working in med school = insane?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by hale-bopp, Apr 12, 2004.

  1. hale-bopp

    hale-bopp Senior Member
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    Here's the story,
    I'm planning on going to go to a state med school at which I will have to pay out of state tuition the first year, but will be in-state after that. The difference is about $15,000, but if I work half-time in the University system, I would pay in-state tuition.

    I was asked if I would be interested in doing my favorite job (coach a club sport) for one of the state colleges. The hours would work out to a half-time job, say 2 afternoons a week and about half to 2/3 of weekends, but it would be doing something which I am passionate about and would love to stay involved with. So, it would be a time commitment, but it would also be a nice break from being a med student. As an undergrad, I spent 30-40 hours a week doing this sport and had no problems balancing it with school work and part-time jobs.

    As a med student at this school, I would have classes end by 1 every day, with lab and PBL taking up 2 afternoons a week, so I would still have one afternoon completely free every week (and every evening free), and I would be able to mostly balance my weekend commitments so that I don't work the weekend before test blocks. Is there anyone out there who thinks that a person with really good time management skills who is really good at schoolwork could pull this off? I know that med school will be really hard and I'll have a ton of work, but I was wondering if anyone out there has worked part-time while in med school and thought that it was do-able.
    (I figure that if I don't take this job, I would probably try to get a job doing research 2 afternoons a week anyway)

    Thanks for your help!

    -hale-bopp
     
  2. madtowngirl

    madtowngirl Senior Member
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    hale-bopp, I coach a club sport (gymnastics) as an M1 this year. I spend 3 afternoon/evenings a week year-round, and about the same weekend commitments as you said, but only from Sept-Jan,during their season.

    I thought it would be tough, but it has gone better than I could have imagined. I worked nearly full-time as an undergrad, so I'm used to managing my time I think. I have two or three afternoons a week of class, but my coaching doesn't start until evening (6) so I have time between and sometimes after to study. During season when I had lots of meets to travel to on weekends it got hectic at times but I think its really doable.

    It basically keeps me sane, because I love being in the gym so much that it relieves stress from long days of class and studying, and keeps me in pretty good shape!
     
  3. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum
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    It's totally possible. I worked 20-30hrs/wk through the first two years of med school. Certain blocks that required lots of lab time were tough, but other than that, it was no problem. it is nice to have a 'break' from medical school and medical folks. Plus this sounds like something you love. Med school is so much better (and easier) when you don't deprive yourself of those things.
     
  4. IlianaSedai

    IlianaSedai Senior Member
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    It is very possible to work part-time during your pre-clinical years. However, for most students I think half-time (20 hours) is too much to commit yourself to before you start (and possibly finish) your first semester. I would start off with 10 and if you feel that leaves you room to spare, add more hours on top of that.

    BUT most students aren't coaching a sports team-- they're doing secretarial bits and pieces, or tutoring, or scanning books at a library. So it may be that for you, the time could breeze by and you'd do fine with that job.

    There's a lot of time in med school, more than you probably think. It is pretty unusual for a student to work 20-30 hours. I have spoken to one woman who applied for the match in neurosurgery and failed to match three times before she was offered residency in a new program outside the match. The reason she wasn't a strong candidate? she was working all the time, and prioritized finances over her transcript before she realized she wanted to do neurosurgery. But she also wasn't coaching a sports team, which seems to be a more appreciable job than what she was doing. How much your work energizes you vs. zaps your energy makes a big difference.
     
  5. hale-bopp

    hale-bopp Senior Member
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    Thank you all for your answers, it's really helpful. I think I will try to follow through with this coaching thing.
     
