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typical pre-med anxiety

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by kc361, Dec 11, 1999.

  1. kc361

    kc361 Member
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    Hi Everyone!
    First of all, I want to commend everyone on this AMAZING message board. I frequent another pre-med/med discussion group, and I always come away from it so utterly depressed - the people on there are more interested in belittling each other than in exchanging information that's actually valuable! I was beginning to develop a perception of the future medical professionals as narcissistic, selfish, and interested only in the monetary rewards of a career in medicine. The information and people on here, however, are so helpful and such a resource -- thank you so much!!!!!!
    My "predicament," if you'll even call it that, is pretty silly. I'm in the position that most pre-meds are- I don't ever, ever feel like I'm "doing enough." I work and I study and deprive myself of sleep 24-7, and yet, while I'm in a fuzzy, headachey, one-more-chem-test-and-I'll-die state, I still feel like others are doing more. I obsess over the tiniest things that could affect my GPA. I suppose it's b/c ALL you ever hear is that it's impossible to get into medical school, plus I'm at a school with an enormous -- and cuthroat -- premed population. My fiance finally sat me down this weekend and expressed his fears that if I don't lighten up, I'm either going to break in half or fall very ill. I want to take his advice, but at the same time, I'm terrified - everything that I hear tells me that if I relax my grip, my chances will be shot. I don't know what to do. I'm always feeling burnt out, but doesn't that come with the territory when you want to become a part of such a competitive field?? Isn't that what's expected?
    I'm just afraid of "getting lost" in the overwhelming number of applicants,and I need someone to tell me where to draw the line - what will make me stand out, so that I don't have to worry anymore (or at least worry less). I know that this sounds so silly and immature, and I deeply apologize. But I'm losing sleep over it (of which I enjoy precious little anyway). Several people have said that if I "WANT" it badly enough - if I really work - I have the potential for Harvard. With people telling me such things, I'm so terrified of blowing it. Plus, I think of the idea of exploring medicine - my dream field! - at such a place, and it thrills me! I know Harvard is a far, far reach, but if it were possible, and I blew it when I had a chance...it would be such a waste. At the same time,I don't want to have a nervous breakdown before I graduate college. I don't know how much of the anxiety is worth it and necessary.
    I would sincerely appreciate ANY advice that you could offer me. And I truly hope that I don't sound pretentious or spoiled. I'm just stressed beyond belief.
    Thank you so very much for your time. Take Care, and Happy Holidays to all!!!!!
    - Kate
     
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  3. Poet

    Poet Member
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    Kate,

    From someone who has seen her life fly by without so much as a childhood and young adult life I can tell you this: Please, PLEASE, have fun and enjoy yourself while you can hon. I understand your pressures and I completely relate to what your going through right now, but I assure you that in the long run you will resent and miss being young when you can't anymore.

    There is defintely a way to balance out this whole process. Unfortunately its the balancing act that proves to be more difficult than completing the work to get into med school.

    There is a fine line between obsession and pursuing a dream, trust me I've bordered this line for about 15 years now [​IMG] For me, the secret was to work hard, and I mean REALLY hard, but to play even harder.

    I balanced out the thesis, the full class loads, and working full time with things like skydiving, snowboarding, and traveling. These were very important things for me to do and helped me to keep my sanity throughout undergrad. (I did undergrad as a much older student) I felt guilty sometimes when doing them, especially when I "thought" I should be doing something else more productive. But in the long run, it is better to be a well rounded "healthy" person than a completely closed off hermit from the rest of the world.

    You sound like a sweet person, and a highly intelligent one at that [​IMG] Be good to yourself always and never let these pressures make you sacrifice your happiness, health or inner peace. That would be TOO high of a price to pay for such precious commodities.

    Good luck to you [​IMG]

    Sincerely,
    poet
     
  4. Ian Wong

    Ian Wong Member
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    Hello,

    Sounds like you have a rip-roaring case of PMS, or as I often refer to it: Pre-Med Syndrome.

    I've got a little section describing PMS on my web-page; the address to that site is at the bottom of this message. What it says, in a highly condensed version, is "RELAX!"

