Planning On Dropping Out Of Medical School, Or Finishing And Not Pursuing Residency...please Help!

Lets go back a few years...

It was my final year of undegrad.  I had been acing all of my classes.  Multiple publications coming out from a very involved research project.  Scored  very high the MCAT (**********).  Interviewed and accepted at almost all the medical schools I applied to.  I was in a fairly happy ******* relationship with my girlfriend, and we lived together.  I finished school in the fall....disaster was on the horizon.  I just didn't know it yet.

When engaged in serious talks about the possibility of moving, our relationship etc., my girlfriend voiced that she did not want to move.  She still had a year and half of nursing school, didn't want to deal with transfering, had tons of friends in our city, and didn't want to be far from family.  All legitimate concerns.  Additionally she voiced that she felt that our relationship was suffering as I became busier and busier (and this was before medical school).  In retrospect I addressed her concerns, but really just blew them off on some level.  January of that year she left.  Moved out while I was interviewing at another school, and pretty much refused to return my calls.  Looking back I know why.  I was blinded by my pursuit to get into medical school, and ignored a lot of the "reality" of the job field.



May of the same year my older brother, who had been very proud and supportive of my journey towards medical school, died very suddenly from cardiac arrest and resultant hypoxic brain damage after being resuscitated.



August....START MED I.  Needless to say I probably was not in the best mental state. No matter what I did I just could not get on top of my studies and maintain a functional life.  My grades were either dead average, and I never worked out, never hung with friends, etc. or I did normal things and received bottom quartile scores.  I took the latter.

I took a LOA between my 2nd and 3rd year, during which I worked construction and bartended (because I wanted to TOTALLY clear my mind and assess whether or not I actually wanted to be there).  I took Step I, and passed the first time even after being a year out of any classes, although I did not do great...obviously limiting my residency choices.  I returned because I felt that I should give Med 3 a fighting chance and really did want to see if the clincial side of things would spark something in me. I am currently finishing up 3rd year, but unfortunately still have the same feeling....that is that I am just not really fully engaged.

I have identified these several problems, which are leading me to two options. A) Dropout now, and walk away without my MD but minimize my debt (currently around $160,000) or B) Finish, get my MD and leave with over $200,000 of debt.

1)  The thing that drew me to medicine was my passion for understanding the pathogenesis of disease.  But all that medical school really is is memorizing treatment algorithms and misc facts that are often presented totally without context or reference to the underlying evidence based studies.  I guess that I really like to discover the things we don't know about disease, more than almost mindlessly apply the things we do know.

2) ******

3) I have accepted that I was experiencing depressive symptoms during med I and II.  There is nothing I can do to undo my performance during that time. Additionally my step I score is not a factor I can change, and is a HUGE deal when it come s to residency apps.  This however is not my current problem.  The problem is many things.  I do not feel I fit the mould that med school wishes to cast one in.  I just don't.  I like active inquisitive thinking.    It is just not how my brain operates.

4)********* Summary (without revealing personal info)...told I was lazy, or lacked the horsepower for medical school

He may have just been right (but not in the way he thought).  During my year off I work 50-60 hours a week most weeks, doing very physical labor and fast paced VERY busy bartending (not your sleepy little dive bar kind of stuff...like walk in, setup, and 8 hours of hell and getting shouted at, walk away with $300+).  The schedule would wear most people out, trust me.  I was fairly healthy; working out, eating decently most of the time, making adequate time for friends/family, dating.  But I realized, while I can do the 60+ hours thing some of the time, and hang with it,  I really start to lose my ability to keep up with things (laundry, cooking, friends, dating) much above that.  How could I possibly be healthy during residency (even if it were an option for me) when I just crash when I come home after serial 12-14 hour days.  My day off would without fail become a of sleep.  How could I maintain relationships?  My self?  Unfortunately my body isn't 22 anymore, my health is progressively effected by my levels of exercise/healthy eating (like most people, except I care).

5) I recently found a blog written by an individual who left his neurosurgery residency.  He talked a lot about the psychology concept of "Flow".  When you are engaged in something that is truly correct for you (high challenge paired with high ability/skill) you enter a state where you are incredibly productive almost without realizing the effort.  I had been in this state my last two years of undergrad.  18-20 credit hours a quarter.  Working ~30 hours a week.  Cranking out research.  Hanging with my friends/girlfriend 4-5 nights a week.  Sleeping 5-6 hours a night with no fatigue. Medical school was the exact opposite of that for me (high challenge, low skill --->i.e. anxiety).  I was terrible at memorizing without context.  I could not simultaneously deal with the curriculum and my life.  I just was not finding my "FLOW" in med school. Some people do.  Some people seem to eat medical school up with a spoon and beg for more.  I have found it stimulating only in the most hands on situations.

