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Med school's making me antisocial

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by JustSomePreMed, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. JustSomePreMed

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    I used to be a very social person, but it seems like since med school started (or a few weeks after it started) I began to feel very antisocial. I know this is normal to feel like this compared to the outside world, but even with my own classmates. Tonight, for instance, many of them are out at a party I was invited to, yet I decided I'd rather stay in and get caught up on studying.

    Part of it, I think, is my drive to really do as well as possible in school (obviously). I pay a lot of money for my tuition and I come from a fairly poor background, and have this constant feeling of needing to make med school my number one priority (which it is) in order to ensure I will be successful post-graduation, but sometimes at the expense of harmless fun.

    Anyone else feel this way?
     
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  3. txprodigal

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    I'm the exact same way. I'm a nontraditional post-bacc, but I come from the same sort of background. I rather have a transcript with As than a bunch of memories of a night out. I guess I grew up too fast....(still in my early twenties though...)
     
  4. samisab786

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    I'm not in medical school, so I probably can't feel you on that part, but I haven't had a social life for the longest time. I'm not writing to self-pity myself, but I want you to know that I can feel you on the anti-social part. I went to three different high schools, so I barely made any friends. In senior year, I spent my lunchtime in the library. I'm in college now and I still have no social life. I basically go to class and take the bus ride back home. I've tried to join a couple of clubs, but I don't have that sense of belonging--and yes, I really try hard. I know I'm capable of a social life but I don't know why exactly nothing has worked out for me. People tell me I'm funny and in the past, in ninth grade, I had an incredible social life, so I'm not exactly sure what has made it difficult for me to socialize in the recent years. The bottom line is, because of this and my indecisiveness of my college and career goals, I've been having a very emotionally difficult time recently. I know I have to be happier and more relaxed because if I'm not, it's going to have an affect on my health, as I'm already a diabetic and a hypothyroid patient.

    I know that doing well in school, especially in medical school, is really important. It's good that you take your work seriously and have an incentive to stay focused and work hard. Since I don't go to medical school, I don't know how difficult it is to balance your lifestyle, but I've heard before that studying in med school is really difficult. As far as what I can say from experiences, meeting people once in a while is important. I think if you keep yourself overly focused in school, it's going to burn you out and it might frustrate you. In high school, I had a lot of work keeping me busy, so having a social life wasn't my top priority, but I still ended up feeling really burned out somedays. You need to have that balance. Even a 80% work, 20% outing time is not bad. If you get out once in a few weeks or so, that's good. I personally believe it will recharge and refresh you. Hope it helps.
     
  5. JustSomePreMed

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    I'm a nontrad too, mid-twenties. I guess maybe that's part of it. I'm a good 3-4 years older than a lot of my fresh-out-of-undergrad classmates.
     
  6. e p i c

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    I can understand being older makes you feel a bit alienated, but there's a whole world out there aside from med students. Try some online dating. Just a thought.
     
  7. NRAI2001

    NRAI2001 3K Member
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    Its not a bad thing to go party and have fun with your study buddys from time to time.... it will probably help you guys study together and work better in the future.
     
  8. OncoCaP

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    There are many medical students that feel the way you do, but that doesn't make it normal, healthy, or in your best interest to be "antisocial." While medical school is demanding, you should have some friends that you stay in touch with. You didn't say what prompted you to notice that you were "antisocial." Does it mean you don't go out every weekend or does it mean you just don't care to build maintain friendships? Do you never talk to anyone in your class? Was it a comment that a friend made? Do you feel somewhat isolated or lonely?

    In any case, you should talk to someone you trust about it, whether a family member, old friend, teacher you trust, or your school counselor. It could just be a matter of incorporating all the med school work into your life in a more balanced way (to allow time for fun) or it could be something else that is bothering you, like maybe anxiety about being competitive or learning how to fit in with this particular group of people. It would probably be better to deal with the problem now before it gets worse (but be patient if it takes a few tries and a little time to figure this out). :luck:
     
  9. xx216xx

    xx216xx Member
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    ...
     
    #8 xx216xx, Dec 5, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  10. WellWornLad

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    If being antisocial means putting med school before hanging out, then call me antisocial.

    But yeah, I'm non-trad too, a little older and a little poorer than than the rest of the class. I've found that it's the rich kids who really emphasize the social aspect of things. They don't have the pressure of loans, and some of them I'm not sure will stick around once they've been yelled at a couple times during 3rd year. Me, I'm not sure if I can afford to do primary care, let alone fail out.