  6. Kalel

    Kalel Membership Revoked
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    I would just be careful with keeping track of how this job is affecting your school work. Remember that you are spending a lot of money to be in med school, and the small amount of money that you will make in your part-time job will not be enough to offset the loss of ability to pick your specialty or even end up at the residency program that you wanted to go to. I worked a lot during undergrad and I didn't think that it was effecting my school performance, but in retrospect, I did notice that my grades increased when I started working less. Preclinical grades don't mean all that much, but your grasp of the subjects during first and second year will partially determine how well you do on step I which could cut you out of the running for many specialties if you do poorly. If you are going to do the coach thing, I wouldn't be doing it for the money, I'd only be doing it if you really wanted to do it because you enjoy doing it. The one job that I have always thought would be great to have during med school would be a work-study job that just requires you to sit somewhere and that allows you to study (eg athletic center desk, info desk, etc). This type of job may even improve your grades since you're kind of forced to study during work because you don't have anything better to do. I looked for a job like this during my first two years, but I couldn't find one.
     
  7. aydinhatemi

    aydinhatemi Member
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    I am senior year undergraduate student and I am working part-time in a computer lab. Actually I am at work now:))).
    I will keep this job even in med school. But this job is an exception because I do not do anything and getting paid. As said before this job does force me to study since this lab is very isolated and has a very low traffic. I make around $600 a month which is helpful for a poor foreigner like me. I will be in med school this august and if I had a different job i will definitely quit that. Having a demanding job (I mean anything that takes your time) in medical school is something you should definitely avoid at any cost. A job can decrease your overall performance and this will result in lower Step 1 score and that results in less that good residency. This also translates into a loss of more than a million dollars in future income if you do not go to the residency you want. This about it this way :))))
     
  8. madtowngirl

    madtowngirl Senior Member
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    I think its all dependent on the person. If I didn't have a job, I don't think I'd use my available time as wisely. I'm one of those people that need to have something to do so I don't go into slacker mode. And yes its important to retain as much as possible for boards, but I don't think that the amount you retain is necessarily directly correllated to your grades in pre-clinical years. The binge and purge study method is enough to get good grades as an M1 or M2, but that doesn't mean that you're going to rock your boards.

    Anyhow, back to working. There's no harm in starting out with a job and dropping it if things start sliding as far as school goes. That was my agreement with my boss when I started school in August. I'll probably stop working when class plus boards studying gets too intense next year, but I'll just have to play it by ear until then. My biggest shock this year is how much free time we actually do have, and I intend to have a good time with it and stay as sane as possible. Craziness can come later.

    Doing a few hours a week of what you love to do is not going to stop you from getting into a residency down the road. And I agree with the previous posters that you should work because you like it, not for the money.
     
  9. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I started out the year with a part time job. The official reason for quitting was that I wanted to focus on school. However, the real reason I quit was because I hated it, and it was sucking away all my energy. And anything that draining is going to affect your schoolwork.

    If I had liked the job, I probably could have made it work. Although I'm doing some stuff now that I wouldn't have been able to do while working that many hours. And it'll probably help me when it comes time to apply for residency.

    Still, it really bugs me not to have a job--if only because I hate to be so one-dimensional. So now I'm working again, just on Sundays. The job is different, too, and a lot more fun. Plus I should have lots of time to study, and they're OK with me doing that.
     
  10. J-dog

    J-dog Guinness Taster

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    I think working in medical school is very possible. I am currently finishing my third year and have worked as a paramedic for the city that my school is in for the last two-and-a-half years. That being said, working as a per diem paramedic gives me great flexibility when creating my schedule, since we work in 12 hour shifts.
     
  11. mfleur

    mfleur Senior Member
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    I just got a job as a patient care tech in the ICU. Its 12h shifts and nights but only once a week. I'll let you know how it goes. As far as I can tell though, it seems doable.
     
  12. bivwack

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    I am a MSI I, work around 30hrs a week doing construction, on the weekends and a Friday or Monday when I skip class, and I don't find it to much of a hassle at all, then again I took most of the first year classes when I got my masters, BU is P/F first year and my schedule is easier now then when I was in community college, If I had a full schedule like my the majority of my classmates do now I wouldn't even attempt it, its up to you, if you think you can hack it do it, if not take out the extra loans and don't deal w/ the stress
     

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