Crestone

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Hello,

So, there have been a lot of threads lately where people are trying to decide whether to drop out. I'm afraid this is another one. I'm an MS1, and I failed the anatomy block. I'm doing well in the biochemistry block, and I'm actually somewhat enjoying it because the material is interesting. The main reasons I'm considering dropping out are that 1.) I was extremely stressed out and depressed during the anatomy block, and I never want to feel that way again. Basically I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't keep up with the material. 2.) I'm not sure that I'm truly interested enough in medicine for it to be worth the amount of stress and misery that I felt during anatomy. I think that I would like being a doctor, but I think that I would maybe be happier having a less interesting, less fulfilling career, but actually having time to hang out with friends and do other things that I enjoy. I have some free time now, but I worked my butt off and basically did nothing but study during the anatomy block, and still failed.
I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.
 

Tired

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Yes, 3rd year is far more stressful than 1st year.

2nd year will vary in stress depending on your curriculum.

Failure to visualize 3D structures will make any procedural work or specialty difficult to master.

If you're not that into it, just bail.
 
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OncoCaP

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Hello,

So, there have been a lot of threads lately where people are trying to decide whether to drop out. I'm afraid this is another one. I'm an MS1, and I failed the anatomy block. I'm doing well in the biochemistry block, and I'm actually somewhat enjoying it because the material is interesting. The main reasons I'm considering dropping out are that 1.) I was extremely stressed out and depressed during the anatomy block, and I never want to feel that way again. Basically I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't keep up with the material. 2.) I'm not sure that I'm truly interested enough in medicine for it to be worth the amount of stress and misery that I felt during anatomy. I think that I would like being a doctor, but I think that I would maybe be happier having a less interesting, less fulfilling career, but actually having time to hang out with friends and do other things that I enjoy. I have some free time now, but I worked my butt off and basically did nothing but study during the anatomy block, and still failed.
I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.

Talk to your dean and other students you respect at your school. It may be simply a matter of acquiring some new study and stress coping skills. You should find that there are a number of people at your school in the administration and among the students who are very helpful and supportive. The school's goal is to help you succeed and there are quite a few people who have failed a class and then gone on to be successful after that. Don't worry about 2nd and 3rd year right now; you can cross those bridges when you get there. Failing one class doesn't mean you should quit.
 

alwaysaangel

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1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
This is probably a question best brought to your counselors at the med school. They should be able to talk to you about what you have to do to retake and other people who have failed in the past.

2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
Yes. As someone above said I suppose it could depend on the curriculum. But for most standard curriculums who do anatomy, biochem, immuno, neuro, physio, histo, etc. first year and who do pharm, path and micro second year - yes 2nd year is harder. There is a lot more material, it comes at you a lot faster and you have to retain things a lot better because path, pharm and micro make up the vast majority of the boards. Then you have to study for the boards, and start doing rotations for 3rd year. Which I've heard is way more fun but you have almost no free time.

This shouldn't necessarily discourage you, but you should know about it. Just failing anatomy isn't a sign that you will do badly for the rest of school, but it doesn't necessarily get easier.

3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Not that I can tell, everything else is pretty factual based and conceptual not too much spatial stuff.

You'll be fine - go talk to a counselor at your school. They can give you the best perspective on this and there should definitely be someone there who can talk to you. Right now it sounds like you're just having a hard time that shouldn't have to be the end of your career.
 

Orthodoc40

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What it it starting to look like from my perspective is that it will never get easier. It will just be different. Maybe you'll like the different, or maybe you liked the before and hate the different. Maybe you hate the before and keep going, hoping it will get better but then it gets different but worse! Or maybe better. Schools are different, and everybody's different. :D

Plenty of people bomb a class (seems like biochem is a common theme) and go on to be just fine - maybe even happy. Still, plenty of people force themselves to keep going because they have some notion that they have to, and stay not happy.

