Should I Quit Medical School?

I remember the early days of first year when the work was hard and the labs were long and we had our hands in cadavers and our heads in biochemistry and we felt like some of the smartest people in the world. Everything is great, you’re dating new people and forming strong friendships and then BAM. The work is too much that week, that night, or that day and the peson next to you is getting it. They’re excited the way you used to be excited and life still feels easy to them the way you miss it. That feeling will hang around your neck as long as it needs to. It’ll keep hanging there until you have a conversation with yourself.

Why am I doing this? My friends back home are starting their jobs and making money and buying new things to make their apartments look nice so the people will want to sleep with them and I’m missing all of it. This is first year. It only gets harder. Why am I doing this? I could quit. I could quit right now and I’d only have $40,000 in debt to pay for my mistake. It might just be worth it. Maybe I should quit. Maybe this was a bad move.

And of course maybe it was a bad move for you. Maybe you shouldn’t be here and the smartest decision of your life would be leaving right now and cutting your losses. People stay though. They stay because they know a moron the year ahead of them, so figure it can’t be that bad if that guy made it. Some people stay because they don’t know what else they’d do with themselves. Some people stay because as much as it sucks, they can’t do anything else. The point is that the doubting doesn’t have to stop because you want it to.

I’m almost half way through 2nd year and I’m having a bad week. I don’t feel like I’m learning any of this Pathology and I’ve ignored Micro for three weeks now. It’s all going to catch up with me whether or not I catch up with it. And if I don’t suck it up and pull through then it’s going to sting real bad when I see my test. Feeling beat up and stupid is no fun, and it’s frequent enough that you often feel like quitting. But I remember exactly where I was standing on campus in first year where I had that important conversation with myself. And I remember my answer.

So I’m waiting for it to get better, plugging away while it isn’t and telling my problems to a stranger. All of it helps.

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480 Responses to Should I Quit Medical School?

  1. Shankari says:

    And it does! (help, that is)

    :)

  2. second year med student says:

    I feel like that everyday. I get my strength from all of the bad things that have happened in my life and I realize that this is not so bad, so what if I have to suck it up, so what if med school owns my ass. So what if I have to read things five times before I remember it, and so what if I look like Im fourty even though Im in my twenties. Life is about sucking it up and doing what you have to in order to survive. If you weren’t in medical school whatever else you were doing would eventually present with hard times and what would you do, you would suck it up. So keep sucking it up. You can do it. :O)

    • lynda says:

      exactly! That’s the thing. This life is not all your story. I believe in the hereafter and I wish God will make me live in paradise, but this life, it is only part of the existence..it doesn’t have to be perfect, it is short anyways.

  3. hating my life says:

    im in third year and i feel stupid multiple times a day and i want to punch my resident in the face. be strong and drop out. i wish i were first year so i could f’ing quit. life is not about sucking it up. life should be about enjoying yourself and having friends and family and doing good in the world. it’s not about sucking it up, getting berated every day, and working 14 hours a day.

  4. S. says:

    I am going through exactly the same line of doubting at the moment. I am seriously thinking of quitting. Like “hating my life” said, life shoulnd’t be about sucking it up. Life should be about enjoying life, and medical school is interfering with that. The worse part of it is knowing that it only gets worse. There is medical school, then residency, then being an attending, then dealing with all the bureaucratic crap, ever-increasing malpractice insurance rates, lower reimbursements, and I wonder if all this crap will ever be worth it. I used to think it would be worth it, but I don’t think so optimistically anymore. Every day that I try to force myself to study yet another subject I could care less about, all I can think is that I would rather be doing something else. ANYTHING else. I don’t care if I get paid less, at least I will be working normal hours and able to have a life, to make friends, to spend time with family, to develop those things that make life worthwhile.

    I am curious, though, did you end up quitting? I would love to hear the outcome of your story, because I’m serioulsy confused at the moment. My e-mail is baylorclassof2007[at]hotmail[dot]com. I also have a blog, e-mail me if you would like an invite to read it…maybe you can share some experience.

    • need an answer says:

      i’m in my first year in med school and i’m f’ckin hating it. it’s practically just study, study harder, and study again! i dont want this life. i want a flexible schedule. would it wise for me to quit? is pharmacy school as hard?

  5. W. says:

    I’m a first year and seriously considering dropping out to teach high school. My motivation and drive have dropped tremendously. Part of me says stick it out maybe it will get better, but another part says drop put. My classmates tell me to stay…

    • KSV says:

      did you stay? i feel exactly the same as you did here. i am in the second week of medical school and all of me just wants to drop out and teach to high schoolers. i have an exam next week already and i hate this life. i just cannot stand the disappointment my friends and family and myself will go through if i dropped out. i am so hurt, lost, and sad. please give me any advice you can

  6. lm says:

    First year was fun, second year was very tough and now I am in third year, which is better at times and worse at times. I suppose I wish I knew what I was getting into. There’s no going back now, but I often re-contemplate my lfie choices. If you are in first year and already hate it, I would do some definate soul searching. That said, I think things do get better over time, but med school can be long, and I’ve heard residency is also very hard on you.

