out the window. You WILL be working very long hours during your sugery, IM, and OB rotations. You will be on the wards overnight. You will have rotations where you show up when it's dark and leave when it's dark. Really no way to deny it.
I totally agree with the need for breaks, but it takes a LOT of discipline to let SDN and Facebook only consume 10 minutes every hour. I think that is the perfect schedule, and what I did in order to maintain a life outside of school. However, I think most people don't study for an hour and then have strictly timed breaks. If you aren't careful that Facebook time can swell into a significant chunk of your "study time."

We agree, I just think most medical students are not "non-trads" and so they aren't used to having to work hard for 65 or 70 hours a week. In undergrad it is a lot easier to Facebook/Study and succeed, but those habits carry over. So they still succeed in medical school, but instead of reorganizing how they study, they just increase the hours. Just what I've noticed anyway...
 

NoMoreAMCAS

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You can absolutely have time for your family in medical school. It just HAS to be a priority. Family #1, the rest a distant #2. I had my first child after my first year of medical school and have another one due this summer after (after 3rd year). The first two years are very very doable in terms of time. I rarely attended classes the first two years (that's what noteservice is for). I would study monday-friday from around 8-1 or so and then have the rest of the day and night off. weekends off etc... (obviously before a test block i would pick it up a little, but no all nighters or anything drastic like that). Anyway.....for two years there was PLENTY of time with fam now third year is a little different because of the time requirement and call schedule that you can't control. you have to be present, which does blow from time to time, but most rotations are pretty humane and I still have a decent amount of time with my family. fourth year of course is a joke and i think i ended up having 5 months completely off with electives i've completed already.

in a nutshell...family has to be a priority and it can work. family support is important which it sounds like you have. I have a stay-at-home wife which is invaluable and wonderful!!

later
You're awesome. That's how I hope to be in medical school. I've heard so many SDN people talk about how they go to school then get home and study dam near until bed time, every weekday. They also claim to study for several hours on the weekend. Screw that, no way am I willing to put in that much work for 2 consecutive years.
 

DrJD

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You're awesome. That's how I hope to be in medical school. I've heard so many SDN people talk about how they go to school then get home and study dam near until bed time, every weekday. They also claim to study for several hours on the weekend. Screw that, no way am I willing to put in that much work for 2 consecutive years.
The people that I saw do this in my SMP, were seriously the people that were always on SDN, Facebook and G-chat... This isn't based on occasionally seeing what they were doing, but by studying next to, and with these people.

During my SMP, I was home by 5 or 6 every day and didn't study at night. But when I was on campus, I worked really hard. 5 to 10 minute break every hour and just did that all day when I wasn't in class. While my classmates socialized, did a liesurely work out, and then did the FB, Myspace, SDn, blah blah blah...

Just be ready to be disciplined!
 

NoMoreAMCAS

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The people that I saw do this in my SMP, were seriously the people that were always on SDN, Facebook and G-chat... This isn't based on occasionally seeing what they were doing, but by studying next to, and with these people.

During my SMP, I was home by 5 or 6 every day and didn't study at night. But when I was on campus, I worked really hard. 5 to 10 minute break every hour and just did that all day when I wasn't in class. While my classmates socialized, did a liesurely work out, and then did the FB, Myspace, SDn, blah blah blah...

Just be ready to be disciplined!
Yeah, i've seen this on occasion in undergrad. People will say "oh i'm gonna be studying all day and all night". Yet they're on the internet or chatting with friends constantly. Not a 5 minute breather, just constantly ****in around.

I plan to do basically what you do and completely focus on studying when i'm supposed to be studying. I do it in undergrad and it allows me to minimize my "study" time.
 

Law2Doc

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You're awesome. That's how I hope to be in medical school. I've heard so many SDN people talk about how they go to school then get home and study dam near until bed time, every weekday. They also claim to study for several hours on the weekend. Screw that, no way am I willing to put in that much work for 2 consecutive years.
Don't buy what the prior poster you are responding to is selling. Many of the people who skip classes and only study for 5 classes a day end up repeating first year.
 

NoMoreAMCAS

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Don't buy what the prior poster you are responding to is selling. Many of the people who skip classes and only study for 5 classes a day end up repeating first year.
They let you repeat first year? Taking another spot in the upcoming class?

That's ******ed. Without extenuating circumstances, it should be one and done.
 