Sorry for the weird answer. Definitely talk to the right people before deciding. See what they suggest, what others in your position have done, etc... It really is for you to know what is right for you - and you have to trust your instinct on that.
 

shaqkillz451

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all the above posters are quite true in their words, life will get harder for us down the road......The best advice I can give you now is also to talk to someone at your school...whether its one of the deans or someone from a student skills program....they'll best guide you as how to proceed with the situation...definetly talk to them, you'll be surprised to know how many other students might be feeling/doing the same way....don't give up hope!
 

sirus_virus

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Hello,

So, there have been a lot of threads lately where people are trying to decide whether to drop out. I'm afraid this is another one. I'm an MS1, and I failed the anatomy block. I'm doing well in the biochemistry block, and I'm actually somewhat enjoying it because the material is interesting. The main reasons I'm considering dropping out are that 1.) I was extremely stressed out and depressed during the anatomy block, and I never want to feel that way again. Basically I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't keep up with the material. 2.) I'm not sure that I'm truly interested enough in medicine for it to be worth the amount of stress and misery that I felt during anatomy. I think that I would like being a doctor, but I think that I would maybe be happier having a less interesting, less fulfilling career, but actually having time to hang out with friends and do other things that I enjoy. I have some free time now, but I worked my butt off and basically did nothing but study during the anatomy block, and still failed.
I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.

Why punk out just because of Anatomy. What is this 3D talk BTW? Anatomy boils down to seeing it as many times as you can. You should be more concerned with tweeking your time management skills than with the whole 3D thing. Don't let anyone decieve you into thinking they are smart just because they aced anatomy. They dont have any special 3D senses either. They were organised, and saw as many structures as possible. No brains involved. Keep yourself well organised, map out what structures you want to learn on any given day or given hour, and go at it. Use the tutors available in school too, and if you dont have any, go and grab the professor him/herself.

Now if you want to quit medicine because you dont like the field itself, then by all means go, but dont punk out just because you hit a bump during traning. Many have failed anatomy before you, and some are now surgeons.
 

jake2

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Hello,

So, there have been a lot of threads lately where people are trying to decide whether to drop out. I'm afraid this is another one. I'm an MS1, and I failed the anatomy block. I'm doing well in the biochemistry block, and I'm actually somewhat enjoying it because the material is interesting. The main reasons I'm considering dropping out are that 1.) I was extremely stressed out and depressed during the anatomy block, and I never want to feel that way again. Basically I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't keep up with the material. 2.) I'm not sure that I'm truly interested enough in medicine for it to be worth the amount of stress and misery that I felt during anatomy. I think that I would like being a doctor, but I think that I would maybe be happier having a less interesting, less fulfilling career, but actually having time to hang out with friends and do other things that I enjoy. I have some free time now, but I worked my butt off and basically did nothing but study during the anatomy block, and still failed.
I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.

1. Can't really speak to this so I won't. I'm sure it's happened but don't know the frequency.

2. For me, yes. Second year was more or less the same as the first but third year was really hard. I know some people who found it a lot better than the first two years though so I guess it's a bit of a personality thing.

3. Not really. Maybe some surgery stuff but that's about it. The vast majority of medicine requires no spatial reasoning skills. The fact that you liked and did well in biochemisty is encouraging. Much of the rest of what you'll learn is more similar in learning style and in material to biochemistry.

Don't really want to encourage or discourage you without knowing more about the situation. I would talk to advisors, maybe go through one more term and see how you like anatomy-less med school.
 

Halcyon440

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I agree with what others are saying in that you shouldn't let Anatomy alone determine whether or not to keep going. From what I have heard things do tend to get more difficult as the years progress, though that doesn't necessarily mean that you'll be less happy. The second years I know are b*tching about pharmacology and the third years about certain rotations. So there will always be something to break your back.

I was an MS-I for a few months and am currently on leave mostly for personal reasons. I too did not enjoy Anatomy. OK, I hated it. Some of the students were really into it but I just couldn't muster up that kind of enthusiasm for the subject. It's funny because going in I was actually excited about anatomy but the daily grind of it was more boring than enlightening.