6) I did not connect with many people in my class.  I felt that medical school was a much more consevative environment than I had expected.  I came from a low-middle class family.  Grew up in a very urban/inner city neighborhood.  Got into a TON of trouble in high school. Worked from the age of 13 onwards.  Had not planned on pursuing medical school until sometime in undergrad.  Understood that most people do NOT follow doctor's orders to the "T", do not consider physicians to be gods (they are not, and some actually do think that...blah), do not like people who THINK they are right all the time (when in reality they just memorized some facts presented to them and probably never bothered to look up the data or actually intrisically understand something), do not think drinking until drunk more than "X" number of times a year makes you an alcoholic or smoking weed is the end of the world.  No, I was a realist.  People do all of these things, and it is a physician's job to educate and present people with what would be the "healthiest" option or advise them when they may need help/Rx. Most people in medical school do not understand that although being a physician is very respectable, and is certainly hard work, that so are a lot of other jobs in the world.  There are plenty of people in the world that COULD make it into and through medical school, but have just chosen other paths in life.  You NEVER know which of them are your patients, coworkers (in other roles), etc..I have met more unlikeable/social inept/unrealistic/spoiled people during my time medical school (although conversely, I have also met some the most interesting people on the opposite spectrum, whom I have obviously become friends with), than I have in any other place in life.  Not people I want to work with every day.

 

 

Thus, here I am. 

 

Sure of my feelings, but at a loss of how to act on them.

 

If ANYONE has advice on how they dealt with their loan situation (ideally similar to mine) PLEASE let me know.

If ANYONE has job advice...PLEASE voice your story.  I am really unsure whether I should finish my degree.  I could see myself working in the industry, but am not even sure of the opportunities out there.

 

Thank you for reading!

notamidwestmdtobe notamidwestmdtobe
26-30, M
21 Responses Mar 9, 2010

I hope you've gotten everything figured out by now! Since there are a myriad of responses over the years, I thought I'd add a few notes of my own:

I'm currently in PA school. I have no idea how it compares to medical school, but I can tell you to me it certainly feels like an incredibly overwhelming amount of information. We're tested multiple times a week, required to be in class 50+ hours a week and study every waking moment we're not in class - it's exhausting! And frustrating! And sometimes I just want to cry because between not having time for my friends, family, myself, and the ever rising balance on my credit cards and student loans, I feel like my head is going to explode. To top it off, my step-father passed away suddenly at the beginning of my second semester and my brain can't seem to decide what to do with that information, so I'm prone to sudden crying fits out of nowhere (I've found it's best to study in the lovely closed cubicles in the library - it cuts down on the stares.. lol)

We work and we work and we work and I've heard talk about people on Valium or Xanax just to make it through the year and I wonder how they do this to people.

Am I happy? No. Not really at all.
Would I change a thing? Absolutely not.
Because even though I'm exhausted and I miss my personal life, there's this undying fascination in me about medicine - how do people work and what makes them stop working? And most importantly, what can we do to help them work once more?

So no, memorizing charts and dosages and other vast amounts of information my brain can't possibly hold is not appealing. And spending hours upon hours studying for an exam just to get a subpar grade is certainly a blow to the ego like no other. But when I read my notes or listen to our guest lecturers, I AM interested - I want to know what to do when a patient presents to the ER c/o of pleuritic chest pain x 5 hours and I want to know how to read their EKG to check for MI, pericarditis, LVH, whatever - I WANT to know it ALL (even though, if there's anything I've learned, it's that I will never, ever, ever know it all - but that won't stop me from trying :p)

So, I keep going. I'm not happy. I'm pretty miserable quite often, really. But I won't give up, because my desire to learn medicine is greater than my desire to take a nap or watch Netflix or whatever. For now, this is enough.

So I suppose my point is that being unhappy during your didactic year is not exactly uncommon. It's difficult to be happy when you have no time for yourself, much less time for other people or hobbies or whatnot. But if you chose the right profession, then you find it out now - because no matter how much you swear you hate your life and you wish it would just STOP, just for a week, if you could just have a break - you can't imagine doing anything else.

I'm not saying this is OPs problem, as OP seems like they might be happier doing something else. But I don't want to discourage prospective MDs/PAs/whatever, either - yes, school sucks sometimes. But if you really want to be a doctor or a PA or whatever - then it won't matter.

Just keep swimming guys.

Hello, just wondering how it all turned out for you :)

Well I see I'm not the only one going through this awful road. Although unlike you, I don't feel I'm actually capable of holding onto good grades anymore.
I left the states to move back to my country blindly deciding to join med school here, since there's no admission test.
I started and passed every subject with fair grades, and actually good grades in 3rd and 4th year. But now in 5th which is my last year in campus before internship. I realized that I'm not capable of this profession, in practice I'm asked questions so basic, about anatomy, hormonal functions and pharmachology. But simply can't answer. Or answer totally wrong. I got Dr's looking at us so dissapointed and telling us they don't know how we got this far, and the only answer is that we only studied to pass the exams, but never to actually LEARN. It feels really bad when they look at you like a total idiot. But I have 2 more years left, and my parents are proud of how far I've gotten. Not knowing the hell thats ruining me inside. I don't feel a passion for medicine anymore. It's just sad that I had to realize it so late.

