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Are we really wasting away our prime years?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical Allopathic [ MD ]' started by xsci9x, 09.27.14.

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  1. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    Spending all our time studying for a profession with a high suicide rate. Going into medicine for the "right reasons" which then get crushed by the brutally long hours of studying and then realizing being a doctor isn't the same as you once thought.
    Don't get me wrong... this is my dream and passion. But curious on what you people think? Sure the money motivates a lot of us but driving a Ferrari when you're 50 won't bring you back to your 23 year old self that could party with chicks/dudes and enjoy life during a time of good physical and mental health.

    I mean money is great sure, and so is good job satisfaction. But traveling around, going to a nice resort with your bf/gf, partying, etc etc all in your prime years are simply priceless. All the wealth/money in the world won't bring us back to our current selves (since >90% of you reading this are 18-26 years old).

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    As a nontraditional student, I don't know that feel. I can tell you from personal experience you're giving up some good times.
     
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  4. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    If you're going so hard you're "wasting" your years, you're doing it wrong. Sure, you're sacrificing a lot of time other people don't have to. But there is time to work in things that are important to you during undergrad and even in medical school. If it is truly what you want to do, it is worth the investment.

    Stop being so melodramatic, you're no martyr.
     
  5. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    Don't get me wrong, I do tons of fun things personally. But heading into med school knowing the long hours that await me + residency + attending hours, these are questions that you can't help but ask.
     
  6. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I'm completely serious, you will miss out on a lot. You're right to ask. The truth is, you won't know whether med school was worth it or not until you're done with residency. I'm pretty sure that's exactly why a lot of physicians do kill themselves- they reach the end and realize it wasn't worth it and there is no taking it back. So think long and hard, but know that no matter what decision you make, you won't have the answer as to whether it was right or wrong for another decade or more.
     
  7. SnakeOilForSale

    SnakeOilForSale Everyday I'm hustlin 2+ Year Member

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    You're right in that time is an ephemeral thing that cannot be bought for any sum of money. Personally, I have always been a loner and I fill that void by studying day and night, as you say. We all have different paths and reasons that lead us to pursue medicine, but one hopes that the end result of contributing to the greater good is all that matters at the end of the day.

    People in general--with doctors being no exception--ruminate over the could've/should've/would've's in life. But even if there is that slight tinge of regret over some things that could have been, seeing the bigger picture of what you did manage to do should be enough to negate that. Everything has its drawbacks and sacrifices, but really ask yourself if despite all of that, a career in medicine would outweigh them. This should relax you some.
     
  8. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    When you say miss out on a lot, same things im talking about basically?
     
  9. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    That and much more.
     
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  10. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    Most of the research involving physician suicide rate is extremely old. However, do you ever think that it probably has less to do with "reaching the end and realizing it's not worth it" and maybe more of a higher rate of depression (higher intellectual capacity is also correlated with higher rates of depression)? How about the fact that if you're a person extensively educated in the physiology of the human body (including how to keep someone alive, and kill them), you are not only capable of accessing easily-abused substances and the knowledge of how to complete such a tragic act?

    Source: http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/806779-overview

    Their sources are:

    Frank E, Dingle AD. Self-reported depression and suicide attempts among U.S. women physicians. Am J Psychiatry. Dec 1999;156(12):1887-94. [Medline].

    Schernhammer ES, Colditz GA. Suicide rates among physicians: a quantitative and gender assessment (meta-analysis). Am J Psychiatry. Dec 2004;161(12):2295-302. [Medline].

    The fact female physicians are just as overprevalent with suicide rates and just as successful as their male counterparts, in my opinion, gives significant credence to this point.

    Just some perspective beyond the exhaustive "we have it so tough" idea.
     
  11. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    like what?
     
  12. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I'm talking about reasons, not rates.
     