  7. Some Goober says:

    Here’s the thing… like anything else, medicine is what you make of it. Parts of it suck. More important are the parts of it that made you want to become a physician in the first place. Both are real, and I guess it’s what you focus on that bears the fruit.

    You don’t want to deal with insurance companies? Don’t. That is not a flippant suggestion, I’m dead serious. I know of an increasing handful of docs who have started fee-for-service practices and are doing just fine, without the reimbursement B.S. Or start a micro-practice without the heavy overhead, and work with patients one-on-one. There are options.

    You want to work 40 hours per week? Don’t BE a surgeon. Go into Occupational or Preventive Medicine, or Emergency Medicine, or find a niche someplace else. You don’t have to do what the herd does, if the herd is miserable. Some residencies are worse than others, some are better. Choose the happiest place that you can.

    I recently was denied readmission to my medical school (after remediating a failed class… long story), and I am either heading to the Carib or Europe to finish what I started. Parts of medical school suck, and it is hard, but stuff that is worthwhile IS hard, a lot of the time. If your resident/attending is a complete ***hole, resolve in your mind to be better than that when you are able to teach people.

    Aaaaand I just got a splinter in my heel from the soapbox. Sorry.

    Anyway… no, don’t simply drop out. Unless you really just hate medicine, and you can’t remember (or be reminded) of why you wanted to do it in the first place, I mean.

    • curious says:

      i think ur idea towards life is more practical and matured

    • Money says:

      You are right on the money. I almost laughed out loud at the comment that said “i want to drop out and teach high school” You don’t know frustration until you have deal with a soft administration that will always side with deliquent students over you. OR the pain of having your pay furloughed and not getting a raise for years while your superintendent gets one. Or teaching for 4 good years and then finding out that they’re cutting all arts and music classes and you are fired :-p

      I know you guys are having a tough time, but believe me, so is everyone else. It’s just different and yeah, you have to make the best of your situation. Trust me, unless your friends are entrepreneurs (and even then), they will probably soon know the pain of having a phat crib and car note and then a pink slip to match. If you work in pharma, it’s a fact of life!

      • zack kurt says:

        Yeah, people bitch too much about school work. I mean its just time and studying. There are people out there that have to work in factories or in farm for next to nothing salaries . They come home exhausted and have to do it all over again the next day. Stop whining.

  8. EL says:

    I used to feel like that too. I nearly did drop out from med school in my 3rd year, but decided not to. Things started to get better after you got a hang of it.
    If being a doctor is your calling, you’ll get through alright. You’ll see. :)

    Even now in my 1st year of residency, I sometimes feel like wanting to quit and be done with with it. Especially, after seeing my high school friends taking their kids to KG. Oh well…

  9. Badman says:

    To achieve anything in life requires grit. However, if what motivated you to do it- like in my case,my parents -is external, then it is not worth it. To become a great doctor you need passion for at least some aspects of medicine. I never wanted to be a doctor, I was just addicted to the adulation and approval. Only continue your medical pursuits if its your dream not someone else’s.

  10. adl says:

    I agree with Badman. I’m actually done with all the training and have been practicing for 7 years and have been different grades of miserable the whole time, so I’m getting ready to quit and go back to school for a Masters degree (a decision that is the result of 6 years of career counseling/soul searching so that I wouldn’t make the same mistake again). I liked the first two years of med school, but then it was downhill from there. I now realize that I like ideas and concepts and the abstract and delving deeply into something (something you don’t usually do in most specialties) and I like to write and do research, stuff like that. I didn’t really understand that when I decided to go into private practice. So, if medicine is your calling, stick it out. If you’re doing it for just about any other reason, quit now before you waste a lot of your youth like I did. And, if you’re not sure about practicing medicine, don’t finish everything and then go into private practice, because if you quit then you’ll have to pay tail malpractice insurance. When all is said and done, I will have paid $97,000 in tails and my student loans were only $86,000. Practicing medicine today is absolutely ridiculous, so think long and hard and talk to lots of practicing doctors about it (realize that some of them won’t be completely truthful if they don’t like it) and really listen to what they say.

  11. Jack says:

    Ok. Basically finishing my fourth year at Pritzker, UChicago. And am going to quit. I wasted 5 years at this, and if I had had the wisdom I have now I would have just bagged it 4 years ago. There is so many errors in this education system I can’t even find a place to start. So leave now, have a life, and honestly anything is better than the crap they have been teaching us.

  12. Sarah says:

    Dear Jack,
    I just finished my 3rd year at a DO school and had a breakdown. I hate it so much. I am on medical leave of absence for “anxiety and depression.” I want to quit but I feel like such a failure. I am only 25. Help

    • M says:

      I feel your pain, im going through the same thing and im on my 2nd leave in a row. Im starting to question if medicine is right for me even though everyone around me tells me they see i love it and i did really well 1st yr. But i just broke down 2nd yr and ended up in the ER. twice. I have to make the same decision cause once more and im outa med school.