I am actually having a tough time at the moment since the only classes I have left are from the two professors I don't currently like...and I am getting tired. I really don't know how the heck I am pulling through this semester without failing @_@.
Also...I am kinda glad this happened at the same time...I am going to go home, get treated and see what's up. Maybe it was just a tough moment, maybe medicine just isn't for me...whatever happens at least if I don't like it, I won't drag it for the next couple of years that the profession requires...being completely miserable.
Btw, where are you from? At first, it sounded like you were from Mexico but then you said no entrance exam...so I got wondering hmm.. If you are, you might be familiar with the school I go to :O

Sorry for the delay, just finished exams. Im actually Bolivian, and study here too. Are you studying at that American based university in Guadalajara, or UNAM?? That's where I hoped to get specialized once I finished the internship. We don't have an admission exam here when you join a private college.
In public colleges, you have do go through what they call "propedeutico", you can call it pre-college. It used to last a year now its only 6 months. It's very hard if you're fresh out of high school

hey!
Yep...THAT Guadalajara school. IF you go through it, go for latino program...

I do have a friend who failed Step 1, two times. Do u know her chances of getting into a school? :\

As far as i know..you get 2 chances and that's it. If you don't pass on the 3rd one, you are done o_o. We have also been told the more times you take it, the least interested residency programs get -_-;
It is a tough profession :/

I am trying out other paths and I am excited about it. I was in a really bad spot in med school...it might have been the environment, classmates, the career itself....but now that I am out and I am getting proper treatment I am so much better. :)

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Oh boy am I glad to have found this post.
I am currently in 2nd semester and I hate it with a passion. It could be a combination of disliking the city, not fitting with the classmates and just getting bored.
I honestly wanted to become a doctor since I was young...reasons unclear. I am pretty sure I have always wanted to please the parents and doctor seemed like the best option so that's what I went for. I got into a science and health-oriented program in high school, did my premed and then it happened. I got a "meh" MCAT.
In my desperation to still become a doctor, I found a program in Mexico that is supposed to help you transition to practice in the States (will not post the name, I am kinda scared of the school to be honest). To me, it wasn't all that bad, I had been born and raised in Mexico, and I had just gotten my US citizenship so it seemed like a good option.
First semester starts, I am ok...totally owning my classes, kinda hating the environment (classmates, administration,etc) but who cares? It is supposed to last 2 years and off to the US you go! I couldn't sleep much during that time and I turned to drinking. That's pretty much how I got through the semester, it wasn't an academic problem, I just didn't feel like I belonged.
Now, this semester...holy crap. The school had some MAJOR issues in regards with their loan program and we (students) were pretty much without money for almost 2 months. During that time, I started thinking I would do if the program went down. I actually came up with some options, I had several backup plans. I was stretching my patience waiting to see what would happen (mother insisted I waited too) and was getting to the point where I just hated everything.
Then it happened, loan problem solved. I felt miserable...I just could not stop crying. SO I went to the school psychologist and my physiology professor to ask for help. What did I get? NOTHING. They said that perhaps in May the could help me out, once my psychiatrist's meds kicked in. The psychologist suggested I went to study because that is all I had left now. To this day, I have not seen any of this aid the were so proud to present to me.
I have no idea how I am getting through classes right now. I have not failed any, doing fairly well...EXCEPT physio. I don't like the subject, and I resent the instructor, bad combo. I am majorly depressed, to the point where I start thinking "if I consume this amount of substance x...would that be enough to not wake up?"
At my mother's insistence, I am putting a LOA but I hate med school. I took one of those career center looooong assessments and most of my career choices were towards engineering and allowed me to MAKE things. I am bored, and nothing here engages me.

I was so glad to read this post, just to know that I am not the only one who has felt this way. Although I did not go to medical school, I did go to pharmacy school, and it was pretty much 4 years of hell. While everyone else was thriving, I was struggling and constantly questioning my decision. Like you, my family was lower middle class, I got in a lot of trouble in high school, and did not even decide to go into pharmacy until the end of my undergraduate degree. While there are many parts of pharmacy I love, it has taken a toll on my social life and physical well-being. What kept me going after the first two years, was that I could not afford my debt if I were to drop out at that time. I knew I had to finish. Then what pushed me harder to finish, was that I still have the hope that I can do what I really love someday. One of my favorite psych professors in undergrad once told us that you are never too old to decide what you want to do with your life. I have kept that sentence of hope with me ever since. Somehow I finished and am now about to complete a year of residency, which proved to be just one more year of hell. Feelings of inadequacy and never really fitting in no matter where I am is a tortuous life to live. Now that it has been 4 years, I am curious to know what you are doing and what you decided?

