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How to stay happy

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by neuroprotector, Jun 5, 2008.

  1. neuroprotector

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    So I've been getting cold feet about this whole med school thing. I don't start for another few months, but somehow the weight of another four years is starting to come crashing down on me.

    How do you guys maintain your sanity? What can't you live without? How do you avoid getting sucked into the tunnel vision-like mentality of daily, intensive study?
     
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  3. Occams Razor

    Occams Razor Hickam schmictum
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    Way, way, way too late for that.

    Internet TV shows and movies, non-medical family personnel, a swimming pool.

    Enjoy your weekends, try to get involved in other events (volunteering, sports, church, possibly work). This "mentality" is advantageous during the weekdays.

    Don't worry. You'll be fine. Everyone's nervous before they get into the swing of things.
     
  4. SomeDoc

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    How to stay happy?

    Carpe Diem...
     
  5. Orthodoc40

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    Happy??

    Sane???


    What's that?
     
  6. Doctor4Life1769

    Doctor4Life1769 **tr0llin, ridin dirty**
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    My social circle has been shot to hell. Thank you med school.

    I work out, run, go to church, do the occasional volunteering, etc.
     
  7. endocardium

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    Pick a hobby, or two, that you know you enjoy and stick with it on a regular basis. Also, make sure to eat right and exercise, even though it can be challenging at times. Try to talk to non-medical people, or just people NOT at your school, from time to time; it helps you keep a level head. Don't just study all the time, or you'll probably be fairly unhappy.
     
  8. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    Yup.
     
  9. OncoCaP

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    If sanity is important to you, you'll figure out many ways of keeping it. You can start now by not trying to solve a problem before you can do anything about it. When the time comes, you'll have a list of ideas that's so tall a show dog couldn't jump over it. I'm not saying it's going to be a cake walk, but focus on enjoying your time now and don't waste it on solving something that may not even be problem for you. Although there are periods of stress, there are plenty of medical students who are having a good time with their life.
     
  10. Ella Shepherd

    Ella Shepherd Screen. Stage. Studio.
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    I remind myself of what I want in the end: to be a doctor. Whenever I remember that, I forget all the troubles and keep going. Keep your eyes on the goal, not on the hindrances on the way to get there.

    I also do stuff not related to medical school or academics like dancing, shopping, playing volleyball, swimming, reading my fave books and watching movies. I don't do it as often as I did in high school but I make sure I find time to do them some way or another. Find fun time for yourself.

    Whenever I feel down, I also like talking to my mother, the most important person in my life. Telling her how I feel makes me feel a lot better. I also hang out with friends or if I can't, I send them messages to let them know I remember them despite the busy schedule I have.

    Oh and I don't do "daily, intensive study". I review and lightly study in advance for my subjects but I don't really do super study till a week or two before an exam. Studying hard-core everyday will make me crazy! :p

    Take care and good luck! Keep smiling!!! :D
     
  11. Ella Shepherd

    Ella Shepherd Screen. Stage. Studio.
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    :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: Just what I needed to hear. :D
     
  12. doc20

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    you want to go to med school? that just tells how sane you are!
     
  13. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    Med school isnt that much harder than undergrad..its basically like a continuation of a biology degree from undergrad that is a little bit more intesive and clinically focused.

    You basically have class for a a few hrs (4 or 5 hrs) a day then you study for a few hrs a day (3 or 4 hrs) and then party on the weekends. Its the 2 weeks are so before exams that you have to buckle down and study like a "med student"... during those 2 weeks be prepared for studying like 12 to 14 hrs a day. At the end of everyterm I look back and am pretty amazed at how much I ve learned.
     
  14. prophecy2

    prophecy2 Senior Member
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    Medical school is not that bad...I actually think it was easier than undergrad!
    The intensity of it allowed me to manage my time more efficiently...I was able to read at least one non-medical book every 3 weeks, worked-out almost everyday and partied every weekend. First and third year were my favorite years...
     
  15. JimiThing

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    My advice to you is to start drinking . . . heavily. I'd listen to me. I'm in med-school.

    On a more serious note, make maintaining your sanity job #1. Everything else falls into place from there. You might not honor everything, or wind up with grades/recs good enough to land a D.R.A.P.E. residency, but if you think about it, if what it took to get into that residency made you miserable, how much more miserable are you going to be for the rest of your life.

    (caveats: "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men." - Willy Wonka
    "A little bit of insanity helps men maintain their sainty in insane situations." Hawkeye - M*A*S*H)
     
  16. AZCOM2010

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    Wait, that wasn't your real advice? Hmm, that seriously is how I've made it through so far...
     
