doc-to-be

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I started med school this past September. I've hated it pretty much every day. I'm exhausted and frustrated with the work. All of the negatives about medicine/medical school--politics, malpractice, managed care, residency hours....--are really starting to bother me.
I have a nagging feeling that I should be in vet school, instead. I'm obsessed with horses, have a lot of experience with them; I spent a long time trying to decide between MD and equine DVM, and I have a feeling I chose the wrong one. I realize that the workload is just as heavy and probably more so at vet school, but I bet I'd be much happier with the prospect of working with horses every day; I even have an equine specialty in mind....

I'd love to hear of any experiences similar to mine. I would really appreciate some advice. Maybe it's normal to be a really unhappy med student?
 

XoQo

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one thing to consider -- will your medical school let you take a year off?

med school is definitely an intense experience, and there are definitely times in any medical student's life that they start getting bogged down in both the work and the negatives that surround medicine itself.

my advice is this:

-figure out (or recontemplate) why you want to do medicine
-spend some more time in the wards, either shadowing physicians or speaking with patients

everybody thinks the first two years of med school sucks ass -- but you need to find out what you really think about interacting with patients and actually treating them (honestly, beyond your first two years, the work will be totally different!).

if you find that patients/hospital shadowing/etc don't really seem to excite you, you should consider taking some time off. I have a friend who was in the same boat you were, he took about 6 months off (partially due to struggles academically). He's now applying to law school instead and gave up his spot in medical school.

it's that deep down "I want to be a doctor because of XYXY" that keeps you going through the tough periods. Med school isn't always a joyful ride, but it shouldn't be depressing to you either.

Find out early if you want to switch vocations to DVM -- you'll be happier and probably have saved some $$ in tuition too. It sounds like you really really do like horses...

other than that...there's not much i can say. The only real person who can make the decisoion is you -- try not to let parents, faculty, etc make the decision for you (or try and corner you about it). Take the time to do some self reflection, and confide in a friend your age who knows you well.

best of luck.
 
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doc-to-be

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XoQo said:
one thing to consider -- will your medical school let you take a year off?

med school is definitely an intense experience, and there are definitely times in any medical student's life that they start getting bogged down in both the work and the negatives that surround medicine itself.

my advice is this:

-figure out (or recontemplate) why you want to do medicine
-spend some more time in the wards, either shadowing physicians or speaking with patients

everybody thinks the first two years of med school sucks ass -- but you need to find out what you really think about interacting with patients and actually treating them (honestly, beyond your first two years, the work will be totally different!).

if you find that patients/hospital shadowing/etc don't really seem to excite you, you should consider taking some time off. I have a friend who was in the same boat you were, he took about 6 months off (partially due to struggles academically). He's now applying to law school instead and gave up his spot in medical school.

it's that deep down "I want to be a doctor because of XYXY" that keeps you going through the tough periods. Med school isn't always a joyful ride, but it shouldn't be depressing to you either.

Find out early if you want to switch vocations to DVM -- you'll be happier and probably have saved some $$ in tuition too. It sounds like you really really do like horses...

other than that...there's not much i can say. The only real person who can make the decisoion is you -- try not to let parents, faculty, etc make the decision for you (or try and corner you about it). Take the time to do some self reflection, and confide in a friend your age who knows you well.

best of luck.
Thanks for your kind and honest reply.
Your advice is very good; I'm trying to sort things out.
 

SoulRFlare

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doc-to-be said:
I started med school this past September. I've hated it pretty much every day. I'm exhausted and frustrated with the work. All of the negatives about medicine/medical school--politics, malpractice, managed care, residency hours....--are really starting to bother me.
I have a nagging feeling that I should be in vet school, instead. I'm obsessed with horses, have a lot of experience with them; I spent a long time trying to decide between MD and equine DVM, and I have a feeling I chose the wrong one. I realize that the workload is just as heavy and probably more so at vet school, but I bet I'd be much happier with the prospect of working with horses every day; I even have an equine specialty in mind....