Hi,

I really resonated with your story. I went back to school for medicine because my old career wasn't working out. Luckily I knew what western med school was like and totally avoided that. I am studying acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine, which is great because pathology/pathogenesis and treating what symptoms you can see is what it's all about. I like the program but have been bored lately. But it's what you are talking about with Flow (great book btw), I have always been a person who thrives on being in the "zone" and can do a million things. But I hate the city I live in, have a very limited social network (have little in common with a lot of people in this city, also because it's very spread out, you have to drive everywhere and any "hang" takes a lot of planning). Let alone not having any success dating. I also am not doing much of my old career (music) for various stupid reasons that aren't my fault in this nonsense city. Don't want to go into it, but yes, these things are seriously depleting my mojo. In many ways I don't know how I'm going to hold it together for another 2 yrs by the time I have boards and all. I hoping somehow it will come back as I enter the clinic this year, don't want my patients to experience my dilemma!

I hope you are able to get through this rough time. The whole student loan thing is a racket, I know :( Thanks for sharing.

Actually I cried when I was reading your stories, they touched me because they are very typical stories. My story is also a typical one. Being a son of a doctor and living in a campus full of doctors , being a doctor was just like going to school, it was a norm.
My brother for an example wanted to study physics and this was a disaster in my home to the degree that our neighbors got to speak with him to change his and finally he changed it, unfortunately. And when my turn came, I didn't want to put my self in the same situation so I played the good boy rule and went to medical school in a university that wasn't the one I wanted to complete my 5 years in deprssion and anxiety and thought that the cause could be the university so I transfered to an other medical school. Actually I was doing well I even graduated with straight As but i was forcing my swlf to study at least until i finish my school. but will i continue the rest of my life doing this, i don't think so. I see alot of my colleagues who don't like medicine but who are just ignorant and they just do it to feel good about themselves. My problem with medicine is as many of you said MEMORIZATION rather than THINKING. Im 27 now and i really would like to start over but don't have the strength to do so.

Hi - I'm currently an undergraduate unsure whether or not I want to pursue medicine... and after reading these posts I think it would be a good idea to not rush and take my time in deciding. I actually read a post on Tiny Buddha by a former medical doctor (who now translates medical articles) who's had a similar experience. Thought it would help.

Hey Dude,<br />
I am kinda in the same boat with you with the difference that I went through this during residency. Now I am thinking of what really was the purpose of whole thing. You know, medicine is actually a traditional job. You should be brought up as a doctor to be, I mean this is something that comes with family. My advice to you is that finish med school, just like you drink a bitter medicine, then decide. Do not leave it unfinished. Then move on to the next level in your life. <br />
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Sometimes I become jealous to the families that brought up their children as physicians. But it is ok.

currently in second year med, sure as hell can relate to all of you. was forced into doing medicine by my parents, and have hated every minute can't even bring myself to study for my finals coming up. <br />
i know what i want to switch into, though, and that's media--ie creative writing, editing, etc. I just don't know how to go about it. does anyone know whether i should continue with my degree (3 more years to go) and then work my way into media, or leave med school asap and start all over again?<br />
i'm really confused about the opportunities i may have in media AFTER completing a medical degree--will i have to go back to school, and if so what kind of program would accept me with no prior education in the field....<br />
<br />
or if i leave now, is there a way to get into media without being set literally 3 years back? i have not even completed an undergrad, as my MBBS degree allows me to study medicine directly after highschool<br />
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help please!!!!

With no doubt you should leave, if you think that medical school isn't fir you coz when you finish and become 25 years old you will be thinking about having a job and supporting your self and it's gonna be more difficult to follow your passion :(

Hi! I cannot post something under "I dropped out of med school" because I didn't. I have read your post, and yes, much things are the same with me. I also had events which happened before and during my early years in med school, death of my older brother (also an MD, due to stroke), and death of my mother.<br />
<br />
Just to tell, I didn't want to become a doctor. My pre-medicine course was not my choice. I am a lady inclined to arts. I don't know why I didn't have the strength to fight for what I wanted. It was like they were the ones who control my life.<br />
<br />
I survived every bit of pain in med school. Just the same with others, had my highs and lows. No sleep for 39 hours straight for duties every 3 days. Superiors being way too unfair and very punitive. Started to have medical conditions, all associated with stress, even diagnosed with major dep.<br />
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In the end, I realized I was not learning anything from everything. I finished anyways, just to get over it. It was very painful going through it.<br />
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So here I am, now a bum at home, too scared to get a job, I still need to pass licensure. But I can't seem to get myself to read and review. It's like my mind and memory is too exhausted since day 1 I stepped into kindergarten. Instead of reviewing, I got myself into a legit online internet job site and I can say, it was better than nothing, being a bum at home. And waaayyy better the fact that I am doing a job in line with my passion with arts. And I can say, if I am focusing on this job full-time, I can make a decent life out of it. So yeah, I'll just get my license and I'm outta here. I'll have a better life than being a doc.

