Second thoughts about medical school..

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by aquababy31, Oct 20, 2002.

  1. aquababy31

    aquababy31 New Member

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    I'm a first year medical student and i'm really struggling. I worked so hard to get here, and now i feel like i can't do it. I'm so stressed out and ended up in the hospital. I missed so much class and I'm really behind...I don't know what to do. This sucks!
    Now i'm not motivated to study and don't know if I should continue or take a leave of absence. Any advice??
     
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  3. Raptor

    Raptor Found one

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    I am not a medical student yet but just read my signature, its always inspirational and will pick you up again. Good Luck
     
  4. double elle

    double elle Senior Member

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    aquababy,
    I am an MSII and doing rather well. However, there isn't a DAY that goes by that I question whether or not this is for me. As applicants and undergrads, we can't even imagine the rigor that goes along with this huge committment to medical school. It affects every aspect of our lives, something many of us hadn't counted on. I talk to my classmates about this all the time, and I haven't found one that, at times, doesn't question their decision to be in medical school. Now, are we serious when we question it? No, probably not. That is coming from frustration and fatigue. Most of us are happy and feel fortunate to have been admitted. BUT, that doesn't mean we love every minute of it. It doesn't mean that we are guaranteed to succeed. It doesn't mean that we don't get scared to death at times.

    You are just starting out. Therefore, you have a HUGE adjustment phase to get through. Once you make it thru that (probably by jan/feb), things seem to fall into place a little easier. Course material doesn't get easier, but it may seem like it does simply because you have developed ways to handle it all. Your time management will improve with time, as will your study habits.

    Now, as for your current situation...You need to talk to your professors and work something out with them. The only thing you have is your ability to communicate, well....unless your dad is president of the school or something. If you truly don't want to take the leave of absence, you need to bust your butt to get back on track to finish out the quarter/semester. This term may be a wash, in that your grades are barely above passing. But, hey, that's still PASSING. After whatever break you get, start fresh next quarter and be sure to TALK to your classmates about things. See what they are doing to cope with the stresses of school. And I don't mean just get together with the biggest complainers in your class. I mean get with the serious, mature people who have gone thru the same adjustments as you and seem to be getting a grasp on things.

    Sometimes it seems as if we are the only ones struggling, when we really aren't. When I find myself in a cycle of behaviors that don't seem healthy for studying or simply living, I ask others if they are going thru the same things. Usually, I get people rolling their eyes at me, laughing and saying "Yes, doublelle, I'm doing the same thing."

    As far as motivation...that comes and goes. For instance, right now, I need to be doing my early-morning-cramming for a Neuro exam in an hour and a half. I don't know how old you are, but I am 28 and I KNOW I could not have committed myself to medical school fresh out of college. I didn't have the direction, motivation, or work ethic. (I am not saying that all younger, fresh out of college students can't handle med school...just that I had some growing up to do.) If you are a rather young person, maybe you should take some time off and just live life for a while. Believe it or not, you really do have MANY options.

    Best of luck to you. We are all in this together....you aren't alone!
     
  5. ckent

    ckent Banned
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    What did you end up in the hospital for?
     
  6. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    Since we often feel alone in times of stress, I thought I would let you know that I, personally, am going through the same type of situation...but, I have not been hospitalized. Mentally, though, I have been through hell...it seems like. Before I got into medical school, I always thought about my future career as a doctor. Now, after 10 weeks of school, I catch myself thinking about other careers, and about not practicing medicine. I am sure it is common, but I still feel like sh_t.

    I guess we just have to hang in there, but believe me...it's hard. I hope it gets better. Good luck.
     
  7. MD2b06

    MD2b06 Senior Member

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    Pretty common concerns that you're having. I think that ALL of us, at one time or another, wonder just what the hell we've gotten ourselves into. ;) It's not an ideal lifestyle by any means, but I view it as paying your dues so to speak. What you need to remember is that the admissions committee selected you b/c they felt that you were capable of doing the work. There's no way they accept you if they think you're not going to succeed. No medical school brags about how many students they managed to fail. If they have confidence in your abilities, then so should you! There's a mountain of information in first year, and I won't pretend to tell you that I know what the best way to process it is. One thing I would suggest to do is to find a small group, maybe 3 or 4 other ppl to study with. It's a nice support system of sorts that also motivates you to study when you feel like taking a day off. Honestly, you just gotta find what works for you and keep at it. Different strokes for different folks.
     
  8. Back34

    Back34 Senior Member

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    I actually have a bit of insight into the type of situation that you're in as something like that happened to me last year. What you definitely should do is get help as soon as possible. There's no shame in seeing the school counselor / psychiatrist. Had I done it myself sooner, I would have avoided a lot of wasted time and would be an MSII instead of an MSI now. They really can do amazing things in the midst of a seemingly hopeless situation, even though I didn't believe it at the time. He / she will work with you to bring about the best outcome, whatever it may be. For myself, we decided that the best thing to do was to take a leave of absence and deal with some issues that I really didn't know were hindering me. With those somewhat resolved, I returned to school and am doing great...a little stressed, but no more than the next guy.

    Hang in there. Things aren't as bad as they seem and I'm sure everything will work out fine.