    The younger crowd also tends to go out more, but I think this impulse is mostly force of habit from undergrad.
     
  11. meister

    meister Senior Member
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    I think I may have two accounts or something. Are you me?

    I'll echo all of that with the added caveat that having a kid makes it a lot easier to be anti-social with the stupid 21 year olds. I really don't care about their parties, all they're trying to do is get laid anyway. I guess I'm jaded but whatever.
     
  12. JustSomePreMed

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    Yeah this is exactly how/what I feel. Especially the feeling of "I can't afford to do primary care" . . . I guess it kinda sounds silly, but that's how I feel. I'm going to have around $300,000 in loans (not counting interest) once I graduate med school, with no safety net in the form of parents or anything . . . so although many people say "eh you'll be a doctor, you'll pay it off eventually", it's daunting thinking about that kind of debt with no "backup" (especially in the current economy).

    To answer the other poster, I basically just noticed that there have been several times where my friends here will be going out, and I'll end up staying in on purpose . . . there have even been a few times where I've basically said I wasn't feeling well or was extremely tired and didn't feel like going out, and then ended up spending the night studying. Again, stupid I know, but I just have this constant pressure I guess I put on myself to always be focused on medical school, which I'm sure isn't healthy. I don't get super stressed out like some people in my class, but I do tend to remain extremely focused. So far I have been doing very well in school, and I'm trying my best to keep that up.
     
  13. njbmd

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    I would not go as far as saying that you are "anti-social" because you are spending more time with your studies than "going out". I would say that most people who are successful in medical school spend more time with their studies than going out. What you may need to look at is striking a balance where you do something that is not related to medicine such as physical activity, reading something besides your notes, exploring your town or even cleaning your house, rather than your studies. If you strike a balance, you might find that your are definitely not "anti-social" but that you have other priorities. Being able to strike a balance in your life is going to serve you not only through medical school but into residency and practice. Placing the label "anti-social" on yourself because you have made studying a priority may not be particularly useful. Telling yourself that you need to do something else besides studying for fun, is a good step in getting some balance in your life.

    I hated to do anything outside of my studies if I felt that I might get behind. To this end, I probably didn't attend as many "social" events as I could have (in hindsight) but I did make sure I attended a couple here and there. It sounds like that you are far from "anti-social" and more about just taking every advantage of the opportunity that you have been given and that is to make the most of your studies. As long as you are aware that you probably need to do something "fun" now and again, you can schedule those "fun" things when vacation time come around.
     
  14. Bartelby

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    I think pretty much any med student would agree with that. Still, aren't there times for all of you (med students and premeds) when things have calmed down enough to spare a few hours? Really if you go to a party you could show up at ten, leave for home around one, and have a good time in between. If you limit the drinking so you're not hung over the next day, how much time have you really lost? Are those three hours that crucial to your success?

    Granted there have been strings of weeks where those three hours a couple times a week were pretty crucial, and in those weeks I didn't go out much. Still, you should chart in some time to do something outside of med school whether it is playing a sport, hiking, hanging out with friends/family, or doing the classic "party scene" hopping.
     
  15. Re3iRtH

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    This is a perfect example of the problem with the system. You can't
    "afford" to do primare care?? You will be a doctor for the rest of your life,
    how about picking what you will enjoy and will excel at. No wonder
    other countries think we are a joke :thumbdown:
     
  16. meister

    meister Senior Member
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    Do you have a family, a mortgage and student loans nearing $300k? If not, then you don't really have any idea what he's talking about. Here's a hint: being a "doctor for the rest of your life" doesn't pay the bills. While you have correctly labeled his dilemma as a problem with the "system," you fail utterly at understanding it.
     
  17. WellWornLad

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    Hey, I like rainbow gumdrops and sunshine smiles as much as the next guy, but some of us have to actually pay for med school.
     
  18. Re3iRtH

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    There is that chance that you may fall in love with something that actually
    'pays the bills' quite nice. There are plenty of docs right now who are
    paying their bills and raising their family, but are walking around pretty
    miserable because they chose the wrong career. Most of us are not
    as easy to please as we may think, and picking something that we may
    enjoy more may actually make you a better parent or spouse, in many
    ways that have nothing to do with money.

    Honestly, I haven't met many US-trained docs above the age of 40 that
    were struggling to pay the bills. Wouldn't you rather do something that
    you KNOW will make you a happy person, be not that rich for 5-10 years,
    but be a better person to your patients since you are in the right field,
    and also be a better parent and spouse.