      • M says:

        if anyone has any advice..please share

      • N says:

        I am going through the same thing. It all hit me really hard because I always thought medicine was what I wanted – turns out I wanted the approval of friends and family. I’m in first year and have just taken a medical leave of absence for anxiety. I managed to do really well in my classes despite having constant panic attacks. I had done a lot of interesting research in the past and felt like I was being trained to be a robot in med school. The idea that medicine would be the rest of my life started making me panic. The decision to leave is a very difficult one especially since most people have dreamed about a career in medicine their whole lives. ‘If not med school, where does that leave me?’ A really challenging part is what to say to other people. But at the end of the day, other people’s opinions don’t really matter – I know it is easier said than done, but it is the truth. Here is an article I found that helped me put things in perspective:
        http://lifestyle.sympatico.ca/living/palliative_care_nurse_reveals_top_5_deathbed_regrets/310eaae8
        I think it takes a really brave person to question what is going on in their lives and to self-reflect on whether they are being true to themselves. I really wish you all the best.

      • Love says:

        I’m also considering a leave of absence, but I actually do want to be here, but our school’s new curriculum has overloaded our whole class…they will likely have to change it, especially since half our class failed the last exam. I’m depressed, and having HAs, and possible IBD issues – currently seeing lots of docs and having tests to figure out what’s wrong with me…I feel like my body is falling apart…praying about what I should do…stick it out and possibly fail one class, or take a leave of absence, get healthy and come back on fire, on all 8 cylinders…thoughts?

      • L. says:

        So what did you decide to do? i’m in the middle of my second year and I am seriously trying to get out of this. I also did medicine for my parents and that just doesnt hold up anymore when you’re the one having to take all of these tests about something you could care less about. I got the entrepreneurial bug doing something I’ve always been passionate about but put on the backburner..now i can’t stop thinking about my business..especially when I’m reading about diseases!

  13. Sarah says:

    Jack do you also have student loans out? I have almost 2G….I cannot imagine finishing. I dont know what to do.w

  14. Homunculus says:

    I am in the carib and just recently started 2nd year, although am repeating second half of Physiology. The last few weeks have been tremendously mentally draining, not sure if this is what I want to do. When I went home over the break, I just felt this sense of loss. I miss my partner, our kids, and just the life that I left behind. I realize that we have one life to live, and I feel like medicine will waste my life away! My partner is starting his business, and right now it’s very tough and all he needs right now is positive environment. If I come home, I do not want to be a burden, especially I probably will not have a job for a good few months with the economy and all. I’m so confused……

  15. unsuredude says:

    Hi I’m a MS1, just started a month ago. Workload has been doable, BUT it’s been VERY HARD for me to keep up when i’m not motivated to study medicine. Especially when almost all my other classmates are so gung-ho about medicine. I just don’t share that same interest.. I think I went into this for the wrong reasons – mainly wanting to please my parents and the prestige that it would bestow on my family. In retrospect, I’ve really never had a genuine interest in MEDICINE itself. I was more infatuated with the challenge of JUST GETTING INTO medical school. Now I realize that I probably made a big mistake. Right now, I’m just going to do the best I can on upcoming exams this semester, but at the same time visit counselors, possibly request a LOA, and shadow other professions (dentistry, podiatry).

    I think the hardest part for me if I am granted a LOA and do decide to pursue another career is telling the friends I’ve made here at school, as well as my parents, about my decision. Also, having to tell all my friends and former employers who had supported me along the path to getting into med school….not to mention all my younger pre-med friends who kept asking me for advice… Oh man, I just can’t fathom it right now… I just feel it’s going to be terribly embarrassing…but I just don’t think all the future hard work will be worth it if I’m not genuinely enjoying medicine. I chugged my way through undergrad not being genuinely interested in medicine, but medical school/internship/residency and then a career as an attending cannot be done I believe without that genuine passion to keep me motivated through all the tought times. I don’t want medicine to occupy my life, as I have many outside interests and want a good family life. I used to think the phrase” do what you actually love to do and money and happiness will follow” was bogus, but I know I see how truthful it is…

    By the way, I’m 23 y/o…would that be too late at this point to change careers?

    I don’t want to end up waiting too long to rethink medicine as a career, end up with thousands in debt, and be “trapped” into career. That would be terrible…

    Would it be advisable to quit as soon as possible? Or should I pursue other professions while still in school? I thought about just shadowing other professions during holiday breaks.

    • Money says:

      Please, let me tell you. DO NOT WORRY ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE THINK WHEN YOU MAKE DECISIONS THAT AFFECT YOURSELF!!!!

      Don’t worry about fear of failure. If you really feel that you are in the wrong field, switch. It may feel like the end of the world, but trust me, it isn’t.

