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Anyone else feeling left behind when all their friends are in med school but them?

MoTheGreatish

Currently a prestigious PD (Plague Doctor)
Jan 14, 2020
85
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  1. Pre-Medical
Hey everyone! Now that the new cycle is upon us (officially), I was wondering if anyone else sometimes feels a bit sad when they think about how most of the people they know, whether its from high school or university, is in med school? I suppose reapplicants might be more likely to feel this but I'm guessing perhaps some first-timers who are applying after a gap year or so might know people who made it before them? Honestly I know people who were in my classes in high school who are literally starting clerkships this year and it honestly makes me feel pretty bad about myself. Anyone else in the same boat? Anyone feel left behind?
 

SimplySimple112

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2+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2018
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  1. Pre-Medical
Lol, you are not alone. I'm a nontraditional student and some students from my alma mater and even an acquaintance of mine are either now doctors/completing residency/or just starting residency. It's tough, but I know that everything will happen when the time is right. I have to remind myself that "The road to becoming a doctor is a marathon and not a race"-as I've heard it mentioned in SDN forums so many times. I think Goro says this, if I'm not mistaken, lol.
 
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HKSZYU

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Mar 26, 2017
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Go your own pace. I'm a non-trad, and most of my undergrad friends who took this path are practicing attendings at this point. I used to often compare my journey to their's, and It'd make me feel behind my peers and sad. But now I just embrace the journey that got me here. My gap years were some of the best times of my life, and I don't regret them. Plus, you're likely going to be a doctor for 25+ years. Starting a year sooner or later is not going to be significant in the broader scheme of your medical career.

That said, I know what you're feeling. I used to have to stay off social media for the few weeks around white coat season because it would make me feel sad and anxious. Maybe block out those kinds of reminders if you need to.
 
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medschoolhopeful3

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Jun 14, 2018
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I went through this last year after an unsuccessful cycle forced me to take a gap year. Definitely the hardest part was seeing posts from white coat ceremonies. Even though I was so so so happy for my friends, I couldn't help but feel jealous that they were there and I wasn't. I thought these feelings would go away once I finally got the A, but there was still a part of me that felt left out whenever someone posted about being in med school. Even though I'm starting at a school I love in a few weeks, I don't know if I'll ever get over the embarrassment and shame I feel concerning my reapplication. I'm afraid that if people find out, I'll be seen as lesser than everyone who didn't fail the first time. There's already such a stigma around reapplicants and my "dirty little secret" has already had an effect on my self-confidence. I'm worried this will carry over to my performance in med school too.
 
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patnic511

Full Member
May 12, 2020
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  1. Pre-Medical
I went through this last year after an unsuccessful cycle forced me to take a gap year. Definitely the hardest part was seeing posts from white coat ceremonies. Even though I was so so so happy for my friends, I couldn't help but feel jealous that they were there and I wasn't. I thought these feelings would go away once I finally got the A, but there was still a part of me that felt left out whenever someone posted about being in med school. Even though I'm starting at a school I love in a few weeks, I don't know if I'll ever get over the embarrassment and shame I feel concerning my reapplication. I'm afraid that if people find out, I'll be seen as lesser than everyone who didn't fail the first time. There's already such a stigma around reapplicants and my "dirty little secret" has already had an effect on my self-confidence. I'm worried this will carry over to my performance in med school too.

Your feelings are so so valid, and also congrats on your acceptance! As an internet stranger (and upcoming first-time applicant), I'm so proud of you!!!!!

I've struggled with the vast amount of self-reflection (read: self-doubt) required to apply, and if anything, I think your resilience from re-applying says worlds of POSITIVE wonderful things about you! You persevered and made it, and your struggle from not being accepted the first time is evidence that you conquered even more than someone who got in their first go-around. I know internal shame is really difficult to battle with, but I encourage you to speak with your supportive friends and family whenever you start feeling down. From my experience, they help me identify when I'm not being kind to myself and potentially spiraling unproductively.
 
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lumya

Indoor Cat
2+ Year Member
Aug 7, 2018
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Oh man. As much as I try to be logical about it, it did really affect me. I worked in a tangential field and when I realized I wanted to go into medicine, I was literally working with people I knew from my class who were medical students/residents. Two years ago was the worst because my grandmother passed away. She was the first female doctor to graduated from her medical school and she always told me she looked forward to when I'd be one too and she'd teach me all her tips and tricks. The fact that I never got to do that is really hard, but I'm glad I took a couple extra years. I'm definitely a lot more prepared to apply now than I would've been straight out of undergrad. Now, it doesn't really bother me much. It's actually great to have my friends give me advice about what they would do in hindsight and I help them with their taxes and random other things I learned from being in the workforce instead of in school.
 
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SimplySimple112

Full Member
2+ Year Member
Dec 5, 2018
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I went through this last year after an unsuccessful cycle forced me to take a gap year. Definitely the hardest part was seeing posts from white coat ceremonies. Even though I was so so so happy for my friends, I couldn't help but feel jealous that they were there and I wasn't. I thought these feelings would go away once I finally got the A, but there was still a part of me that felt left out whenever someone posted about being in med school. Even though I'm starting at a school I love in a few weeks, I don't know if I'll ever get over the embarrassment and shame I feel concerning my reapplication. I'm afraid that if people find out, I'll be seen as lesser than everyone who didn't fail the first time. There's already such a stigma around reapplicants and my "dirty little secret" has already had an effect on my self-confidence. I'm worried this will carry over to my performance in med school too.

Congrats on your acceptance! You should be so proud of all that you have accomplished up to this point. I would try as much as possible to ward off those negative thoughts. Your mindset could prevent you from reaching your full potential and fully experiencing what med school has to offer. If you're still feeling this way after your program starts, I would advise seeking counseling. You're not a failure. In fact, you're an inspiration to myself and countless others who are trying to get that "A."
 
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stayathomemom

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Dec 30, 2017
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It's a perfectly valid response to grieve "what could have been" even if you truly wouldn't change anything about your path until now. The passing of time forces us to forfeit possible futures (now pasts/presents, from your perspective) except for the one we received through part choice and part chance. Don't be afraid to acknowledge that grief and loss and process it. Thankfully we still have a future.
 
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deleted1005514

Definitely felt this way during my gap year. Even though I’m an extreme non-trad, I made friends in my undergrad and I felt left behind when my graduating class went off to med school and I was still at my undergrad doing a Masters degree. In hindsight, I rushed the whole process and should have taken two gap years so I would start medical school feeling relaxed and ready to tackle it all. Instead I rushed into it, and I regret that, but even that has worked out ok so far, and I’ve made very close friends despite the stress.

The moral of the story is: every flower blooms when it’s ready.
 
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Rachapkis

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Apr 5, 2018
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Speaking from the perspective of a grumpy old man who went straight through college and graduate school into a demanding career, I sincerely wish I had taken more time to smell the roses and explore prior to entering my profession. I understand that a few years seems like an eternity now, and that you feel that you may have fallen behind your peers, but those years will seem like nothing in the not so distant future, and the differences between you and your peers will be erased more quickly than you expect. You will be wearing that white coat for a long, long time. The key is not to get there quickly, but to enjoy the process, learn as much as you can along the way, and to find your passion. Good luck!
 
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MoTheGreatish

Currently a prestigious PD (Plague Doctor)
Jan 14, 2020
85
46
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  1. Pre-Medical
Just wanted to say that it was an absolute pleasure to read all of these! I am thankful that it's not just me and feel much better now! I wish you all the best of luck this year in your apps!
 
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