Time Habits of a Medical Student, MS3

Chris Hornung
3 min readMay 15


My goal for the summer leading up to when I started medical school in 2020 was to become more proficient with computer programming and data analysis. I was accustomed to tracking my billable hours for a previous job and decided to track and visualize how I use my time as a medical student. This is the third installment of the annual project. More background for the project is here.

Compare to MS1

Compare to MS2

MS3 is a wrap after 2,964 hours, bringing my med school total to 6,880. There were a number of notable milestones and it was my busiest year yet. I passed Step 1, chose my specialty of choice, and got married to my best friend! My third year of medical school also marked the transition from primarily didactic learning in the classroom (Zoom room) to experiential learning in hospitals and clinics on specialty clerkship rotations. Below is a breakdown of how I used my time across my clerkships.

Before I begin, the below image is a review of what the categories in the subsequent figures mean.

Given the third year of medical school has very limited formal class time, consider “Class” as time spent in the hospital, clinic, or operating room conducting patient care rather than University lectures.

Internal Medicine

Diagnostic Radiology

Introduction to Otolaryngology

Obstetrics and Gynecology


General Surgery

Family Medicine

Orthopedic Trauma Surgery



Above is a summary figure of all of my MS3 clerkship rotations. The figure allows for better visualization of average hours per week and day. For example, I spent the most total time in my Internal Medicine Clerkship but it was because the clerkship lasted for 8 weeks instead of 4 weeks, like most of the other rotations. My busiest clerkship in terms of time per week was Orthopedic trauma followed by Pediatrics.

Above is a summary of all of my clerkship rotations noted by category. This figure gives a better look at how much in-person time the clerkship required. For example, I spent similar weekly hours in Orthopedic Surgery and Pediatrics but with this figure, you can see that a larger percentage of time during my Ortho rotation was spent at the hospital compared to Pediatrics. My Neurology rotation was half in-person and half didactic learning which is portrayed in the corresponding chart.

The start of my fourth year of medical school will be a sprint as I rotate at different institutions across the country to better determine which residency program is the best fit for me after medical school. At the conclusion of the summer, I will only need to complete two additional clerkships to be eligible for graduation. My schedule will be less busy with rotations but I will be spending time preparing for residency interviews. I am excited to see what the future holds over the next 12ish months.



Chris Hornung

A twin in the Twin Cities. I used to write a lot. University of Minnesota Medical School. I really like tracking things.