      Also, keep in mind that there are other options for you. I have many friends who are MDs and they haven’t seen the inside of a clinic this (or last) decade! They make six figures and have paid off their debt. You can do research (if that interests you), clinical research, consulting, drug safety (the last two are both office jobs), etc. You have options.

      Good luck to you!!!

      • L. says:

        How much does having just an MD matter if you don’t want to go into healthcare at all? I’m curious about what people think.

    • Unsuredude2 says:

      So what did you end up doing?
      Reason I’m asking is because I think I’m also infatuated with the challenge of getting into a really tough profession. And the toughest one out there is medicine. I’m afraid that this might be the wrong motivation to practice medicine.

      So what did you end up doing? Did you finish? Did you quit and find something else?

      • belloglaecus says:

        Unsure Dude,

        I have long reflected on what to tell you guys (and gals!) that are REALLY struggling with a decision to stay in med school or not. My advice is, DO IT IF YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT!
        Whatever you do in life will be hard. Many of you struggling seem to feel as if you have made a monumental mistake because of financial reasons or the time involved. The fact is, anything in life will be difficult/demanding.
        I work sixty+ hours a week at my job during registration and busy times, and make relatively. You see what I mean? You are going to have to work hard in ANY profession you choose, might as well have one that is high prestige/is well paid. If I were you, I would get through med school if there was anyway I could, unless you just hate it so bad you can’t stand it. If you have an MD degree, even if you don’t stay in medicine, it opens up many doors. I know a man who is a retired Opthamalogist who now teaches community college because he said “It is what I always wanted to do.”
        Don’t you think the fact he is an MD gave him a leg up in getting hired? Fact is, ANYTHING you want to do in life, having a medical degree is going to give you an automatic advantage because the degree is very competitive/hard to get into/hard to compete. Employers know this, so even if you decided to be a janitor (not knocking janitors) you would STILL have an advantage.

        So I say two things: Get through it if you can, and it gives you an advantage in anything else in life you might want to try.

        My heart really goes out to you, I know how confusing life can be. I hope this helps!

      • belloglaecus says:

        Unsure dude, your post isn’t clear on whether or not you are in medicine, but I stick by what I say:do it if you can! Good luck!

      • Unsuredude2 says:

        Hello Belloglaecus

        I’m currently a senior in college and I am just debating my decision on going to med school or not. I’m afraid I might just be doing it for the thrill of being able to get into med school.

      • belloglaecus says:

        Unsuredude2,

        That is part of it and legitimate, I would think, to want to get in just because of the challenge, I mean, Docs are respected/needed everywhere, as long as they went to an accreditted school, so that is nothing to be ashamed of! Ask anybody why they went into it, and if they say that money/prestige wasn’t at least part of it is lying!
        I remember reading a John Grisham novel called the Rainmaker, I think it was, or maybe it was the Street Lawyer-the narrator say at one point “We all went into law to help humanity and uphold the rights of the powerless. We all lied.”
        I think it would be a good idea to talk to some Docs, also the pre-med advisors at college-find out why they did it, how they got through it. Just remember, medical school sucks. Don’t have rose-colored glasses about that. I was talking to an anathesiologist I ran into the other night and he agreed with the popular idiom-the first year of med school sucks. The second year (when you are getting ready to take the USLME Step 1, )REALLY sucks.
        Third year sucks, but in a different way, from what I have sifted from different blogs like this one. So even though it sucks, you are doing different things with the knowledge you have accumulated, so now that you are using it, life still sucks but differently, so there is at least the illusion that it is cool.
        The datum I have researched also says that fourth year is like a vacation, comparatively, in that you are now finally applying the knowledge you have learned under supervision. The datum also says to enjoy your fourth year, because then you go into residency, which sucks more than anything else has sucked up till then.
        Maybe I went on too long, but that is basically what I hear med school is like. I sure wish I had had the internet and all these cool blogs when I was your age-it would have really de-mystified the process!
        So, anyway, right now I am working for a college bookstore love the academic environment, someone asked me what I was doing now-I decided that with my age and cost of med school as a factor-I would get through and live just long enough to pay back my loans! I am thinking of doing a Phd in Psychology or maybe History-sometimes I regret not being a Doc but there are other paths out there-I hope this helps, I would be interested to know what you decide!

    • Ret says:

      Insightful.

  16. sarah says:

    omg…if i could go back in time…id tell you to quit in a heartbeat and do something that you might not even love, but would give you time to finid something you love. i wish i could do that….i finished 3 years and now have no idea what to do. i want to quit so badly, but the loans scare me so much.

