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Working in Med School

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by mzeroapplicant, Jul 22, 2006.

  1. mzeroapplicant

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    I know it's discouraged, but I was wondering if anyone on this board worked a part-time job during med school (I assume during M1 or M2). None of the specialities I'm interested in are very competitive, and I've had at least one receptionist job where I could study a book about 30% of the time I was "working". How many hours would be doable without risking failure (assuming I would otherwise be studious with my time not in class)?
     
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  3. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    I know a few people who work while in med school. Two were tutors, two more was physical therapists, and another was a waitress. They typically work only 10 hours a week. If you get something medically related, you could practice your skills and knowledge from class.
     
  4. mzeroapplicant

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    Besides tutoring, I would think those jobs would be tough to obtain for 10 hours a week (who wants to hire someone for 10 hours a week!). So I assume that it's a previous employer who doesn't mind keeping them on. In other cases, I've heard of getting work study for 10 hours a week.
     
  5. mendel121

    mendel121 Just hoping to match
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    I worked about 20 hrs a week during M1 (I'm an M2, starting next week, Ugh!!) I did lab research - this kind of thing allows for studying while "working".
     
  6. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    There is no rule of thumb as to how many hours will be doable. Many people can afford absolutely no time for work, some can afford more. Obviously your ability to memorize more things faster than others, and the strength of your background in some of the sciences will play a role. And if you work, even if you don't reduce your chance at a high grade, you often lose a lot of social life time. I suggest you start school and see what's what. If you do well on your first exam or two, and had 10+ hours to spare, then go for it. If you are struggling, the extra few bucks are not worth the aggravation.
     
  7. Scottish Chap

    Physician PhD Moderator Emeritus 15+ Year Member

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    I worked during MSI out of necessity. It's definitely possible. Focus on understanding in each class rather than memorization. Memorization is time-consuming and is really only needed for a couple of subjects (anatomy, some concepts in biochemistry). I found this strategy very useful in maximizing my study time. I will also work during MSII.
     
  8. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member
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    I agree with Law2Doc, I think your best bet is to see how things go then decide if you can take on a job or not. I'll add though, that whatever specialty you want to go into, get the best grades and Step 1 scores as possible. Why? Because until you match into it you might change your mind (Heck even after you match you might change your mind). Think you won't change? Maybe. But there aren't many people that get married thinking: I'm not going to get divorced. But half of marriages end in divorce. People change their minds and you might be one of them. :eek:

    That said I know that one guy in our class (one of the older members) stayed on as a consultant during first and second years. Other people would tutor/teach for Kaplan, others took low-key jobs at the medical school (work in the library, teaching BLS, etc.) My preferred occupation is playing poker, online and in the casino. The caveat is that it takes practice, knowledge (acquired from poker how-tos), and a little bit of a bankroll. People make anywhere from a little (me) to thousands and ten's of thousands. There are other threads about this though:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=186178
     
  9. thackl

    thackl 1K Member
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    I worked for myself doing home remodelling/restoration primarily on breaks and slow times. I tried to do nothing but school when times were even moderately busy.
     
  10. Bubb Rubb

    Bubb Rubb Woo woo!
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    i "worked" for a few weeks for a test prep company, and after that, i filled up my time with > 10 hr extracurriculars. during 2nd year i had to cut down a bit, but still i'd have at least 5 hrs of non-school, non-social (thus things i couldn't beg out of) commitments.

    as others say, it's all about what works for you, and this varies greatly across individuals, schools, years, and even weeks. some were horrible, some were a great time to catch up on skiing.
     
  11. njbmd

    njbmd Guest
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    Hi there,
    Since I was a healthcare practictioner before starting medical school, I was able to work "contract" on the weekend following exams and during holidays/vacation. Otherwise, work would have cut into my studytime. I knew folks who tried to do things like receptionist/wait tables but they gave up right after the first set of exams. Medical school was pretty intense for me so I didn't do anything that took away from my needed study time.

