1st Year Med Student Crisis -- Please Help!!!

For the longest time, I thought I wanted to become a doctor. I pursued pre-med in college with a non-hard science degree. I guess in undergrad I had considered medical school so far away that I put the thought of actually attending the school and all that it would entail out of my head until just this last summer. I ended up getting accepted and now I am in the second week of school.

To be perfectly honest, I am hating it. I did great in college academically and have never considered myself to be a slow learner. I had lots of friends (most of whom were actually from high school but I met a few in college as well). Now I am thoroughly struggling in class to keep up, to stay ahead of the lectures with the previewing beforehand as well as reviewing what I had learned that day. I’m spending all of my time studying, and I’m not getting anywhere. I feel like I am not doing well in any aspect of school, be it lecture, small group collaboration, group case investigations, patient contact with taking H&Ps, even making friends and communicating with my peers. I know that school has just started but I am already behind in the material, and the curriculum is only going to get harder and more intense and I would only have more responsibilities to worry about.

I dread going to school every day. I don't believe that my problem lies solely in being too hard on myself. I look around me and everybody seems to be perfectly adapted to the environment. I understand that there are others like me that are having a hard time but my condition is just greatly exaggerated because it exists in all fronts of the medical curriculum. I'm beginning to realize that the appeal of becoming a doctor for is decreasing significantly every day. I have lost my passion and drive for becoming a physician. To me, everything points to leaving. Why put yourself through something you hate?  I recently began going to a therapist who prescribed me some ant-anxiety meds which have helped alleviate some of the mild anxiety I was experiencing. However the underlying issue that I am still not understanding the material or feeling comfortable in the med school environment persists. I don't know what else I could do if I quit. I just moved to a new city, I don't have any particular interest to pursue a career related to my undergrad major, I will have outstanding debts (unless I cancel within the next 7 days or so), and I don't know what I will do with my life.

The bottom line is that I am miserable as it stands. I have talked to many people about this and they tell me to just try to stick it out and see if it gets better. I just don't think it will. I'm trying as hard as I can to do my best yet I am still deficient across the board. Should I leave or take a year off at least? Who would I talk to about initiating the process of pulling out of school? I would have to get a job but then what? I realize that  I am asking a lot and I have a great deal of self examination to do before I can find a solution to this myself but I would love to hear the opinion of anyone who can relate to my dilemma and provide me with some help. Please forgive the stream of consciousness format in my ranting here but I’m just really in need of some advice. Thanks.
banyan7 banyan7
9 Responses Aug 13, 2010

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I feel exactly the same way. I honestly have no idea of how I have been getting through the semester. I think the only thing that keeps me going is my loathing of failing exams, I can force myself to study but I hate it.

I see it has been a couple of years since you posted. What happened in the end?

If you are still looking for help look up www.promedeus.org. Hope all is well!

I can totally relate. I have the same feelings everyday. Check out this blog. It goes into the real motivations for doing medicine.

A doctor is all about helping patients. If that's what you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life you can be a doctor. There has to be a genuine interest for the job, otherwise you will not want to learn about medicine. A doctor helps maintain or increase the life expectancy of people. You sacrifice your time for helping others and get lots of money in return. You should respect both rewards equally. If you only see the money you will not be a good doctor.

If your only problem is that you find studying hard, stick it out. There will be a lot of repetition, and the stuff that seems hard now will eventually sink in. But if you just hate medical school aside from the hard work, quit as soon as possible. I'm in the same boat. Almost done with second year and considering calling it quits after that. There's just so much I hate about it that I don't know where to start. My only problem is that I don't know what else to do.

I joined medicine....lost my interest... Just because my dad paid so mucha fees.. I had too continue, however failed again and again..now am nowhere... I already 24 yrs.. All my friends started working.. Now my dad says, you wasted 6 yrs .. If you cudnt do it then you should have that I can't do this and I am not fit to be doctor... Now am nowhere... No degree...no money...no parents love.... No age ...plz help !!!!!

I am a first year med student, and I hate it! I was a social and a happy person before, love my undergrad experience and eagerly came to NYC to start the med school that I dreamed about for the last 3 years! And now... I am miserable... I do not fit in, I don't get the top scores on the exams (like I used to), I do not see my kids and my husband (who is increadibly supportive, by the way. I am amazed), and in general I feel sad. What happened? I don't know. The place where I am right now used to be my ultimate life goal, and my undergrad friends are so proud of me, and wish to be here. Oh, my God. If only they knew. But you know what... I am going to stick it. I will push harder, swim upstream, fight against the odds and finish it! I made a commitment. Grind my teeth and keep on going. Because I want to be a doctor.

Oh dear I'm in the EXACT same boat. Everything you've said. I got out and decided to defer for a year. I felt I owed it to myself if I knew I was unhappy. I hope you find your way. The way that medical education is set up tends to push away certain students that otherwise might pursue it. Good luck to you. Follow your heart. I know it can be scary (God do I know). If you feel that your calling is medicine then do it, but if you honestly believe it isn't for you then you will either 1 hate your career or 2 end up dropping out later when you have more debt. Also, just because you like medicine doesn't mean you have to be a doctor.