  13. radkat101

    radkat101 2+ Year Member

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    If pre-med students knew exactly what medical school was like before they applied, I really believe that medical schools would have a hard time filling their classes. This doesn't mean everyone is miserable in medical school, but the "right reasons" for going into medicine are really different for everyone. The problem with being a medical student is that medicine really does consume your life. It's always on your mind, and other people will never understand what you are going through, but they will pretend they do. You have to like medicine, and not be primarily motivated by money and prestige. It doesn't make you a bad person to have these motivations, but it will put you in the group of miserable people. You have to REALLY enjoy studying physiology and disease, and of course you have to be able to tolerate the frustrations that come with working with patients in a clinical setting. I've heard a few people compare medical school to starting a new relationship with a hot guy/girl, and I really think it's a perfect analogy. When you start, you will be excited about school and your future, but as you get to know medical school a little better, the honey-moon/infatuation phase ends and you have to start putting in the work for the relationship to work. Being around medical students and doctors all the time starts to become the norm, and the superficial qualities of medicine (the only qualities perceived by most pre-meds) will no longer seem all that impressive to you. You also begin to realize how important your old relationships are, as you find yourself neglecting them due to the new time demands. If you still find yourself passionate about medicine at its core, then you will likely find yourself accepting of the sacrifices and happy about the decision. It's hard to divorce medicine once you become immersed in it however, so it's in your best interest to have an extremely solid understanding of what you are getting into before you take the plunge.
     
  14. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Love. Marriage. Travel. Time with your family, some of whom might not survive until the end of your training. Time with friends that you might no longer have by the end of medical training. Enjoying all the vitality that a body in your young 20s affords you. You miss out on a good portion of your life, and delay many of the things that normal people take for granted. There is a lot more than this, but I'm busy right now so I can't write a deep post on the sacrifices and what you lose- this is just scratching the surface.
     
  15. NoDakDok

    NoDakDok 2+ Year Member

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    Wasn't saying you were talking about rates - just thought it was interesting. I never see anyone point things like that out.
     
  16. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    I point it out frequently. Physicians die at a higher rate because they are more successful at suicide. It's really a given, considering our medical knowledge.
     
  17. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Eh. Contrary to popular belief, your social life does not come to an end in medical school. I'd argue that I've had more fun in medical school so far than I did in undergrad.
     
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  18. Mad Jack

    Mad Jack Critically Caring Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Getting ****faced isn't what you're missing out on. Not mostly, anyway. You can do that plenty in college, MS1, and MS2.
     
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  19. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme Lifetime Donor 2+ Year Member

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    Yeah, I get sh*t-faced on a pretty regular basis in med school. Post-exam weekends are a riot.
     
  20. W19

    W19 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    ....
     
  21. Essee

    Essee 5+ Year Member

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    I only started about 2 months ago and I understand that M1 is much easier than M2/3, but I'm having a blast so far. I study less than I did in undergrad quite honestly. Studying doesn't consume your life unless you want it to. I go out every Friday/weekend, go to the gym, do brunches, dinners, just veg out and watch TV, etc. I have time to try things I haven't before (because your classmates are such talented people to learn from). I get involved with clubs and do activities at my own pace because I'm interested in them, and there isn't any pressure to excel or commit to ungodly hours like premed activities.

    I go to a true P/F school btw, which I think makes a huge difference. Med school really isn't that bad, imo.
     
  22. W19

    W19 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    If you know there is something else you can do that will make you happy and the time/money commitment won't be such a big issue, you certainly should explore it...
     
    Last edited: 09.27.14
  23. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    You're asking all the right questions and they are very honest and valid questions (no matter what anyone here will tell you). You need to look at the facts - how much debt you'll be in with compounding interest, how many years you'll be in training, etc. What you're giving up by choosing the physician pathway to practice medicine, etc.

    There have been a few resident physician suicides that have made the news lately. That should give you pause. Medicine is going thru a huge transformation period due to healthcare reform in which physicians will be more and more responsible for overall healthcare costs - that should also give you something to think about regarding becoming a physician.

    Also listen to what @radkat101 has said. I think he articulated it beautifully. I also believe, as he said, that if most premeds could somehow experience how exactly medical school is like in terms of preclinical education and some parts of MS-3 they would run for the hills. Try to get medical experiences that are very realistic and not cherrypicked to CV pad so you can actually see whether this is worth it. I would also not view medicine thru a specific specialty lens, bc depending on specialty, you may not get it. You have to be flexible. If that's something you're not willing to tolerate, then medicine isn't the right pathway. The "I'm already half way into med school, but I have no choice but to continue" route is not recommended -- see @chipwhitley's thread.
     
