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mew

Admitted but having second thoughts about med school

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4 hours ago, Cheers2life said:

It is also important to keep in mind that medicine must be a path that allows you to flourish. If you start already counting the number of years you have left, the journey'll be long and fastidious. Its not just about getting a degree... its not suppose to be such a burden, yes it is a long and hard process, but in the end, there has to be enough reward and fulfillment that you can come to the conclusion that was and still worth it. I'm not there yet, but i hope i'll be able to feel proud and happy throughout residency like i did (at certain times) during the first 4 years. I felt that not looking at the finish line too often allowed me to enjoy and learn without to much stress as i was going. 

i like to think of it as a soccer game (since its the world cup!), yes you wanna win, but there are so many things you have to do and accomplish before the win comes. Each step has to bring more and more confidence and fun that'll lead you to your ultimate goal of winning the game. 

 

Love this approach! It's the difference between having outcome based goals & process goals.  Focus on what you can control & impact now, rather than worrying about things you have no control over.  Sometimes you do your absolute best & it's not enough, but knowing & accepting that you did everything you possibly could is one of the most satisfying feelings I've ever felt.

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I am one of those is often quite ambivalent and even negative about my experience in medicine and I'm very upfront in saying I wouldn't do it again. But this varies wildly based on individual circumstances as well. To the OP:

1. Age 23 is very, very, very young. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it is. Trust me, when you look back in 10 years time, you will think you were a baby, because you are. Not to have income until you're 27... honestly, this isn't nearly as big of a deal in the grander scheme as you might think. A lot of people meet their partners in medical school, and you will be going to medical school in a big city where there are plenty of people to meet both in and out of school. Whether you are a boy or a girl, you will still be prime dating and childbearing age when medical school is done. You could even have a baby during or after medical school, while in residency.

2. I'm surprised you've had all these attendings, especially FM ones, tell you they were miserable. What would they rather be doing instead? Have they experienced other careers? We all suffer to some degree from a "grass is greener" on the other side mentality. People who work at "regular" jobs aren't always happy either where there's the real possibility of getting fired, having to compete for promotions, etc. You might hate your boss or coworkers, your work might be a long drive from where you (can afford to) live. There really are no guarantees.

3. If you are thinking about options, maybe you school would let you defer your decision for a year. However, I would think twice about doing this. One year goes by quickly, and you will have to make the same agonizing decision next year. It's a lot of time to be stuck in limbo, but might not be enough time to explore another viable career, before the decision comes up again, making things all the more muddled.

4. Many of my complaints about medicine stem from the fact that I had a viable career before medical school and only decided to go the medicine route in my late 20s. It made medicine a lot more difficult to bear - there was the opportunity cost of all the income I was giving up, having to move away from my friends, a lot of factors that contributed to my life feeling like a real funk. These things have gotten all the worse as I've matched to a 5-year residency in a location I don't want to be.  If I knew things could end up so bad I would have taken the match a lot more seriously and put more effort into gunning for a good location. I'd feel a big sense of relief if I could go to a family program in the same city as my family - at this point I don't care about specialty anymore, I just want my life back and be close the ones I love. I also realize that a lot of my feelings could change later in residency or when I'm an attending.

5. You will never know in advance what's the right thing to do because life is a one shot deal and you don't get to know what would have happened if you had picked another option. Despite all the posts and blogs you read and all the people you talk to, it's still possible that you end up very happy in medicine and glad you picked this path. It's also possible that you leave medicine now and it later becomes a gnawing regret. Or maybe you leave medicine now and never look back. But what we do know is that even with a less-than-ideal career, you can still make your life very satisfying, both inside and outside of the career. So it may not matter which career pick so much as how well you deal with life's challenges as they come up and your ability/luck in finding a niche where you're happy.

And if you're someone who's prone to depression, you will be prone to depression no matter what you do. It's something that will stay by your side through thick and thin, ready to pounce. Sorry, that sounds terrible but as someone who's also prone to depression, that's my experience.

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On 6/17/2018 at 7:11 PM, mew said:

I was accepted to U of T in May, but I've only been anxious since then, not excited, and that's developed into a major case of cold feet. Long story short I feel like I'm not going to be able to handle med school/residency/actually being an attending, both academically and psychologically, and that it's better to walk away now when the only thing I'll lose is a $1000 deposit and not $40 000 per year in tuition and living expenses. I'm so tired of feeling down about this- I just achieved my dream!- but instead feel defeated and jaded already, and that doesn't seem like a good prognostic sign wrt a career in medicine. My anxiety is compounded by the fact that I haven't been able to find people in medicine that actually seem happy to be there- I've spoken to 4 attendings (1 peds, 3 FM) about this in since getting in and all of them have said that I should have chosen another field and that if I continue I should expect to be miserable at least the next 6-9 years. I thought I went into medicine for the right reasons but it doesn't seem like that will matter.

