LilyMD

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 21, 2004
142
1
Status (Visible)
Everyone thinks I'm absolutely insane for wanting to go to med school. I should mention that I have am currently in a career that pays very nicely, however, I hate every second of my 80 hour workweek. Most med students and residents say "don't do it." They say they would not do it over again, but when I ask them what they would do, they can't really come up with anything. I heard a theory that residents/med students love to complain. They say smart people always complain. I don't see how that makes sense. Why would people just love to complain? Now, the practicing doctors are different - they said it's hard, we get sued, but do it if you love it. It's kind of hard to know if you love it before you're there (even with clinical experience/EC). I thought I would love my first career and I even had some exposure to it before. I know no one can tell you what to do with your life. But these warnings/doubts echo in my head bc people tried to dissuade from my first career path and I didn't listen. I ignored them bc I thought I would be different. I thought that they went into for the wrong reasons and that's why they're dissatisfied. And here I am, two years into it and hating it , discouraging young hopefuls where I once stood from taking that path. Does anyone have any insight into this phenomenon? How do you deal with the discouragement/negativity? I want to heed the advice of those who have been there, but I also want to make the right decision for me.
 

doc3341

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2004
343
0
Miami Fl
Status (Visible)
I have a considerable of insight in this topic. Since I work at the hospital I am in constant contact with MD's, DO's. Yes they all complain and tell you your crazy. But they also tell you that if it is what you truly love, then to go at it 150%. One doctor gave me the most helpful advice of all. He told me to basically figure out if I could be happy doing anything else in this world, and do that instead. So I really did look inside myself and tried my best to find something else. The truth is, I couldnt. yes, were all going to be working ridiculus hours, and were all going to have to at one point in our medical careers deal with lawsuit, and yes were going to have to deal with insurance companies screwing us over constantly with our low reimbursements, BUT, I know that there isnt a single career that will bring me more joy than medicine. I also know that all these variable are dependent on your chosen specialty. Thats why I dont think I would ever be an OBGYN, or a Neurosurgeon. but, thats me.
 

Febrifuge

Grizzled Old Newcomer
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 7, 2003
1,520
24
febrifuge.blogspot.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
Lily, I think you may have answered your own question. :)

You say that you, in your present career, find yourself discouraging people who are considering it, just as you've spoken to grumpy residents who discourage you. Maybe those residents are simply smart people who are dealing with the stress of their situation by venting a little in a controlled fashion (and I think that's what's meant by 'smart people like to complain'). Or maybe they are in your boat, except they're stuck with the career you happen to be moving toward, and they lack the ability to move away from it for whatever reason. (Probably debt-related reasons...)

I agree with the previous poster: if you can see yourself being happy doing something, anything else, then you don't need to be in medicine to be happy. But if you know medicine is The Thing, then nothing else matters as much.

And isn't it better for us to be dissatisfied with other careers, and now trying to get into medicine, rather than being those grumpy residents who are dissatisfied with medicine and needing to get out? I'm gambling that med schools will agree.
 
About the Ads

Halcyon440

On the fence
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jul 29, 2003
122
0
New York
Status (Visible)
  1. Medical Student
Hmm, I think I agree about smart people liking to complain. Here at work those that don't complain are the ones who've been assimilated by the "BORG" and can't see outside their little protective world they've built around themselves. Those who complain typically are more enlightened and realize they're in a dead-end position. So don't be discouraged about the whining.

I've had the same experiences as you have in speaking to med students, residents, and established doctors. The students are typically excited the first two years and then start whining from third year all the way through residency. The established docs will whine initially, but if you persist they tell you they love what they do and can't see themselves doing anything else.

I have only one relative, a distant cousin, who is in medicine. He was excited and encouraging at first. But I called him up a few years ago while he was a resident and he was completely negative. He sounded absolutely miserable and trapped. He too told me only do medicine if it's the ONLY thing I can see myself being happy in. That if anything else at all brought me happiness that I should pursue that instead. I saw this as a terrible discouraging statement at the time and didn't think about seriously going into medicine again for another 2-3 years. I also haven't spoken to my cousin since.

Despite his warnings, at some point last year the medicine thoughts came back with a vengeance and I realized I had to address them. I've come to feel that my life wouldn't really be complete unless I do this. And now that I'm here I can see where his comment maybe wasn't negative per se. It was honest and good advice actually. Until you think that way you're not going to be willing to do the things you need to do to become a doctor (especially if you're going into this later in life). I rather give this an honest try than to keep wondering for the rest of my days.

Hmm, maybe I am ready to face my cousin again. Thanks for helping me see this in a different light.
 

stwei

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 17, 2003
200
0
Status (Visible)
Did any one of you ever think that your problems may be a cultural issue? That perhaps moving to another state or country may resolve the issue? That perhaps 80% of the world may be receiving insufficient medical aid these days?
 

Febrifuge

Grizzled Old Newcomer
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
May 7, 2003
1,520
24
febrifuge.blogspot.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Non-Student
... okay, that's a good point... but I don't see how it bears on this discussion. While I may very well choose to serve underserved populations here at home, or go abroad with organizations that bring medical care to remote areas, either way I need training.

I wonder if you're implying that we should be trying to gain entry to medical education systems in other countries? If so, that seems a bit odd to me, as if you're implying that leaving a career here in the USA for years of schooling, etc. is the same as moving to another country entirely and pursuing that country's version of medical taining... ? I'm not sure I get it.