Oh! I'm in the exact same position.. finished med school, couldnt go through with residency, dropped out and now m just a majorly depressed bum with anxiety issues sitting at home not having the nerve to get a job.. except i passed my licensure and i just don't know what to do now. It is a very painful experience. I too was very much into art now i think i've wasted my best years on this stupid thing that i cant work with when i could've done anything artistic and even with a low paying job would have been at least productive.

I am in pa school and also do not have the "flow" you described. I am about to start my third semester and every time I sit down to study I debate dropping out. I thought those people you described were unique to pa school and nursing school and that medical students were more enlightened. I did not realize that they also had mindless memorizes and fact regurgitators in medical school to the extent you describe as well. <br />
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With all that said I think for forty thousand dollars left to finish medical school, I think you should just stick it through. Your background will help you connect to patients in ways that typical pre-medies cant and regardless of which residency accepts you I think that you will find your "flow" and somewhere in the medical field where you can be happy. If you start one and do not like it you can go on to a phd and deffer those loans or do doctors without borders, <br />
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Annoying people are at all types of fields, I dont think we should dwell on that so much and should just focus on helping the patients. I think it would mean a lot for the medical field if someone with your real life experiences stays in it, <br />
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Also you will get your 50-50 hours job in more of a family practice type field or patho not surgery so maybe it is good that your grades will lead you to one of the previous choices. <br />
Best of luck to you..

I am in pa school and also do not have the "flow" you described. I am about to start my third semester and every time I sit down to study I debate dropping out. I thought those people you described were unique to pa school and nursing school and that medical students were more enlightened. I did not realize that they also had mindless memorizes and fact regurgitators in medical school to the extent you describe as well. <br />
<br />
With all that said I think for forty thousand dollars left to finish medical school, I think you should just stick it through. Your background will help you connect to patients in ways that typical pre-medies cant and regardless of which residency accepts you I think that you will find your "flow" and somewhere in the medical field where you can be happy. If you start one and do not like it you can go on to a phd and deffer those loans or do doctors without borders, <br />
<br />
Annoying people are at all types of fields, I dont think we should dwell on that so much and should just focus on helping the patients. I think it would mean a lot for the medical field if someone with your real life experiences stays in it, <br />
<br />
Best of luck to you..

From what you described, I think MD/PHD would fit your desire to do intellectual puzzle solving, work somewhat less independently than most clinicians anyway, and not totally throw away the completed years/loans borrowed. Student loans are basically today's version of iron shackles, cant discharge in bankruptcy, can be taken outta your paycheck if you try to not pay them back, follow you to your grave. BUT, I'd look into yours/other programs b/c MANY MD/PHd programs in the US will actually waive tuition for their students, plus it sounds like you enjoyed/did lots of research in undergrad.<br />
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I am in an oddly similar boat in that I"m about to start ms1 in Aug, and am already worried that I may end up dropping out mainly b/c I dont think I can handle a lifetime of expectation that I work long (>40hr) weeks. I've just been reading others' experiences of leaving med school and, I guess, trying to see how they weigh against my own fears that it may happen to me.<br />
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Anyway, like I said, you sound like someone who needs to be deeply soulfully engaged in what they do, as opposed to doing for the money, prestige, lifestyle, to meet others' expectations, and you sound like someone who has a natural gift for science/research, so I'd say look into becoming a medical scientist

I appreciate the comment. unfortunately I am far past being eligible for an MD/PhD program, as I am finished with medical school. I think in some ways your comment holds true for many who are let down by medical school, and it is true that many programs cover your tuition (i.e. you come out with little to no debt, which is HUGE). My only solid thoughts on your situation is that over your first year you will start to see if you are able to maintain a decent/happy/healthy life. I'd say stick it out, you may be pleasantly surprised. I'd recommend you do a lot of shadowing with ppl in different fields during your first year as well, and see how their actual lives are. Do they like their jobs? How many hours a week are they working? How much are they making, and how are they handling their debt? Figure out how much debt you will come out with, what your potential earnings are (***after taxes for that financial bracket) and how your debt will affect your budget. If at the end of year one you hate it, you'll have a little more debt, but nothing unmanageable and you'll know for sure.

I all say this b/c halfway through year one I no longer worked out or ran (I went from lifting and running six days a week to 1 day at most, usually never), hated med school, but continued on b/c of determination/pride and b/c friends and family pushed me onwards. Additionally my dating life was pretty unhealthy over those years (a lot of "bar" relationships that caused a lot of stress in my day to day). I finished medical school depressed, in series of messed up relationships, and with a fair amount of credit card debt I am still cleaning up. I encourage people to reexamine their lives if they feel like they are going down this road. I think Trent Reznor wrote once in song that "its not as much fun to pick up the pieces", and he couldn't be more right.