I'd love to hear of any experiences similar to mine. I would really appreciate some advice. Maybe it's normal to be a really unhappy med student?
Would it be too late to apply to vet school? afterall you have all the prereqs you need, have already gotten into med school (though, granted, med school is often a fall back for ppl wanting to go to vet school...i hear it's really tough for pre-vets.)
think about this too: in med school, we only have to learn one species. in vet school, you gotta know em all! (lest one day, a person walks in with a constipated, seizing bonobo and says "doc...fix him)
but here's the thing: a lot of docs say the first year is the worst...second year is intense as well, but more interesting because you get away from all of the molecular pathways (just memorizing words and acronyms, in my opinion) and get into the stuff you can actually see/conceptualize/work with. you may find that you love an area of medicine which affords you professional satisfaction as well as allows you the ample time and resources to raise horses.
also consider the fact that sometimes, when we mix what we love with what we do for a living, we end up disillusioned with both. if you love horses, would you rather associate that love with "the stresses of the job" or "something i spend time doing to get away from the stresses of the job."
i know that advice on an online message board can be one dimensional, and can't really speak to all of your concerns. to me, medicine is a wonderful field with many opportunities--professional as well as personal. in the end (to feed the cliche mill) you have to go with your gut.
good luck!
 

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the comment "med school is a fallback for vet school," is one of the funniest that i have heard in a long time.

i understand that vet school is tuff, but you people act like anyone that cannot get into vet school can get into dental school. in my years i have yet to encounter anyone who went to medical school b/c they couldn't get into vet school, nor anyone that said in undergrad "I'm trying to get into medical school but if it doesn't work out then I'll probably just go to medical school."

i know this doesn't apply to the original poster's questions, and i'm sorry for this, but i couldn't help but respond to this statement.
 

impuny

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woowoo said:
the comment "med school is a fallback for vet school," is one of the funniest that i have heard in a long time.

i understand that vet school is tuff, but you people act like anyone that cannot get into vet school can get into dental school. in my years i have yet to encounter anyone who went to medical school b/c they couldn't get into vet school, nor anyone that said in undergrad "I'm trying to get into medical school but if it doesn't work out then I'll probably just go to medical school."

i know this doesn't apply to the original poster's questions, and i'm sorry for this, but i couldn't help but respond to this statement.
I do agree the "med school is a fallback for vet school" is an overgeneralization. However, I know at least 2 people that opted for med school when they couldn't get into vet school because they had a 3.6 gpa. Not saying it happens all the time but it does happen. :cool:
 

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Vet school is much harder to get into than medical school. Period.

And it is just as difficult if not more so than medical school. I have to laugh when my vet (who's kids I am putting through college with my five dogs) say that I probably don't think she's a "real" doctor.

Au contraire. I have a great deal of respect for her and most certainly do consider her a real doctor. I would have liked to have been a vet but I didn't have the grades, I don't like to see animals suffering, and I could never dissect a dog.
 

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I would think vet school is harder than med school, but I wonder if it has the same politics and hierarchy that med school has. If it doesn't that makes it a much more pleasant atmosphere. I wouldn't worry about which one is harder like some of the other posters are saying. If you don't like med school DON'T DO IT. Take some time off and shadow a doc leisurely and also SHADOW A VET. See which one you like better and what you see yourself doing for the rest of you life. Vet schools may like to see that you could handle the workload in med school, but just didn't want to do it forever and it may work to your advantage.
 

SoulRFlare

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woowoo said:
the comment "med school is a fallback for vet school," is one of the funniest that i have heard in a long time.

i understand that vet school is tuff, but you people act like anyone that cannot get into vet school can get into dental school. in my years i have yet to encounter anyone who went to medical school b/c they couldn't get into vet school, nor anyone that said in undergrad "I'm trying to get into medical school but if it doesn't work out then I'll probably just go to medical school."

i know this doesn't apply to the original poster's questions, and i'm sorry for this, but i couldn't help but respond to this statement.
I'm a med student
 

SoulRFlare

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I didn't mean to stir up a hornets nest of controversy over the "med school is a fall back..." it all stemmed from a discussion i had with a prevet...i said "well vet school's tough to get into, but you always have med school to fall back on..."
the fact is, vet schools are fewer and far between, so they can't accept as many students...they're very hard to get into in other words...no knock against vet school or med school...
 

woowoo

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as well. but i couldn't help but comment on the fact that vet school was harder to get into. statistically, it is harder b/c on 1/3 of the applicants get in, however, there is no evidence that the applicant pool for vet school is better than medical school which is what you would have to compare.

i'm willing to bet that most people would tell you that you wouldn't have any problem getting into vet school since you have already proven yourself worth of admission to medical school.
 