As to the state by state issue, I'm applying to postbaccs in a different part of the country, since I don't have postbacc options in my home state.
 

rpost3

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2004
200
1
Status (Visible)
everyone thinks im nuts too. but you have to understand that a lot of people think starring at computers for 50 hours in a cubicle to make some rich ceo richer is what you are supposed to do with your life. its easy to get there, doesn't take much hard work, and the sacrafices/risks are low. they really believe that people are supposed to be miserable and spend a third of their waking hours doing things that most of the worl could live without.

most people think im a dreamer because i'll be admitted to med school in 2007 and probably be done with residency 2014. I'm 25 now, so do the math. but it doesn't matter to me. not many people have the balls to go after what they really want.

the discouragement doesn't motivate me or anything because I've never cared what people thought of me anyhow. being a doctor is motivating.

don't worry about it. you're on your way to having the most meaningful profession on the planet, even if getting there will be hard. just keep picturing yourself at graduation. thats what keeps me studying that extra hour.
 

elvingomez

Senior Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Sep 18, 2003
156
0
39
el monte, ca
Status (Visible)
i find discouragement to be quite encouraging sometimes. i love to prove people wrong in the end(along with myself)
 

Blisterpeanuts

Member
7+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 26, 2004
36
0
massachusetts
Status (Visible)
Febrifuge hit the nail on the head, IMO. The traditional path to medicine begins with a decision at age 17 or 18, often with an undercurrent of parental pressure, to go to a premed school and then apply to med school. Little or no life experience plays into this decision except a general feeling that "it's a good living" and "I'm smart enough to do it" and, perhaps, some vaguely idealistic goal of "helping the world".

The non-trad approach is to grow up, study things you like at school, try a few career paths, then decide that healthcare is for you, and go for it full-bore. Somehow it makes more sense, doesn't it? Of course there's less time to practice but better 20 good years than 35 miserable years I would say.

I had a chat recently with a radiology fellow; when I told her I rejected my father's advice to go into medicine back when I was a teen, she said "Smart choice." My gosh. This person has just spent twelve or thirteen years of her life building her career and that's all she can say!

Anyway I guess the key thing is to not let the system get to you, like boot camp breaking you down to rebuild you as a good soldier. (Only the tough survive, but once they come out of residency they're supposed to become compassionate caregivers, LOL.)

-bp
 

relentless11

Going broke and loving it
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
15+ Year Member
Mar 31, 2001
1,584
9
Status (Visible)
  1. Pre-Medical
From my point of view, it seems that their complaining, is their way in keeping them sane. They seem to all have some strange sense of humor which I get a kick out of. It actually motivates me even more to be a doc.

Its just one of those things one gains during the long road towards medicine. I have a med student TAing one of our classes. He says how he thinks about why he wants to be in med school all the time. How he doesn't get enough sleep. How a nap is like taking cocaine..haha. But the thing here is that he is still doing it. Talking is entirely different from doing, and I think that everybody's way of venting and keeping sane.

In fact, this med student is pretty much top of his class. So I don't think he's doing this for any other purpose than venting. Doesn't benefit him in anyway to encourage or discourage would be pre-meds. If someone is intent on becoming a doctor, then the complaining should be absolutely no effect.
 

Andrew_Doan

Doc, Author, Entrepreneur
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Oct 1, 2002
5,633
20
San Diego, CA
www.facebook.com
Status (Visible)
  1. Attending Physician
Originally posted by LilyMD
Everyone thinks I'm absolutely insane for wanting to go to med school. I should mention that I have am currently in a career that pays very nicely, however, I hate every second of my 80 hour workweek.

First, you must love what you do. Otherwise, the money associated with that job becomes a big, fat shackle tethering you to a life of unhappiness. If you're happy, then the financial rewards become icing on the cake! ;)

Second, here is what I think about medicine and my response to the negativity:

http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?s=&postid=450395#post450395

I recommend that you go with your heart. It has been worth every bit of hard work and sacrifice for me! :thumbup:
 

gtb

Member
15+ Year Member
Jan 22, 2003
199
40
Status (Visible)
I have to be brief, I'm in the middle of my 3rd medicine month in in the 9th month of my 3rd year of medical school, and I'm feeling as thought it actually is my 300th year instead. I'm tired, I'm bitchy, and I'm especially bitter about almost everything. But I know it's because I'm physically exhausted. If you're talking to students, interns, residents, etc., their sour philosophy might also come from a perspective warped by post-call psychosis. I had a great career as an engineer, great income, lots of time to play, and time to sleep. Absolutely no pressure from day-to-day. And I hated nearly every second of every day I was at work. Then I bailed at the absolute height of the dot.com era and found myself wondering whether I was crazy. Now 3 years later, even though I'm stressed, tired, and continuously feeling like an idiot, I love what I'm doing, and I'm grateful I made the decision to enter medical school. I swear that nothing touches your heart like somebody saying, "Thank you for taking care of me." You'll get that feeling over and over again in medicine, and I assure you I never got that in engineering. Most of the jaded, bitter, residents and physicians I've met are either internal medicine, family medicine, or general surgery. Everybody else seems wildly content and happy, especially the anesthesiologists. Follow your heart and you won't regret it.

Greg
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 17 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.