In retrospect, I think that may have been a viable option, although I have done a lot of self-evaluation and have realized that part of what has plagued me with unhappiness is the time requirement, and my own inability to lead a healthy/balanced life under this type of stress.

I am currently in residency, but I am actively trying to get my financial situation in order to pursue another line of work. My personal identity is not tied into my job in medicine, and I honestly would have no qualms with just walking away, which in my book means I shouldn't be there. I believe my path to happiness lies elsewhere at this point (it has nothing to do with money, that's for sure).

i'm struggling right now to study for usmle step 1. soo many issues... i wish i could be in an md/phd program in usa but... i dont know. i often worry about board scores and whether or not i will get residency. and sad part is neither of my parents are doctors. so i dont know really whom to go to to talk with.

Wow what a great blog. I searched info about other students who are having second thoughts. Right on. I can't stand medical school. Right now I am finishing up my first year. I have hated every second of it. <br />
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I barely made it through orientation without quitting. Actually orientation was the worse part of it for me so far. That is when I realized that I hate nearly everyone in my class. I have never been in a room with more narrow-minded, racist, and dare I say stupid people before. Diversity, ye if you go by skin color but everyone is a copy of each other. No original thinking, no culturally relevant experience. To top it off they really have 0 ability to reason. They just amass information and regurgitate it. I am not kidding. If the question is not written exactly the way it was in the book or notes on the exam they get it wrong. <br />
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But the exams reward them because they are all about passive recall. Really studying for exams is kind of like memorizing a telephone directory. Start with A xxx-cnx-cnfk. and end with Z. I am not cut out for this and it is only my fault.<br />
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I was ambivalent about my future education as a student in HS. I was doing everything I could to become a professional athlete and I went to college with that same goal in mind. My career ended with a string of injuries and I was left with plan B. Plan B (as is the case when your girlfriend has to take it) is not always the best and it was chosen for me by my parents. Pre-med. as a bio major. Now I was doing well initially. I partied a little harder than I would care to admit, especially without my sport taking up all of my time. I did the bare minimum classes and maintained a high GPA. Did the bare minimum activities. I got really a not so great grade on my MCAT well not what I wanted anyway, but I suffered from depression studying for it because it was then that I got to shadow a doctor and realized that I did not want to do it at all. But I felt I was in too deep. <br />
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Even with all motivation gone I knew how to play the game. I got accepted to a couple places and got a full scholarship from my state school. Well that trap got me. There was no way I could not go to medical school if it was free. You'd have to be an idiot right? And it was top 50 school on top of that so I went. <br />
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I have been absolutely miserable and I am about to quit. In fact I am quitting in a couple weeks after this semester is over. It is not worth it if you are doing this to have a stable career and make good money. Trust me, I thought that when people said you have to really want to treat patients they were full of bs like almost everyone else around me. They were right. <br />
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And honestly, if you are quitting because you dislike it and not merely because you can't hack it and you really do want to be a doctor you are probably someone who is cut out for better things than medicine. In fact, you would be short changing yourself by locking yourself in a profession that limits creativity so stringently. Also lets be real. We all just want to live a happy life. Nothing makes me sadder than a super sick patient and even worse someone who is sick because they are poorly educated and just cannot make the right decisions to live a healthy life. And guess what, that's everyone including me. But I am making the decision to live a healthy life right now.<br />
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So I am writing this post for several reasons. 1) I want to vent lol 2) Let people know that you are not the only one that wants to punch the guy at your lab table who humming a happy toon or getting all excited when you find a pacemaker in your cadaver and they think its a miracle in the face. <br />
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3) Give you an idea of what you can do if you quit and believe me if you are capable of finishing medical school and just don't want to you should do it (after taking a week breather and thinking about it: do not consult parents they will do whatever it takes to reel you back in). You should work for yourself. Yes you should start your own business. You have the tools. <br />
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I am starting my own business right now and you know what it is? Fun enough its how to get people into medical school. Ironic right. Well not really. Parents will shell out big cash to have you teach them how to get their kids into school. Its all they ever wanted. And playing the game is something I am fantastic at. I know how to get the grades, I know how to get the easy positions that look fantastic on resumes, i know how to rock the apps, and most importantly I know how to say the things in the interview that will make you melt and hand me your medical school's wallet. I played the game and won and I played it in such a way that made it easy. Now im turning it into the business I wanted all of my life. <br />
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And make no mistake medical school is a business. Medicine is a business. I got in for free because I wrote grants that drew big sums for my undergrad from NIH. It certaintly was not an accident that the Dean specifically approached me and asked me what research I was going to be doing and suggested several "great" departments. They want to dip their had in the candy jar. And if you do not understand that cash is a strong motivator (not the only one) and you are one of those want to blindly save the world types and I love everyone please just stop reading this (unless you are Bob Marley and you are pushing it some more because that is the kind of love I believe in). <br />
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Now it may seem that I am just talking about how great I am and all this but I am saying that I know you all are the same. You are all super capable people. Notice how I don't say good person or bad person because this distinction is stupid and short sighted. You are just a person, one capable of achieve whatever you want regardless of how its deemed by others. Why, because you are breaking away from the mold and that takes so much effort. Its so hard to step out into the unknown. As animals we want to go the path that others of our pack support. It takes a lot of strength to say no, I'm gonna go the way I want to go. You know who does that? The alpha male. If you want to run things and be your own man (or woman, i just hate having to specify but I dont like to use the word person instead of man) you need to take charge. Go ahead, start your own business<br />
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And if you want take a look at mine. I am going to need partners as my business expands. I have a lot of materials: a book on the way,ebooks, videos, but what I need help with is seminars. I am dead serious, these things are lucrative. I also need 1-on-1 coaches. You guys (girls too of course but I am lazy, path of least resistance remember?) would be a good addition. Why, because I can tell from these posts that you understand that medical school is a game. This means you can help teach people the rules and help get them in. If you are interested shoot me a message.<br />
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Of course this is just the path I'm going. You can start any business. Bakery, whatever lol. Its up to you. But if you don't like med. school don't do it. <br />
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*Please disregard the spelling / grammar errors. If you are your own woman / man / manly woman you don't use punctuation or really even know how to write lol.

