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sophomore slump?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by fijianpuppy, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. fijianpuppy

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    i'm having a rough time...i'm an M2 and i've been feeling like crap lately. i feel like i've more or less signed my life away to studying. i rarely go out and see my friends, which is a big change from last year.

    for most of the beginning of the year i was pretty much okay with this, i knew most everyone goes through it and it was satisfying to be working so hard.

    lately though, i've been feeling a lot more down. i feel like i'm working so hard but rarely beat the averages (my class has set the records for highest averages over the years--i have a pretty neurotic class and we are on an h/hp/p system). sometimes i even fail tests. i've never felt like this before, even having gone to a top ten undergrad. it's frustrating and makes me more and more insecure.

    in fact, i feel like i'm more insecure than i've ever been, and it's starting to spill into my personal life. i know most people in my class dont have much of a life right now, but about 80-90% have serious significant others in their lives. i've always been a pretty independent girl, but now i'm starting to seriously worry about finding someone. these days i barely have time to sleep let alone date. i know i'm still relatively young at 23, but i know the next 7 or 8 years aren't going to be much less busy.

    some days are better than others, and i want to believe things will get better next year but i know every year is hard and i dont want to delude myself. i feel lonely and sad much of the time, and there's little that i look forward to anymore.

    anyway....just wondering if anyone is experiencing the same second year experiences...
     
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  3. sprinkibrio

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    I understand what you're going through. At my school second year is so much harder than first year and grades at the beginning of the year are especially bad. Plus the weather is cold and that always gets to me.

    In my case, having a boyfriend has really helped... Around the middle of first year I realized I am much happier with a boyfriend, thus joined eharmony and met someone. It was fun to go on dates and have something to talk about with med school friends besides school. When I finally met someone my life took an up. Best thing ever, I promise.

    Also, a lot of my friends without a SO or who are long disance study together instead of studying at home alone. I've found going to class and studying in the library also helps... I see people and occasionally go to lunch with them.

    I think second year people get lazy about hanging out... even after tests people are too exausted to do anything. That is hard to work around and I hate taking the initiative. I think most people at least have enough energy to do low key things like lunch, dinner, or pot lucks.

    What I really need to do is start working out. I think that is really the cure all.

    Good luck! We're all in this together, all taking it similarly.
     
  4. themudphud

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    Working out is a great idea--good way to see people, hang-out (sort of) and be healthy all at the same time. Intramural sports are also a fun way to socialize with classmates.
     
  5. engineeredout

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    After reading the OP's post, and then reading this, all I could think about was the scene from airplane (looked on Youtube, couldn't find the clip) :laugh:

     
  6. baily34

    baily34 ASA Member
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    sounds like your getting depressed. Working out would be a good first step to help your mood. Also, might want to talk to your doctor about medication.
     
  7. sprinkibrio

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    :confused::confused:

    Ever been lonely? Sorry I haven't seen the movie, maybe I'm taking this wrong.
     
  8. fijianpuppy

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    ha, yeah, i didn't quite understand the point of that post myself.
     
  9. WellWornLad

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    Ha, when I saw mention of Airplane I thought he was making reference to the "get a hold of yourself" scene (which would be mean, and I'm not directing this clip at the OP):

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_GJkKMPHxw[/youtube]
     
  10. engineeredout

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    Wasn't trying to be unsympathetic. If you haven't seen the movie then no surprise you didn't get it. I found basically every other scene from the movie on youtube except for that one.

    Hasn't anyone seen airplane! before? I thought it was one of those required by law to watch movies like Pulp fiction or the matrix.
     
  11. LadyWolverine

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    I always laughed my ass off when the nun was playing the guitar singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T while the girl next to her puked her guts out.

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
     
  12. Jwax

    Jwax Just a minor variation
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    Haha :laugh: it's funny if you've seen the movie. If you haven't, I can see how someone would take it wrong. Now I know what movie I am watching next; I haven't seen that in years.

    I guess I could add that I am also suffering from second year blues. I've never felt this much like medical school isn't worth the effort than I have in the last month or so. I started off the semester really well and kicked some butt for the first test block... since then I have completely lost focus and haven't been able to regain it. The second test block was the worst block ever and I performed horribly. This block has been just as hard to stay focused, but I am hoping that if I study my *ss off for the next two weeks, I'll get through it okay. Hopefully, xmas break will calm me down and I'll be able to pull it together for another 5 months until 2nd year is over and the boards have come and gone. I've said for a long time that first year was the hardest b/c it is such a huge adjustment, but 2nd year is slowly becoming just as hard due to burnout. Thank God next year should be more fun.
     
