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if u were an MS4, no debt, would u quit medicine b4 residency?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by p54, Dec 10, 2005.

  1. p54

    p54 Member
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    I'm a MS4, struggled through medical school all the way ( the academics, the long hours, the pesstimistic environment and mindset of many of the doctors I work with). I would have to say it was the most miserable 4 years of my life. I don't have any debt at this point and by the time I graduate I won't have any debt, as all my med school was paid for by my parents.

    I know most people in med school have a large debt and that forces them to go ahead and continue on to residency so that they can start to pay off their loans and be able to completely pay them off after completing residency.

    I just wonder how many Medical students here would choose not to go into residency if they didn't have any debt and could find something else they wanted to do.

    If I had the chance to do it again knowing what I do now, I would not have done it.

    Right now, I'm contemplating walking away from medicine all together. And I really don't have anything holding me back except maybe a what other people would think.

    I'm not married, I don't have any kids, I don't have any debt. I'm not too attached to anyone, so I could move anywhere in the country I wanted to for school or a job. I'm pretty much free with no strings attached to me. And my parents told they would pay for me to go back to school if thats what i needed to do.

    How many people here would change their mind and decide not to go to residency if they didn't have financial restraints or family depending on them or were in my situation?
     
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  3. usnavdoc

    usnavdoc Senior Member
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    Wouldnt change most peoples minds regardless of how they feel about medicine. However with your particular situation in mind have you considered getting an MBA? Very diverse degree and would allow many options. Your MD just doesnt mean that much without at least a residency behind you.
     
  4. Poety

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    If you don't mind that you went through all 4 years, and you can just walk away from it - debt free with no regrets - then I say do it. I mean you only have one life to live and if this is not for you - than its better to be happy doing something else in my eyes. Don't make yourself endure something that you know for sure is not what you want. (just be sure its NOT what you want, but even then, you can always go back and do residency later!)

    I think this is especially true if you went into this FOR someone else i.e. parents etc.

    Nevermind what people think - this is YOUR life no one elses, do with it what you want.

    You could as USANAVY said, get an additional degree, or you could just switch fields altogether. At least you stuck out the 4 years so at this point you may know better about how you'd feel if you continued on.

    Good luck and I'll tell ya, I'm JEALOUS! I sure wish I was debt free :oops:
     
  5. glorytaker

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    You know, it's really sad when you have to look at your massive debt to continue on with medicine. I had the same feelings about quiting a few weeks ago and I talked to a classmate of mine about it. She basically told me I had to continue to make big $ and pay off my $200+K of debt, and that there's no other way to get rid of it through bankruptcy, etc. I thought it was really sad that our debt from school is the motivation to do a residency. Eventually, I found another way to motivate me.
     
  6. PatrickBateman

    PatrickBateman Senior Member
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    No way. Sure medschool can be hellish, and residency is going to be tough. But in spite of all that, I find medicine fascinating. If you cancelled my debt and gaurenteed me to no more than a school teacher's salary for the whole of my medical career, I'd still do it again in a heartbeat.
     
  7. cytoborg

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    I'm with Poety - if medicine isn't for you, by all means get out before wasting any more of your life. Life is short, and there are a lot of other cool and interesting things to do. The debt issue isn't really relevant, IMO. People who perceive pressure to do a residency just for the $ would find much better paying jobs with their MD degrees, say in industry or business, than doing 3 to 7 years at essentially minimum wage. Residency is hardly a lucrative undertaking especially if you have a family to support and debt to pay off. Of course afterward there is the potential for a nice salary but that's true of other fields too without the delayed gratification.

    I'm now a resident and I considered leaving at least once or twice during med school. I was really passionate about patient care and helping people, did all kinds of volunteer work in clinics for the underserved, etc. But med school (at least my school) was miserable - institutionalized hazing is the best way to describe it. There is so much extraneous B.S. - the hours, the malignant personalities, etc. After a lot of soul searching I decided that my options were a) get the hell out, b) kill myself or c) somehow stay and stay sane. There were a lot of other things I could have done but I decided to stay, because despite all of the ****, I found that I still love medicine and think it's one of the coolest fields out there. I'm just a bit more realistic about myself now. For me, it was a matter of finding the right niche. Different specialties (and even different practice environments within the same specialty) have higher misery quotients than others and so choosing the right specialty for me was key. I personally am glad that I stayed because I love my field (pathology) and couldn't be happier now. But that's me.

    The best thing you can do is be honest with yourself and look deeply at your motivations regarding why you chose med school in the first place, what you want out of life, etc. Who cares what others think...it's your life and you have to live it. Good luck.
     