    • tina says:

      omg i was just googling if they are other people on here who hate med school life as i do and i came across this..
      i hate what i am doin..m almost half way through second year.i hate it soo much that i have totally ignored my second year subjects..i dont feel like studying to..i feel there is more to me than just this..i feel really really depressed and i regret my decision

      • tzeling says:

        “i feel there is more to me than just this”

        i spent my first three years in med school feeling inadequate, especially when comparing myself to my classmates (even though i knew i shouldn’t do that). the idea that i wasn’t good enough became my identity.. i’ve taken a year off from med (burned out, and depressions), and now nearing the end of that leave. and now deciding if i should just stop. so thankful that my family is so supportive of my decisions, and willing to listen and advice. it really helps,

        my respect to all medical students and doctors.

  17. LIZ says:

    “UNSUREDUDE”

    Did you say it was you’re first term IN medical school..if so…I am in the exact same predicament as you.

    I went to my first..lecture today.. and it hit me. Ifelt like I couldn’t give a hoopla bout it. Yes.. I do want to help people but Im unsure if its this way… Even the people who are sitting next to me. everything about it just seems so fake..I can’t describe it. Im terrified of the weeks to come…I know it sounds weak but my mum would seriously kill me. seriously. she’s not the “do what you want” type. Someone reply I need an equal minded person to speak with otherwise I think I may breakdown if I havent already.

    • Alex says:

      Hi Liz,
      I realize this was a few years ago, I’m wondering what you decided to do? I’m sort of in the same predicament. I’m not in medical school yet, but I’m a senior undergrad, and my goal is to become a child psychiatrist. My true passion is psychology, but since my mom is a doctor, she said i might as well do psychiatry. Sometimes I’m unsure if I’m on this career path to please my family, for the “stigma” of being a physician, or the money, for the freedom of not having to live paycheck to paycheck, or because I’m really interested in it. I guess there are a lot of upsides of being a doctor, I’m just not sure which reason is my biggest one. My mom is exactly like yours, she would never accept me studying anything other than medicine, which is why I’m seeking your advice. The reason I’m desperate so early in my career is because I’ve always been horrible in science. I’m a senior undergrad and barely in Chem 114 (which I’m probably failing already). I had to repeat Chem 101 3 times, until I finally got a B. My gpa really isn’t great, but aside from my worries of not getting into med school, I’m just so depressed right now. I know so many family members and friends who understand chemistry perfectly! every aspect of science, they love it and understand it right away. And i feel like no matter how much i study, i never seem to pass a test. My mom just keeps telling me to take it one day at a time, that the important thing is just to get the best grade possible and be done with it. But I still have like 3 levels of chemistry to do before i graduate, and if I’m already feeling this way now, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel in med school when everyone around me is so smart and good at science. i feel like i’ll just fall behind completely. I dont think im cut out for this. not because i cant handle it, but because i feel i wont do good grade-wise. my mom has her own clinic, and she says it’s mine the day i graduate. how can i turn that down? my mom is super rich and happy and loves her work, i want that and i think i would really love this career, but i’m afraid about the pathway there…how am i gonna do it if I’ve been struggling since the very beginning? Has anyone else here ever struggled with science courses in undergrad? Any advice would be appreciated…Thanks.

      • belloglaecus says:

        If you two want to read the thinking of someone who is older and DIDN’T go to med school, both of you should scroll up and read my reply to UNSUREDUDE and see what my thoughts are-Alex, I really feel your pain as well as Liz’s-how I WISH I could download what is in my head, twenty years plus experience in life and give you guys my knowledge!
        I know you both are struggling-when you are in your twenties, EVERYTHING seems so important and you think that something has to be a special calling and then you start second-guessing yourselves. I can tell you both and nearly everyone else on this page is REALLY overthinking it-if you think you like it and can do medicine, just do it! Life isn’t defined by just ONE specialty-I think I read a psychological study in which it was noted that everyone has some SEVENTY odd aptitudes and talents!
        If you choose to do medicine and you bomb out, that is neither a crime nor a waste, or if you do it for a few years and decide you don’t like it, the same applies-but having a medical degree is a big leg up on everyone else no matter what you do! Check my other posts for more of my thinking, I really feel for BOTH of you, and best of luck! You both will make the right decision!

  18. anthony says:

    Hi, I’m not america, I dont go to uni in america but I am a medical student in Romania. 3rd year. In my first 2 years i didnt think much about quitting cos i had just learned to speak romanian and i attributed my hardships to the fact that I wasnt a fluent speaker and coursework was BOUND to be f”ing hard. But now I’m at the end of the 3rd year with 3 failed exams and I realize that, I know the language perfectly, I have no excuse for things being this hard. A fellow medical student once told me that if I wasnt passionate about medicine and if it wasnt my dream, I would just start failing exams and things would get worse and worse until I sort my issues out. Thats exactly whats happening now. When I get down to studying, I feel I go cross eyed and I cant see the pages. Or i just cant stop thinking about how much I hate medical school. I guess I’m here mainly because of my parents. I really want to quit. I’m afraid my father would die of depression. He’s a doctor and my mum’s a nurse and they both run a clinic. They keep saying that I’m thier only hope for a doctor in the family seeing as both of my older brothers failed to get into medical school. I was the smart one, but that also made me the stupid one, cos now I’m caught in my parents dream of being with thier son on the day he graduates from medical school. I feel like I’m totally not where I’m supposed to be. I have so many other interests and talents I would like to develope and I feel I’m wasting my youth on something I will never have use of. If it were easier then I would do it in parallel with other things and when I graduate i’d frame my diploma and send it to my folks as a gift. But its too expensive a gift. I’ve already thrown away 4 years of my life on this, should i throw away 3 more?? Dare I??