Wow I think you just summed up how I feel about my whole experience perfectly! I always "thought" I wanted to be a doc when I was younger. This was mainly because my dad is a doctor and I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Well I started having serious doubts about med school when I was in junior year of undergrad. I was completely sick of studying pointless garbage like organic chemistry and realized a lot of med school was gonna be like that. But I kept chugging along and applied for and got a military scholarship to med school. So I moved several states away and decided I was gonna do it. Well pretty much from orientation on I realized I'd made a huge mistake. I absolutely hated getting up in the morning, hated the drive to school, hated EVERYTHING about it. I came home crying at least three times a week. It was pathetic. I knew it wasn't for me, and I couldn't make myself study it anymore. I was DONE. So I resigned from the program and am now back home waiting to hear from the military, hoping they have something for me to do. As far as your business is going, that sounds like an amazing plan and the perfect way to come away with that experience in a positive light. How is the business working out for you? I'd be very interested in that business as well. I've always been pretty comfortable with public speaking and I definitely know how to play the med school application game you're referring to!

I feel I'm in exactly the same situation. I got into medical school by pure family influence, both parents as doctors and medicine being the only language they speak and believe in, also living in Africa where doctors are worshipped and admired all over. The peculiar thing about my situation is how far off my initial career wishes on completing secondary school are from where I find myself now. I actually wanted to do mechanical engineering and get into automobile design, I enjoy things that bring out ones creativity and own style, medicine is everything but that, learning to reason in a common manner so as to save time and narrow down differential diagnosis. It imprisons me, and I tend to vent the pressure out with regular exercise and writing poetry. I however plan to finish this final year (in fifth year right now) and start a Bsc in engineering afresh. I know it won't be easy, but after 6 years of this I feel I can do anything if I put my mind to it.

Wow. In the same boat, stuck in the middle of third year hoping to to make it to the finish line but not planning on doing a residency. i had many talks about not enjoying medical school with friends, family, faculty and was always told that it would be "better" during rotations. So here I am, stuck in the middle of third year getting horrible shelf scores (but passing) and mediocre to bad evals from preceptors. In most cases, they can tell a lack a general interest and enthusiasm in medicine. I<br />
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t is so frustrating because I have always performed well in school and also had a really good MCAT score. However, I just don't have the passion to put the necessary work in to do well in medical school. Like you said, there is no "flow." It's like fighting tooth and nail to get and hour of study in here or there. I really feel like a fraud in my rotations just waiting to be exposed. I have realized that what I have always loved are the fine arts, but try to tell someone who has 250k in debt to try to make a living as an artist. <br />
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As it turns out, I have a new found interest in business and travel and have been working on a few business plans with a friend in the industry. For now, I just am struggling with the decision to go on and finish or just get out now and safe myself the extra debt and grief? It's not very fun to go through something when you aren't giving it your all and you can't work up the motivation to do it. I would very much like to know how residency goes for you and would love any other advice you may have. I wish you the best.

Well from my experience..their is always an another guy in your batch who thinks like you. Both of you can join hands and start doing something different and make money. This is what i am doing..this is so refreshing and needless tp say give you a reason and responsibility to start afresh....

ahhhhhhhhhhh medical school... interesting to read these posts. the thing that is kind of cool about medicine is that there is a niche for everyone in this huge field. i think it's good that you're planning on sticking it out and getting your MD. it's kind of crazy how those 2 little words can open up doors for you. <br />
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i went to medical school and hated it. it was worse than high school in terms of the people. it was full of *******, nerds and psychopaths. i barely passed. i found that a lot of my thinking and study skills went down the toilet, never to return. <br />
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about residency, it's different than medical school. you see things a bit differently than before. more of the behind the scenes crap. lots of paper work. first year residency can be a **** show of paperwork and scut. but things get better. <br />
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in terms of personal life and all that? depends what your needs are. message me if u want to talk more anything really. <br />
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good luck with everything.