    Look, I'm not a parent. I don't know what it is to raise a child. What I do
    know is, that physicians are being divorced, and it is not because of
    them being in 'primary care' and making ONLY $120k. Its because they
    are not good to their spouse
    And if this does happen, at least be
    doing something you enjoy.

    Medical school isn't "hell". It doesnt entitle everyone to make $400k
    out of residency.
     
  19. 87138

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    Care to take a stab at what medical school cost for those physicians? When I told two of the docs I used to work with how much my medical school tuition (to say nothing of living expenses) was per year, their reply was "wow, that's essentially what my tuition was for 4 years combined." At PRIVATE medical schools. In addition, these docs had their parents help pay for most/all of med school in the first place.

    I'm not saying every doc had parental help, but you have to realize how much medical school costs have risen, and how much reimbursements have dropped. A 40-45 year old doc making $120,000 these days might not be "struggling" financially, but he/she had a hell of a lot less to pay back.
     
    #18 87138, Dec 6, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2008
  20. Re3iRtH

    Re3iRtH Member
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    Good points. I guess I am looking at it from the standpoint of the amount
    of your waking life you will devote to your job, and that being a greater
    factor than salary. I should just admit to myself that salary is the
    greatest factor in career choice for US med students. I guess I was just
    naive, but at least now I know more about the people I'm working with.
     
  21. 87138

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    It's unfortunate but tends to be the case. But I'd like to think that people who are in medical school have made the right choice in that regard, and that most potential pathways will leave them fulfilled to some extent. Sure, someone might steer clear of a few specialties because they actually do hate them, but for the most part, I'd imagine medical students who went to med school for the "right" reasons (whatever that may be) are able to find SOMETHING that fits their interests/abilities. It's the people who go into medicine for the wrong reasons or who are misguided that I would think tend to be more unhappy as practicing physicians.

    The trend more and more these days is $200,000-$300,000 of debt out of graduation, and shrinking salaries. Sure, in the long run a lot of people even making $100,000 will be able to cover these costs, but varying circumstances (spouse, kids, mortgages, etc) come into play.
     
  22. Bartelby

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    Is it? According to the AMA the average medical debt for 2007 was $140,000 (http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/5349.html). That's high, but it sure isn't $300k high.

    If you personally have ended up in the $300k category that really sucks. I haven't done the math, but I could realistically see it driving you toward a high-paid specialty. For the "average" student, though, I think you could manage a $140k debt on a $120-140k salary, so primary care could still be viable. You might not live the "doctor" lifestye you hoped for, but I have no doubt you could be solidly middle class and I think you could do a lot better than that with some smart financial decisions.
     
  23. 87138

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    Well I didn't say "average", although maybe that's what I was inadvertently implying. Average medical debt tends to be a garbage statistic, however, as a few outliers who pay their full way upfront (or whose family does so) can skew it heavily. And in-state public vs. in/out private makes a big difference.

    The average private school tuition cost is about $40,000, give or take. Then add in fees and living expenses which will vary depending on your location obviously, which can drive up one year's COA to $60-70k. Sure, a lot of med students come from affluent families and can help defray the costs. But for someone who is relying mostly on government loans, the $200-300k figure is pretty spot on.
     
  24. Bartelby

    Physician 10+ Year Member

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    Yeah, some students have it pretty bad. I lucked out in that even though I can't pay a thing (just about) out of pocket my school offered solid grant/scholarship based financial aid so that I should finish under $100k in debt anyway. I guess it's the kids from poor backgrounds who don't get help from their school or outside scholarships that have it the worst. How about this: the rich kids who have a parental full ride can all go into primary care :laugh:!

    And a word of advice to any premeds reading this: shop around if you are fortunate enough to be able to, you may be surprised at how much aid that "top" school you thought you couldn't afford is willing to give you.

    Still, I would argue that at this time owing over $200,000 at graduation is the exception rather than the rule.
     
  25. 87138

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    Haha, sounds good.



    Fair enough. I guess maybe I should've started with "$200k is an average COA" before factoring in parental/self contribution and any potential grants/scholarships (which are fairly scarce in medical school, besides the compulsory $2,000 "grants" given out here or there). But the more people I meet in medical school, the more I do realize that "no parental contribution" is certainly the exception and not the rule.
     
  26. badasshairday

    badasshairday Vascular and Interventional Radiology
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    Damn. I guess I'm screwed. I'm going to owe 200K at graduation and I have no parental contribution. I wish my parents were rich. :(
     
  27. WellWornLad

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    Word.

