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I give up on Medical School.

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by remmms, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. remmms

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    Today, I finally admitted something incredibly difficult to myself: Medical School is not for me.

    I am currently a first year Pre-Med Biology student. I volunteer in a Children's Hospital because I planned to become a Pediatrician. I applied to be a Medical Scribe to get further clinical experience. I've started looking for research opportunities. This is what I've always wanted to do.

    However, I found myself having constant panic attacks and being prescribed antidepressants. I am unhappy. I do amazing in my biology courses, but I barely pass math and chemistry. I've been taking my stress out on those around me, and I have not been myself. Physicians that I speak to tell tales of being in school for 15 years, and I can't imagine a future for myself in their shoes. If I struggle now, I will not succeed in medical school. I study hard and I work hard, but not enough. Not enough to survive medical school.

    I had an honest conversation with myself today and came to the conclusion that I choose my own happiness. The reason why I decided to pursue a career in the medical field to begin with was because I wish to combine my passion for biological sciences and the want to help and improve lives. I can do that in other ways besides being a doctor.

    At last, I ask for your opinion: what would you do if you were me? I am incredibly lost, because I spent my whole life focusing on one option. I am currently thinking about changing my major to Nursing. Life is very strange at the moment.
     
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  3. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:) Probationary Status

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    This reminds me of something an attending told me once when he said that being a pre-med is the most frustrating part of becoming a physician.

    Let me just say this right now: being a pre-med sucks. You have to take course that you really don't want to (chemistry, math, physics, humanities). You have to spend hours and hours studying for the MCAT (I personally think of the MCAT as a waste of time because studying for the MCAT doesn't make you smarter it just makes you able to take a test). You are bullied and yelled at by your research mentor. The nurses look down on you and make you do the things they don't want to do. Most doctors close their doors immediately once you ask to shadow them.

    I'm not saying med school will be any better. But at least once you get into medical school, you can focus on studying medicine rather than playing a vicious game. The best part about being in medical school is that you only compete with yourself at that point (especially for an uncompetitive field like pediatrics, where being a decent, passing student is virtually guaranteed to get you a spot in a pediatrics residency program).
     
  4. feeling-dizzy

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    Every job sucks. That is why you get paid to do the job. Even though being resident on call is stressful; tells me to "flip burger at McDonald" would be a lot harder to swallow. I bet you that the guy "flip burger at McDonal" is just as stress as you if not more. Your choice
     
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  5. feeling-dizzy

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    Btw nursing is not all sunshine either; no autonomy, getting yelled at. Oh yeah if you inject the wrong med, you lose license as well. Being doctor still beat that
     
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  6. 500miles

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    Honestly, as long as you truly feel this way and are not just super stressed right now, then this is really amazing insight to have at this time. Dont waste anymore time on this career if you truly know in your heart it won't make you happy. If you dont want to be stressed taking tests for the next 15 years, then this is a good choice and like you said there are plenty of jobs that help people.

    Premed is the biggest tunnel vision for what job opportunities are out there. Most careers take years of working at different places to find the perfect fit, medical school is incredibly structured and mapped out how you get from A to B. This may not be what you want and that's ok. Take this time to not think about medical school, but instead follow anything your excited about. If you find that you cant stop thinking of medicine then come back! It will always be here.
     
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  7. DubbiDoctor

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    It's important to focus on your well-being, and I admire your willingness to change your direction upon recognizing that your mental health is suffering. However, you obviously had strong reasons to pursue medicine in the first place, and I don't think you need to abandon the prospect of becoming a pediatrician because you need to take time to focus on your mental health. It's possible that the pursuit of medicine was what was making you unhappy. But it's also possible that other factors were to blame - college can be stressful, no matter what you're studying. Seek professional help and learn to cope with stress in a positive manner. Maybe you'll return to the pre-med path when you're feeling well again. Or maybe you'll find a passion for another career that you feel you're more suited to. You don't need to decide on your future now. Taking time off won't put you behind or prevent you from becoming a doctor, seeking help won't demonstrate that you cannot handle medicine, and choosing another path doesn't mean that you failed.
     
