I made a throwaway account for this. I'm an older (late 20s) non-trad in my first year of med school and am seriously considering dropping out before starting second year. I would appreciate any advice.
Why I went into medicine
I was unfulfilled in my previous career path and thought I would be more fulfilled as a doctor. I thought I would enjoy helping people and using science to do so. Plus, there are obviously many practical benefits to the career, including good pay, reasonable hours, and an open job market (I am only aiming for family medicine and have no energy to do a 5-year residency).
Why I want to leave
I am absolutely burnt out. I study ~60-70 hours a week on topics I have never come across (I had no background in the basic sciences or premed courses) and have done this almost non-stop the whole first year. It might just be burnout, but I have not enjoyed almost any of what I've learned thus far. I thought I would like medicine because of the reasons stated above, but at this point, there is no passion in me and the only thing keeping me in is the fact that, on paper, being a family doctor is a good job (~200k, 40-50 hours a week, job anywhere I want).
My mental health is going out the window. I am having palpitations daily and have ended up in the emergency twice because I felt short of breath with chest pain (thankfully, nothing cardiac showed up). I don't think this anxiety will slow down because clerkship hasn't even started, and the thought that I will be responsible for people's lives is terrifying me. I thought I had the strength to uphold that responsibility, but honestly, I'd rather not deal with it. Sacrificing my happiness isn't worth the job, especially when I read that patients are extremely demanding of their family doctors. I don't think I could handle the short appointments and constant need to be perfect. Given that I have no passion, I don't even think it would be fair to patients. My gut is telling me that I'll be miserable as a family doctor.
I am also overwhelmed by the amount of information you have to know as a family doctor. For instance, I am having a lot of trouble remembering the names of medications, their indications, contraindications, etc. I review concepts every day but remembering the details never works. And like I said above, this issue is exacerbated because I have no interest in the material. So I'm constantly dragging myself to learn more.
On the other hand, there is another career that I could've pursued instead of medicine. I didn't mind that career. It came with a good work-life balance and required ~40 hours a week. It would pay ~120k in 3 years and beyond that, I've realized money doesn't matter to me.
Why I hesitate to leave
This may be a temporary feeling borne out of burnout or the realities of med school (though I have never had more than a passing interest in any topic we've studied so far). I am also feeling extreme shame for taking away the spot from another student who could've excelled in my place. Part of me thinks I need to put my head down and just persevere because I'm older now and can't keep switching careers. I also know there are niches in family medicine that could potentially solve the problem of interest. I don't mind things like sports medicine or addictions. I assume there wouldn't be as much of a need for breadth of knowledge if I just become, for example, a GP sports. But I don't know if I can do 4 more years of this when there is a decent job I could have within a 1-2 years that pays ~100k that I would enjoy more than this.
Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.