    First of all, the average for 2008 grads (public and private) is $154,000. If past years are any indication, tuition will go up about 5% every year, so for the class of 2012 it'll be closer to $174,000.

    Second, that average isn't just the people borrowing money - it's everyone. If their parents pay, if the military pays, if the school pays, that's a big fat $0 added to the average. About 87% of med students borrow some amount of debt after med school (including undergrad). You can roughly take the other 13% out of the equation who contribute nothing to the numerator of the average:

    ($174,000*100/87) = $200,000

    After, say, 4 years of residency, that figure (@ 6.8% interest - low-ball) will be at least $260,000 when you start to pay it off. That's a low-ball average for those in the class of 2012 who will end up with some debt.

    As of 2005, about 55% of med school matriculants came from the top 20% income bracket. < 5% came from the lowest. It's a pretty skewed sample, and the disparity is actually increasing - due in no small part to rising tuition.

    Worth a read: http://www.aamc.org/data/aib/aibissues/aibvol8_no1.pdf
     
  28. NyushaSnow

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    Obviously, you are not alone on this one.

    I myself have felt the exact same thing. When I entered med school, certain sacrifices must be made and one of which was my social life.

    I felt like i was under a huge rock since med school was my priority.

    Now, I'm in my 3rd year and still, my social life is affected.

    Nevertheless, I still do make time (whenever I have) to take the time off from studying and just hang out with friends or family. Really, you have got to do this otherwise, you'll go crazy.

    Take it easy. Take a time off. It would be worth it. Don't make med life suck your entire life out of you.:p
     
  29. daydreamer123

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    I'm also an MS1 an although my social life has changed (drastically) I still thinks its important to have fun. I don't know about you but I'm more than a med school student... I'm a whole person with feelings & needs outside of med school. Med school is just what I do, its not who I am. It's kind of sad for me to see some of you posting stuff making it seem as if its okay not to have balance and be well rounded person. Med school is 4 years out of our lives that we'll never get back ... you have to live @ the same time, not just study!
     
  30. WellWornLad

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    No one is suggesting you study all the time. It sounds to me like the OP is worried that he/she is not keeping up with his/her classmate's social agenda.

    The funny thing about med students is that some of them are so anal, they turn socializing into just one more job to do. They agonize over whether they're making enough face time with friends, or whether they'll be called a gunner because they called it a night at 11 o'clock. People will actually get competitive over the amount of time they spend hanging out. It's like a weird game of chicken people play with exams.

    Don't enroll yourself in one more competition. Go out when you feel like it, not when everyone else does.
     
  31. Yakko

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    Make sure you're careful when you come down off that high horse of yours.

    I can't think of many people who are willing to go into massive debt to be completely selfless and give up their own well being (financially, emotionally, and even physically) to not make a wage that they can be comfortable with.

    In this country being financially secure is happiness. Deal with it and don't be judgmental.
     
  32. Re3iRtH

    Re3iRtH Member
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    Apparently being in the Top 5% wage earners in the country is not
    'financially secure'. And everybody is judgemental.
    Going into more debt to pursure something you truly enjoy doesnt seem like being
    on the high horse, but probably quite the lower one.

    But anyhow I'm done with this topic, it wasn't even the point of this thread.
     
    #31 Re3iRtH, Dec 7, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  33. sprinkibrio

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    I definitely understand where you are coming from. In my case, my lack of socialibility has more to do with energy level... I pour so much of my energy into school that there is not a lot of it left. DO make an effort sometimes, though. These people are going to be with you for a long time and the more you get along with them the easier and more managable your life will be. Believe me, when you get to 2nd year you need some sort of support system or you will go insane. Insane. You need people you who understand when you are going through. That doesn't take too much socializing.

    Working so hard, many times I forget I need to do things to make me happy. When I do them, I come back to work even harder and more efficiently. Generally the happier I am the better I do.
     
  34. Mr. Itchy

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    No thank you, medical school and my future career will not come before the important things in life; family, friends, and balance. This is a job. It will be treated as such. I will use my skills to help a great number of people, paying and not paying, but I will not foresake my happiness over it for any long duration of time. Period.

    If I get an 80 instead of an 85 because of it, and I don't work for Mass General; I'm okay. Happiness is the goal.
     
  35. vasca

    vasca En la era postpasambre
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    I've heard US med schools only cost about 12,000 dollars per year back in the 80's. I'm in the situation where I go to an expensive private university (I'm an intern now so I won't have to go there at all next year, but I'm still forced to pay full intuition for one more year) which is quite expensive (but my full med school education couldn't have cost me more than 70,000 US dollars and I didn't have to do 4 years of pre-med like Americans do).