    God Bless and all the best.
     
  9. yaoming

    yaoming Banned
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    for students who are doing average or below in classes, how do you feel? i'm only asking because i'm there for some classes. can these students (maybe i myself included) still become a specialist or a nonprimary doctor with these types of stats?
     
  10. vomer

    vomer Member

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    yaoming--

    Dude, I really think that your post is better suited for another thread. If you bothered to read the posts above you, I think that you would see someone is really hurting here and that a lot of people are sharing that pain. I remember my first year and it was no walk in the park. Your concerns are valid--but better placed in elsewhere, perhaps on your own thread.

    Aqua--hangin there. I know exactly how you feel. I don't go to a traditionally competitive school, but the bottom line is that it hard no matter where you are and what you are doing. I have often questioned my decision to be here--medical school has come at great personal expense and sacrifices to myself and my family. You just have to roll with the punches and NEVER GIVE UP. Go to your Dean of Student Affairs and seek there aid and be honest with what is going on. They really are there to help you--that is their job. Make a plan and charge ahead. Believe me, it doesn't seem like it now, but this will make you stronger and in the end a better doctor and physician.

    Take care of yourself and remember the last guy in the class is still called Doctor.

    :)
     
  11. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof

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    I second this. I totally understand how you feel Aqua.

    I have questioned my being in medical school for almost the whole time since I've been here (and I have only been here since August). I failed my first anatomy exam, and then I failed my second biochemistry exam. I know why I have failed and I know what I need to do now, but this acknowledgement has come at a heavy emotional price. I am finally coming to the conclusion that, yes, I have made great personal sacrifices to be here and they come at the expense of my living a very happy and secure life of living with my husband (I live near my school and commute home to see my husband on the weekends- and I don't always get to go home since I wind up having to stay by school on weekends when there is test coming).

    It takes time, sometimes longer for some, to get used to being a medical student. It definitely is not an easy transition for some of us. However, we need to have faith in our abilities, afterall, the admissions committee had faith that we could handle school- if they didn't, they never would of let us in. Try to hang in there, and definitely talk to people who could provide some assistance and insight as to how to try to get adjusted. I've found that speaking to other people in the class who are most like me has helped me cope much better than when I was holding everything in and feeling like I am the only one going through this. Good luck, and keep in mind that things do work out :) .
     
  12. praying4MD

    praying4MD 2K Member

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    Without going into details, suffice it to say that this post brought me great comfort and was quite uplifting when I needed it most.

    I question my choice of profession *several* times a day... several. I even got a part time job to investigate another career option-- yep, I'm that serious. I recently stood in a group of MS1's at school and asked, "how many of you have second guessed your career choice now?" expecting to find at least one person chime in. Zilch. Zero. They all looked at me stupefieid and I felt like I was the only one going throught that.

    Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one out there struggling with these issues. it's comforting to know.

    take care.
     
  13. daisygirl

    daisygirl woof

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    I'm glad that my post was there just when you needed it Prayin. I know all too well how hopeless things can seem to get when you feel like you are the only one going through a really tough experience. Hang in there, everything really does work out in the end- sometimes it just takes a bit of time before things start to become crystal clear :) .
     
  14. CANES2006

    CANES2006 Miami chica

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    Yeah, definitely find a "support" group to study with.;) I used to study by myself all of the time in undergrad, but now I started to study with some people from my class. It really helps alot because you guys support each other when you start feeling like giving up. Also, you make great friends in the process.:D :cool:
     
  15. SomeFakeName

    SomeFakeName Banned
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    Screw it, drop out and do something better with your life while you can. I'm not joking here man, honestly this is serious. Showing up at the hospital at 6 A.M. everyday and seeing the same people and going through the same motions becomes very mundane. The "glory" of medicine is a huge sham. There is no light at the end of the tunnel, it's just one day blending into another, over and over again. By the time we finish training, managed care will have cut reimbursements so low that we'll be taking out loans just to pay back our med school loans. I don't even feel like I'm 'practicing' medicine anymore, more like following strict protocol to cover my a** in case some patient decides he'd like to make some money and sikes his lawyer on the hospital. Everybody around me is practicing "self-protection medicine" if you know what I mean...it's the new rage. All it takes is one patient to decide he wants to sue and your life is living hell for the next 5 years as you go through proceeding after proceeding to see if their claim is justified. And it's never obvious who it's going to be, in fact it's not always the person you actually treat. One of the residents here and an attending from the VA are getting sued by the family of a 98 year old lady. Bascially they are suing on her behalf because they don't think she got proper care. Not to sound crude, but she's 98 years old for crimminy sakes and the attending did all he could and she's still alive to sue him! Believe me, a couple years of this and you'll have a new found hate for lawyers and how much they can make an innocent person suffer, a hate that you never knew existed before. If you're going to stick with it, don't worry about your grades and stuff like that, because none of that stuff matters once you hit residency. Just pass and get it over with. Life on the wards is so entirely different that you sometimes wonder why they bothered with most of the first two years of med school. You learn what medicine is all about once you start internship...med school seems like a stepping stone in hindsight. I know you may think this is all coming from a tired, jaded resident...but most everybody here is like this, even the chiefs. One thing though, if you want the life with minimum hassles, try your best to get into dermatology or psych. Unfortunately dermatology requires very good grades and board scores, so you're gonna have to bust your butt if you want it...I guess enough people have figured they want a life and not be a slave to their profession. On the other hand, psychiatry is pretty easy to get. 9-5...that's what you want buddy. None of this 100 hour work week and 80 hours once you make attending. PM&R is also very good, but it's getting more competitive as med students are getting wiser every year.
    Repeat after me...derm,pysch,pm&r...over and over.
     