  17. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    I've definitely found the fluidity of my H&Ps goes up significantly after a 6 pack. Does this make me a bad person?
     
  18. ACSurgeon

    ACSurgeon Acute Care Surgeon
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    4 years? That's only part of it. Most would agree that residency is more intense. However, keep in mind that if medicine is what you really want to do you will actually ENJOY these 4 years. I'm only 1 year in, but words such as "pain" "insane" "horrible" do NOT correlate with my experience so far. For the most part the way you preceive medical school is how it will be. There will be some tough times, but overall, you make what you want out of anything. Finally, med school wasn't half as bad people made it out to be for me.
     
  19. classof2011

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    I think the biggest problem with many unhappy medical students is their initial feelings about med school in the first place....So many med students [that I know] are there because their parents (and other influential ppl) wanted it for them, not from their own desires and passion....It gets so bad that they even lie to themselves about how they see themselves caring for others as a physician....I think its quite sad as reality hits and they realize all of the work that must be done to reach that "glamorous" part of their careers.

    I think my desires and ambitions are of the minority when I say that becoming a physician is something I decided on....Hell, my parents didnt even know I was enrolled in college until sophomore year and I was 16!


    Always think for yourself, because others (including the ppl that you looked up to your entire life) usually dont know whats best for you.....atleast not as much as you do.
     
  20. farnsworth

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    I think the "think for yourself" sentiment is a good one, but I think it's totally inaccurate to say you're in a minority when you say that you chose medicine and you did it for the right reasons. Most people chose it themselves, and most people are doing it for the right reasons. Don't flatter yourself that you're special on this one.

    And why did you add that part at the end? I doubt you're impressing anyone.
     
  21. alfonzarel

    alfonzarel howlin, growlin, prowlin.
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    hit the gym with passion 5 days a week - maybe 1-3 x on exam weeks. this is EXTREMELY important. most people ignore this part and wonder why they are so stressed out all the time. MS1 is, of course, stressful, but working out is an incomparable stress reliever, plus it makes your brain work better.

    and make time to read non-med school books. really, if you can sit in starbucks for 5 hours and read lippencott's and netters you can warm up and read a novel for 20 minutes before upshifting into study mode. those 20-30 minutes in a novel are how i prime my pump for a long study session.

    oh yeah and be thankful. you are in medical school, afterall. you're IN. you more than likely busted your a$$ to get here, afterall. you're going to be a doctor, afterall. don't forget to be thankful. remember all those people in the real world who are s.o.l. looking for a job? well, now you have job security pretty much forever.

    did i mention gratefulness?

    oh yeah, and go skydiving after exams. it's really great.

    this stuff works for me. i am done with finals and finishing up the last 2 shifts in the ER of my month-long post-exam-ward-experience. we have a few papers due friday, which is our last official day of MS1, but i'm already on chill mode. i did well this year, felt burned out at times (like everyone else i know), but made it, and now i feel very satisfied, relaxed, sane (or as sane as one can feel in medical school), and pleased with where i am in life. i feel like i accomplished something pretty steep and am about to relax (thank God for this break between MS1 and MS2) so i can put forth some serious effort for MS2.

    all in all, i like being in medical school. frankly, i can't think of anything else i'd rather be doing with my life.
     
  22. Law2Doc

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    Yeah, I don't know that staying happy or sane are going to be priorities. In parts of med school, you will be going without sleep for 30+ hours. You will be dealing with death, disease, dismemberment. Your schedule will not be your own, and you will miss countless social and family events. You will always be in the way and never know everything you need to for quite a few years. This is not really a sane situation. But it's kind of fun, in a warped, demented sort of way. You will be seeing and doing things nobody else gets to do. People will tell you personal problems nobody else gets to hear. Kind of cool.
    Read "House of God", about a Boston hospital residency a while back, and you will get a tongue in cheek idea of the insanity you are in for. As mentioned, I sure wouldn't spend too much time trying to figure out ways to make yourself happy and sane ahead of time.
     
  23. classof2011

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    First, my point wasn't to impress anyone (especially on an anonymous site), I impress myself everyday when I look back and see what I've become and the humbling fact that I've been put in positions at an early age to make important decisions about my own future, you dont have to impress anyone else when your solid within.

    Secondly, my message was solely to inspire others (esp unhappy students) to do their own assessment of motivations to become physicians which I have found [in my medical sschool] to be based on factors outside of their own primary desires such as parental influence and outside pressure.