    Since I was able to "contract" at an insanely high wage, I made enough to cover gas and subway tickets during my limited time.

    njbmd :)
     
  12. Bubchik

    Bubchik Senior Member
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    OP, check your schedule first. If you have 8 to 5 schedule 5 days a week then it will be extremely tough to work. If it is 8-12pm or everything on-line you will have some free time. I would try to et a research position in your school in something that interests you. It wil be convinient as u won't waste time commuting from school to work plus will give you something for yr CV, and eve maybe a publication. Doing research you will have time to study during experiments if it is a basic science.
    Also if u tutor Kaplan you will get prep course for Step 1 for free or with a huge discount.
     
  13. signomi

    signomi Amongst the Gravelings
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    I worked in medical transcription during med school. It was like $25 per hour of tape back then.
     
  14. LostTommyGuns

    LostTommyGuns ASA Member
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    Bubchik makes a good point about the Kaplan discount and the research particularly if you are interested in a competitive field. I would advise you that unless you really truly learn auditorily (is that a word?) that you not go to class. If you can buy the notes do it. The labs are usually mandatory as are some classes but I think a lot of people go to class for longer than needed. Doing that will enable you to reallocate a large portion of that 8-5 or whatever...

    Where I go at least 50% of people stopped going to class by the end of the first semester and 80% had stopped by the end of the first year. You'll have to learn your own lessons but I would bear that in mind.
     
  15. Law2Doc

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    Go with whatever works for you. No one cares how or where you learn your stuff, just that you learn it. But if you are not disciplined, or are the type that will sleep in every day if you don't get up for class, rather than actually get up and buckle down with the books, then going to class might not be a bad idea. Not going to class totally works for some, and is disasterous for others. Know thyself.
     
  16. WhatUpDoc!

    WhatUpDoc! The Sign Says It All
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    I haven't started yet, but the M2s at my school are allowed to become suture techs at the local hospital. I think they only work 1-2 days/wk, but from what I hear they pull in good money. Only catch is that you have to volunteer there during the M1 year. I'm thinking about it, but hopefully it doesn't become a waste of time if I decide to pursue psyc :eek:
     
  17. rockchalkdoc

    rockchalkdoc Member
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    Most of the docs I have talked with say that what you think you want to do will change at least a few times during school, so I would suggest not working. I would be mad at myself if I missed out on what I wanted to do for $400/month when I could have taken out a loan.
     
  18. mjl1717

    mjl1717 Senior Member
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    Yes, loans are a BIG part of this arena. So much so that I almost dont care if I borrow at this point.
     
  19. How did you get into this? Wonder if I could do this as a resident.
     
  20. SanDiegoSOD

    SanDiegoSOD Milk was a bad choice
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    Cant you moonlight in an ER once you're a licensed physician? That pays $40-$100/hr, depending on location.
     
  21. Yeah, but that usually requires 8-10 consecutive hours free (for a moonlight shift).
     
  22. Brown429

    Brown429 Junior Member
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    I am currently an undergrad and am debating whether to graduate in 3 years and work for a year, so I can have some money to eat and go out here and there during medical school. I have already been accepted to an medical school. My problem is this, if I get a job lets say paying about 40k a year..When I apply to financial aid this will significantly effect what I get right? So is it better to just stay in school work part-time and make around 15k. I mean I would rather have 20k in need-based scholarships, rather than forking over the 20k I worked for and getting little financial aid. My parents are average working people, and I will have a brother in college at the time, so I do not know what to do, I really cannot rely on parents for cost of living.

    (a) Stay in school, take a light load 12 credits and work part time occasionally going out here and there
    (b) Graduate early, work for a year and of course go out a lot, vacation and spend some $$$
    (c) Stay in school for only 1 semester and work full time for another

    Note: Either way I am taking the summer before medical school off to relax and enjoy some freedom.
     
  23. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    I'm a proponent of doing the whole 4 years of college, as it is the best time of your life for most and you don't win anything by getting to the end first. However in terms of the money thing, bear in mind that you don't always get the need based scholarships just because you are needy. It depends how many other needy people the school accepts and how much money there is to go around. If you don't get them, you end up borrowing more. If you can line up a job that throws off $40k a year, that money will be more of a sure thing.
     