    My parents pay for everything (as if I had the time and energy to get a part-time job with 7 am-9 pm classes) and we live frugaly, but I'll graduate without any student debt. I only have to pay 1 more year of intuition as an intern, plus the rather frugal cash needed to pay for the social service slot and both mexican and USMLE bar exams because I want to move back to the US and I'm done.

    Sadly it comes at the price that I can't afford to be going to bars and parties (I don't own a car and few people lived in my area), but it will be worth it in the end. Luckily I'm not too much of a partygoer, but I would enjoy going to bars with pals more often than I do. Now that I'll be paid (quite poorly though) as an intern, I might go out sometime or go somewhere out of the city on vacations.

    As for the US, I would have never been able to afford med school up there and don't mind studying in Mexico. Maybe more Americans should consider studying abroad. Learning a second language and doing the career in Latin America would be far cheaper (and faster to get the degree) than the medicine taught in the US. Things are also far more clinical here which is nice. We do work like mules though, but if you like the hard work, it's good.

    Everyone has some time to spare. Even in my bad times as a med student, I still went to the movies and to theater plays.
     
  36. scotties123

    scotties123 GrandMacDaddy
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    the rich thing makes no sense. people go out to have fun not because theyre rich and can say f-it to med school. And if you go out and party once every couple weeks, theres nothing wrong with that. everyone has their own way of unwinding. some stay in and watch movies, others go to bars and have a drink, others choose to get sh** faced at a party.
    As for the antisocial thing, you can still make friends with people and go out and have fun without failing out of medical school. And being social doesnt mean you have to party and get crazy drunk all the time. You can easily just get a group of people together to go out to lunch some time after lectures, or maybe find something fun to do after exams, like bowling. The more you isolate yourself the more miserable you are going to be. and its only going to get worse as med school gets tougher. dont be the weird emo.
     
  37. WellWornLad

    10+ Year Member

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    I'm so sick of people jumping into conversations with their straw men and tearing them down like they've got some new revelation.

    All you're doing is arguing against one extreme. Yes, don't isolate yourself completely. Yes, don't go out every night and neglect your studies. Everyone knows this, and no one is arguing for either. Thanks anyway.

    And if you think there's no difference in attitude and perspective between the kids saddled with loans and those who can quit anytime, I dare say you're of the latter persuasion.
     
    #36 WellWornLad, Dec 7, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2008
  38. Forbes

    Forbes K20A2
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    Strangely enough, that is my plan.
     
  39. VoiceofReason

    VoiceofReason all i care about is money
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    Yeah. I thought about this for a little bit and it really does seem to me that the people who are carefree about their spending (i.e. the ones who are always going out to bars) are always the ones who are young like 21-22 and sons or daughters of doctors or some other high earners.

    Med school doesnt make me antisocial, im about as social as i ever was. But as long as people prefer to binge drink rather than go out to dinner or a movie then im gonna be skipping a lot of that to wash my sheets or something.

    Our class had a christmas party last night to celebrate the end of the semester. Its the same drunken poon hunt as always, never changes lol. It was fun but it will last me for a month or more.
     
  40. meister

    meister Senior Member
    Physician Gold Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    You are correct, VoR. Drunken poon hunt is exactly how I would describe 90% of the social functions at my school. There are a ton of kids here whose parents are physicians, and obviously they are the ones care-free about spending and getting Starbucks every day during lecture break.

    While it's easy to be bitter, I just politely decline to go to their parties or spend any money and try to stay relaxed. Hard to do when you're well past $100k in debt during first year. Sweet!
     
  41. JustSomePreMed

    10+ Year Member

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    Wow you guys really got off topic. But since I apparently abandoned my own thread, I guess that's not unexpected.

    Anyway, I've gotten slightly better at being social (but I've gotten even better at being ok with not being as social as I want), but this whole not-having-time-for-dating thing gets to me. It's damn near impossible, in my opinion, to be able to start dating someone while in med school (unless it's a fellow med student, which doesn't interest me). Since I've been here I've actually gone out on a few dates (2 with one girl I met while out, 1 with a girl I met through a friend), and both instances ended with me just not having the time to invest in that initial "we're dating and we love to be around each other all the time" phase. So that was pretty much that, had to tell them politely "it's not you, it's me" essentially.

    I don't really have a question, just voicing frustrations. It's kinda depressing.
     

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