edik

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Let me get this straight... You just started med school this year and you are already worrying about residency hours, malpractice insurance and managed care? I recommend that you don't do that.
All that is enough to stress a heck out of anyone and kill any enjoyment you might have. Try tackling problems as they come. Worry about mastering basic sciences for now. Then clinic sciences. Worry about residency applications, then hours, etc. I.e. don't try to solve everything at once.
Good luck.
 

guarana

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edik said:
Let me get this straight... You just started med school this year and you are already worrying about residency hours, malpractice insurance and managed care? I recommend that you don't do that.
All that is enough to stress a heck out of anyone and kill any enjoyment you might have. Try tackling problems as they come. Worry about mastering basic sciences for now. Then clinic sciences. Worry about residency applications, then hours, etc. I.e. don't try to solve everything at once.
Good luck.
sounds like good advice to me.

another thing to remember is that very few of us (i hope!) enter medical school soley for the sheer joys of being a medical student. personally, i knew it would be miserable at times, and so far i have not been disappointed.
still, the few opportunities i get to do things clinical make it seem like there is hope ahead!
 

Elysium

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One of my dear friends (an ex-boyfriend, actually) is a vet. He absolutely loves his work. He's been in practice for about 10 years now and has specialized his practice to mostly doing small animal surgeries (like hip replacements on dogs). He didn't have to do a residency (4 years and he was working), he makes his own hours (he usually works 30 hours a week at various clinics doing surgeries, etc) so he can spend time with his kids (he's divorced), has a good income (around 90,000) and has no malpractice to speak of. He loves what he does and he finds that there's a lot of latitude in the profession to let him do what he loves. So, if you really love animals I would start looking into it. Is there a vet school in your area? Maybe talk to their admissions people. Or, go to the vet section on SDN and talk to those folks. I'm a first year med student and god knows it sucks my ass. If I thought my whole life was memorizing the cranial nerves, every flippin' artery and vein in the head and neck, and renal physiology I would jump off a bridge. Thankfully, this is all a means to an end. If you really think this isn't a good fit for you, though, get out and follow your passion. You only have one life.

Good luck.
 

Gimlet

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Elysium said:
has a good income (around 90,000)
Wow...10 years of practice and he's making 90,000? I would have thought vets take home a lot more than that, given the amount of money people spend on their pets nowadays! :p
 

Elysium

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Andy15430 said:
Wow...10 years of practice and he's making 90,000? I would have thought vets take home a lot more than that, given the amount of money people spend on their pets nowadays! :p
Well, given the fact that the guy works less than 30 hours a week, I think that's pretty damn good!
 

Gimlet

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Elysium said:
Well, given the fact that the guy works less than 30 hours a week, I think that's pretty damn good!

Good call...guess I need to read more closely!
 

closertofine

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Doc-to-be, I had a similar dilemma in choosing between vet and med school...I was pre-vet through most of college, and only decided on human medicine during my senior year.

Right now I'm also an MSI and, although I have other issues going on too (you may have read that long post!), the question of vet-vs-med school still lingers in the back of my mind. I'm more of a cat and dog person than a horse person (although I like horses too!), but I can definitely relate to the feeling that you may be missing out on something by going the MD route.

I'm not sure what to add to the great advice the other posters have already given...except that I'm curious, you say that you hate the work now...is it that you actually dislike the science, or you're more upset about the prospect of your future career? It seems like it's the latter...in which case it does sound like maybe you should give vet school more consideration.

I hope it works out for you...let us know! And if you like, you can send me a PM to chat.
 

bmcgilligan

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Andy15430 said:
Wow...10 years of practice and he's making 90,000? I would have thought vets take home a lot more than that, given the amount of money people spend on their pets nowadays! :p

I have worked for a vet throughout college. In my experience, a vet's pay all depends on where you live. When I lived down in Sarasota, the vet I worked for made quite a bit...but still didn't clear $100,000. The vet I worked for in Pensacola didn't always even cut himself a paycheck.

Animal care does cost quite a bit nowadays, but nowhere near what human medicine costs. Whereas you might spend $10-15 per shot for a pet, you'll spend $30+ for each human injection. I have seen vets in large practices work extremely long hours with little pay. With the low pay and the low public opinion (one client actually asked if she had to pay for a lab test since it didn't cure her pet) I would not want to be a vet, even though I love animals.

Remember, veterinary care is still fee-for-service and quite a few clients are very wary about every single thing the vet wants to do for this reason. Many times clients will decline lab tests and procedures just for money reasons. Although there are those who view their pets as "part of the family" many still see them as "just pets" and won't pay for a similar standard of healthcare as they would for their human child.