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  17. MaybeMD

    MaybeMD Senior Member

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    YAOMING???!!!!! What are you doin' in Med School? Aren't you supposed to be playin' with the Rockets??:laugh: :laugh:
     
  18. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    SomeFakeName...Even though what you said is a pretty pessimistic view, I would have to somewhat agree. The funny thing is that I am only 10 weeks into my first year of medical school, and I have already taken on your sort of attitude. As a premed (as does every other premed does), I would read your sort of posts and blow them off, stating that I was going to bust a$$ and be really competitive in med school. HA!! Man, how that has changed in a short time. All I care about now is getting into a residency that I don't hate. Don't get me wrong...I am not at the very bottom of the class, but I will probably end up in the bottom half to the bottom third. The thing about it is...I don't care. Then again, I'm not going for Ortho/Derm/ENT, but I don't want to do family medicine in a rural area either...just something in between that is cool. So, the point of all this is.....I don't care about grades as long as I pass. And, I feel sorry for the people who are killing themselves because they think they have to, because (in my opinion) most of them will look back and regret it. They are really missing out on the prime years of their life. Again...my opinion. Some agree and some disagree.

    I think fear of not getting into a residency drives so many people to kill themselves in med school. People look at the person next to them and say..."I have to beat this guy because I am competing against him to get into a top program". It sucks, and it is an easy trap to fall into. I am just not going to do it. Hell, if I can't get into a residency program that I like, there are tons of other careers that I can do with an M.D.

    I was told that medical school was laid back and noncompetitive. Only about 10% of our class are not gunners, and gunners are contagious, so keep away from them (some of my friends are gunners, so don't think that I hate them, but they are contagious, and they stress me out when we talk about anything related to school). All in all, being mediocre in medical school is the key to happiness in my opinion. Anyone agree?
     
  19. Kovox

    Kovox Going Places

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    Wow. All of these posts are insightful.
    I am actually applying for the entering class 2003.

    I think that the very first time you have the opportunity to make your patient feel better or save a life....everything will fall into place..and then you'll realize "THIS is why I became a physician."

    It's a shame that most schools don't allow early patient interaction.
     
  20. Jim Picotte

    Jim Picotte Senior Member

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    Don't worry about it, the first year of medical school is tough. The first two years don't matter anyway besides Step I. I failed my first two anatomy exams, failed so bad I couldn't even pass the class even with 100% on our final two exams so I dropped out of anatomy and extended my program. My first year of medical school esentially became two. The added time was very helpful to me and even the few classes I did have, I didn't do all that well, just barely passing. It was a bad first year and a half and then finally I got motivated again and did well. I salvaged a pretty decent Step I score, did great in my clinical years and have been enjoying my profession since.

    It's a tough transition....just relax, don't worry about being at the top of the class (I was certainly at the bottom 25% my first two years).
     
  21. Zeffer

    Zeffer "My dog ate em. I swear thats the truth!"
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    A little advice from an M2. Whenever someone asks me "How hard is Med School" or "How do you do it?" I give this simple analogy:

    Med School is like getting hit with a baseball bat. Yeah sure it hurts the first couple of hits, but eventually you become numb.

    The pain comes from the mental conditioning that occurs in the first semester. The numbness comes from realizing that you can do it but it isn't going to be pretty.

    Deciding whether or not med school was right for you was something you did before you were accepted. I think the question you are realling pondering is if you are willing to take the hits that come? Only you can answer that question.
     
  22. beezar

    beezar Senior Member

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    Basic sciences totally suck. Very very very very painful and just plain boring. But clinics are so much better and you will be much happier in them. Don't get me wrong, there is a lotta crap you have to take while doing rotations, and often you will be bitter (especially with how you are graded in clinics), but still they are a 100 times better than basic sciences. And studying for step 1 was the most painful of all. But I am so glad it is all over, and it was all worth it, because I'm having a lot of fun in rotations.

    So it does get much much better, just hang in there! One thing that helped me immensely was to cut all of my basic science classes and study on my own... helped me keep sane and was much more efficient. Actually taking that step though is pretty frightening because of the fear of failing, but once I did, I beat myself over the head for not doing it earlier. good luck!
     