    So my question is are you posting because you feel insecure about my accomplishments (somebody you dont kno by the way:)) or are you here to help the OP. My posts are mainly to help the OP understand why many medical students become so overwhelmed with unhappiness during pursuit of meds. And if I happened to make my points by describing myself, so be it, last time i checked this site was free.

    But I think you may be partially correct, maybe I am exxagerating abit when I said I am of the minorty....One reason why medical schools are starting to attract more non-traditional students is due to their untainted belief that medicine is really for them.

    Gooday!
     
    #22 classof2011, Jun 9, 2008
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2008
  24. classof2011

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  25. farnsworth

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    Ah yes, the classic SDN catch-all retort: if someone calls you on something, they're insecure.
     
  26. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    Hah, this reminds me of an Alex Hitchen's quote (from the movie Hitch for the uninitiated).

    When your wondering what to say, or how you look, just remember... she is already out with you. That means, she said yes, when she could've said no. That means she made a plan... when she could've just blown you off. So that means it is no longer you job to make her like you... It is your job NOT TO MESS IT UP.

    My vote is to pop in a movie at night to unwind, something mindless and funny. Laughter is a great mental salve.:laugh:
     
  27. alfonzarel

    alfonzarel howlin, growlin, prowlin.
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    indubitably
     
  28. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    sentiments like these don't sound right. I'm sorry but, only knowing what you tell us in that short post, my honest opinion is that med school might not be right for you - you should feel excitement not trepidation.
     
  29. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    That's a bold statement indeed. I think having some fear, trepidation, cold feet, what not does not mean it's a bad idea or that it's a poor fit. If every single med student came to these forums and read all the horror stories of This and of That, well shoot, anxiety would set into the most well-balanced of people.

    At the end of the day, OP, you've earned a spot at a med school. Go and frickin enjoy it. Travel, visit family and friends, party it up. This is the perfect time to de-stress. Cross the bridge of de-stressing after this reportedly awful educational path once you cross it. How to unwind is a trivial matter - you'll subconsciously do what works for yourself. For now, enjoy your "Few months" and get your rockstar on.
     
  30. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    I might agree with you in general, and my post was kind of brief so my full opinion isn't entirely clear -- these particular trepidations are worrisome in my opinion.

    Keep your sanity? What's this about? Does the idea of a rigorous science curriculum make you worry that you'll lose your mind? I'd venture to say that you should have at least a passing interest in challenging yourself to become an expert in medical science (hopefully because you enjoy the material). Yeah, you're not gonna love everything (social science sucks imo), but I think you get my point.

    What things can't we live without? Like hobbies? Do you have hobbies that are so time consuming that you can't continue them in med school? If so, how much do you love them? Gotta decide which is more important, and I'll just assume that you're having trouble deciding since you brought it up -- not a good sign.

    Avoiding tunnel vision like mentality? I'm actually not sure what this means really but as near as I can tell it seems to mean "making studying your entire life". Well, this won't happen I don't think unless you also needed to get into that mentality during undergrad. If you were accepted I find it hard to believe that you needed to do that, so your fear may be allayed here i think.

    anyway, more clear now i hope.
     
  31. ZagDoc

    ZagDoc Ears, Noses, and Throats
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    Last August I was feeling plenty of excitement to start medical school. I was also scared s#!tless... scared my classmates would suck, scared I would find out med school wasnt right for me, scared I would fail, etc. It's natural to have reservations when approaching such a drastic life change, and every person has their own weird fears around it.
     
  32. riverwoman1040

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    #31 riverwoman1040, Jun 11, 2008
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2011
  33. Haversian Canal

    Haversian Canal good day to save lives
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    i think its more about the concerend worry-some vs optimstic out-going personalities ...

    we need balance both B-)
     
  34. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    Actually, they are both weird fears. The posts you're referring to are almost without exception hyperbole laden complaints, and later in those threads we always come back down to reality and admit that we were exaggerating - or in other words, when pressed the posters will almost always put things in perspective so as not to give people the wrong idea.

    The fact of the matter is that med school is not just manageable, but not even really restricting (excluding third year i guess, and even then only some rotations). I guess the real question we should be asking is if the original poster is aware that most complaints are hyperbole? Med school is not hell, it's not torture, and it doesn't consume your life. It's a more intense graduate degree than some, but hopefully we're getting some perspective now.

    edit: look I'm not trying to be combative with anyone. Just offering my honest opinion.
     