Now that I am about a month out I look back at anatomy almost fondly. I almost miss it. I know that if I do decide to go back, that I can get through it, even if I don't love it. I've spoken to several doctors and several of them didn't like anatomy either and they did just fine.

I think your biggest concern should be whether or not you really want to do this. I am struggling with this question on a daily basis; it is constantly on my mind. I feel that I like medicine a LOT but perhaps not quite enough to really go through with it. That first weekend after I went on leave I felt like a tremendous weight was taken off my back and that the clouds that were darkening my life were starting to drift away. Because I was commuting to school, I basically had to give up everything I did for fun in order to get enough study time in. It wasn't until I stopped going that I realized just how miserable I was about this. And then to think that this was only the beginning, that I had another 8 years or so of this misery to go through. It just didn't seem worth it anymore.

Everyone tells you to look within to find the answers, but that's really difficult with all of the outside noise. It's very easy to glorify the profession and very difficult to walk away, especially after putting so much effort into getting in. And then you have to figure out what else you could possibly do when you're pretty sure that no other job will ever quite cut it. In the end I guess you have to weigh what's important and you have to think long and hard about what you want out of your life. If I did learn anything during my short time in school is how precious and delicate life is. What will cause you the least amount of misery in the end? Going for it? Or walking away?
 

Hematopoet

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Hello,

So, there have been a lot of threads lately where people are trying to decide whether to drop out. I'm afraid this is another one. I'm an MS1, and I failed the anatomy block. I'm doing well in the biochemistry block, and I'm actually somewhat enjoying it because the material is interesting. The main reasons I'm considering dropping out are that 1.) I was extremely stressed out and depressed during the anatomy block, and I never want to feel that way again. Basically I felt like no matter how hard I worked, I couldn't keep up with the material. 2.) I'm not sure that I'm truly interested enough in medicine for it to be worth the amount of stress and misery that I felt during anatomy. I think that I would like being a doctor, but I think that I would maybe be happier having a less interesting, less fulfilling career, but actually having time to hang out with friends and do other things that I enjoy. I have some free time now, but I worked my butt off and basically did nothing but study during the anatomy block, and still failed.
I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.

1.) There will always be subjects that appeal more to you than other subjects, the trick is sticking out with the difficult or boring ones trying to keep a positive attitude towards it. And really enjoying and excelling in the subjects that you find more enjoyable. You mentioned Biochemistry, there is nothing in the way for you to pick a specialty closely related to it!

2.) Motivation, interest and enjoyment in the study comes and goes. Especially in medicine! I've had many periods where I just wanted to drop everything, get a bachelor in web design, get a dog, travel, see the world and enjoy the time off! You should rather look forward to the times where saving lives and taking care of people in need will leave you with indescribable emotions and sense of purpose in life!

As for your questions, i am only in my last premedical year according to your American system (2nd of 6 year European medical school system) so i can't really help you there, but Anatomy is definitely one of the toughest subjects in the early years.

Stick it out!

Apologies for any grammatical mistakes as English is not my native language.
 
N

njbmd

I know that I have to decide for myself what to do, but it would help me decide if you'd answer these questions:
1. Did anyone else bomb anatomy (despite working really hard), and then go on to do well in the rest of medical school?
2. Are second year and third year even more stressful than first year? I suspect that they are.
3. Are there any other classes in medical school where a lack of ability to visualize objects in three dimensional space will hurt me as much as it did in anatomy?
Thanks for your patience in reading all of this. I'd appreciate any feedback that you can give me.

There are plenty of medical students across the country who fail one (or even two classes) and go on to do well in the remainder of medical school. You still have more school in front of you than behind you so put your failure behind you, check with your administration (so that you know what to expect in terms of remediation) and think about the upcoming semester.