  23. DR

    DR Xtra Large Member

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    Well, interesting. My input here is is probably a drop in the pond of advice you've received, but I feel a bit compelled to help a person feeling a bit lost right now. Medical school sucks. This is the thing you have to know right off. It sucks. It sucks, and then it sucks a little more. But the thing is, everyone gets through it and, unfortunately due to the typical personality flaw of "the medical student", most will be too insecure to admit to you that they have, or do feel the same way as you. I think you would be shocked to learn how many third years, fourth years, and residents still to this day repeatedly think of other fields that they could be doing. The thing is, medicine is a field that is so demanding of the pursuer, that it is human nature to be preoccupied with fantasizing about a different, less demanding job. Aquababy, understand and know that your class is FILLED with people who seem like they're "chillin", and totally fine with school. These people are freakin' on the inside, and are going home and bugging out just the same as you. These are the same people who, I guess as a function of some of the personalities that apply to med school, will try to convince you that they are not studying that much. I don't know what the heck this is, but there is a rash of it in med school. They spend tons of time and energy trying to convince their colleagues that they have "done nothing" and really haven't studied at all; "I'm so behind!" Ever heard that one? These are the people who when they leave their stuff out, you see they are completely caught up...or ahead...and have gone through everything 6 times, hi-lited, underlined....ugh!! Anyway, I guess the point is, it is completely normal for you to be stressed, to be emotionally taxed, and to be constantly doubting your choice at this point. My advice to you is to stick with it and hang in there. Ever here psychologists advise people never to make choices when they are angry? Well, same principal. You are upset and feeling a bit beaten right now, so don't make any career decisions. You always will have the opportunity in the future to decide if medicine still isn't for you (though it probably is since you applied). For now, stick with it, because if in the end you realize that you were just thinking that way because you were upset, then you will be happy you stuck with it. You can always leave, but not necessarily come back. You are too early in the game to make decisions based on what residents feel. They are in a bad time themselves right now; they will all try to tell you that they are unhappy as doctors, yet they all stuck with it and are still there, going to work every day. Hang in there. It gets better. It always does. Life throws some pretty nasty stuff at us, but always sneaks in there with some pretty great stuff before you know it! Hold on, and wait a bit...the great stuff is around the corner!
     
  24. Resident Alien

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    I must say P/F and early clinical exposure has put so many things in perspective as well as allowed me to have a breather every once in a while. Not to mention having a good class of fellow colleagues.
     
  25. mikecwru

    mikecwru M.D. = Massive Debt

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    Yeah, but the pass/fail ends in two years and the "early clinical exposure" at case consists mainly of hand holding and trying to get some woman to come in for her prenatal visits and actually take care of her unborn baby.

    mike
     
  26. Ligament

    Ligament Interventional Pain Management
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    I am an Intern in Chicago and find this thread cathartic.

    I am going into PM&R next year and feel happier with my specialty every day I trudge through the general medicine floors.

    Aquababy, I was in your shoes, more or less. First and Second year are horrible. No way around it, unless you extend your first and second years into three years...could provide you with a more humane pace. I would HIGHLY recommend this for you.

    Also, do not waste your time going to class. Study at home during the day, and if you have a notepool service subscribe to it to find out what the heck is happening at school. I did this to such an extent (never going to class) that most of my classmates had no idea who I was when I graduated (I was something of a celebrity that day).

    Years 3 and 4 will be much better, even if you have call. I truly feel for you. Please hang in there, accept that you will suffer for a couple years, and look forward to becoming a 3rd year. Then all will take a turn for the better.

    Make sure you have regular psychiatric care, talk to a psychologist, and try to sleep and eat at least every third day. You can cut down showers to once a week. ;-)

    Hang in there! Regards!
     
  27. mvalento

    mvalento Senior Member

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    i guess i have a different view on the matter...i think that the first few years of med school have been great. first year was tough, yeah, but i didn't think it was overwhelming- maybe it's because i am at a pass/fail school (NYU). i am an MSII now and it is a lot more work, true, but the material is so much more interesting. there have been a few times that i have thought that there was just too much information to learn (e.g. my last neuro exam) but i guess, well, med school isn't supposed to be easy. most of my friends seem to be happy, coping well, all that. it helps that there is a very collaborative learning environment here, not much competition. overall my lifestyle has been much better than my friends who have jobs in the business world.

    someone earlier alluded to a trend of med students becoming wiser with their career choices, and i agree with that. many of my classmates are shooting for the easier-lifestyle career paths (derm, EM) rather than the surgical specialties. as for me, it's looking like it could be pathology...i never would have guessed that a year ago.

    bud
     
  28. Airborne

    Airborne Senior Member

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    I took a couple of years off between MSII and III to do my PhD and had absolutely no interaction/contact with clinical medicine. I, too, was wondering during the early med years if I had made the right choice, but, interestingly, I found out that the more away from it I was, the more I missed it, and realized how much towards being a clinician my interests were/are.

    Yeah, the first two years are a bit - well, blah. But, I think that 2nd year was FAR more interesting (as long as you're not prone to the med student syndrome (ie I've got every disease I've read about!)) - Now 3/8ths through my third year, I am about as happy as I've ver been! The interaction with people and the impact you make (albeit more peripheral as an MSIII) really solidify all the pain, long-nights and seemingly non-stop information you need to absorb.

    Importantly, do as well as you can the first two years - without being an obsessive narcissitic gunner. They really do set the foundation for the rest of your career and one cannot diagnose what the mind does not know.

