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Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by MedChic, Dec 30, 2008.
Not all of medicine is studying in the library memorizing the Krebs cycle and the clotting cascade. If you're really earnestly having doubts, you should talk to the student affairs dean (or whomever fits that role at your school), and express them, because odds are, you're not the only one in your class who has cold feet about their chosen career. Remeber, as well, that a little perspective may be in order. Just because you didn't really enjoy the first semester, doesn't mean that there won't be other material that may catch your fancy a little more. I didn't care for neuro at the beginning of second year, but that doesnt' mean I'm going to write off the whole year because of it.
It seems to me that if someone wants something badly enough they will do whatever it takes to get it. How badly do you want a career in medicine? If you really want one, then suck it up and do the work. If not, you will likely be even more miserable in the next three and half years.
First year is really NOT the most wonderful year for most folks. There's the adjustment to be made of ramping up to handle the volume and for some, there is some repetition from undergrad. For me, it was like undergrad on steroids but certainly not as interesting as second year and not as much fun as fourth. It's understandable not to be thrilled about the second half of first year but it WILL go by and it will go by quickly. Not being 100% thrilled about everything that you encounter in medical school says nothing about suitability for being a physician. I had a wonderful medical school experience but I wouldn't want to have to take biostats and epidemiology again as a second year for any amount of money.
I withdrew about 10 days ago. I just can't bring myself to study like I used to, although the volume in med school is heavier than undergrad of course. I got through the science prereqs ok, but I'm not really a science geek. I think it was just all the studying itself...I'm tired of it, not particularly as interested in it as I thought I'd be, and it only gets heavier. Seeing the enthusiasm in someof my classmates and knowingI didn't feel that way also weighed onme and I questioned whether medicine was really my cup of tea the more I thought about it. I talked to the dean and a counselor, and I'd recommend you do the same. Maybe try studying with other people?? At the end of the day, after not being able to shake the funk, I decided I could'nt take the chance of being largely unhappy/trudging along at the bottom of the class (a sure sign I wasn't happy) and because of low grades limit my future options. The other elephant in the room was that if I waited till clinicals I would've been in about 90k in loans and acrrued interest...kinda hard to get out at that stage since your limiting your possible careers to those that can pay that kind of a bill. I didn't want to be trapped in something that I wasn't for sure I really wanted. And I'm a firm believer that as a demanding profession if you aren't absolutely convinced you'll love medicine in the future the smart thing is not to do it.
Its like the old maxim I've heard repeated on here by more advanced people....if you could see yourself being happy doing anything else but medicine, do that instead.
G'luck in your decision, and like I said, go talk to your higherups and tell them how you feel. See what they say and if they can help you. Hope I helped!!
Our dean gave a lecture on this last year and said to expect it. Apparently, what you're feeling is a normal reaction that many first-year students have each year. You're adjusting to a more rigorous workload, and that's usually going to be a little painful. Also, if your first-year experience is anything like mine was, you're cramming in a ton of material right now and you really won't see the applications of that material until second year, which is a whole lot more fun. So, hang in there and go talk to somebody in student affairs if you keep feeling this way. Best of luck to you.
Heard the same thing from a sibling regarding their time in med school -- it wasn't until class "x" that things got interesting (don't recall which class it was, but definitely not a 1st sememster class)
What brought me to medicine was the interpersonal interaction, and the feeling that I am able to calm, help, and reassure other individuals. I felt often in going back to pre-med courses that sitting in a library, or at my kitchen table, late at night studying science topics was the polar opposite of what I wanted to do. It helped me to get into a clinical setting a few hours a week to see how this stuff is ultimately useful.
I'd rather be an MD who has to force himself to do pretty well in the science areas and enjoy truly connecting to a patient than be an MD who loves the science aspect but lacks the interpersonal skills to convince the patient to follow the regimen.
now would be a great time to get out if you truly don't want to do medicine.
If you just hate studying as much as you are doing, you may be able to get away with studying less. The fact that you say you have a 4.0 makes me think that you can. Acing 1st year classes really isn't necessary, unless you really want to be a dermatologist, in which case it would be helpful. 3rd year clinical grades are really what make or break you, and at many schools more heavily weighted than 1st/2nd year. At my school 3rd year counted as much as 1st and 2nd year put together, or maybe more.
do you like it when you get to do things at the hospital, like practicing patient encounters? I mean could you imagine yourself liking it if it actually mattered, I mean, and if everyone didn't think you were "in the way"?
My advice would be to finish the year. Do you something you really enjoy during your summer. And then decide if you want to continue med school in second year.
oh, wow, I'm sorry. What are you going to do?
Thanks everyone for your replies.