    #6 DubbiDoctor, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  8. ciestar

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    I know how you feel, OP. These thoughts are what led me to nursing out of high school. Here is what you should know, though. Nursing itself is a calling and it not for everyone. (Truth be told, if it were, I’d probably would have been a practicing nurse for the past five years..). You need to do some career exploration! There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. There are so many doors open within the heathcare field regardless of what you want to do. (PA, RN, CRNA, CRNP, Midwife, MD, DO, DVM, DMD, DDS, OD, DPT, etc)

    Good luck!
     
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  9. Select All That Apply

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    @remmms Call your parents and talk to them. They will tell you that quitting medicine because you can't do well in chemistry or mathematics is absurd. Because it is in the grand scheme of things. To a freshman? Not doing well on your first exams could be the end of the world. Especially when all your time is spent studying. This is the first type of responsibility you've held down as being a "student" and you want to succeed. However, not all forms of success in college are the same and the more sacrifice you make in your studies then the more you will learn exponentially for each small additional increment you decide to throw in. The educational system can feel dreadful because it's very non-personal for people who are struggling with the system. However, that's all the more reason to why there ought to be more compassionate people who can empathize with that type of isolation and struggle that most people go through when they enter the field.

    My personal take on the educational system having been deeply involved with it over the past decade is to throw out any preconceptions you have on what you feel ought to be the right method once you start getting undesirable results and adopt a mentality that anything is fair game. You're on antidepressants for test anxiety? I take antacids and a low-dose PPI due to some severe stress related GERD. Anything that pushes you one step further is worth it when you are pushing for something you want, because at the end of the day I believe that you have to be honest with yourself and appreciate how far you went when you thought it wasn't possible to take the first step.
     
    #8 Select All That Apply, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  10. daxlo

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    As a senior, let me tell you that it only gets worse in terms of difficulty as you progress. If you don't love it now, don't be afraid to leave. Being Pre-Med gives you tunnel vision, and doesn't let you see other careers. But there is a whole nother' world outside of medicine, and there's countless ways to apply science/help people.
     
  11. Anonymityismyname18

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    If you are having panic attacks first year from the classes and stress, I would suggest a different career path. As mentioned above, it gets exponentially harder from there.
     
  12. LizzyM

    LizzyM the evil queen of numbers
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    The deeper you get in, the harder it is to get out. At this point, you have a ton of flexibility in choosing a new path and you have not yet sunk years into preparing for something that less than 50% of medical school applicants succeed in achieving.

    There are many roles in health care and there are many other career paths that combine science and helping people, incluing helping children. Take care of yourself first. With time you'll find the path you are meant to be on.
     
  13. RNthenDoc

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    Take a deep breath. Proceed with caution, and make sure whatever you choose is what you truly want!

    Nursing is a wonderful vocation, but it is NOT all sunshine and lollipops. Nursing can be very stressful, as we are expected to do the work of 3 people many days, and are the first line when something goes terribly wrong.

    Bench science has its own flaws, but the baseline level of urgency is different... maybe that’s an option too
     
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  14. Turkishking

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    You can listen to everyone and throw in the towel, or you can make slight altercations regarding your study habits/time management. What are your grades like?
     
  15. Dr.Barker&Mr.Scootches

    Dr.Barker&Mr.Scootches Doggo Pre-Med

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    At last, I ask for your opinion: what would you do if you were me? I am incredibly lost, because I spent my whole life focusing on one option. I am currently thinking about changing my major to Nursing. Life is very strange at the moment.

    I think you need to evaluate the panic attacks before you switch because Nursing school isn't easy, either. It might not be as hard to get into, but its pretty damn hard regardless. I was in a school, before transferring, that had Pre-Nursing students transferring by the time they took the TEAS because of how competitive it was. (400 people and counting applied last year, 50 were accepted in the main and 50 more in two other branches) On top, you're competing with nurses, if you're getting a BSN- in which case they get preference and maybe even automatic acceptance in some schools.

    Look into several options and sort everything out, because although nursing school sounds easier, you still need math, you're still going to deal with similar things because Nursing school is incredibly hard.
     