  35. sprinkibrio

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    Exactly! Love what you do. Sometimes it's hard to love studying, but do more clinical things when you can. The hardest part first year is adjusting. Once you adjust things become really great.
     
  36. alfonzarel

    alfonzarel howlin, growlin, prowlin.
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    it's not exactly rocket science - just keep your head up.

    YOU are the only person on earth who can decide whether or not you're happy.
     
  37. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon
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    1. Somewhat echoing what L2D said: you're not going to be happy all the time. There are periods that are just too stressful and tiring for you to be chipper through them. Life is like this as well as med school.

    1.5. Recognize that it's going to be hard. I have been noticing a flourishing of SDN threads about "I had no idea I was going to have to make sacrifices to become a doctor!!" You are transitioning out of that period where medicine was a glowing city on a hill filled with promise and into the period where it is a gritty reality. It is not just going to be about your passion for medicine or your preconceived notions.

    2. Regardless of your schools "early clinical exposure" programs find some sort of shadowing/observing/clinical experience that YOU enjoy. If you are interested in Peds find a cool Peds hospitalist etc etc etc. It is amazing how invigorated you might be to study the blood supply to the small bowel after a few hours actually seeing patients with a cool doc.

    3. Recognize the larger goals of medical school: a) to get a medical degree and b) to get a good residency spot. Alot of BS in medical school I attacked with the mentality of "I can either whine about this or view it as a hurdle I have to jump on my way to becoming the physician I want to be."
     
  38. tbo

    tbo MS-4
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    This sounds like sound advice (I'll come back in a year or 3 after I'm in the thick of it myself). For the last few years I've heard friends complaining about this and that in the various career paths they've chosen for themselves. Everyone's entitled to venting and b!tching from time to time, but we've all pursued medicine for some motivating reason. Hold on to that to push yourself through the inevitable hardship.
     
  39. smuwillobrien

    smuwillobrien Senior Member
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    My girlfriend, who isn't in medicine, and couldn't care less that I am, keeps me level - headed. ;]
     
  40. Samus Aran

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    that's what i'm hoping will help me stay grounded as well, a spouse that isn't in medicine (nor science for that matter). also, i think my having a dog will probably help out a little since it'll force me to go outside every day:)
     
  41. saanjana

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    Hi there....Wow....I had the same worries when I started medical school. So much so that at times they consumed me. So its 2:30 am on a Friday night, and after spending my last weekend out with close friends (before starting residency :)), I couldn't help but sit down and post something on this thread...

    So let me share a little story about myself....I went back and forth on "should I really pursue medicine" for the longest time during my college years. Finally, I decided to take the plunge, and that too a bit unconventionally. I did one of the post-bacc programs (AP at Rosie Franks), and while taking the required medical school courses with the M1's, I made sure I didn't get sucked into the whole "medical student" mentality....Somewhere, I got so sucked into being a "normal" person to the outside world, that I didn't perform on par with the curriculum...before I knew it, I was out of the program, and I was thinking of my options.....and it seem like there weren't too many..

    The reason why I decided to go into my story is because sometimes you don't appreciate what you really have till you lose it. I almost lost the opportunity to pursue medicine (I'm not trying to scare you....I'm sure you'll do fine...I was sort of immature)....I just finished school in the caribbean and let me tell you....the best part of medicine for many of us, is the journey itself - the people we study with, the occasional faculty who inspires, but mostly.....the people who are in it with us :)

    Yes, keep in touch with the "outside" world - your friends, your family, college folks, church...whatever keeps you going. But also cherish what you do have - there's several jerks in medical school, and sometimes it seems like an extension of high school with the world's biggest nerds trying to find some "role" playing they never did back in the day, but there also several amazing people - people who hard to come by. Educated, cultured, thinking people, who also have a certain giving edge to their personalities - which made them pursue medicine in the first place....sometimes, its really difficult to come across such people in the ourside world. That, to me, has been one of the biggest attractions of the medical field.

    If you look at the bright side, its not just the end of "being a doctor" that matters....the journey is just as awesome. Work hard....harder than you ever have...and then go out with your class...study at the library once in a while just to mingle...notice how everyone takes their coffee breaks at the same time...eat the same nasty cafeteria burgers at the same time....sure its not college...but its more intense, and if you connect with those around you - you will love it!

    So don't be scared....keeping your "sanity" in medicine happens very naturally...just don't think about it too much...and when things do get tough...look at some of your peers who are handling it just as well....just ignore the mean ones :)
     
  42. neuroprotector

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    Aww, shucks. You guys rock.
     

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