  8. PatrickBateman

    PatrickBateman Senior Member
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    Oh yeah. If you really don't like medicine then grow some balls and get out There's already way too many whiny bitter malcontents in medicine. Just face your fear and go do something else if that's what you want.
     
  9. Teufelhunden

    Teufelhunden 1K Member
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    Yes, if someone would have offered me that deal, I would have taken it. (Hell, I still would).

    I would do anything to have my life back. So far, though, no one's offered me an 'out.'

    So...the hell of internship continues. There goes the pager again...haha
     
  10. StringBean

    StringBean Senior Member
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    I'd be out asap if someone would pay my debt for me. I feel like I've completely missed the last 4 years of my life and residency will only be worse. There are sooo many interesting careers out there... what the hell was I thinking? :( I do think that once I'm done with residency I'll enjoy what I'm doing (or at least I'm hoping that) but I also think that I could have enjoyed some oher career without having to sacrifice so much of myself and my life.

    But here I am needing to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars. So off I go to residency in July. :eek:
     
  11. cytoborg

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    See, I don't get this reasoning. If your debt is your sole motivator, there are lots of other things you could do with your MD that would earn more money and have a better lifestyle. What about industry? There are biotech and pharmaceutical companies, for example, that value the insight and experience of MDs. The atmosphere is quite different and can be really fun.

    For God's sake, don't torture yourself with residency if your heart isn't in it.
     
  12. anystream

    anystream Senior Member
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    I got kind of nervous reading this thread. If you had to guess, what % of your med school classmates would feel the same way as you?
     
  13. PatrickBateman

    PatrickBateman Senior Member
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    Probably about 40% or more. No surprize. Many medstudents are a bunch of unthinking trophy-chacing *******. The idea that at the end of the line there is a real job to be done, and not just more pats on the head is a real shock to them. :laugh:
     
  14. frostynorthwind

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    My thoughts exactly... my palms are getting a little sweaty reading this thread. I really believe medicine is for me and have been independently motivated to pursue it throughout my education. I would be interested to ask residents and professionals this same question, though. Although med school seems such a crucible of one's determination and strength (moreso even for residency), maybe it is the nadir of one's professional career and prospects improve shortly thereafter? (I can only hope... :oops: )
     
  15. jetproppilot

    jetproppilot Turboprop Driver
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    I'm an anesthesiologist almost 10 years outta residency...why am I on this thread?? My wife is outta town, I'm a frequent contributor of SDN Anesthesia, and I'm bored. OK. Formals outta the way.

    Medicine has diverse opportunity. Are you sure you cant find something agreeable to you? There are

    Direct patient care opportunities (Family practice, IM, Peds, etc)

    Indirect patient care opportunities (Anesthesia, etc)

    Minimal patient care opportunities (radiology, path)

    If you are truly miserable, consider the business realm..CFA's (you'd have to endure more school to get that) with an MD degree can work for major firms (i.e. Dean Witter) investigating, and subsequently giving YAY or NAY on biotech (etc) stocks....

    a grueling lifestyle but with major (seven figure) potential.
     
  16. beyond all hope

    beyond all hope Senior Member
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    If you really hate medicine, you should quit. However, you may just really hate being a medical student. You might find yourself really liking medicine once you go out there and make a few decisions on your own.

    I actually really enjoyed being a med student, and didn't enjoy being a resident. However, as I progressed through the levels of training, now at PGY-3 and graduating soon, I find myself liking it more and more. One of my best friends from med school hated being a student but loved residency.

    A lot of residents hate their training. I hated it. Only now that I'm seeing the light at the other side of the tunnel does it start to look promising again.

    Medicine is not for everyone. If you really think it's not for you, quit and never look back. However, if you still think there may be some merit, you might want to try residency.
     
  17. mackie

    mackie Senior Member
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    Have you thought about what else you will do? I wouldn't walk away unless I was really miserable, anticipated I would remain miserable throughout medical training and practice, and had something else in mind to do instead.

    In any case, I would at least take some time to think it all over before leaving the field completely. Why don't you take a year off to get some more perspective? During that year, you could pursue another degree, do research, or just get a 9-5 somewhere (pharm company?).
     
  18. jetproppilot

    jetproppilot Turboprop Driver
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    The grass always looks greener on the other side of the fence.

    Almost 10 years outta residency, yeah, I have gripes, but medicine has been good to me and my family.

    Would I have picked another career path knowing what I know now?

    Probably not. I still enjoy getting up at 0520, taking a shower, getting into my truck, driving to the hospital devoid of traffic, pre-opping patients in day surgery, and taking care of patients in the operating room.

    I've always wanted to write (fiction) for a living.

    Medicine has enabled me to pursue my lifelong (potentially delusional) goal while concominantly living a sought-after lifestyle.