Doctor J

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Don't buy what the prior poster you are responding to is selling. Many of the people who skip classes and only study for 5 classes a day end up repeating first year.
This is your party line and one I don't expect to talk you out of, but I believe the numbers speak for themselves - the repeat rate of most first year classes is far less than 10%, probably closer to 5% if that, and there are a lot of people who don't go to class the first two years. More than 10%? Sure. At my own institution it was closer to 70%. And believe me, we didn't end up repeating. The folks who repeated were those who, for whatever reasons - learning disability, personal disasters, lack of talent, whatever - couldn't discipline themselves to actually study and no amount of time spent "studying" was going to save them. Those folks were often in the library until close and it still didn't help them.

The point about facebook/SDN/chatting is what I was implying. Thanks for reading between the lines.

And the true average is not between my 45-60 hour/week and the doom and gloom 100 hour/week, it is between those who say "I never study" and those who say "I never sleep". I stand by my statement of a 45-60 hour week. As someone who is just finishing up 3rd year with Surgery, IM, and OB/Gyn under my belt, I speak from experience. No doubt your experience was different, but a lot of what is done as a student depends on your own drive to be at the hospital and impressing whomever. If you are satisfied to learn what you can, when you can, then you can ease by on a 60 hour week. And lest we forget, a 60 hour week is considered by most to be a long week - average for the professions, but long for everyone else.
 

Law2Doc

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They let you repeat first year? Taking another spot in the upcoming class?

That's ******ed. Without extenuating circumstances, it should be one and done.
They don't "let" you -- they make you, if you fail multiple courses. And the people who don't put in the time tend to put themselves at risk for this. It's not one and done because they make their cuts during the admission process instead of having attrition. Allowing people to go down this road at 40k/year and an even greater investment by the school, only to dump them out would be more "******ed" (although this is a very politically incorrect term).
 
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Law2Doc

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This is your party line and one I don't expect to talk you out of, but I believe the numbers speak for themselves - the repeat rate of most first year classes is far less than 10%, probably closer to 5% if that, and there are a lot of people who don't go to class the first two years....
You totally took my post out of context and thus missed the point. There is no correlation with people not going to class and not spending the time necessary, the latter of which was what I was addressing. There is no reason to go to class if you are able to master the material on your own. That's fine. But not going to class, and only working 8-1 m-f is not enough time to put in in med school, plain and simple and THAT is what the prior poster was "selling" that I was suggesting is a bad bad bad thing to pawn off on unsuspecting and impressionable premeds. No that will not work. Yes, you will find yourself woefully unprepared compared to your classmates who go to classes and still put in twice the study time outside of class. Sorry, but that's the case. And yes, if you try that you will likely end up in the 5% who have to repeat things.

So no, it's not the "not going to class" point that I take issue with -- nor is it my party line (my party line is it works for some but not all people, and is actually very bad advice for some -- you have to see what works yourself). It's the -- you don't have to work hard in med school point that I take issue with. You have to figure out what works for you. But 25 hours isn't going to cut it by a long shot. If you can get by on no class and 45-60 hours/week that's fine -- I see nothing wrong with that. But many people are going to need 65+. And I know of nobody who had acceptable results with a mere 25 hours. So don't buy what that OTHER poster was selling. That's what I was saying.
 

Law2Doc

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... No doubt your experience was different, but a lot of what is done as a student depends on your own drive to be at the hospital and impressing whomever. If you are satisfied to learn what you can, when you can, then you can ease by on a 60 hour week. ...
Um your school's experience is very different, and atypical. This isn't an issue of staying late to impress. At some (actually most, based on many discussions on here) places you show up when required, and stay until your are allowed to leave, which may be before and after the residents respectively. I don't think my hours ever came close to a low of 60 in L&D, surgery or inpatient medicine and I was certainly quick to leave when I had that option. 90-100 hours isn't unusual and you don't have to be seeking to impress.
 

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Um your school's experience is very different, and atypical. This isn't an issue of staying late to impress. At some (actually most, based on many discussions on here) places you show up when required, and stay until your are allowed to leave, which may be before and after the residents respectively. I don't think my hours ever came close to a low of 60 in L&D, surgery or inpatient medicine and I was certainly quick to leave when I had that option. 90-100 hours isn't unusual and you don't have to be seeking to impress.
Law, where did you attend MS?
 

Doctor J

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You totally took my post out of context and thus missed the point.
Ah, sorry for taking you out of context. I would agree that some students will break 100 hours in some rotations on some weeks. You'll notice a lot of "some's" in that statement. But - even during 3rd year - the vast majority of my weeks came in under 60 hours even with my hour of reading each night, and I arrived in the morning when told to and left as soon as it was possible to do so. I guess you had it a bit different in your school. My school tends to have light call schedules for students. And since I've answered the OP's question, I have nothing further to add.