  13. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Worried Wellologist
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    Wow, I never knew others were feeling this way. It looks like this 2nd-year-blues is a definable phenomenon. I hear ya, fijianpuppy, and also echo what Jwax says about losing the sense that this is all worth it. First year I was able to tell myself, "yeah, this is a lot of hard work, but it will be over soon enough, then I'll hit the wards which will at least be more interesting and make the time pass faster, then there'll be a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of pursuing a speciality I'm interested in." Now, I feel much more like, what's the point? There are so many other things I'm interested in--music, writing, skiing, hiking--and I'm basically going to have NO time for any of them until I'm almost 40. Having lost so much motivation this year, I'm almost 100% sure I failed the last block and am going to have to remediate. I'm dreading 3rd year because I feel like I don't know anything and am going to get crucified daily by my superiors. Like the OP, one of the things I was hoping for upon moving to a new city to start med school was meeting that special someone, but it hasn't happened so far, and it's hard to imagine that it will once 3rd year starts and I'm putting in 12 hour days on the wards and spending my spare time studying for the shelf.

    I keep asking myself more and more: why exactly did I do this again? I'm sure ultimately there are rewards to being a doctor, but I question whether once you get there it's worth it to have sacrificed so much else in life. Lately I've begun to sense much more acutely that what people are always saying on SDN is true: if you're smart enough to get into medical school, you're probably smart enough to be successful at many other things, and if one of those other things interests you more than medicine, you should pursue that instead. I discounted that when I was a pre-med, but now I wish I'd paid more heed. Who knows? Maybe I could be making a living as a writer, or just have taken an easy day job and enjoy my spare time making music. You don't have to be a doctor to be content in life.

    I just hope I can pull myself together enough to get into a lifestyle specialty. Anesthesia, here I come! Or maybe not do a residency and take one of those business jobs instead, so at least I won't have to grind through my thirties in a residency.
     
  14. LadyWolverine

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    Seriously? I think at least 1/2 of my class had it last year (including myself). This is the time of year when it starts - right b/w thanksgiving and christmas. The reality of the fact that you will have no break longer than winter break for an entire year sets in, and the routine of 2nd year becomes drudgery (the stress of having an exam every 3-4 weeks). But somehow, you hang on through that gloomy 2nd semester, you find the energy to study for Step 1 for 4-6 weeks, and your first semester of 3rd year goes by in a flash. I can't believe I'm already getting excited about away rotations and electives in 4th year.

    The fog will lift eventually. Just try to find ways to make yourself happy here and there. Definitely take breaks and try to reconnect with non-med school friends, so that you don't have to talk shop 24-7, because you will be doing that non-stop until you graduate. Also keep in mind that pretty soon your classmates might stop being as social, fewer people out on post-exam nights, etc. That's ok, but make sure you don't alienate yourself, either.
     
  15. fijianpuppy

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    well, i must say it's nice to knowing that others are feeling the same way. the handful of people in my class that i feel like i can talk to about this share alot of the same feelings. it's just so hard, though. i feel like everyone puts on this happy face and walks around talking and acting like they know everything and have honored every course. i know most of it is a facade, but when you're feeling down, it's easy to feed into.

    i totally know what you mean, too, by the shift from first year mentality. for me, partially, the elation from getting in to med school was still fresh. also, at least at my school, the coursework (physio/immuno/genetics) besides anatomy was alot less heavy on the rote memorization which equated to less study time. i got by on far less hours, a healthier dating and social life, generally a world outside of med school which also probably helped me keep perspective.

    and i also agree about being nervous about third year---i think thats what makes me feel like i have little to look forward to. part of me is like, if i'm not kicking the **** out of these courses, does that mean i'm going to be bad at next year and the subsequent years? also, what will it mean for boards?

    it's a vicious cycle and i know i need to chill out, step back, and look at things objectively. its just far easier said than done.
     
  16. Trismegistus4

    Trismegistus4 Worried Wellologist
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    Ah, well, I don't talk to most of my classmates. That would only make me more depressed. ;)

    Seriously, one of the good things about my school is that the schedule allows us to have a life outside of medical school, so I have a lot of non-medical friends. The downside is that that will be all the more hard to give up once 3rd year starts.
     
  17. LadyWolverine

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    Contrary to popular belief, you don't disappear during 3rd year. Sure, time can be sparse when you are on call, don't have a weekend off, or have a shelf exam or presentation coming up, but there's still plenty of opportunity to have a life, if you make it a priority (FM, outpatient IM, psych, other rotations that have clinic hours).
     
  18. fijianpuppy

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    did you like third year more? granted, i am sure it has its own challenges..but did you feel like it was more enriching, and met more people outside of your class (residents, fourth years, etc)?
     
  19. LadyWolverine

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    I'm still in the middle of 3rd year. And the jury is still out on a lot of things. More enriching? I think so. More enlightening? Definitely, but not always in a good way. Meet new people? Oh hells yes. There are times when I love 3rd year, and times when I hate it. It's always hard to put 2 years of ideas, diagrams, notions, etc. into practice, and I still struggle quite a bit. I guess that's just part of the experience. I think it's safe to say that I feel a lot like I did when I was working, just without being very productive and feeling helpless and useless for a significant portion of the day.

    This year has been one giant reality check after another.
     