  24. deuist

    deuist Stealthfully Sarcastic
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    The part about already getting accepted to medical school bothers me. You'll need a good reason for deferment. Simply saying that you want to make some money before starting classes isn't going to cut it at most universities.
     
  25. Northerner

    Northerner Coquettish Haberdasher
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    Considering how many people change their mind about the field they want, I wouldn't make any decisions with long-term ramifications on getting more competitive residencies.
     
  26. beefballs

    beefballs MIDWEST
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    I disagree with Law2doc on this. I took a year off btwn undergrad and starting MS1 (so wife could finish up ) I don't think you will be able to save up all that much unless you live with your folks, plus if you have student loans don't you have to start paying 6 months after graduating, then go through with the process of deferring them. If you want to take a year off to do something your interested in that will enrich your life do it, if it only for $$ you won't be able to save anything more than a drop in the bucket-so why waste the time. Plus if you are honest in interviews alot of employers won't like that you are only gonna be there a year
     
  27. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member
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    That's a fair point -- it depends on your level of student loans (then again paying down undergrad loans isn't the worst thing in the world before assuming more debt). I was mainly commenting on the expectation of the OP of getting need based scholarships, which aren't always such a sure thing. A salary, by contrast, is something you can know up front and budget.
     
  28. Brown429

    Brown429 Junior Member
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    I do not have any debt for my state school. I may consider applying for some competitive outside scholarships (Cooke Scholarship) and am wondering if it would be frowned upon if I were to get a job as lets say a pharma rep.? Thanks Law2doc about the needbase information, i mean my parents are average working people (both work in factories). But they really do not have much bills with everything paid off, so I am not sure how I will stand compared to others.

    To work or not to work...
     
  29. R*ckstar

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    I took a year off, and I really enjoyed myself. I am very glad I took the time to be young and have a little fun. That said, I really intended to save money, BUT it is really tough, especially if you are living on your own. Once I finished undergrad and decided to take a year off I was completely on my own financially. Also, in addition to the money it costs to live, you will want to go out and vacation and invariably spend money. My personal advice is do it, Do It, DO IT, DO IT!!!! Go on vacation. Go visit your friends you aren't going to see in med school. Go be irresponsible with your money and run up ridiculous bar tabs on Tuesday nights because you feel like it, but do not expect to dramatically alter your financial situation in your year off. This is why there are loans. :)
     
  30. Black&Gold

    Black&Gold Junior Member
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    Do what I did. Get a Fulbright, go to Germany, earn 703 euros a month, and get pissed every night. You'll come home with $333 in your bank account (which your father put there to get you through your last month), but you'll have memories that will piss off your future classmates because while you were climbing the Eifel Tower and drinking beer on the Rhine, and that under the name of Fulbright, they were pipetting into 94-plate wells and praying to God that there was actually DNA in their samples after 8 hours of work.

    But do all four years of college first. College is sweet.
     
  31. jonathon

    jonathon Membership Revoked
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    Ablebees! I eat super at an Aplebees on a Saturday night and my waitress worked on Friday and Saturday nights for 5 hours each night.

    Don't ask how I know she was a med student.


     
  32. beponychick

    beponychick SDN Angel
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    yes, I totally agree with this. I was fortunate enough to have my parents take care of undergrad for me, but for the past three years since I graduated, I have been supporting myself through a great job as a legal assistant in a NYC law firm. I have to say, these three years have been the most liberating years of my life. I was able to do whatever I wanted and money was not an issue. Law firm positions pay a nice salary and by working overtime (but still having enough time to go out, drink, travel, etc), I was able to pay for my masters (without taking out any loans) and was able to spend more money than I ever thought possible on clothes, theater, amazing trip to hawaii, clubs, bars, etc. Granted, I could have saved all of my money and invested it or paid for at least one year of med school, but I had a great time and I would encourage anyone to take a year (or more) off to explore what is out there. I may be entering med school at 25, while some people enter at 22, but I have three wonderful years to show for it (plus an amazing boyfriend who I met at my job --- a lawyer at that ;) )

    Good luck and dont stress!
     

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