Second Year Update: Schedule, Courses, and Transition

Hello, my lovely readers!

I am back with a second year update since I just finished my first “course” of my second year of medical school. Like I mentioned in my previous post, the University of Toronto has a very unique curriculum. Instead of having many classes per semester, we are just enrolled in one course that involves a variety of course components that we take part in throughout the year. That means our schedule never really changes, but our course does – along with its various themes and blocks.

This year, we have three main courses: Concepts, Patients & Communities 3 (CPC3), Life Cycle, and Complexity & Chronicity. Before the holidays, we completed CPC3. This course was very similar to its precursor, Concepts, Patients & Communities 2, that we completed last year. As mentioned before, we learn about the various organ systems, diseases that affect the system, and the treatment/management of those diseases. The blocks we have covered in CPC3 include orthopaedics/rheumatology, neurology, psychiatry, ophthalmology, and ear, nose, and throat.

Our first nine weeks of CPC3 are the densest weeks of all of pre-clerkship. It involved the orthopaedics/rheumatology and neurology blocks (lecture, CBL, Clinical Skills), as well as musculoskeletal anatomy and neuroanatomy labs. Every week that we had a block exam, we also had an anatomy bellringer exam. It was very hectic, but we made it!

Following the first chaotic nine weeks of CPC3, we covered psychiatry, ophthalmology, and ENT (ear, nose and throat)! Now we have completed the CPC3 course and are in Life Cycle, which covers all topics from conception to palliative care. I am really enjoying the topics in Life Cycle so far! We have covered two weeks of gynaecology and one week of obstetrics.

Our weeks have been less intense since we no longer have our anatomy labs. Instead, we now have Longitudinal Theme Lectures, which emphasize the CanMEDS Framework and teach us about the healthcare system.

In addition to our typical course components (CBL, lecture, Clinical Skills, Portfolio), we also have our Community-Based Service Learning (CBSL) and Health Science Research (HSR) this year.

CBSL is a part of our Health in the Community course component where students are partnered with a community organization and engage in meaningful work while answering questions connected to topics in community and population health. We have placements every few weeks where we go to our community site and learn about a certain population or work on our project. It is a great way to give back to the community while learning from the organization.

HSR is a course component that introduces students to the principles of research while helping us understand and use research to contribute to improving the health of populations. It is an opportunity to develop our understanding of research methodologies and techniques, as well as gain knowledge on how to critically appraise articles and apply it to clinical practice. In this course component, we also have a chance to design our own research project while receiving valuable feedback from physicians who have a strong research background.

So far, second year has been busy and exciting. The transition from first year to second year has been smooth for me since the format and schedule is very similar to first year. Last year I developed a routine that worked well for me, so I feel really good with where I am this year. Although second year has been stressful and chaotic at times, it has still been manageable. I also prefer this year’s schedule since we write exams on Friday mornings before the lecture, so weekends can now be a time for relaxation and socialization!

Here is an example of what our typical week may look like:

There you have it! That is my second year update and a brief overview of the courses/course components we are taking this year. I hope this gives you a better understanding of how my schedule and gives you some insight on the types of topics/materials we cover!

If you liked this post, please let me know in the comments below and don’t forget to follow me on my social media to stay up to date with my journey through medical school!


The Girly MD (to be)


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