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  24. HinduHammer

    HinduHammer We Do Not Sow 2+ Year Member

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    As an older non-trad who definitely had his share of one-night stands, travel, "crazy" experiences, and so forth I feel confident in saying that if medicine weren't such a long financial and time commitment, many more 30 and 40 year olds would pursue it. What I mean is, all the "fun" stuff that you can with your youth, really aren't all that fun. Even hiking the Colorado trail, after a few days, I was ****ing bored and wanted to go back to civilization, or dating a bunch of women, after a few months you want to be in a deeper relationship; after a few months of that (for me), I wanted to be single and mingle again. So, yes its fun, but at the end of it, its like "meh, I could have been doing something more significant with my life, but what I did do was fun... I guess."

    Something else: if you have something else you'd rather do (for example, if I knew I could never get into medicine or healthcare, I would become either an entrepreneur [starting a mcdonalds or subway franchise, then getting more franchises, etc./ or a house-cleaning or dry-cleaning business], or join the state department and travel the world for uncle sam) --- anything else you do that is significant will require the time that you are inquiring about. Also FWIW, it seems medicine attracts people who would committ suicide/depressed, because medicine is one of those careers that you think would make you happy, right? like helping people, serving society, learning the human body, making decent money -- that should make you happy right? So people who are attracted to needing happiness come to medicine, and then when it doesn't pan out that way, their depression/hopelessness really sets in. Those are my thoughts :)
     
  25. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Yeah you're a 2 month old M-1 in a "true" P/F school. These are the good years in terms of controlled schedule.
     
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  26. Doudline

    Doudline 2+ Year Member

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    "Prime years" you're such a child I swear to God.

    Ask the happiest persons you know over 40 y/o, and they will almost unanimously tell you that their teenage and young adult years were the ****tiest of their life. If you think that booze and parties are the summum of life enjoyment you might as well go buy a coffin right now let's be honest.
     
  27. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Booze and parties are not what make your younger years your prime. I don't think that's what the OP was driving at.
     
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  28. HoboCommander

    HoboCommander 7+ Year Member

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    You actually get a ton of free time in medical school. The parties are better, the clubs are better, the sports are better than in undergrad. Now certain residencies can be pretty bad, but you are out there saving lives so it's not exactly a waste of your prime.
     
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  29. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    :rolleyes:
     
  30. HoboCommander

    HoboCommander 7+ Year Member

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    Obviously not for derm, but you do save lives in other specialties!
     
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  31. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    No, genius. My :rolleyes:, is bc you don't "save" lives in other specialties either. You just prolong it, no matter how bad the quality of life may be. Your crack on derm was stupid.
     
  32. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    Nahhhh most 20 somethings just spend their time working some menial job, playing video games, jacking off, and sleeping
     
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  33. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Maybe the people you hung out with. Most don't. They get real jobs, start creating families, start saving up for their 401K, retirement, etc.
     
  34. W19

    W19 SDN Gold Donor Gold Donor 2+ Year Member

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    The stats say otherwise...
     
    Last edited: 11.10.14
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  35. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    I agree with all fully of that except the marriage part. That's a scam nowadays with monogamy and faithfulness being dead + a really high divorce rate. A scam for doctors especially unless you marry someone of the same income.
     
  36. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    Likely because they got no action lol.
     
  37. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    Then spend their 30s and 40s paying child support and alimony lol...
     
  38. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Let's face it. Most of our friends are not your "typical" American. Yes, there are some people who are a gone case from the beginning.
     
  39. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    You don't think doctors in their 30s and 40s are paying child support and alimony? Let me introduce you to the neurosurgeons.
     
  40. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    I agree, and a hell of a lot more doctor are paying that stuff too. High divorce + higher income differential on average.
     
