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Working during MS1?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by premed527, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. premed527


    Mar 7, 2008
    I am starting my first year of medical school in the Fall. I was awarded work study in my financial aid package, and interviewed with a couple of docs and was offered a lab job. He (an MD/PhD) said it would range from about 10-15 hours in the week depending on how many cases we got, and I would be working while surgeries are going on in the OR so it would prolly be early morning. I was very excited when he offered me the job and was sure I would take it.

    Then I interviewed with the second doc (a PhD). He strongly discouraged me from working my first year. Said that he only knows a few students who have done it and they badly needed the money, and it was quite the burden on them.

    I don't badly need money. I just thought that it would be nice to have a little cash while getting some research experience on my resume to help me when it comes time to apply for a residency.

    I want to be a clinical doctor, not an academic. (I also have previous lab experience, I know there will be incubation times when I can study and whatnot)

    Is it a bad idea for me to work? How many of you guys have worked and how hard was it? How many hours a week did you work?

    I appreciate any and all advice!

    Thanks in advance:)
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  3. jadeheart

    jadeheart 2+ Year Member

    May 22, 2008
    I was wondering the same thing. I was thinking of tutoring for 8 hours a week. Anybody else done the same?
  4. hb2998

    hb2998 10+ Year Member

    Jan 17, 2005
    I continued doing my freelance programming work, but significantly cut down on the hours. I really wouldn't do it for just the money, I did it to keep the old relationships I'd built alive and to keep the softwares operational.

    Don't do it for the money. The extra $400-500/month workstudy just doesn't provide a reason to give up studying.

    If you do decide to take it up, make sure its something that gives you plenty of down time and flexibility. Also, pick something you can drop easily if you decide that your grades are more important. Some schools may offer workstudy for stuff you have to do anyway, like taking notes, being the audio/visual person in class, etc.

    If you really feel you will have time, do research.

    Make the financial sacrifice the first year, you'll find that an extra hour in your day as an MS1 is worth way more than the $10 bucks.
  5. Law2Doc

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

    Dec 20, 2004
    The smart advice tends to be to start med school and see how you do, and only add work if you find you are handling things well enough to spare the time. There are folks who are able to squeeze in work, but more people who find they cannot. And honestly, when you do have free time, it's sometimes smarter to use it to decompress and get away from the med school/hospital, not go to work.
  6. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats 10+ Year Member

    Jul 12, 2007
    The only people I know who work in medical school either have to, due to financial demands of having a family, or due to convinience (a pharmacist in our class does some pharm shifts down at the VA and studies during down time and another EMT does a life flight shift once or twice a month). Of course this is the first two years. By third year your schedule will be so full and unpredictable you'll find work impossible.
  7. penguinophile

    penguinophile MetalHead Moderator Emeritus SDN Advisor 10+ Year Member

    Jun 16, 2005
    hSDN Member
    I personally worked my first two years and was glad I did. I would hold off and really nail down a study schedule and stick to that. I wouldn't bother with work study and would instead try and get something a little more flexible and profitable (something like tutoring or something else). Your free time and study time are valuable...I wouldn't settle for anything less that $15/hr :thumbup:
  8. 78222

    78222 Guest

    Sep 11, 2005
    I know of one person who worked during her M1 year - she did well and is now an orthopod. HOWEVER, I really wouldn't suggest this unless you really really need the money. M1 is taxing enough as is, and if you add a job on top of that, I honestly don't know how you'd do it.
  9. FoundationsFan5

    FoundationsFan5 morning person 2+ Year Member

    Jun 14, 2008

    Working during MS1-MS2 seems rare. However, as other people have pointed out above, this may be do-able for you IF you have the time. Your description of the job seems medicine-oriented, and would be killing more birds with one stone in medical school than, say, a job at Starbucks.

    But if adding this type of job to an already busy MS1 schedule STILL excites you, then go for it. :thumbup:
  10. OncoCaP

    OncoCaP 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    It can be done, but it's risky. It's really a trade-off. Think of it this way, if you were running a marathon, would you take breaks to work a concession stand? You could earn extra money, meet influential people, but it would be very hard to compete with the people who aren't burdened with this additional responsibility (the people who win the race, so to speak). A lot of things in med school are curved, so you will either give up some free time to keep up or just not do as well as you could have done and your grades will be lower than they could have been. Short of winning some kind of national award, publishing in respected journals, and making excellent grades, there really isn't anything you can do to improve your residency chances as an MS1.
  11. premed527


    Mar 7, 2008
    hmmm, im hearing both views and can relate to both

    as i understand it i wud spend some time in the OR until i got some blood samples from the dude whos getting surgery done
    then i wud take the samples back to the lab, centrifuge them, n put em in the fridge

    idk but it doesnt sound terribly hard or time consuming
    but then again idk how much time i wud have to spend in the OR

    other benefit, idk if i mentioned, but its an anesthesiology lab so that cud theoretically help me later on if i want to apply for residency in the field, rite?

    my gut it is will work out to less than 10 a week
    since i will take the minimum number of cases from him

    and i wont work for the first 2 weeks of school
    so i can get settled in before i start
    worse come to worse i can quit, in theory

    i mean, this wud make me more competitive for a residency, right?
  12. DickyV

    DickyV 5+ Year Member

    Even as someone who's worked (extremely part-time) during med school, I'm shocked that any schools would have work-study as part of a financial aid package. These people need to realize what med school is and how little time is available for work.