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  17. siliso

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    Once you get the panic disorder under control you’ll be in a better position to reevaluate your options. You have all the time in the world and there are no irreversible decisions you have to take right now. Except don’t just ghost out of school entirely, that would leave you with a big mess to fix up later - use proper channels if you need to take a break/medical leave of absence/take incompletes.
     
  18. calivianya

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    Nursing school is way easier than being a premed, but being a nurse is way worse than being a physician. A pathetic fraction of the total earning potential in a lot of places, especially in the South, and you get cornered in the room with the super obnoxious patients and family members whom the physicians only have to deal with during rounding for a short period of time. I spent almost ten hours of my last shift in one patient's room, dealing with said patient's behavioral issues. Can't wait until that time gets shrunk to 30 minutes tops... at least while the patient is conscious.
     
  19. 21Rush12

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    I think you’re making this into a catastrophe when it doesn’t have to be. I’m not sure what physicians you talked to, but I think you’re misunderstanding. Being in school is 4 years undergrad and 4 years Med school, two of which are classroom and two are in clinical rotations. Then you do residency where you’re paid and working in a hospital learning your specialty. This in total, if you pick pediatrics, will take the 4 years you’d already go to college anyway plus 4 years Med school and a three year residency. I’m not the best at math (see below) but even generously, that’s only 8 total postsecondary years and three paid intern/residency years.

    You’ve already decided that you’re going to be unhappy in a career, that you can’t succeed as a medical student or doctor because you’re doing bad at math (lol, I dropped a calc class after getting 16/100 on an exam), and somehow that no matter what you do you couldn’t handle medical school? I think you’re being unrealistic with yourself and having a defeated attitude because you feel overwhelmed, which I completely understand. I don’t want to see you doing something rash and drastic because you’re not thinking clearly about the situation.

    Take a step back, take care of yourself and your mental health, and do well in whatever you choose to do. Give medical school an honest assessment after you’ve gotten back on your feet and only then decide whether to change paths or not.
     
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  20. WingedOx

    WingedOx Not here for your bullsh-t
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    lol no.
     
  21. mcloaf

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    This is the best advice ITT.

    This could be true during preclinical years depending on where you go for med school. It is very unlikely to be true during clinical rotations and is universally not true when applying to residency.
     
  22. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:) Probationary Status

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    It’s lovely how respectful you are to the struggles of others :)
     
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  23. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:) Probationary Status

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    Disagree. Those who fail to get a residency spot are very likely to have a gross error on their application (failed step 1, applying way too high, committing a DUI/serious crime, going to Caribbean medical school, cheating accusation). If someone gets a decent USMLE Step 1 score, and passes medical school, and is an overall approachable person then they should get a residency spot SOMEWHERE.
     
  24. LoveBeingHuman:)

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  25. cj_cregg

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    Respectfully, I'm only an M3 but med school is much harder and more stressful than premed was in just about every possible way, and I can't imagine that residency is much easier depending on what you go into. I am glad I'm in med school, but I would love to go back to the schedule and stress levels of premed. WingedOx is an attending and has been through the struggles of pre-med, as have I....and yeah, it's not even close to the most frustrating part of the process.

    Not saying this to be a contrarian, more to just warn people that things don't get any easier after you get into med school.

    ETA:
    This stuff is also true of med school. There are classes in med school that you really don't want to take. You have to spend hours and hours studying for boards and dumb tests that don't necessarily make you smarter. You are bullied and yelled at by, like, everybody who just happens to have a bad day. The nurses still look down on you lol.
     
    #23 cj_cregg, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  26. siliso

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    Ox is right. There’s not less stress later, although you get more competent at managing it hopefully. If it’s getting to you now, need to get help now and evaluate whether you can cope with it with appropriate assistance. People who can’t find a way to cope with and even to some extent enjoy stress and pressure, high cognitive and emotional and occasionally physical loads are unlikely to be happy in medicine, I think.

    It doesn’t necessarily get better, it does get different. If you hate premed you will really hate medical school and you might hate residency and practice too.
     
  27. mcloaf

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    Whether or not most applicants are able to find a spot does not negate that those applicants are all competing with each other rather than against themselves, it's not as though all residency positions are equally desirable.
     