    In anycase, we've all gone through this, and continue to do so - no doubt throughout our careers.

    Be happy - enjoy things outside of medicine, and remember that it is merely a small stepping stone to a life of caring and compassion.

    Airborne
     
  29. SDMD2B

    SDMD2B Junior Member

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    Aquababy and others,

    I just couldn't sit back and let this thread go on without throwing in my 2 cents...

    For those struggling in med school, academically, psychically, socially, etc. taking time for yourself is essential and your school absolutely should have resources and reasonable policies to help you through whatever it is that ails you. How can you expect to act as healer when you yourself are suffering? Many people at my school have taken personal time for many reasons and I've seen a bunch return to the grind rejuvinated, refreshed, and revived.

    Regarding the rather *negative* comments about choosing Derm/Psych/PM&R so you can work less, I must say that I find the sentiment PATHETIC in the true sense of the word. You should choose your career based on what you LOVE, and what you will ENJOY DOING every day for 40 years. I always get really disappointed when I see fellow students trending away from altruistic service careers (eg underserved, primary care, even academics) and towards selfish lifestyle careers (eg medical 'shift work'). I hope I am not alone in still feeling (at the end of med school) a sense of personal responsibility and dare I say 'calling' to the profession. If you really didn't want to be the one caring for the sick and needy in their darkest hours, being invited into the lives of fellow humans to usher them through the most profound of life's moments, then what was all that on the med school application about 'helping people'?

    I find that the further I progress in my career, the more responsibility I take on, the more I am inspired by the amazing people I have the privelege to care for. Certainly the IVDA's and county prisoners we sometimes admit aren't as inspiring as others, but it is essential to seek out experiences that rekindle the fires within you that brought you to medicine in the first place. Being so close to Mexico here in SD I've gotten to work several weekend clinics south of the border for children with HIV, migrant camp workers, etc. Watching some of those mexican doctors at the bedside in the face of such desparate poverty is quite close to what a great sunday homily used to do for me. I can't get enough! I return to the wards inspired, amazed, and completely unable to complain given the relativity of suffering.

    I suppose my point is that once you've decided that you're right for medicine and you've committed to sticking it out, how you'll get through it is largely a matter of attitude. And you are always in charge of that! You can choose to complain, to wonder if you could maybe work less and still make $$, to slump into cynicism like maybe you saw one of your residents do after reading House of God. OR...you can try to surround yourself with inspirational people. You can do an extra preceptorship with a professor you really click with. You can do a volunteer 'feel-good' medical trip on one of your Christmas or Spring Breaks. You can put it all in perspective by reflecting on the impact you are having every day on people's lives with your words and actions.

    Sorry for the sentimental rant, but submitting my residency appliations (in med-peds, by the way) has gotten me all nostalgic about how far I've come in 4 yrs.
    I welcome your comments...
    CR
     
  30. SomeFakeName

    SomeFakeName Banned
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    With all due respect SDMD2B, we now live in the real world, not the same one most of us imagined when we applied to med school. People who have been through a few years of med school, and especially those now in residency, are seldom the exact same person they were when they showed up to their med school orientation day.

    Things change, and along with it so do people. During my first year of med school, there were I'd say about 20 people in my class who were 100% SURE that they were going to be neurosurgeons, vascular surgeons, trauma surgeons, and other "top gun" surgical specialties. So they studied like crazy the first 2 years to get honors, AOA, high USMLE scores, etc. By the time they hit the wards in 3rd year and experienced what it actually meant to go through surgical training, only 2 of them stayed interested in surgery enough to apply for surgical residency after med school. Why? Because they had a preception of what it was to be a surgeon and loved the IDEA of being one, but none of them actually knew what it involved to get there...showing up every day at 6:00 to pre-round and working non-stop until around 8:00 at night before you got to go home, that is if you weren't on call.

    How can you live a comfortable life when you do this everyday? What about your wife (or husband) and kids, is it fair to them that you come home exhausted everyday and pass out on the bed just to wake up by 5:00 the next morning to make it to the hospital to pre-round at 6:00? Is it REALLY worth it in the end to sacrifice your personal life to be a surgeon or any other medical specialty that requires the utmost of dedication in terms of time and energy? And will you be entirely fulfilled as a person if you love what you're doing as a physician, but your family and social life is suffering because of it?

    These are just some of the questions everybody has to answer for themselves when going through med school, and your own personal answers to these questions will guide you in determining what you do after med school is over. Unfortunately some people wait until a few years into their chosen residency to answer these questions, and then decide they should have done something else.

    For some people it is worth compromising some of their personal life to pursue a demanding medical specialty, but for others it just isn't. They have (or develop) interests outside of medicine that they do not want to compromise.

    You said in your post:

    "If you really didn't want to be the one caring for the sick and needy in their darkest hours, being invited into the lives of fellow humans to usher them through the most profound of life's moments, then what was that on the medical school application about 'helping' people"?