    Bottom line... Using medicine as a back drop aint so bad.
     
  19. Poety

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    Jet are you a pilot - and if so, a skydiving pilot? I might know you! :p

    When I grow up I'm gunna be a famous skydiving DJ- shyeah right, ok, so I'll be a psychiatrist, but I can dream right? :laugh:
     
  20. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    I have to agree with jetproppilot here. Even though I'm and intern who's currently one of the medicine haterz, I think once I get a chance to specialize things will improve. There are lots of different types of fields you can go into, so once you finish med school it would make more sense to find a type of residency you can tolerate. If you go into something other then medicine, you might find out that you don't like it much either. After all, they wouldn't pay us to do something if it really was fun.
     
  21. Mirror Form

    Mirror Form Thyroid Storm
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    I feel your pain. Hang in there though, six more months and you'll never have to touch another patient!
     
  22. bigdan

    bigdan SDN Donor
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    Can you guys give me a bit more info?

    First, at what point did you REALLY consider leaving? Not the "this first week of anatomy lab is getting in the way of my beer night", but real thoughts of not wanting to do medicine...

    Second, would it/does it make a difference if you came to school after several years between undergrad and medical school?

    dc
     
  23. Poety

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    I was 28 when I started, and used to be a nurse - I wanted to quit from 2nd year on... its been on and off since :) But I'm staying - overall, I just don't know what else I would do, medicine has been my life forever so I'm one of those "medicine" people to the heart, even though I can't stand it sometimes +pissed+ :laugh:
     
  24. sophiejane

    sophiejane Exhausted
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    I think a LOT of this has to do with being too young when you are thrown into the meat grinder of med school. I think I'd be mad too if my 20s had been stolen from me...if I had had to watch my friends having fun, starting careers, making money while I racked up debt and spent endless hours studying and working.

    I really believe that we need a policy whereby pre-meds are required to spend at least a year doing some sort of job, peace corps, travel, etc. before starting med school.

    It's interesting to me that I've never heard of anyone like myself who started medical school in their 30s or even 40s being unhappy with their decision. It is a huge committment and you can't expect every 21 or 22 year old to have the foresight to know that this is the right thing for them.

    I am sorry for the OP's unhappiness...I hope that you are able to at least defer your residency for a year and take some time to think. Go travel, do something, but don't jump right into school again. Sounds to me like you need some time to do some soul-searching.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  25. carol ann

    carol ann Senior Member
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    I'd bail after graduation...but that is because I am a weak-willed ninny. In reality, although I wish I didn't have the loans that make me feel tied to this career, I also am glad that I have them to force me to keep on truckin. It's a hard road, but there is a lot of value to pushing yourself through it.
     
  26. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD
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    A question for the "I would get out ASAP if I didn't have debt" people. Out of curiosity, did you have any significant clinical experience before entering med school? (in other words, did you have any idea what you were getting into?)

    I'm an MS4, I came in as an experienced firefighter/EMT and have no doubt I made the right choice. I can't think of any other job I'd rather do.

    I'm sorry to hear so many people feel disenchanted. If you don't want to do medicine, do a favor to yourself, your patients, and your colleagues and get out.
     
  27. 8744

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    Teufelhunden, what's up Dude? Long time no hear from.

    I agree, intern year totally blows. Well, it has some good moments. I'm trying to switch specialties so I'm doing ERAS again this year. The need to interview has added another level of complexity to intern year and if all goes well and I match I'll be repeating intern year.
     
  28. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    not sure about medicine because i'm not there yet, but this so sums up how i felt about law school. i actually don't think anybody should go straight to any grad school program after college (or, well, very few people). 21 is so freaking young, and you have so much time to do other things and figure out what you want.

    to the op, i don't know. i would hate to see you make any permanent decisions about medicine based on medical school and residency because that's not what your life as a doctor is going to be like. however, you might have good enough insight already to know that you and medicine aren't a good match. i hated law school and opted not to practice law. in retrospect, i think it was probably the right decision, but i don't know -- i really might have been overly influenced by the miserableness of law school (yeah, they haze you there, too) and well, a bout of clinical depression that hit right around my last year in school.

    my suggestion would be to remove yourself from what's going on in your life right now and just think about whether your personality and some line of medical work will line up. also, why did you want to go medical school in the first place? why have you changed your mind recently about being a doctor? there are a lot of things that could be going on.

    also, there are things that make life suck about abandoning a professional degree even if money's not a factor. people are going to pry and bug you and think you're a flake, and it just plain sucks. certainly, it would be foolish to practice medicine if it'd make you miserable to avoid this, but it's out there. i imagine it's noticeably worse for non-practicing doctors than it is for non-practicing law people like me.
     