I read your comments and a few passages stuck out:<br />
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"The thing that drew me to medicine was my passion for understanding the pathogenesis of disease. But all that medical school really is is memorizing treatment algorithms and misc facts that are often presented totally without context or reference to the underlying evidence ba<x>sed studies"<br />
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"When you are engaged...you enter a state where you are incredibly productive almost without realizing the effort. I had been in this state my last two years of undergrad...Cranking out research."<br />
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"I do not feel I fit the mould that med school wishes to cast one in. I just don't. I like active inquisitive thinking. Questions that may not have answers (yet). " <br />
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Seems to me that you're pursuing the wrong kind of doctoring. Try a research program and go for a Ph.D. Publish, patent, work as a prof or a scientist in industry/government. You may be a lot happier in the long run.

Thanks for the comments!<br />
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To Quirps22:<br />
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Thanks for the words of encouragement. The PBS documentary, Survivor MD, is something I have been following for QUITE some time now. I am glad you mentioned it. The only thing I feel that it is lacking is more of a personal explanation for why these ppl went all these different routes, and HOW they were able to find the opportunities. <br />
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One thing though is that I would ask you read through my post again, as I have already approached some of this in terms of finding a balance. I think what I have honestly found is that clinical medicine probably is not a good fit for me. I have enjoyed very little of it, again as mentioned before besides Path and Gen Surg, but do not find that much of personal identity in medicine to pursue something with a lifestyle like Surg. <br />
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I.E. I enjoy the topics, but at the end of the day I am a guy that enjoys my friends, cookouts, mountain biking more than anything else. Maybe I am selfish. So be it. I think it just goes to illustrate that I am probably better suited for a 40-50 hours a week job where I can successfully juggle professional and personal life. My own fault for choosing this road though. And seriously, thanks for the input, I appreciate all views.<br />
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To decaturguy202:<br />
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Thank you for the reply. If your position is as close to mine as you suggest, then I congratulate you for sticking things out! I am glad I have (even though I do regret all the debt, and still do not have an answer). I know that my experience in medical school has probably really done some damage to my self-esteem (nothing friends would notice, but overall I feel it) and getting back on top of life is probably going to take some time.<br />
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MY DECISION YOU MIGHT ASK? <br />
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I have decided, as already implied, is to finish my degree. I think that once a person enters 3rd year they may as well finish. Making it through 3rd year wasn't nearly as bad as I had thought it would be, although definitely NOT worth the money in loans I shelled out considering the relative lack of initiative to teach on the part of >50% of attendings at my school (A WHOLE OTHER TOPIC). It is a lot easier to explain being a capable of successfully finishing medical school with ZERO FAILING MARKS (albeit a low Step I) on my record and deciding down the line to not practice, than dropping out 3/4 of the way through.<br />
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I also have made the decision to continue on and apply for residency. Part of my trouble in medical school has been the dichotomy between being told to treat things like a job (when your work often counts for nothing, and you are broke, and in my case in my late 20s, essentially divorced, and accumulating credit card debt) and it actually being a job (on the resident level). My true thoughts are that medical school is the new purgatory, and residency is the new medical school. I hope that with a new level of responsibility I will at least find some level of meaning in my work. <br />
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This does not mean however that I will not continue to look for outside opportunities, like you are doing. My thinking is this...It is easier to match upon initial graduation. Residency, albeit low pay for the number of hours, is still a job with very valuable training, and in the mid-40k range at most programs. Should I fulfill the following, I will leave, FOR GOOD, and hopefully for the best :)...<br />
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A) dislike residency profoundly (as much as i have hated medical school; which has been a lot)<br />
B) not have time for my personal life (which i have had tons of trouble with during medical school, and has probably really exacerbated my unhappiness)<br />
C) find an appropriate job opportunity paying the same or more that will allow for some level of growth, as well as decent stability. i should add that i have a lot of different skilled trade abilities outside of medicine, and so my job search is probably a bit on the "diverse side" of things and may not be typical for a medical school graduate.

Hey there-<br />
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I think you should do your best to finish up med school. Even if you don't practice medicine, there are lots of things you can do with an M.D. degree that you might find to be a good match for you. There was some pbs documentary tracking 5 Harvard medical students, and some of them ended up doing non-profit work and didn't even practice clinically. Also, don't feel bad if med school is not as easy or doesn't resemble undergrad. You just have to do your best to adjust and find your own balance. Hope this helps!<br />
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Best of luck!