    • daniel says:

      Hi, I’m from Romania. 1st year and i think this was the mistake of my life so far. I want out.

      What id you do in the end ?

    • Sean Xavier says:

      im from india and im going to romania for med school this year can you please tell me which med schools to avoid i mean the
      worst ones???cause after hearing yaal im like wtf is goin on there!!!

  19. LIZ says:

    anthony. I know how you feel you’re lucky tho youve done two already i have 5 ahead. How come youve wasted 4 years tho? i thought u were in 2nd year. Tbh and i resent the proffession as much as you mainly because of being forced in theere. i would stick it out,. you have 3 to go. then you got what they wanted. im sre u can leave?? some how.. you dont hav to go on do you? but howd u plan on paying the loans back tho?>

    what i want to do is get the degree and i would happily use it as volunteer work somewhere else just not in these poxy hospiitals. i want to do music…etc but i dont know if it will be too late by the end i finish this.

  20. Jan says:

    Wow! Here I am sitting and reading this.. and it just hit me how strange it actually was that I was reading this blog about quitting med school instead of studying the different muscle compartments of the leg and thigh… their innervation, insertion, blah blah blah. And know what, I really don’t like it! But I think there are few people who actually enjoy sitting and reading about muscle groups, nerves, etc .. (I bet half the people who say they do are lying or weird :) Luckily there is more to medicine than just straight up studying.) I find it extremely comforting that this blog exists and others feel the same way too! I am a med 1 student and have definitely asked myself if this is the right thing for me more times than I can count. And it is hard, because there are a lot of “hardcore med students” who don’t seem to ever second guess things. But I don’t think getting out asap is the answer for everyone who does have these thoughts. Like others have said, few things in life are ever easy. Then on the other hand… life is short, why do something you don’t completely love? So who the heck knows what you should do in this type of situation!?!? There will be hard times, but I’m sure there will also be lots of really great and satisfying times. I think I will keep trucking, at least for a while… For those who do decide to “quit”, just realize that getting into Med school alone is something to be proud of, it takes a shit load of work (unless you’re just extremely lucky and/or good at lying) and you are obviously are very intelligent person. I’m sure there are many other things you could also succeed at! Don’t ever feel like you are trapped in something.
    Hope this sort of helps. I’m definitely going to check back every once in a while to see what other fellow distressed med students are thinking!
    Good luck everyone :)

  21. Sarah says:

    I still have no idea what to do!!!!!!!!!! I have done 3 years of med school and am now on a LOA. Time is ticking away, and I have not made a decision as to if I should go back or not. I do not have any other life passions or dreams to fall back on and start over. Yet I had a nervoous breakdown 2 months ago due to school/boards/future and truly do not think medicine is for me. OMG

    • Hana says:

      This probably late but i really want to know what did u do? i’m in the same position right now and i’m going to take a leave of absence due to health problems. I feel like i’ve ruined my life.

  22. Sarah says:

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  23. Bob says:

    Don’t quit med school just because you don’t like the school. Almost no one likes med school or any other professional school for that matter. I remeber when I was in pharmacy school there were times I was totally miserable. But I always kept in my head that pharmacy school would be over before I knew it and that I would then be able to have a good job I enjoy for the rest of my life once I graduated. Both were true. Four years goes by crazy fast and the job was well worth the work. Stick it out if you really want to be a doctor. School is suppose to be hard. When it is done it is well worth it.

    • alicia says:

      I really do not think you can compare the two (medical school and pharmacy school)

      • sam says:

        Please share your with us how you gained firsthand knowledge of both medical school and pharmacy school alicia. I’d love to hear about the experiences that allow you make the statement that the two are not comparable in any way.

      • Meh... says:

        I agree with Sam. If you think that pharmacy school and med school are so significantly different, you probably don’t know anyone who went through pharmacy school… just a guess. I’m in medical school but one of my good friends is in pharmacy school. What she describes is essentially the same. Anecdotal, I know, but I wouldn’t dismiss it as being easy just because it’s not MD school.