    Again with all due respect, this mode of thinking is very accusatory and self-righteous. People change from day 1 of med school, and realize that they in fact don't want to deal too much with patients. Some experiences in med school, and especially during residency, may convince some people that it is just not worth to attend to patients for many hours day in and day out, and they are not willing to sacrifice their personal lives to care for complete strangers. I know that sounds harsh, but that is sometimes the reality when people get exposed to extremely demanding and uncompliant patients, long days and nights at the hospital away from your family, law suits from patients even though you tried your best to care for them, etc, etc.
     
  31. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    Well said, SomeFakeName...

    The thing I hate most is the idea that if one doesn't totally turn his/her life over to medicine, than he/she is not a dedicated and competent doctor. This idea makes me sick. And, if it is true, than I might as well leave the field of medicine now.

    When I talk to physicians, I always ask them the valuable question..."What would you do different if you could go back and start over in medical school?" The overwhelming majority of them talk about picking a "lifestyle" residency. They don't talk about their "innate, God given calling" towards a particular field of medicine. Rather, they talk about how they have missed a lot in the lives of their spouse and children, and they would sacrifice money for a better lifestyle.

    I just find it really hard to believe that someone can enjoy ANY particular field if you have to turn your life over to it. I don't care how much you would love being a surgeon. Sure, the money is great, the prestige is awesome, and it is just downright cool to be KNOWN as a surgeon. However, would you continue to love it for 40 straight years, day in and day out, when you had to do such things as skip your son's first tee-ball game, miss your daugther's first dance recital, or grow increasingly distant from the spouse that you once fell in love with?

    Honestly, I want to know what motivates people to give their lives to their medical careers. Is it money, power, prestige? I see people with a tremendous amount of dedication, and I wonder what drives them. Anyone?
     
  32. SDMD2B

    SDMD2B Junior Member

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    Honestly, I want to know what motivates people to give their lives to their medical careers. Is it money, power, prestige? I see people with a tremendous amount of dedication, and I wonder what drives them. Anyone?

    I tried to answer this one already in the bottom half of my first message. Maybe I'm more naive or sentimental than most, but simply by seeking out the magic that takes place every day during our harried routines is what does it for me. A bit of a Zen approach, perhaps, but truly appreciating the simple things makes life so much richer.
     
  33. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    Lots of different things motivate people to work hard. I just think it is hard for someone like me to get through medical school/residency when I don't have that unrelentless drive. Not only is it hard to make decent grades, but it is even harder from a psychological standpoint. Seeing my friends go home and enjoy themselves after work and on the weekends and spend time with family and friends is very disheartening. Those are the simple things in life that I enjoy. I just think that medicine is not very compatible with that idea. And, in my opinion, this is the main reason why a large number of older (wiser??) physicians are unhappy. Also, I think this is the main reason why "lifestyle" residencies are becoming more popular. I just think students are getting smarter.

    Again, these are the things that go through my head every day, and these thoughts are the main reason why I am struggling in my first year. I know that these thoughts are somewhat common among first year students, but I just don't see how I am going to make it through all of this.
     
  34. SomeFakeName

    SomeFakeName Banned
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    hihihi, I can only speak from my experience at what I see around me everyday at the hospital. I'll be the first to acknowledge that most med students initially don't have a firm grasp about what it entails to be a doctor after med school is all said and done. And this is why I think most admissions committees do not place much emphasis on your personal statement when you apply for med school, for they know that you'll undergo a lot of changes during the next 4 years and you can not possibly know exactly where you'll be or what kind of person you'll be at the end of the road after those 4 years.

    I also believe that you do not have to be a slave to this profession in order to be a committed, competent physician. You have to put a limit on how much you are willing to sacrifice to practice medicine after you get out of med school if you want other parts of your life to remain balanced. You don't realize until residency just in fact how much time even a straight internal med residency takes up. I can only imagine what a surgical residency would entail. And the fact is that the time you spend in the hospital is time away from developing and maintaining your life outside the hospital, which I personally believe is immeasurable to anything that you may accomplish in the hospital setting. That said, I know there are doctors out there who would disagree and say that your career as a physician is priority #1 and everything else takes a back seat. If that makes them content, so be it, as I realize that different things make different people happy. However, that does not give them the right to pass judgement on those who view medicine as PART of their life and not life in its entirety. And I think this is the essential factor behind the shift we are seeing when it comes to med students applying for residency. Somehow I think med students are finally getting over the old school belief that doctoring has to be their life and you have to dedicate every waking hour to it. They realize that there are other important things in life that they would miss out on if they pursued time-intensive specialties and those that require a lot of on-call time.

    That being said, I realize that the world will always need people who are willing to dedicate virtually their entire life to their specialty, and more power to those who decide to do so. However, if one chooses to go into one of these specialties, I think they are very foolish if they are going into it just because of reasons for "image" or "prestige". That stuff may appeal to those who still have the same mentality that they did in high school, but it is not very conducive when you're trying to help raise a family. I mean how much are you going to care of your image as a surgeon when you've been up for 40 hours straight and right when you think your day is over, you get called into an operation that may last another 3 hours? It may be manageable when you are young and single, but how will it ultimately affect your relationship with the most important people in your life---your spouse and children?
    Only do something if you will enjoy it and allow it to lead the life YOU wish to lead.
     