  28. ciestar

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    Look at the Psych match this year. Plenty of qualified applicants were squeezed out. Even then, with SOAP you’re scrambling with everyone else who didnt match. So, you’re for sure competing against other’s. It never stops. AOA, clerkship grades...all competing against other people.
     
  29. ciestar

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    MS2 and I agree. Premed was cake compared to how I am feeling about my finals and Step 1.
     
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  30. mimelim

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    Never mind the broadness of "being a pre-med", but just plain no. Step 1, increased impact of subjective grading, the whims of colleagues and bosses, actually working in the hospital, EMRs, etc. I mean for **** sake, I've done 4 years of undergrad, 4 years of medical school, 6 years of residency and I am CURRENTLY studying the equivalent physics of my 400 level waves/optics class from when I was a Physics major. All for a test that will mean next to nothing a year from now (other than that I can sit for my boards). I'm sorry, but pre-med is a blip in comparison to the decade following.

    Reading comprehension. Nobody after investing 8 years of education wants to get in "somewhere". They want to pick where they go and what they are going to do. If you think competition disappears after pre-med, you are crazy. If you want to say anything, things are more stratified, so the top people stick out more. But, you are always competing with people for spots... We only take two residents per year. I know we had 5-6 that ranked us #1. We can't take them all.

    Despite my comments above, you can not tell how many "qualified applicants" were in a given match. Having a good step 1 score does not make you qualified. Even if you include every "hard" metric out there, residency/landing a job is about a heck of a lot more than numbers.
     
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  31. Grunt2Trauma

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    I believe you need to take a step back an think long and hard about your next step. Medicine, in general, is a very difficult field, so learning to accept the fact that you won't always be top of your class is the first step. You need to stop placing so much pressure on yourself and learn to accept failure. It isn't the end of the world! We as a society often think that only the perfect thrive, however, some of the greatest innovators in history failed a myriad of times before finding success. Many MD's absolutely despised some of their pre-med reqs, maybe even failed or withdrew from a few. What made them a doc is the fact that they refused to accept that failure as their breaking point. They picked themselves up and took on whatever challenges they were faced with. You're a college freshman, meaning your study skills aren't completely developed. Take this failure as a learning experience, learn how to compartmentalize your studying, and keep on keeping on. You have the time, and you have the desire. Chase after your white coat.
     
    #29 Grunt2Trauma, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
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  32. DubbiDoctor

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    Why do you need to study physics for vascular surgery? I thought that was specific to radiology and radiation oncology.
     
  33. ciestar

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    Absolutely. Being a robot doesn’t make you a good doctor. Perhaps my comment was more short sighted than I meant it to be, but also responding to “decent step score” aspect. You’re right, and what happened with psych this year showed you needed a boost to your application other than just a good step score. As such, COMPETITION exists.
     
  34. mimelim

    mimelim Vascular Surgery
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    In order to sit for your boards, you need to be RPVI (Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation) certified. There is a fair amount of physics in ultrasound. It isn't terribly difficult or anything, but when you have shifted gears for 10+ years away from physics (if you paid much attention in the first place...) it is pretty damn painful to re-learn.
     
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  35. Grunt2Trauma

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    Yikes.
     
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  36. WingedOx

    WingedOx Not here for your bullsh-t
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    it's like reading Streampaw Lite.
     
  37. TypeADissection

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    I somehow spared myself much of the pain many pre-meds describe, mainly because I was never a pre-med major. Do you actually like the natural sciences or just doing it because you think that's how you're supposed to go to med school? I loved my major (finance) and thus it became easy to study for it, as was with my minor (math). I think the problem many people run into is that they're not studying the stuff that actually interest them. Maybe studying something else will lead you to a different career path, and you know what? That's OK too. I personally would've hated being a biochem major, or biology/chem major, or anything like that; mainly because I didn't particularly enjoy any of it in med school. Just my two Abe Lincolns. Cheers.
     