  24. Jerad, MD says:

    Sarah and others,

    I am in my 3rd year of pathology residency. I truly have no regrets and love what I do. It can be draining, and yes I have massive loans (about a quarter of a million $), but to me it is the best. I suppose I am a bit of a science nerd but I think I am fairly “normal” and not too weird, but I’m biased. I went to Tulane in New Orleans, which is a great school, so maybe I just had it easy. But as much as I love medicine, I applaud all of you for second guessing and questioning to make sure that you are pursuing the right path. Med school pretty much sucks, like Bob implied, and I think lots of people in it get tired and want to quit. Some end up loving it after they make it to the clinical years. Some go into practice and hate it (from some of the other posters) it seems. If you know you can’t live without medicine, then I think you should stick with it for a while. If you are doing it just to make loads of money, for parents, or whatever but don’t love it (I mean love medicine, not med school…most people pretty much hate med school), then it may be worth looking into another career. BUT…don’t go and just drop out because it’s hard and overwhelming and seems pointless. Maybe talk to your advisor, talk to some residents, talk to some practicing docs…get some perspective from the world of medicine beyond med school. And my personal advice….look into pathology as a residency option. If you liked histo at all, then you just might love pathology. I love it. But most med students are never exposed to the “real” practice of pathology. Robbins and second year path courses are nothing like what I do every day. I diagnose cancer under the microscope (and do many various other things). Go do a month pathology elective in your clinical years…you just might find your perfect fit.

    Sarah, I am so sorry for your situation and I really hope things work out for you. My advice is mainly to think outside of the box…there are many different specialties and many many different ways to practice as a doctor other than the stereotypical private practice medicine doc. From my limited perspective, I would say that if you can finish and get your DO, you may be able to find some way to make some income with it to pay off your loans. Even if you get a job as a medical writer, a TV personality, a researcher, etc, etc. The degree will help and you are almost there. You don’t have to do residency if you really don’t want it, but I feel that you have come so far and that if you can make it through the last year (which is usually much easier) without endangering your health, then you should try to finish.

    I hope this helps some of you. I agree that the gunners who never stop to question if they are doing the right thing may very well end up miserable and full of regret later in life.

    -J

  25. I know a blogger who has totally been there. He’s been an attending for about 6 years now and, although his blog may not offer you amazing advice, at least it’s entertaining. Check it out… onedood.blogspot.com

  26. Irina says:

    I’m in a similar situation as Sarah. I am in my third year of medical school and had to leave rotations on a LOA because I was so unhappy/potentially depressed (I haven’t had the guts to see a therapist).
    I also don’t know what to decide. Option one is to go back to medical school to finish another 2 years. But, I do not want to do residency and am afraid of having a hard time finding a job otherwise. Option two is to drop out of med school and do something else.
    Like you Sarah, I too have tons of loans (130 grand, if I count my undergrad loans). The thing is though, I HATED what I did of inpatient medicine. I hated the hours, I hated seeing sick people, I hated the distance between doctors and patients. I remember my drive to get into med school was to help people, but to sacrifice so much of my happiness will mean that I will not really be able to help people…not if I can’t even help myself.
    I don’t know what to do.. any advice out there? Any people who have quit even when they were halfway through?

  27. topher says:

    this is topher, the author of this website. Send your phone number to rumorsweretrue@gmail.com. I will take the time to talk to each of you.

    • Jedilou Alip says:

      Hi! thank you for creating the awesome forum! I’m in second year med school right now and I’m guessing that things went on well for you. I’m so frustrated…about being torn whther to pursue med school or not. My self-dialogues made me realize that what I wanted to before was to please people’s expectations..and being a doctor seemed to be the most stable option. Now I see that this is not my passion. I have always believed in the power of passion in moving people’s lives. This is not the case for me though. if you can shed some light into my stubborn brain, then I’d highly appreciate it!=)

  28. MP11206 says:

    Hi Irina,

    It seems like you want to be in medicine but crave to spend more time with patients. Did you ever thought about becoming a nurse practitioner?

  29. Ion says:

    If you are already struggling with depression while in med school please read this Newsweek article: http://www.newsweek.com/id/132887

  30. elvina says:

    trying so hard to keep good grades…get into med school. screwing head away with all the residency problems, about the future. and for what? another series of stressing week at work?

  31. Tim says:

    It seems many people feel similarly…

    I’ve just started Med school. I wasn’t sure I really wanted it before I started, and I’m still not sure, but I applied because I didnt think I was reaching my potential and that being a doctor would be a worthwhile and respectable thing to do.

    I love learning the subject, even though it’s tough, but I just can’t see myself enjoying being a doctor. I don’t think I want to be working in a clinic of hospital, dealing with people’s health problems for the rest of my life! Is it worth carrying on if I think that way? Everyone else on my course seems so keen and empathic.

    I have other interests, wildly different to medicine, and often think I should follow those and get on with my life, rather than do what I think I “should” be doing. And above all it stresses me no end!

    • Ivy says:

      Tim: life is too short for “shoulds”. Explore the other options a medical degree would bring, since you love learning the subject. There are loads of other things you can do with a medical degree. I for one could NEVER see myself in a hospital for the rest of my life, and remember the 15-hrs of sleep days of depression too well. If I had known my options better then things would’ve been different but it’s no use crying over spilt milk. By the grace of God I got my degree and I only wish I’d studied harder/paid more attention without actively hating it so much. But the most potent lesson that I’ve learned is to always listen to yourself, the crowd doesn’t matter and what Joseph Campbell says about “Following Your Bliss” does indeed ring true. Hope that helps.