  35. HoosierDO

    HoosierDO Senior Member

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    wow guys...this is sorta sick!!!!! As you can tell by the name i am on the DO route...and it just amazes me how muich happier the students are at the DO schools...i cant imagine going through all of this...its scary i think!!! To anyone applying ot medical school...if this doesnt seem right to you...maybe look into the DO schools...and also check out hte osteopathic board here..very helpful, friendly, insightful...and most of all THEY ARE HAPPY!!!! this was not meant to offend...but it amazes me the difference!!!!
     
  36. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    An even more depressing fact is right now I feel the only reason why I am still in med school is the fact that I have never quit anything in my life, I can't think of a career that I could just jump into, I would really disappoint a lot of people, and I just flat out don't have the nuts to say "I quit."

    Sure, this is a privelige to be in medical school, and I took up a spot that several other people (who didn't get accepted) really want. But, I just can't think of anything right now that will make this all worth it.
     
  37. MD2b06

    MD2b06 Senior Member

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    Dude, do not come in here with that MD vs DO bs. No one wants to hear that. Why are DO students happier? Are DO schools easier? Do you guys not have to study? I have a lot of respect for DO's, but when you say stupid stuff like the above, it's annoying and just reinforces the inferiority complex that some DO students have. (Always trying to find faults with MD's and allopathic schools/training in general) You can't make a sweeping generalization about the happiness of all MD students based upon a single thread. I think all of us that are in medical school have sacrificed a tremendous amount to get here. Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with med school. I love the fact that it will enable me to practice a craft that I truly enjoy, but I despise the fact that I will have to sacrifice my personal life to get there.
     
  38. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again. HoosierD0 is still upset that he had to settle for a DO school.

    Please no more jackass comments HoosierDO.
     
  39. HoosierDO

    HoosierDO Senior Member

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    Ok...before anyone else misinterprets what i had to say...ill expand. I am by no means saying that anyone is wrong for feeling the way they do!!! I understand the love/hate relationship, and I feel bad for everyone that is going throught that...it must be a hard thing to deal with. So i do want to express my concern. As for the MD/DO bs, i was not intending on starting a battle...its sort of a waste of time if you ask me. Everyone is entitled to their opinion...and that is what discussion boards are for. So that can be dropped!!! I do however know that there are a lot of people currently applying to medical school, that dont realize there are two different routes...and probably some who are becoming very discouraged by this thread!!! My only goal was to say hey...think about it...look into it...you wont be sacrificing ANYTHING by doing so!!!! Being openminded is very important in medicine...so why not start early right? Anyway...sorry to those offended...sorry to those who took me the wrong way!!! touchy touchy touchy
     
  40. rotatores

    rotatores Senior Member

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    If you didn't want to start a fight why then did you post your comments in about 4 different forums.

    It just seemed like you were trying to rub salt in this guys' wounds.
     
  41. HoosierDO

    HoosierDO Senior Member

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    if you could read...i have said in many different places that i was looking for insight...saw a trend and wanted to see why it was...any who is this guy that im supposedly laughing at? I dont remember laughing at anyone...i said it sucks...
     
  42. Whisker Barrel Cortex

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    Hey DO guy,

    There have been several threads in the Osteopathic board over the past year that have shown miserable DO students with complaints that were much worse than the ones here. Trust me there are as many miserable DO students as there are MD students. There are also just as many happy MD students as DO. Part of it depends on the person and part on the particular school, whether that school is DO or MD.
     
  43. DarksideAllstar

    DarksideAllstar you can pay me in bud

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    I'll be brief, as I have a Human behavior exam looming, but medical school is nothing that I thought that it would be. I loved the basic sciences in undergrad, and I absolutely cant stand them here. We have an inordinate amount of classtime (usually 35hrs/week) and it just drains you. When we finally do get to clinic or Intro to Patient Care I dont want to sit there and learn where to listen for heart sounds and how to do an abdominal exam- I want to go home, hang out, go play some ball, everything but learn clinical things. In short, the basic sciences I (and others in my class) have found make you hate everything about medical school. All in all this has to have been the worst and longest two months of my life. Medical school makes you a cold careless person. It drains all the empathy and good will for others out of your body and then it laughs at you. Unless you take a laid back approach to your school life.
    In short, there is no way that I thought I would hate med school. Its all I have ever wanted to do, and it still is. Everyday, about a third of the class talks about other ways to make a living and pay off student loan debt without finishing med school. The first two weeks I wanted to drop out so badly I could taste it.
    The only way to get through this thing is to make some good friends and have a good time when you arent sitting in a lecture or cramming for a test.
    I guess that I had no real advice to offer, other than reaffirmation that not everyone loves the first year of medical school. You find a groove and you make it through. Dont worry about getting all A's-- settle for mediocrity. BE HUMAN. HAVE FUN. DO THINGS OUTSIDE OF SCHOOL. When you do these things school will seem a lot better and a lot more manageable. Things only got better when I stopped trying to get As in everything, and guess what- my grades got better when I stopped trying to do well.
    I think the hardest part about school is that most of us put so much stress on ourselves that it is impossible to do alright, little lone live up to our high expectations. I hope that you have the courage to continue on with med school. Good luck and hang in there.
     