Honestly, I don't know how I will feel about 3rd year. I can do well with the books (despite my lack of love of sitting at a desk for 10 hrs straight and studying), but I'm nervous about performing manual tasks in front of higher ups who will be judging me. Although I seemed to appear "cool and confident" on the outside when doing things like suturing and assisting in procedures in my job prior to med school, I know I'd get very anxious about screwing up in front of the residents and attendings. Perhaps everyone feels that way, but I am petrified by the thought of rounding and pimping; I'm not sure I'm that passionate about medicine itself. I know I should sit down with a counselor and re-evaluate some things next semester, but I'm just so bi-polar about this! I should know if I like medicine - I've had enough jobs to explore the field. I know only that the answer is not a resounding "YES I love medicine", it's kind of an uncertain ok, "I guess I could do this". It's just that I honestly don't know if I want that responsibility. And no, I don't want to be a PA or a nurse. If I were to quit medicine, I know that I would definitely enter another field which makes me question it even more.
Thanks, I think I'll look into that option, actually. Perhaps taking a leave of absence after 1st year would also be a good idea to go back to the industry I wanted to continue pursuing for a while longer
I'm trying to decide if I chose medicine for practical reasons rather than for an actual love of it. I feel kind of guilty bc on one hand I am SO BLESSED to be here in med school right now. At the same time, I'm so unhappy sometimes.
well I really hope you find the answer you are looking for.
But as someone said (if not here somewhere else) most people don't love firstyear. Often I have heard people say it was their worst by far. Just yesterday I told someone I was a first-year med student and they immediately said "don't worry it gets better".
Then again, if you can't find anything to hang onto then I guess you ought to think about your options. Have you thought about what you want to do as a career? The process isn't supposed to be terribly fun, but are you working "towards" something? The days I get up and don't want to study, I remind myself why I am doing this.
Yeah, that's a tough one. They say that you shouldn't go into medicine if there's anything else you'd rather do. Now that you're in med school, I'd say you should push through unless you have a concrete idea of what you'd rather be doing.
Did you go straight from undergrad to med school?
ha, no. I took a 2 yr break doing pre-med and med related things bc my field was totally unrelated to medicine. hmm, actually it was kind of a similar situation with my other chosen career - I started focusing on the negative aspects, impatience is kind of the story of my life
I know that the truth is - there is no perfect career and everyone has to go through stress, grunt work, and risks in order to succeed. I am just an incredibly impatient person and want to see the results of my work asap and obviously no one portrays the "crying on the floor in the fetal position" moments of life so maybe I'm being idealistic in thinking you have to absolutely w/o doubt love what you do. I do like medicine and can see myself doing it, I'm just kind of not completely passionate about the field and worry about its future. Maybe I just need to come to terms the fact that shi*ty moments and self-doubt are just a part of life.
Medchic, lot of us felt that way in first year. I despised sitting in the library learning about anatomy and biochemistry. But it got better, once we started doing relevant clinical pathophysiology. Also, 2nd semester, I knew how to use my time better and get more done in the same amount of time.
Don't worry about looking bad in 3rd year. The fact that you already have some experience in medical procedures from your prior job puts you ahead of most students when it comes to rotations like surgery. Most attendings I've come across are good natured and know that we as medical students don't know everything yet and you will not stupid if you just say "I don't know, but I will look it up and get back to you." In fact, I am enjoying 3rd year more than ever. The feelings of self doubt are normal but if you continue to feel miserable throughout next semester, then I'd consider looking at other career options.
I guess you could go work in finance or some other wonderful field in this excellent economic climate? There's plenty of dissatisfaction to go around these days in any career. Don't forget that before you leave the "cursus honorum" of medicine and head into the cold unknown.
If military you desire, then basic training (boot camp and the like) you must first complete. Certainly there will be a void of fun (and giddiness) but perhaps the conclusion is worth such (perhaps not).
My 1st semester was pretty decent, I had several cool teachers for a few of my subjects that at least kept the stuff interesting. I'm a bookworm type of person, so for the exception of Biochemistry I (more because I didn't have a really good teacher) and Public Health, I liked the subjects. The suckier subjects came in my second semester because they had a lot of unrelevant filler. I don't mind hard sciece courses (I loved calculus in HS even though I barely passed it), but manual math problem courses for epidemiology when everyone knows doctors use Excel was a waste of grey matter.
When I was in my 1st year, I knew these first 2 years were going to be tedious and more about book reading and that things were going to get cooler later on. They did.
Once you go to hospitals and do clinical things, things are just cooler. I enjoyed travelling downtown to the hospitals and enjoyed coming home before 7 pm for a change. I more like hated specific subjects rather than specific years.
However, medicine is a lot about patience. If you have none, you may not become a good doctor. If you're rushing things, you do things wrong. Better to be slow and steady and do things right.
If you're dreading coming back, then maybe it isn't the career for you. However, in these bad economic times, can you do another career that will give you an affordable living and a guaranteed job when you turn 40? Still, dropping out even in that sense is better than becomming a bitter and hateful doctor that takes revenge on people below his ranks just for the hell of it.
Take a leave of absence after your 1st year and do what you would really like to do. You'll either rediscover that spark that got you into medicine or go a new direction. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY ABOUT LEAVING MEDICINE.
I'm one of those people that just can't get enough of medicine. I liked every bit of 1st year and am in middle of my 2nd year getting ready to start clinical rotations on Monday. I'm excited but I also know that this is a sacrifice. There is a lot I'm giving up, but it's worth it for me. I know from experience that there are plenty of other rewarding careers out there. However, medicine is what I want to do.
