If you haven't already guessed, this is a bit of a mess

Nov 20, 2013
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Yikes. My first post here, and this could be a long one. Alright, here goes.

I suppose it all started this summer. That's such a typical introduction, but it's true, because it was this summer that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer (again), and it was this summer that we found out that it was stage four, and it was this summer that I found out she probably didn't have much time left. Maybe a few months. It's so, so difficult to tell with this disease, and I'm absolutely sure that many of you already know that.

At the end of the summer, I left for my third year of college. This was after much debate. A /lot/ of debate. I'm sure you can imagine. I didn't want to go, because I didn't know how much time I had, and since I have always been very, very close to my family, the thought of losing her was absolutely ripping me apart and I didn't want to cut our time short. Money was tight, too, for both me and my parents. I would be over a thousand miles away, across the country, because they had just (and I mean /two weeks/ before the diagnosis) moved to a state very far from where I was currently attending school. Anyway. I left. I wouldn't say she was doing well when I did.

There was a problem in the beginning of the semester after this: I didn't care about school. This was unusual for me. It would have been unimaginable before summer happened. I had been the kind of student who'd flinched at a B on my transcript. But my priorities had shifted, and I didn't care one whit about academics anymore, and I'd already had issues with depression before this, and they came back full force and the general trajectory of my life just sort of went... downwards.

So my grades started dropping. And I still went to class, but I stopped being curious. And I couldn't focus on anything. That was strange for me, too, because up til that point I'd always been curious about anything and everything and that was why I loved science. I didn't love science anymore. I did some of the things I thought would look good on a med school application.

So I failed my first organic chemistry test.

Wanting to be a physician had always been this very close, very personal sort of thing for me where I needed the thought of it as much as music and art and nature and some of the other things I'm rather fixated on. I did equate medicine to art in my mind. I read scientific journals for fun and I was the kid who stayed after almost every class to ask the professor an assortment of questions that had popped into my head during lecture, because I cared and I loved school and I thought science was beautiful.

It's not like that anymore. That thought makes me infinitely sad. I don't really know where I'm going with my life right now. I think I've gotten over the bulk of the depression that hit me and, well... it's been more than "a few months" and my mother is still here. And she's going into hospice, but she's still here. I can still call her as many times a day as I want on the phone, and that's okay. My grades, while thankfully on a slightly upward trend, are still lower than they ever should have been. My father /so/ wants me to become a doctor, especially after all this. He presses me about it constantly. My mother was really the driving force in getting me to go back to school. I feel like I am failing both of them. I still find that there are nights when I have a test the next day and all I can do is draw, and I can't study because I flat don't care about my future. I don't really know why or what happened. Or maybe I do know why. I don't know.

Wow. Anyway. That was probably /way/ too much information, but I'd really, really love a little advice, if anyone is willing.. Sometimes I sort of just want to give everything up and go to art school or run off and be a musician, and I don't know if there's even a decent middle ground between forgetting about the creative half of me and being completely unrealistic and irrational. I just want to make the right decision.

Phew. So. Does anyone have any suggestions? (and thank you for reading through all of that. It means a lot to me.)
 

cabinbuilder

Urgent Care Physician
10+ Year Member
Nov 21, 2005
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From someone who lost their mom suddenly I strongly suggest you take this time to be with her as much as possible. Take a LOA from school and just be home. School will always be there, it's too hard to try to juggle doing well toward a goal and missing home where you know you need to be. Medical school will always be there, so what if it takes you a few years longer? It took me 7 yrs after my mom died to finally get it all together and ready to apply. Just take care of yourself first.
 
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Goro

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Jun 10, 2010
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Very sorry to hear about your mom, but you absolutely must NOT think about a medical career because it's what your parents want. It has to come from YOU! If not, you're going to eventually hate medical school and fail out.

Suggest that you take some time off to grieve. Seek out a therapist at your school's counseling center.


It's not like that anymore. That thought makes me infinitely sad. I don't really know where I'm going with my life right now. I think I've gotten over the bulk of the depression that hit me and, well... it's been more than "a few months" and my mother is still here. And she's going into hospice, but she's still here. I can still call her as many times a day as I want on the phone, and that's okay. My grades, while thankfully on a slightly upward trend, are still lower than they ever should have been. My father /so/ wants me to become a doctor, especially after all this. He presses me about it constantly. My mother was really the driving force in getting me to go back to school. I feel like I am failing both of them. I still find that there are nights when I have a test the next day and all I can do is draw, and I can't study because I flat don't care about my future. I don't really know why or what happened. Or maybe I do know why. I don't know.
 
Sep 28, 2013
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Pre-Medical
I don't really feel I'm in the position to give advice, as I've never faced the loss or sickness of a parent and can't even begin to imagine what you're going through. I just wanted to say that your story really moved me and I'm going to keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
 
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darklabel

PGWhy
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Jan 11, 2012
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I would transfer to a school near your parents and just explain this to them. Thankfully with DO schools, you can retake any classes you did really poorly in and there are other options for you.

Point is, as Cabin said, I would try to spend close time with your mother and take advantage of these precious moments. School is there and take a leave of absence ASAP! No med school will will hold it against you if you took time off to spend time with your mom. If you're doing poorly now, but have the chance to withdraw, I would highly encourage it and go home and spend time with your mom and inspiration to pursue medicine again.

I am sorry this is happening to you though and I will be sure to keep your family in my prayers.