Is it normal to feel a little down when your entering med class graduates...

PsychStudent

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and you still have 3-5 years left of your degree, especially for those people who realize by this point that they want to be clinicians, not researchers? What are some good ways of dealing with this feeling? I have a boyfriend in this situation, and just I want to make sure I can be as supportive as possible about the issue. He's not really upset, more feeling wistful and wondering whether the PhD was the right choice.
 

BDavis

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PsychStudent said:
and you still have 3-5 years left of your degree, especially for those people who realize by this point that they want to be clinicians, not researchers? What are some good ways of dealing with this feeling? I have a boyfriend in this situation, and just I want to make sure I can be as supportive as possible about the issue. He's not really upset, more feeling wistful and wondering whether the PhD was the right choice.
I think second-guessing his decision to enter a MSTP is normal; I certainly felt this way around Match day for my class. I became really bitter and angry, but I directed my emotions into working hard in lab and cranking out experiments with the intention of trying to graduate as soon as possible. I assume your boyfriend is either in his 2nd or 3rd year of graduate school and this is also a tough time for graduate students in that they are hammering out the thesis project and sometimes the "specific aims" of the project are still somewhat nebulous. Some of my medical school classmates stayed at the same school for training and I still maintained friendships with them so it feels like they never left. My MSTP classmates also interacted a lot with each other (even though our labs are in separate buildings) so I never felt like I was the only one stuck in graduate school. A Ph.D. can still be beneficial for clinicians (look at all those clinician-scientist programs out there) so he should not feel that graduate school is a "waste of time". I hope he feels better...
 

b&ierstiefel

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To echo BDavis, the day that my entering medical school class graduated in 2002 was one of the low points in my 7 years here at Michigan. Fortunately, many of my friends matched here and I have occasionally hung out with them during the little free time they have at their disposal during their very busy residencies.

It is natural to feel wistful about this. But if he has lots of friends and support from you, he should do fine. This phase will pass. And he's probably immersed in graduate school activities and has made new friends.
 

drdr2010

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i am feeling this way today!
my entering class med school classmates got their clinical rotation assignments for next year today. and i got the results of some experiments that mean i have to completely change my thesis project. and then i read the thread in this forum about people who, if they could go back, would not do the PhD again.
but as they say, this too shall pass....
 

BDavis

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drdr2010 said:
i am feeling this way today!
my entering class med school classmates got their clinical rotation assignments for next year today. and i got the results of some experiments that mean i have to completely change my thesis project. and then i read the thread in this forum about people who, if they could go back, would not do the PhD again.
but as they say, this too shall pass....
The feeling of being a perpetual student sucks, but eventually you will fight it out. I changed labs halfway through my training because my advisor could not get funded so I felt like I "started over". However, that is really not the case because you are not starting from scratch. I am sure some of the techniques you have learned may still be applicable for a different project (A western is always a western whether you are in cancer biology or immunology). Despite switching labs into completely unrelated fields, I will still get a PhD in 4.5 years (lower than the average of 5.8 years here). I also got advice from upper level MSTP students (their empirical experience combined with their bitterness is good combination for coming up with quick experiments). Often your PI is not intimately involved in the day to day experimentation of the project so they may have less input on troubleshooting. However your fellow graduate and MSTP students are in the trenches so they may have better input for your project.
 

Dj neema

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It is normal to be clinically depressed when this happens. That's what a lot of the graduate students tell me, anyways.
 
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PsychStudent

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Thanks for all the feedback thus far! It's good to know he's not alone in his situation. I'd definitely like to do something nice for him on both graduation and match day to keep his mind off things. . . would it be better to do something on the day that students find out whether they matched, or when they find out where they're matched (ie, which day could potentially be more upsetting for him)? Thanks!
 

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PsychStudent said:
Thanks for all the feedback thus far! It's good to know he's not alone in his situation. I'd definitely like to do something nice for him on both graduation and match day to keep his mind off things. . . would it be better to do something on the day that students find out whether they matched, or when they find out where they're matched (ie, which day could potentially be more upsetting for him)? Thanks!
If your boyfriend is a few years from graduation, try to give him as much emotional support as possible. It is completely normal to feel this way (I am currently seeing my med school class match and will be seeing them graduate in May). Remind him that he will be a well-trained physician-scientist when all is said and done, and, more short term, will be at a great advantage when it is his turn to match into a specialty.