    I totally agree with Poet about the need to study hard, but also to rest up harder. As with anything else in life, you'll quickly run up against diminishing returns. Twenty hours of hard studying can potentially pull a 70% final up to an 85% final, but it'll probably take you an additional 100 hours of studying to get that 85% up to a 95%.

    Is it really worth it?

    Because in that extra time, you could be volunteering, working a cool job that allows you to meet and interact with a wide range of people, take up an interesting hobby or two, or just spend some quality time with your partner. Heck, I'm taking a break from studying the renal system to post this!

    All of these other activities will also prepare you for medicine and potentially make you into a better doctor. They also will probably a lot less stressful than beating yourself over the head studying. They are also going to be crucial in your application to medicine, if you wish to present yourself as a well-rounded person.

    Don't get me wrong and get too complacent. Getting into med school means you need to show the admissions committee that you can post up good marks. You'll still need to work like a rabid ant on speed, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take time out to reward yourself.

    Study hard, rest harder.

    Ian, MS1
    www.geocities.com/mdpremie

    [This message has been edited by Ian Wong (edited 12-12-1999).]
     
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  5. nicolette

    nicolette Member
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    Dear Kate,
    Let me first reassure you that your "predicament" is not at all silly. Many pre-meds go through what you are going through. I know because I went through similar feelings of obsession about my grades and feeling like nothing I did was ever enough or more special than what the student next to me was doing. I was not only burnt out when I graduated from college, but I was absolutely miserable because I lost any sense of perspective about my life. Looking back, I have too many regrets about all the things that I didn't take time to pursue. I also went to a very competitive school with a large pre-med population, so I definitely felt the pressure. I always used school work as an excuse to not go out with friends or experience life. I took a few years off from school to pursue non-premed activities and regain some sense of perspective. At home and away from other premeds, I realized how devastating the constant comparisons I made were to my self-esteem. Comparing yourself doesn't help you to do more and doesn't make a difference in the end. It just makes you feel bad, so stop focusing on others and realize that what you're doing will be good enough to get you into a medical school. I'm not sure what it takes to get into Harvard, but it sounds like you're on the right track towards going to medical school. I'm not sure that anything I say will help you gain perspective because that comes with one's own experience, but I really encourage you to take a step back and look at your life as it is now. Realize that you're doing the best that you can. You asked what you can do to set yourself apart from other applicants? My advice is to take time to pursue activities outside of medicine. Yes, outside the field of medicine because this will broaden your views and make you a more interesting person for it. Don't just work in a lab and volunteer at a clinic. Go take an art class, go sky diving, study abroad... Believe me, you need to have some outside interests to write about in applications and interviews and it will lend some sanity into your life.

    I wish you the best.

    [This message has been edited by nicolette (edited 12-12-1999).]
     
  6. Smile

    Smile Senior Member
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    kate,

    please, please try and put things in perspective. it is absolutely wonderful how hard-working and goal-oriented you are. but, remember that if you don't get into harvard, it's not the end of the world... harvard is not the only medical school out there. there are plenty of other competitive and not-so-competitive schools. also remember that it is not so much which school you go to that counts, it is the actual residency that will prepare you for your future as a doctor. you can easily go to a "lesser" school (meaning, those which have lower GPA's and MCAT scores as averages) but if you kick ass in classes and the boards, then you have a great shot at obtaining a good residency.

    so right now concentrate on making yourself the most well-rounded applicant possible. take time off to relax and give your brain and body a break. make time to do things you enjoy. it will help recharge your system and then stay on top of your academics even better.

    with your dedication, you will get into medical school. maybe not necessarily harvard, but a medical school. but don't forget that this isn't everything in life, and at the same time don't compromise your health. what good will it be in the long run if you fall really sick cause you hurt your body so much for so long? will it be worth it then?

    i hope i was able to help.

    get some rest!!
     