  29. cyanocobalamin

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    I won't have any debt when I finish medical school and I am still going to postgrad training. I like clinical medicine in general, which doesn't mean that I didn't hate certain parts of medical school and there were many times when I felt like I just wanted to quit. Whether I will always primarily be a clinician remains to be seen. Having had a business background I find non-clinical areas interesting too (like administration, startups/business ventures, and research)
     
  30. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD
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    Exlaw, if you think 21 is young, in many European nations you go to med school straight from high school at 18. I remember myself at 18 and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
     
  31. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy
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    that is insane! i know we have programs here, too, like university of missouri at kansas city where you get admitted in high school (it's a six year program). i think there's a small subset of people who really know what they want to do from an early age, or who aren't very introspective so they can just pick something and stick with it forever. definitely not me, though.
     
  32. p54

    p54 Member
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    i wanted to go to med school so I could be a physician and treat patients, I like people and being able to help them. Several relatives who are doctors told me not to do it (they were practicing in the golden days of medicine and now hated all the insurance regulations/restricitions, decreased profits, etc...) I didn't really care about money, i knew there were much easier ways to make money. I guess the last 4 years of medical school just beat me down and made me change my mind. Yes I still liked seeing patients the last 2 years. I still went out, had fun, partied, etc.... But it sucked not having a life and as much free time as my friends. Not being able to buy a house, and know that is where you are going to live for as long as you want. Now the thought of residency, where u really won't have a life is just too much. Yeah, i'd still like to be a doctor and tx patients, but it seems like there are so many other things in life that would be easier and less time consuming. Maybe i'v just given up. I don't want to deal with the thought of malpractice, fighting with insurance, being restricted to giving certain approved meds/procedures/tests, etc, keeping current, always having to study, really not having a life for another 3 years. Now I actually do care about money and there are so many other ways to make it without working so hard. But i guess i'll do it....yea my friends seem to have time, money, their own families, etc....but still they aren't reallly that happy with where they are. I probably wouldn't be either if i just quit.
     
  33. raspberry swirl

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    my question is, where the heck did all of you people go to medical school that it was really that bad?? i mean, 1st and 2nd year was no walk in the park, for sure, but i tried to keep things in perspective. medical school was not my LIFE. i loved my apartment and where it was convieniently located, belonged to a great gym, and made some great friends i hope to have forever. i did decently in school without killing myself. im 2/3 of the way through 3rd year, and i havent had my a$$ handed to me yet (knock on wood). luckily for me, i guess, i have worked with interns, residents, and attendings who are still excited about what they do, which has made me excited, too. for those of you who are miserable, please, think long and hard, and if you really dont like it, please make the switch to something else. you will only poison it for those others that have to work with you, especially impressionable medical students. there are plenty of great opportunities out there for someone with a medical degree who is willing to take the risk of leaving and be creative. there is NO SHAME in leaving medicine if it is not for you. you will be making the profession and patient care better by NOT forcing yourself to do a job that does not satisfy you. that said, consider your environment. chances are, its not the practice of medicine that you hate, its the heirarchy and beauracy you are entrapped in. would you be happy being a family practice doc in a nice small town, working 3 days a week and living modestly? maybe you're just caught in a rat race where you're feeling pressured. in the scheme of life, residency isn't all that long if you can stick it out to create a practice that makes you happy and satisfies your needs.
     
  34. Mumpu

    Mumpu Burninator, MD
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    First two years of med school were great. I rarely went to classes so I had plenty of free time to do other stuff. Third year was fun and also pretty free except for call rotations (surgery, OB, medicine). Fourth year is a piece of cake.

    Looking at the interview threads elsewhere on SDN, there is a large population of gunners here and I can see how gunning through four years of med school can totally burn you out.
     
  35. Samoa

    Physician Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

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    I'm pretty sure I'd go on to residency even if I won the lottery. Afterward, I'd probably work less for pay and donate more of my time to people with no insurance who wouldn't otherwise be able to afford non-emergency care. I'd probably also spend some time in public service, advocating for better and more efficient health care.

    But the debt is overwhelming. I simply won't be able to afford to give away my services for free, no matter how much I want to do so.
     
  36. CameronFrye

    CameronFrye Senior Member
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    I think you nailed it. Sure, there have been some tough times and I've worked hard, but for the most part I've had a good time in med school. It's basically been a good excuse to continue the college way of life for another 4 years. Although my friends with real jobs have more money, houses, nice cars, etc., I would never trade places with them. You can work for the rest of your life (unfortunately, the rest of my life begins this summer).
     
  37. Buck Strong

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    good for you
     
  38. riDer

    riDer ooohhh right!
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