  44. Resident Alien

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    Depends on the patient you get and your attending. You may have had a bad experience.
     
  45. marakah2

    marakah2 Member

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    I sympathize (however that is spelled) with those people in their residencies who are working long, long hours and are pretty fed up with it.

    However, I also feel that any job that someone is passionate about will require/involve many many hours. My father is not a doctor, he owns a small business-and trust me he works just as much at that. we can't even go on a vacation without him calling the office every afternoon. Any occupation that you care about will cause you to work hard---if it doesn't then i'm sure its something that isn't going to be very fulfilling. Personally, I can't think of a job that I could stand to do for forty years that would be 9-5 only....

    Second, yes its true that doctors work hard/long hours. But can i suggest reading the book "nickel and dimed" it is a story about a journalist who tries to make a living doing the everyday "minimum wage jobs". It gives you a perspective about what hard work actually is (ie physically demanding, morally demeaning) returning to an apartment that you can barely afford. Survival on those wages is draining, I would argue that it is possibly as draining as a residency. Imagine trying to raise a family with an income of 10/hr!

    i anticipate working many long days, however i think that the benefits to becoming a physician outweigh the downsides.
     
  46. Delvonik

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    Concerning the MD vs. DO arguement I don't see why it's continueing...(although I just brought it up...ugh...my big mouth...)But it seems a little childish to me.Your both licensed doctors.I understand most of you don't want to fight but some people like to think that they're superior to the other doctor and that kinda ruins it for everyone else.

    I'm having serious second thoughts about med school.I'm certainly not intrigued by the sciences,in fact I could care less about that.I think I'd rather much be a freelance writer.I could get up at twelve and stay out at night.Much more importanatly,I love to write.
     
  47. IlianaSedai

    IlianaSedai Senior Member

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    How to survive med school.... I sat down and wrote the important stuff in my life in a list.

    1 - Set aside a few minutes a day to sit down, think about my life, journal and/or pray.
    2 - Cook and eat healthy, get 8 hours of sleep, and take showers.
    3 - Spend time talking to and catching up with (future) spouse. (Amend #3 with children if applicable.)
    4 - Stay in touch with friends.
    5 - Study all the cool stuff.

    As it turned out... med school is only #5. It beats fiddling with the fonts on my web site, but comes *way* after sleep.

    If you are discouraged and feeling inadequate, think about who it is that has all these high expectations of you. What crazy idiot thinks you're going to stay up 'til 4 in the morning to get a silly assignment done for him? I refused to do that when I got paid in a full-time job, and med school is no different. But you have to decide that and let go of the impossibly high expectations you've set on yourself.
     
  48. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    Great Advice. Don't let medical school take over your life. The person who graduates last in his/her class is still a doctor. It's a cliche, but I always think about that phrase to keep things in perspective. Sure, class rank has a lot to do with residency positions, but it is not the end of the world to be below average in a group of smart, motivated people. That being said, to me, there are three types of specialties.....those that I will never want to go into....those that are my very top goal to go into....and those in between that I will be happy to go into, but are not my top goal. If I am not a top applicant, it is likely that I won't get into one of my top specialties....so what? There are a ton of specialty positions out there, and I know (or have faith) that I will end up happy in one of them. I have a hard time believing that one student can only be happy in one specialty. There are good things and bad things about each specialty.

    Obviously, this is a non-gunner attitude.
     
  49. snowballz

    snowballz Senior Member

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    Marakah2 is absolutely correct. The complaints I'm hearing seem so very petty in relation to what my father has done for 30 years. You're in class a total of 35 hours a week...what do you think a normal average 40 hour work week is like? Thirty five hours a week isn't even a full time job.

    REAL work is getting up at 2am for 10 dollars an hour like my father has for 30 years..he's got bum knees and osteoarthritis. In high school, he was raised by his single mother. She had three others to suppose too..so he went to work as soon as he was 16. When he graduated from high school..she dumped them at his door step. He cared for them all until they were old enough to be thrown out. No chance for college..REALITY was, is that he had to financially support his siblings. No chance for college..no one ever told him he had the option in 1972. Now he's fifty, his body is broken..and he still makes that same $10.35 an hour. Moral of the story: Quit whining..it could be much, much worse. It would be a privilege to never live that type of life.

    Alicia
     
  50. hihihi

    hihihi Member

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    "Quit whining..it could be much, much worse"

    Ouch.

    True, it could be much worse. However, it could be much better. The inefficiency of medical school education is what I am bitching about. Bitching about it on this message board may be helping me cope, so excuse me if I am coming across as a whiner.

    However, I would like to say that medical school is not a 35 hour a week job...FOR ME. Maybe for others it is. But, when I get home at 4:00, I feel like the day is just starting because I have to catch up on the material from previous days. In other words, I believe most jobs are centered around the idea of "when you get off of work at 5:00, you forget about your job until 8:00 a.m. the next day." For me, medical school is not like that.
     
  51. snowballz

    snowballz Senior Member

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    hihihi,

    I wish you luck. I just think medical school is a privilege and that one should just be happy to be there.

    Nothing good ever comes easy, though. ;)

    Alicia
     

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