  41. Styrene

    Styrene 2+ Year Member

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    I've thought about this a lot. When it really comes down to it, I love studying physiology and disease.

    And many medical students party? I do not go to parties or drink, as I would rather spend free time playing guitar or learning in-depth a little piece of a topic covered in class. Is it easy to find friends that will enjoy these types of activities? Does the small class size affect the variety of personalities? I think it can be misleading to say that missing out on your prime years means specifically not being able to party or drink. Those are two of the last things I ever want to do!
     
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  42. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    You get one summer break off after M1 - which many use to do research, etc. Other than that there are probably regular holidays in MS-1/MS-2, and maybe total of 1 month off per year, starting in MS-3 year. Residency, depending on the specialty, is a whole another ****show. Even then, you'll find people in even the best lifestyle specialties who complain about how hard they have it (although this is a definite small percentage bc they know better).
     
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  43. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    o_O
     
  44. Styrene

    Styrene 2+ Year Member

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    :shrug:
     
  45. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    Medical school will be where you will get to certain points where you're SICK of studying. The last thing you'll want to do after an exam is study a basic science lecture concept in depth. You may not want to party and get drunk, which is fine, but you WILL need some good avenues of stress release and relaxation.
     
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  46. xsci9x

    xsci9x Banned Banned

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    Have you ever been to a party? No offence but party-haters normally tend to be younger people who haven't ever partied at all.
     
  47. IlDestriero

    IlDestriero Ether Man 7+ Year Member

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    This is BS. The only thing stopping you from having balance is you.
    I did all of those things and more. Worked out 6 days a week, partied with the ladies, kept up with friends, etc. and did well.
    Study smarter not longer, and make time for yourself.
    The only thing you really can't do is be an alcoholic, drinking to intoxication regularly.
     
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  48. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    I don't think it's the studying that is the issue that OP is referring to. He's referring to the lifestyle of medicine.
     
  49. Hospitalized

    Hospitalized Caspase Cascade 2+ Year Member

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    This is true. But what most young people (i guess premeds as well) fail to understand is that this is true for nearly all professional jobs. There are days that you simply just don't feel like working or are burnt out. It's human nature. The idea is that for a vast majority of the time, you enjoy your job and are comfortable with the hours and lifestyle.

    One of the ER docs I worked with as a scribe who is nearing the end of his career gave me a great piece of advice. Before you choose your path as a professional, think about where you want to be 20 years from now and how that fits into your ideal lifestyle.

    Another interesting tidbit that related more to OP: Medical school is not for everyone who wants to work in a health profession. Different doc I work with put it very well that kind of put things in perspective for me:

    Summarized... "In most ER day to day cases, nurses will know what to order. They will know most diagnoses. They can do a majority of ER workups, especially those who are further in their careers. However, when difficult decision making or a complex case with an unusual presentation comes along, that's when the knowledge gap and training comes into play. Most RNs can't handle the decisions that are beyond typical. If (you) want to take care of people and make them better, nursing is fulfilling and rewarding. However, if you want to be the one with the responsibility and the one people turn to, then going through medical school and becoming a doctor is right for you."

    The great thing about medical school is you get to go in with an open mind. Different specialties cater to different personalities. Statistics, suicide rates, whatever other scrutiny that doctors are under, it's all what you make of it. There's suicides in every profession. If it scares you away, then you probably aren't fit for it. If you feel like you're going to "waste your good years" by going into medicine, then don't go. If you don't have a specific desire to go into medicine, medical school is NOT the way to go.

    That's not to discourage people from going into medicine, it's just an encouragement to make the right choice before you commit. If you're on the fence about medicine, consider other jobs within health care. There are too many for me to even name. There's no shame in being a surgical tech or something of the like for a few years before you decide that you really do want to go to medical school. Most training for jobs like that only takes a few months and you can build connections and have a solid foundation.

    Hell, after writing it all out, I start to wonder about my decision :)
     
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  50. DermViser

    DermViser 5+ Year Member

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    The difference being you're getting a paycheck.
     
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  51. EMDO2018

    EMDO2018 Banned Banned

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    Oh yeah, and don't count the cost

     

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