    Frankly, to the OP, I doubt that centrifuging blood tubes is going to look all that impressive to anyone, much less residency directors. If you want to get a job, do it because it's something that gets you away from medicine - not something you think might get you a leg up.
  13. OncoCaP

    OncoCaP 2+ Year Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    Houston, Texas
    You will have countless opportunities to do what you want (earn money, write papers, or whatever) that don't involve commitments you'll be kicking yourself and asking people to kick you for making. Get a couple of tests under your belt before you give away time you might not have. If you have time you might even find a much better opportunity than what you describe (and you won't find out about these until later).
  14. Law2Doc

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

    Dec 20, 2004
    First, the IM-speak is painful to read. This is a med student board, not a junior high school board. Write out words like "would", "could", "right", "and". You only save two letters with your abbreviations, but end up annoying your readers. You probably noticed nobody else on this thread writes like this.

    Second, never underestimate the amount of time you can be standing around in the OR. It doesn't work like clockwork. And you likely aren't going to have the ability to say -- I'll pop back later.

    Bottom line is, if you can hold off taking a job until you get the lay of the land and see how much work is involved in med school (maybe after your second or third test result), you really should do that. As I mentioned, some people can hold down a job with ease, others would find it a struggle. And you can't assume you will be in the former group. Most people are surprised by the work level in med school, and the kind of competition they face once admissions cuts away all the average students and leaves you competing with a group that has received mostly A's throughout their college career.
  15. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    Just to spin this in a different way:

    Whatever money you could make working part-time as an M1 will likely be fairly minimal (I'm guessing <10k, probably much less). Weigh this against the (potential) damage you could do to your studying, exam performance, and future career prospects carefully in the light of your expected future salary.

    Hopefully this won't turn into a the-sky-is-falling financial thread but barring some huge revolution you're going to be well into the six figures as an MD. Those few thousand you made back during M1 are not going to matter much. What will matter is if you overextend yourself, fail a test, and deliver a serious blow to the Ophthalmology residency application.
  16. ACSurgeon

    ACSurgeon Acute Care Surgeon Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Jun 8, 2008

    While it is doable (maybe 20 hrs a month or something), but I would NOT recommend it. If you have a free weekend or a light week, the last thing you want to do is go to work (unless it is something you absolutely love and will relieve your stress without adding a tiny bit of stress). It is common for medical students to volunteer 10-20 hours a month, so I guess you could use that time to work and get paid. Difference is that volunteer work is less stress and usually something you want to do. Jobs are usually the best you could find and usually not a happy place to be.

    Either way, before you take a few exams in medical school, do NOT committ to anything. Use the first block/ set of exams to study as much as you can. If you do much better then you wanted, you can tone it down and use your free time as you wish. This option is much better than understudying your first block and end up worring about failing. my 0.02$
  17. EBI831

    EBI831 legend in the making 7+ Year Member

    Apr 18, 2006
    Chi-town royalty
    you said u don't need the money that badly and it's for the research experience. my advice: don't do this job. start med school, get settled and see how things pan out. there's plenty of time and opportunity to do research b/w MS1 and MS2. also, take advantage of the connection you've made and maybe shadow this doc a few times and get to know him so he doesnt forget you by summer time. win-win situation.
  18. KeepJumping

    KeepJumping 5+ Year Member

    Jun 10, 2008
    I thought I might work a couple of shifts a month during MS-1, but it never happened - too much studying to be done. And, in the rare case of having a break, the last thing I wanted to do was work, even if it paid $60/hour. I knew one girl in my class who worked 2 midnight shifts every week in a lab with a lot of down time. Well, she failed the anatomy block, and eventually sold her house so she could quit her job. If you don't NEED the money, why take this risk? Research can be done during the summer of MS1-MS2 or as an elective during clinical years. Good luck in whatever you decide works best for you!
  19. hmm...

    hmm... I yam what I yam 7+ Year Member

    Jun 27, 2004
    It seems that at my school many people work during the school year. However, the school only has positions that allow studying while "working." Jobs such as the computer lab and in the library are quite comfortable. You pretty much get paid for studying. At most you really "work" for 10m out of every hour. I have not heard of anyone really working or in the lab. It just takes too much time. Of course it depends on you. I know someone who ran a successful ebay biz during m1, and he did fine financially and academically.
  20. Sondra

    Sondra UMC 2010 10+ Year Member

    Aug 6, 2005
    It is rare. I work one night a month to keep my position at a hospital in my home town. I get to work over night when it is slow, and I can sleep or study.

    I know of two other students who have worked as M1s. One is a paramedic who worked one 24 hour shift each weekend. He seemed to have lots of time to study because of the down time. Another is a sleep tech who worked over night.

    Personally, I would only do it if you absolutely needed the money. It is much better to study and allow yourself the free time to spend with your family or friends.

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