Stress is largely determined by the individual. Second and third year are different but that difference is likely to be less stressful rather than more stressful. You can't let one failure cloud your thinking in terms of the rest of medical school. Most students wind up loving second year because it is more relevant to the practice of medicine and third year approximates the practice of medicine. Again, as soon as you are done with your remediation, you can put that failure behind you. It has generally no influence on your future studies unless you allow it to.

Learning to "visualize" in any capacity is a learned skill. The more that you participate in this activity, the better you become at it. There are no folks that are "born" to visualize and most adapted and learned this skill. In spite of your performance in Gross Anatomy, you can spend a bit of extra time with folks who picked up this skill a bit more rapidly than you did and learn loads of hints and pearls. Make sure when you are doing your remediation, you spend extra time on the things that were a weakness for you. My guess is that you learned some things well in Gross Anatomy and need extra help with others. Be sure that you get that extra help.

It may be wise to speak with a Dean (or faculty adviser) about your fears and concerns. I can assure you that they have had previous experiences with students in your position. It might be useful to have a chat with the professor who was in charge of your Gross Anatomy course in order to figure out where your weaknesses are. Armed with this information, you can move into the remediation process with the best chance of getting what you need.

Professional school is about mastering those skills that will make you a good physician and is not about doing will in those things that you like. You can't have the attitude that you will "survive" the things that are less interesting to you and "thrive" in the things that you like. Resolve to master all of your coursework and do the best that you can for your future patients.

In any specialty, there will be things that you won't like and things that you will like. You still have to do everything and give everything your best shot. Also keep in mind that overcoming adversity is a very good skill to master at this point in your career. If you fold with the first thing that "throws you a loop", what are you going to do when you are faced with adversity and you are alone? I promise you that you will have to dig deep inside and figure out a plan of action. This is a good point to learn this lesson and move past this. It is no accident that "out of every failure comes a chance to learn". You may become the expert at three-dimensional visualization just because you had an extra opportunity to master this skill.
 

Crestone

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Thanks very much for all the helpful replies. I will go talk to a counselor and will stick it out for at least the rest of the semester. Halcyon440, you pretty much summed up everything I've been thinking. Medicine is stressing me out, but if I quit now, I'll have to take a job that will seem boring and meaningless compared to medicine--if I can even find one in this recession. The rest of you made some really good points--my failure in anatomy may have less to do with "spatial ability" and more to do with poor study strategies. Thanks again for taking the time to reply.
 

themudphud

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Good choice--stick with it. If you want to be a doctor, then be a doctor. It may take you longer and more studying to learn some aspects of medicine compared to others (e.g. anatomy) but WHO CARES? DO IT. Do what you gotta do. If you are studying 5 hrs/day, then study 10 hrs/day. (I don't mean to be overly hardcore, but it sounds like you are in tough spot and sometimes in these situations, I find it is helpful to think about and confirm your dedication to what you have set out to do.) Keep in mind that people learn in different ways--consider changing around your study style for more visual topics (although anatomy is pretty unique in med school in that regard). If you want to be a physician, if you have the love, stick with it.
If you particular questions about how to study for anatomy or other subjects, post them or feel free to contact me. Good luck.
 

GreenShirt

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OP: There's two main problems that jump out in your OP:
1) You have trouble with subjects that rely more on rote memorization than logic.
2) You have poor tolerance for stress/extreme challenge

1) Anatomy tends to be tricky for a number of very smart students. Most science-types are able to think their way through problems and figure out the relationships between different aspects of a system (as in biochemistry). Anatomy, on the other hand, relies mostly on memorization. You can think about how different strucutres relate to an extent, but in the end you either know it when you see it or you don't. There's no way to logically think through it. OP, you will probably enjoy classes such as physiology and pharmacology but you will hate histology and microbiology. The latter rely on memorization while the former on logic. You need to come up with study techniques that aid in wrote memorization (Flashcards, spending an hour daily drilling the facts into your head rather than long sessions periodically etc.)