  7. kc361

    kc361 Member
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    Thanks so much for your support, everyone.
    I sincerely appreciate all of you taking the the time to encourage me. It's so very helpful; I already feel better. I really struggle to keep things in perspective, it's just difficult when you're influenced by pressure from all sides to perform, perform, perform. What I really needed was someone to just pat me on the shoulder and say, "Hey, it's okay, you're doing just fine; it's okay to admit you're not the bionic pre-med." And you've done that for me and more. Thank you.
    I think it's going to take me a while to settle down, but at least I know that I can now. You've taken some of the fear away. [​IMG]
    Thanks so much for your support and advice. Take care, and good luck in whatever endeavors you choose to pursue!!!
    Fondly,
    Kate
     
  8. japhy

    japhy Ski Bum
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    kate,

    Sounds like you are going through what we all are. I constantly look around and see what others are doing and, just like you, feel like I am never doing enough. Something that i have found very helpful, although it is extremely difficult to do, is to stop comparing yourself. You sound like a great person. There simply is no need to compare oneself with others. It only serves to stress you out. Another thing that I have found very helpful is to recognize all the hard work that you are putting in to chool, etc. Others might sometimes do this for you, but it is very important that every now and again you step back and say, 'You know what, I am working very hard and I am doing a great job and really helping other' or whatever relates to your situation. I have recently started doing this, again this one is very dificult it makes me feel somewhat prideful, but it helps so much. Best of luck

    japhy
     
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  9. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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    So this is what SDN was like in 1999.
     
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  10. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville
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    More full, articulate sentences and less meme-based. My how times have changed. Angst was something that was "cool" back then too. I sometimes look at some of these older posters and wonder what they're doing now.
     
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  11. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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    Most of them are probably attendings by now with fully completed fellowships. It was 15 years ago so even the brain surgeons are done!

    Wow, imagine what people will think of us and our ceaseless URM debates in 2030 when the USA is mostly hispanic.
     
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  12. Spitphire

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    I was 4 years old when this thread was made.....oh my :scared:
     
  13. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville
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    I'm sure they will have a meme about it :p
     
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  14. J Senpai

    J Senpai Grab my arm. Other arm. MY other arm.
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    And now we've had 15 years to perfect it.
     
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  15. 487806

    487806 Life of the Party!
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    Weird how people were posting letters on an online forum when the Internet was still in its early stages.
     
  16. Microglia

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    I found that interesting as well. It's like message boards back then were used in email format.
     
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  17. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville
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    *inserts meme about al gore inventing the internet*
     
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  18. Lucca

    Lucca Will Walk Rope for Sandwich
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    Since internet access was not universal and constant in those days online communication was still basically just "email". Without notifications, replying on a forum was basically just sending a letter to someone since you probably wouldn't sit and browse the internet again until 24 hours later. Reallllly surreal.
     
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  19. 487806

    487806 Life of the Party!
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    [​IMG]
     
  20. TreadLightly

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    I dunno if Kate made it man. She was way too high strung.

    Back in '99 I was absolutely killin it in cursive.
     
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  21. darklabel

    darklabel PGWhy
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    Wasn't all great. Remember Netscape, geocities, angelfire and Lycos? (Shudders).
     
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  22. Boolean

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    I was actually rather disappointed Geocites psuedo-shutdown. There was some quality content on there that sadly wasn't indexed.
     
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  23. NuttyEngDude

    NuttyEngDude Red-Flagville
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    I never said it was great. I even mention "angst" as something that was trendy then... yuck ;) The nice thing back then though, was the internet hadn't been invaded by corporations yet and 9/11 hadn't happened, so privacy was still respected.
     
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  24. knv2u

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    Stress is your enemy. I once was a lot like you, but quickly released that stress will actually make you perform at compromised levels as it clouds your thinking. I found when I did everything to learn the material for learning's sake, and didn't worry about grades, my grades didn't suffer a bit. You'll be happier for it. Also, don't necessarily set your sights on only a top school. If you get in great; if not, and you are forced to go to a lower ranked school, you'll still be a doctor.
     
  25. 487806

    487806 Life of the Party!
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    Definitely useful for OP in case she didn't know about it ~14 years ago.
     
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  26. knv2u

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    Someone else necrobumped it, not me. I just didn't pay attention to the date.
     

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