  38. 21Rush12

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    Those were the days
     
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  39. Desdet

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    @OP
    1. if that avatar is you please take it off for the sake of your privacy.
    2. Right now it seems that medicine might not be right for you not because you’re bad at math or chemistry, but because your perspectives are limited and your life experiences are still shallow. C’mon, you are a freshman. Nobody expects anyone your age to be impeccably capable, physically or mentally. You’ve only dipped your toes in the water. You are stretching things out of proportions because you think medicine is your one and only path. It’s not.
    Find what you really enjoy studying and doing (that don’t give you panic attacks). Focus on making yourself a more well rounded person, with maturity, diverse life experience, and unique passions. Forget about living to become a doctor. Live to become yourself.
     
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  40. GypsyHummus

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    OP, If this were me and I was constantly stressed out to the point of not being able to handle my health, I'd look into other avenues for being a doctor that are less stressful. Optometry comes to mind, and the practice setting is much less stressful if you can get a full time job. They make really great money too for only 4 years after undergrad.

    There are other ways to make a good living that doesnt involve becoming a MD or DO. I usually recommend Pod or dentistry, but Pod is medical school and residency and dental is extremely high tense competitive wise.

    Avenues in healthcare that tend to be more laid back:
    Optometry
    Physical Therapy
    Occupational therapy
     
  41. remmms

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    May I ask what influenced your decision to pursue medical school as opposed to nursing? I'm glad to hear that you have found your passion. :)
     
  42. remmms

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    Thank you for the heads up, I changed my avatar. I genuinely appreciate the feedback that I am receiving from you and everyone else that replied to this thread. I plan to continue exploring different aspects of the medical field to find my interests and to become a more well rounded person as you mentioned. Even if I do end up changing my major or choose a different path, I am grateful for the insights that this experience gave me. I do not want to live with the "what ifs" of life, and I take satisfaction in knowing that I am trying my best to explore and learn to my fullest extent.
     
  43. raiderette

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    The great thing about college is that you get to explore interests that you have never experienced. Get to your career center, take interest tests. Do internships, shadow different professions. Look into coding, research, medical social work, health education. If you think you still want to tackle advanced science, nursing, PA, CRNA, nurse midwifery are options. Plenty of people change their major and their goals. Use this time to find what works for you.
     
  44. ciestar

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    Nursing school swayed me the most! And shadowing. I realized more and more with each clinical I had that nursing wasn’t for me. So, I left nursing school to pursue pharmacy. Worked in a pharmacy for a bunch of years and thought better of it. Shadowing physicians is what helped me make up my mind.
     
  45. Kr#36

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    The purpose of the MCAT isn't to "make you smarter." It is for the adcoms to judge your aptitude for medical school and the boards. It is much closer to being the most important part of your app(as in, it is) than it is a waste of time.
     
  46. LoveBeingHuman:)

    LoveBeingHuman:) Probationary Status

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    Well that's exactly my point. Studying for the MCAT doesn't realistically do anything. It doesn't make you smarter, knowledgable, or increase your skills. Yet we need it because adcoms need to judge us on it. So in a philosophical sense, it is a waste of time.
     
  47. Kr#36

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    I guess you're right if you follow the philosophy that unless something personally benefits you then its a waste of time.
     
  48. SuaveCardigans

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    Yea youre right. Philosophically, why would the administrations of some of the most demanding educational programs care about the aptitude of the students they admit? Doesn’t make sense.
     
  49. Oso

    Oso

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    I really hate to digress even further from the OP's post, but goddamn if this post isn't as crisp as a beautiful Sunday morning in early October with a high of 75 and the smell of autumn hitting you right in the turbinates
     
  50. premstudent

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    Umm... something doesn't have to make you smarter, knowledgeable or increase your skills to be worthwhile. That is first of all.

    Second, studying for the MCAT does make you more knowledgeable if you do it correctly. Whether that knowledge is useful or not is another story. But STUDYING for the MCAT is incredibly high yield. Why? Because if you study well for the MCAT the expectation is that you will do reasonably well.