Has anybody worked through these types of feelings before? Or does anybody have suggestions on where to go or who to talk to?

I honestly think it would be helpful to talk to a counselor to help you untangle which thoughts are low self worth issues and which are fears grounded in reality that can be addressed through planning or approach. Finding a counselor that you have a decent rapport with is important for outcome though, so keep that in mind too if you do decide to talk to someone. When I'm having moments of fear or self doubt I try to take a step back from those feelings and examine where they're coming from. That allows me to get a handle on those feelings and respond to them appropriately.

Also, try to be kind to yourself, it's normal to feel some imposter syndrome! This is a big step. Humility is a valid stance to take and can keep you open to learning, but also recognize that you worked really hard to get where you are and that says something positive about you that's worth recognizing. If it turns out this isn't what you want to do after all that's totally legitimate and it's okay to be in limbo about what you actually want to do. But figuring that out means spending some time reflecting (journaling can be helpful for this) and really discerning your reasons for why you feel the way you do. Best of luck, I know it isn't easy, I almost did so many different careers before deciding on medicine!

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8 hours ago, shematoma said:

I am one of those is often quite ambivalent and even negative about my experience in medicine and I'm very upfront in saying I wouldn't do it again. But this varies wildly based on individual circumstances as well. To the OP:

1. Age 23 is very, very, very young. I know it doesn't feel like it now, but it is. Trust me, when you look back in 10 years time, you will think you were a baby, because you are. Not to have income until you're 27... honestly, this isn't nearly as big of a deal in the grander scheme as you might think. A lot of people meet their partners in medical school, and you will be going to medical school in a big city where there are plenty of people to meet both in and out of school. Whether you are a boy or a girl, you will still be prime dating and childbearing age when medical school is done. You could even have a baby during or after medical school, while in residency.

2. I'm surprised you've had all these attendings, especially FM ones, tell you they were miserable. What would they rather be doing instead? Have they experienced other careers? We all suffer to some degree from a "grass is greener" on the other side mentality. People who work at "regular" jobs aren't always happy either where there's the real possibility of getting fired, having to compete for promotions, etc. You might hate your boss or coworkers, your work might be a long drive from where you (can afford to) live. There really are no guarantees.

3. If you are thinking about options, maybe you school would let you defer your decision for a year. However, I would think twice about doing this. One year goes by quickly, and you will have to make the same agonizing decision next year. It's a lot of time to be stuck in limbo, but might not be enough time to explore another viable career, before the decision comes up again, making things all the more muddled.

4. Many of my complaints about medicine stem from the fact that I had a viable career before medical school and only decided to go the medicine route in my late 20s. It made medicine a lot more difficult to bear - there was the opportunity cost of all the income I was giving up, having to move away from my friends, a lot of factors that contributed to my life feeling like a real funk. These things have gotten all the worse as I've matched to a 5-year residency in a location I don't want to be.  If I knew things could end up so bad I would have taken the match a lot more seriously and put more effort into gunning for a good location. I'd feel a big sense of relief if I could go to a family program in the same city as my family - at this point I don't care about specialty anymore, I just want my life back and be close the ones I love. I also realize that a lot of my feelings could change later in residency or when I'm an attending.

5. You will never know in advance what's the right thing to do because life is a one shot deal and you don't get to know what would have happened if you had picked another option. Despite all the posts and blogs you read and all the people you talk to, it's still possible that you end up very happy in medicine and glad you picked this path. It's also possible that you leave medicine now and it later becomes a gnawing regret. Or maybe you leave medicine now and never look back. But what we do know is that even with a less-than-ideal career, you can still make your life very satisfying, both inside and outside of the career. So it may not matter which career pick so much as how well you deal with life's challenges as they come up and your ability/luck in finding a niche where you're happy.

And if you're someone who's prone to depression, you will be prone to depression no matter what you do. It's something that will stay by your side through thick and thin, ready to pounce. Sorry, that sounds terrible but as someone who's also prone to depression, that's my experience.

do your intern year and try to see if you can switch out of your program into family med- it can be done

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A bunch of amazing advice on here. 

Just to add a little bit more, it’s important to remember why you wanted to pursue medicine in the first place. What inspired you? You’ve made it this far, so what was it that kept you going? Perhaps if you revisit that thought, you might gain a different perspective.

I haven’t started medical school yet so I can’t give an opinion on how it will be, but I have lived through several careers prior to pursuing medicine, so if you need to chat, talk about life and jobs outside medicine, feel free to pm me at any time.

I sincerely wish you all the best, no matter what you choose. 

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