If you do decide to stay in medicine, you might just want to study less and do more of the things you enjoy. Study maybe 6 hours per day and just skip the rest and hope you remember it from lecture come exam time. It's not necessary to get a 4.0. Learn to lead a balanced life so that you aren't a slave to your job or school or whatever. I think you can enjoy medicine, but if it's not for you, you need to find your own path.
I would say that there are definitely alot of negative aspects of medicine. First year is certainly one of them. Like you, I did pretty well in first year but I didn't really enjoy it. Now that I'm a second year, I really enjoy everything I'm learning, but what I don't enjoy is the insane amount they are requiring us to learn and the almighty Step 1 that looms around me. So give it a little time.
As for whether medicine is good for you overall, I think you should look to what originaly drew you. For me, I think it is the patients. I really like talking with them, learning about them, and I really can't wait until I can learn how to make them feel better. There is alot of crap in medicine, but the patients I think are still gratifying.
i wanna say that it is going to get better as the years progress. BUt i dont wanna lie to you.
Hang in there, if you want a career in medicine. If you dont , try to figure a way out. Its not fun. Its a serious serious job. I dont particularly like it but i trudge in to work every morning at 6 am. i thought it would be more fulfilling than it actually is.
In the first two years, I have to say that first semester of first year is the worst. Anatomy is probably the most rigorous course you will take in medical school (with the most memorization of seemingly useless facts). The only anatomy that is important is neuroanatomy and you will have your own course on it. The rest of anatomy has small factoids that are relevant in terms of different procedures that you will know when you get to it. Many of the other things like the physical exam you will learn about in physical diagnosis in second year. Second year is way better and things build on previous information. Everything gets much more interesting and becomes second nature. Studying is more enjoyable as it is more applicable to medicine.
As for third and fourth year, I don't know yet. However, I am sure you will be putting in more hours, it will feel like work, and depending on your learning environment you may feel alone sometimes.
Why is everyone saying 2nd year is better.....when most of you guys moan how 2nd year is like a bitch and will rape you up the ass.
I don't understand this sudden change in tone.
Well, different schools do it different ways. Some will accelerate, other the opposite. We have far more free time 2nd year, and I think the classes are far more interesting anyway. The only real downside for me is the looming step 1, as has been mentioned.
Good for you! Many people are too afraid to admit these things to themselves but if they did, they'd probably jump ship too. Anyway, the question I have is - do you feel relieved?
OP, while it sounds like your misgivings should not be ignored, definitely talk to one of the counselor people at the med school there, consider continuing through spring semester to see if anything becomes clearer to you (for better, or worse), and if you think it is time to leave, try a leave of absence before burning the bridge.
Thanks. Yes, to some extent I feel relieved and overall I'm happy with my choice, but at this point I think that's to be expected after finally making a decision that you've been building up to. Long term? Who knows. So far I've just felt a few fleeting moments of sadness?? that I won't get to have all those shared experiences with the friends I've made here, but that doesn't really have anything to do with medicine itself.
Bodonid, I'm not sure. Teaching in some form is near the top at the moment, but I'm keeping an open mind and am going to take a little bit of time to figure out my next move. Plumber? Secret Agent? I just did my FA exit int and I've got ~36k in loans and interest (I took an LOA last year, and suggest the OP look into that as well), so that'll play a part in what I decide to do haha.
sorry if this is ignorant, what is an LOA?
LOA == Leave of Absence.
I have a question open to anyone:
For those of you who are thinking about bowing out or have already, how many of you took time off between high school & undergrad or between undergrad & med school? Or did you go from high school straight into undergrad and then into medical school?
Are you (relatively) very young and got into something you weren't 100% sure about? Are you an older student and medicine just wasn't what you were expecting?
I'm 34. I graduated with a degree in econ, minor in philo. Had no idea what I really wanted to do. Thought physician seemed interesting, so I went back and took some science classes and volunteered at a free clinic. Then decided to make a go of it. I've worked FT hours at 3 different jobs.
The subject material of first year of medical school is not all what the wards are like. I know lots of people who hated first year of medical school and became much more interested during second year when we did our clinical course work and started on the wards.
During these times, I would think about what got you interested in medicine to begin with. Go back to that and think about how little first year of medical school is really representative of that.
First year is by far the most painful as far as boring material and second semester was worse than first at our school.
However, second year you will be studying a lot more in order to get the same grades, but on the bright side, the material is 10x more interesting.
Third year is when it really get fun, despite probably working more hours than second year, much less of it is spent behind a desk.
Fourth year from what i hear is like undergrad again. :x:
You have to sacrifice a lot while in med school. I knew it was going to be hard, but not enough to sacrifice other areas of living. For most med students, if you want good grades you have to give up on something you like doing. I had to give up piano and cut down on exercise time. I've had my thoughts of quitting, but the thing that keeps me going is sports med or PM&R.
You wouldn't happen to go Wayne would you?
Must be your clone then.