2) It sounds like you probably were successful in undergrad in getting good grades without too much of a struggle. You were a good student and you got into medical school with your grades. The problem is you never experienced a class that required blood, sweat and tears just to get a passing grade. Getting your butt kicked by a course in med school has come as a shock to you and you're not accustomed to dealing with the level of stress that comes with it. Bombing one course in med school isn't a barrier to you becoming a doctor, a lot of people have trouble with anatomy. The real barrier may be your ability to cope with setbacks and extreme stress. You'll have to learn to pass through these stress hurdles to continue on in medical school. Adaptability!

The reason people think med school gets harder from year to year is not b/c the material gets any worse, but b/c the way you learn/apply it changes. The moment you get comfortable with one system, they pull the rug out from you and you have to invent a new one from scratch. For example, during MS-I you realize that studying in med school is different than studying for UG. You learn new methods for studying and become efficient at using them by the end of your basic science years. MS-III you can just throw that whole system of book learning in the trash b/c now you have to come up with a system of learning from real-life patients. It's constant upheaval and the only way to get through it is to be able to persevere through periods of struggle. You have to be able to adapt!

Good luck.
 
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Mr hawkings

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Sorry to hijack the thread but i remember while on med school interviews everyone in the room stopped and stared at me like i was a ****** when i asked about services available for students who face academic problems on starting med school.

It just seems to me that a lot of in-coming med students refuse to even consider that it is possible for them to have academic problems. These students are also less likely to seek said available help when they do start struggling. They prefer to post on annonymous forums to be told to do what they know to do already.
 

peerie

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To the OP, you have asked some excellent questions. You are wise to be asking them.

Remember that med school is sometimes 'smoke and mirrors.' What I mean is this, that people will sometimes BS and feign deep knowledge when really they are hanging on by the glint of their teeth. The only difference between them and you is that they act like there is nothing wrong while you - correctly - are speaking up and asking the right questions.

Sometimes, the people who ace classes like anatomy do so because they have already taken three anatomy classes as an undergrad. That comes back to the point that it is memorization and not necessarily native intelligence. You my friend, sound like you do possess the real deal - that 'native intelligence.'

Just know that you will become comfortable skating by some classes with a solid 73 (and the cut off is 70), 1) knowing that you worked damn hard and 2) knowing that it's one dumb test and later, when you really need to know it you can google your anatomy questions and it will all mean so much more. Like, when you are reading radiology films.

Hang in there, flex your muscles and go back into the fray. It will definitely get alot better - and different. :thumbup:
 

USArmyDoc

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I may be alone, but I love 3rd year. I don't mind being in at 4am and working till 9pm. I don't mind going home and reading for a couple of hours. I just enjoy it a lot. I guess I am the outcast...:)

Either way, I am having sooo much fun.
 

nowanmd

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First of all I am a practicingi internist-having finished med school 12 years ago- I hated anatomy and struggled to pass. The good news i never had any problems with any other courses including neuroanatomy/neuroscience- believe me unless you become a surgeon you will never have to know origins/insertions relationships as a doctor- get through anatomy- everything else is interesting and doable. :)
 

t33sg1rl

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I failed Anatomy.

I hated it. I was miserable, I had no life, I studied 24/7, I just didn't understand the material (I'm terrible at spatial stuff). I would have liked to drop out, but I'd already uprooted my family, sold my house, paid tuition.

Anyway, I'm a 4th year now and I can say that for me, Anatomy was by far the most stressful part of med school, because no matter how hard I swam, I sunk like a rock. I also failed 2 other tests after anatomy. Step 1 score was 240-I had maybe 5 or 6 anatomy Q's. I did not study any anatomy for Step 1 because I never heard of anyone getting more than 8-10 gross anatomy Q's. Other people find 3rd year most stressful because of the long hours, getting yelled at, having to work with other people instead of individually, etc, but I didn't really mind it. I do hate getting yelled at but your skin thickens very quickly.

I think I would have been happy in other careers, but I'm glad I stuck with medicine and I love what I get to do. People get sick and it sucks, but you can really make it better for them and sometimes, they're even grateful.
 
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