Where do you find the time?

Alexander99

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    What's happening everyone? I'll be starting med school in the fall (not sure where yet but somewhere in SoCal) and I wanted to know, just how much free time do you have as med students?

    The reason I ask is because I'm planning on specializing in orthopedic surgery (not dead set on it but highly interested) and it seems that in order to match for a competitive residency program like ortho, they expect you to be a well-rounded applicant that has done research, lots of extracirricular activites, etc.

    Is there really enough time to be doing significant extracirricular activities during med school? I got the impression that there's not much time outside of studying for exams (unlike undergrad.) Compared to the demands of taking a full load at your undergrad institution, how much less free time do you have in med school? (I know it varies depending on what year you are--I'm mostly interested in years 1-3).
     
    Originally posted by Alexander99
    The reason I ask is because I'm planning on specializing in orthopedic surgery (not dead set on it but highly interested) and it seems that in order to match for a competitive residency program like ortho, they expect you to be a well-rounded applicant that has done research, lots of extracirricular activites, etc.

    Is there really enough time to be doing significant extracirricular activities during med school? I got the impression that there's not much time outside of studying for exams (unlike undergrad.) Compared to the demands of taking a full load at your undergrad institution, how much less free time do you have in med school? (I know it varies depending on what year you are--I'm mostly interested in years 1-3).

    Well, that's part of the reason why it's important to have extra-curriculars such as research. It shows that you can handle a tough med school workload AND balance your time enough to do work outside the classroom. For the more competitive surgical subspecialities (ortho, ophtho, ENT, plastics, urology, neuro), I'd say that research projects are a must.
     

    jbish

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      I think it varies from school to school and person to person, but I definitely have free time. I have more, however, the weeks when we do not have exams in the upcoming 7 days. I'm involved in a couple organizations, go to the gym, watch tv, study, and go to almost all of my classes. I'm also planning (fingers crossed) to do research all this summer, but am currently not really looking into research during the school year.
      This all changes third year, though. I think that's the point when med students change from people into zombies. Try to get lots of your fluff stuff done early..if you can get involved in a research project your first year and get a lot done, the write up and stats and stuff can happen later when you have less time and then you'll be published and the world will love you.
       
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      Kalel

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        I agree with the previous posters. Depending on your med school's exam schedule, you should have roughly the same amount of free time that you did during undergrad during your preclinical years, particularly once you get into your studying groove and become more efficient (usually takes a few months during first year for students to adjust). You will still have free time during your clinical years, but you will have less free time during certain rotations then you would in other rotations. During some rotations, you will have more free time then you did during your preclinical years because once you go home, you will be free to do whatever you want.
         

        kem

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          Hello,

          I agree with the previous posters. Get your research/extracurriculars started early! Use the summers to your advantage. It's very tempting to do nothing over the summer, but a few months of research can really get you started on a good project.

          :) kem
           
          Definitely try to get more experience in research/clinical work when you have the time! Obviously I'm not advocating that you completely abandon any free time to work, but try to practice good time management skills outside the classroom to have a well-rounded experience during med school.

          Like others said, the time between first and second year is great for starting a research project. Personally, I worked on two different projects at that time, since our school gave us 2 months to just do a preceptorship (only 20-30 hours/week required). You can also wrap up projects and try to present at conferences (local/regional/national) during second year. During third year, you're much busier, so it will have helped if you'd already laid the groundwork for research projects, and are just in the submission process.

          Edit: When it comes down to it, and you have two similar applicants (and let's face it, most applicants to ortho programs are pretty damn qualified), who's going to be more attractive? The one with good grades, great board scores, good recs, or the one with all of the above + some research experience (publications, presentations, posters, whatever)?
           

          12R34Y

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            there is PLENTY of free time in medschool.

            One of my tricks (which many employ) is that I NEVER go to class. We have transcription service that transcribes the lectures.........been doing it for almost 2 years now and am mostly an A student.

            I study usually from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. or so every day during the week and the rest of the time is free. that's a LOT of free time. i'm president of an interest group and go to conferences etc....

            don't worry about time. you can have as much of it as you want.

            later
             
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