    This is just ridiculous anyways. I want these sixty seconds of my life back. See you guys
     
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  51. CyrusHabs7695

    CyrusHabs7695 Go Habs Go...Next Year
    Bronze Donor Classifieds Approved

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    When I said keep grinding and go AA, I meant Anesthesiologist Assistant, in case there were any confusions.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
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  52. danistarr

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    First off, I'm sorry you are feeling so lost and confused. It sucks when you have been planning for something but then start to think that it is not for you anymore. I would make an appointment at your school to speak to the career advisor (most have one). If they aren't available, I would at least try to speak to an academic advisor for advice.

    Also, the first year of college is really overwhelming. It doesn't matter how great of a student you were in high school, college is a whole other ball game when it comes to studying and doing well (speaking as a straight A high school student who flunked out freshmen year). Are you studying the same as in high school, or differently? Have you been spending the recommended 2 hrs per hour of class time of dedicated studying (not working on assignments, but straight studying)? Do you have to cram before exams in a panic, or is the night before an easy review to solidify things? Going to office hours and tutoring for chemistry and math?

    Given how studying for biology differs from chemistry and math (biology is more memorization, chemistry and math requires understanding the concepts and doing lots of practice problems), I would argue a trip to the student resource center/tutors to get study tips for those classes would be beneficial. What math class are you taking? Different levels of math also can be harder than you expected depending on how your brain thinks. Do you enjoy the subject matter for chemistry and math, but just do poor on exams and quizzes/find it too hard, or do you actually not like the subjects?

    Have you looked into fixed versus growth mindset before? Just reading your post, I feel that you may be struggling with a fixed mindset (I have struggled and still struggle with having a fixed mindset.) It is easy for someone with a fixed mindset to decide that because they are doing poorly, because something is really hard, that must mean that they can't do it, it is IMPOSSIBLE, and that they should do something else, that is easier.

    Have you done any recent shadowing? I'm not sure how far you are with volunteering at the Children's Hospital (if you are still doing At Your Service or if you have moved up to something with patient interaction and less standing around), but some more clinical exposure might help in giving you the inspiration to continue on the med school path if you so choose. I feel like the whole pre-med path is an example of extreme delayed gratification. You have to take all these courses, some you probably won't enjoy, do all these E.C.'s (which while are enjoyable, they are just another thing you need to do), if you volunteer at a hospital, you have to do hours and hours of non-patient work before you can move up, and it is hard to see how it relates to becoming a doctor besides checking a box. It can feel pointless, even though you know it serves a purpose. I don't know about everyone else, but I feel easily discouraged a lot (which I do think has to do with the whole fixed mindset thing). On days when I'm feeling overwhelmed and discouraged, I look up day in the life of a pediatrician videos on youtube (as I've had poor luck with shadowing, and while they skew to positive, they can be a good pick me up on a rough day).

    It can make you want to go into a career that just requires a 4 yr degree, where your G.P.A. doesn't matter, and there are no E.C's needed.

    Lastly, why exactly are you unhappy? It it unhappiness stemming from not feeling good enough, or is from forcing yourself in a course of study that you don't enjoy? Or something else?

    Hopefully some of this helps. You don't need to answer all my questions, but just thought they might be useful to ask yourself (and are questions that I have asked myself, for the most part) I also love biology but struggle with chemistry, have had difficulty learning how to study for college, and want to be a pediatrician. I wouldn't tell yourself that just because you aren't doing well now, doesn't mean that you can't do well in medical school. I know a lot of people say that on here, but you are in your first year of college, which is a huge learning curve in regards to how to be a student.

    Now, if it isn't a temporary feeling of "not good enough," but you actually realizing that you don't want to become a doctor anymore, there are so many other careers that help children (and some with biological sciences). Do you like psychology? If so, I would explore child life specialist (you can volunteer in that department) or child therapist (pHD/psyD or MFT/MSW). More medical, there is speech and language pathology (master's degree, really flexible, can work only with children, ability to own your own practice, really flexible career). I would definitely go to the career center and talk to them for sure though. Don't feel like that just because you have planned this path, that you can't change.

    It is better to realize this now rather than when you have invested time down the road. Another option would be to take a year off of classes to give yourself a break and time to figure out what you want to do. Medical school will always be there. :)
     
    #50 danistarr, Apr 16, 2018
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
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