  20. soonereng

    soonereng Double Trouble
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    :(


    I'm sure my time is coming, but for now I am feeling completely opposite. I seem to be having a much easier time of things this year. Sure I get tired of studying, but at least it's stuff on a higher level rather than the second messenger this and receptor that all the time like 1st yr was.

    Granted last year I had a ton of personal issues that started even before the first day of school (long story short: the two cuties in my avatar were in danger from 16 wks gestation on and delivered 5 wks early, and I had to move back an hour away from my school because my house wasn't selling, and the day we did that my 5 wk old son developed an incarcerated hernia that landed us back in my school's children's hospital where he had to have surgery; okay so maybe that wasn't so short).
     
  21. DrZeke

    DrZeke yzarc gniog ylwolS
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    Oh yeah I feel the same way as all of you. All I can tell you is that even if it's just to have fun, meet people outside of medical school!!!!! IT REALLY HELPS!!

    Seriously, when I go to the gym on our campus, I always see people who work on campus and who are trainers and it's so nice to be missed by people who aren't your stupid classmates (it's normal that they get on your nerves). Also, studying at the library can be good, but I get distracted. Studying at starbucks makes me happier, because I feel like even though I sometimes have no life, at least I'm integrating into society with the rest of the world and not holed away somewhere. Another good thing is just dating or trying to go on dates, or trying to hang out with classmates 1 on 1. Even just to feel like you have things to offer and I don't mean sexually. Sometimes, it's nice to hang out with someone alone, whether they are same or opposite sex, because the conversations tend to be deeper and you can talk about stuff other than school. When you're with school people in a group sometimes that's all people can talk about - though my friends have a rule. Either way, when you're 1-on-1 you are always reminder of your positive qualities - ie: good listener or just seeing that someone is enjoying your company. It's a nice reminder that life doesn't always suck and you can have fun despite being in med school...

    Anyways, sorry to rant, but those things have certainly help me keep perspective even though with all my ECs, research and school there are days when I don't want to wake up ;)
     
  22. Abilene85

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    It's definitely happening at my school, too. I've been quite vocal about my feelings, but I think most people try to keep it to themselves. No one really wants to admit they're having problems, because then they seem like the "weak" one who can't just suck it up and happily carry on studying. I have had several people tell me privately that they have also been struggling, and the collective attitude in my class right now is one of apathy and a desire to simply keep our heads above water until break. If you are having real problems, consider seeing a counselor at your school if they offer one. I know that my school offers a few free sessions with the psychologist. I've had friends go and I have considered going myself just to talk through some of these feelings with someone who has seen students go through this year after year.
     
  23. DoctaJay

    DoctaJay bone breaker
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    Yeah I think I was at my lowest point about 2 days ago. I just wanted to:

    1) Leave California with its stupid earthquakes
    2) Go to the home I grew up in
    3) Jump in my bed and pull the covers over my face

    It took alot of encouragement from my wife and parents and I finally feel a little better. I agree with LadyWolverine that its that time of the year. I want Christmas to come so quickly, but I have to get through finals and 2 mock boards first. I remember life sucking pretty bad around this time last year and then being better after the break. I'm hoping that that this year too.

    I agree to that alot of my classmates seem fine and even happy, but slowly I'm talking to more who feel the same way. The think the perscription for this disorder is Christmas break.
     
  24. GZA

    GZA Marcel who?
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    Well spoken: nothing but endless pain, so to speak.
     
  25. fijianpuppy

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    has anyone seen their school counselor and has it helped?

    on a random sidenote, i have been wondering....are the students that excel in years 1 + 2 typically the same ones that do well in years 3 + 4?

    i ask because while some our the top students in our class are well-rounded, i find that a decent amount are socially awkward, arrogant--even to professors and generally not pleasant to be around.
     
  26. WellWornLad

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    I'll second that. I'm lucky to have a whole group of old friends in the area not in med school. It's fine to blow off steam and "talk shop" with classmates occasionally, but I enjoy not being completely immersed in med school. My pet peeve is when people talk about exam questions as soon as they leave the exam - let it go! Talk about it when you get the test back, don't torture yourselves just when the pressure is off. Sometimes I just have to leave campus and find someone who doesn't know the difference between a bacteria and a virus to hang out with.
     
  27. Jwax

    Jwax Just a minor variation
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    I have found that I desire to spend more and more time with my old high school & college (non-med) friends these days, and I imagine it is related with my growing apathy towards med school. I generally forget almost all of the questions from the exam w/in 5 minutes of exiting the room so I generally stare blankly when someone says, "What was the one about viral encephalitis?".

    The stress of first year is balanced by the excitement of being accepted into med school. The relative decrease in stress that is brought on by adjusting to being in medical school is balanced by growing burnout, realization that you've been studying for the last 20 years and you are just flat effing tired of it, and that the light at the end of the tunnel that you thought would be so much closer in second year really is still a long ways off.

    I think there are two kinds of people who are very successful in the clinical years - those who did really well in the BS years and really know their stuff and those who are really personable that can win people over regardless of answering "Ummm I'm not sure, maybe ____?" to pimping questions. So if you're not one, better work hard on the other.
     

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