  32. Anna says:

    Hey Tim I just started too and I totally agree with you. The stress, the over enthusiastic medical colleagues the doomed future that lies ahead for us… yeh, why did we choose this course?

    I think we should stick it out for a while, I mean do you have exams coming up soon? They’ll reveal certain things…What country are you studying in?

  33. ilya says:

    im in 2nd year and hate it soo badly. i failed the semester and thinking of quitting but afraid that my parents will kill me. or i should say my dad. i made mistakes for choosing this course and studying in egypt while i am malaysian. crazy no?

    i am going to quit. u should to if u don’t feel like doing it anymore.

  34. Tim says:

    I’m studying in the UK. The course is interesting and fun at times, and although tough I am perfectly capable of doing it. But ultimately I feel I’m putting myself through unnecessary grief to get somewhere I don’t even really want to be! There is something to be said for sticking at it yes… but why waste all that money, time, stress and effort?

    As for what other people think, sure quitting will let people down, some people may think badly of you for not seeing it through, the future may be uncertain… but sod it, you have to look after number 1, do what you want to do and enjoy life. It may be selfish, but I want to put more energy into making my own life better (and those I know and care about), rather than stress over trying to help others.

  35. blahblah says:

    I’m in my 3rd year of medical school in Quebec (I speak French so I’m not excellent in English..).

    I can really relate to what Unsuredude and others said, basically being scared of not enjoying the rest of your life outside your job because of the workload and everything. I am questionning myself if I really want to be a doctor, because I just don’t think I “fit” with the rest of the students in med school who are so passionate about helping others and/or being a freak and being so good and understanding the things we have to know so fast… And I am kind of cynical and sarcastic, which seems to be the worst thing to be when you are a doctor. The problem is I don’t know what I want to do if I quit med school, I don’t even know if I want to stay in something related to science and healthcare.

    I really don’t think I am passionate enough to suffer all the workload, the uncertainty and the stress of being a doctor. My goal is just to be happy, to have a great time with my friends and my family, to travel, to discover new stuff everyday… and to just watch TV alot after coming home from work…! I know I won’t be the type of person who will be happy to wake up and go to work every morning, so I don’t think the medical work is really my thing.
    Please write back if you feel the same way as I do..!

    • Ivy says:

      Blahblah: If you’re cynical and sarcastic, you’re a shoo-in to become a surgeon! ;) Just kidding – well I was always the “hippie” in med school who said a lot of outrageous things…and I actually found that in my med school that there was a lot of dark humour. Also what you want in life changes when you get older, and it depends on why you entered med school in the first place. Do search deeply within yourself what is truly important to you. In my experience of med school and teaching students, perhaps colored by my own cynicism, I’ve found that the people who are actually in the field to serve or to help people are only a subsection and not exactly the majority. Having said that, med school and being on the wards has given me a sense of perspective that I may not otherwise have had. Good luck!

  36. Mike says:

    Hi. Thought I would weigh in. I am an md/phd student at penn (entering my 8th year of the program). I hated the first 2 years of medical school but somehow was able to bear it though I should say I skipped many classes (even small groups). I knew I wasn’t motivated pretty quickly but something kept me going. I started clinics my second year (we start after a year and a half) and absolutely hated clinics. It felt like I lost all my freedom. There were good moments sometimes but overall I was miserable. I think a lot of it was because I was used to college life and the slacking during the first year and a half of med school. Basically I was so used to being able to keep my own schedule that it was shock to enter any routine where I had to be some place for more than 5 hours at a time. So after 2 years, suddenly I had to switch to the Ph.D. portion. At first it was depressing to suddenly stop but I very quickly ended up loving graduate school. I was doing stuff I was more interested and my schedule was amazing due to a choice of a laid back lab. Don’t get me wrong, there are times in grad school where you have to work very hard but usually I was motivated and it was offset by all the times I barely had to work at all. 5 years later I Just got my Ph.D. in Neuroscience and felt like I finally accomplished something and was headed somewhere and then BAM, back to med school. Currently I’ve only done a 1 week rotation of a refreshed course but am starting my ob/gyn rotation on monday. I am the most miserable I have ever been. Even the week-long medicince refresher rotation exhausted me and made me feel stressed and I only had to show up from 8 to 4. I can’t really quit now since I figure I should at least get the md even if I don’t go into residency but the idea of even doing the remaining year and a half is making me very stressed, terrified, and depressed. Not sure I can even wake up early enough anymore (delayed phase sleep syndrome maybe?). My brother (who is a gi doc) basically told me my lifestyle up until now has been unsustainable and that even if i quit medicine I would end up having to work hard. Maybe he’s right. Maybe I’ve just never had to face the real world with real jobs. I mean, even 9 to 5 takes a chunk out of your day. On the other hand, I know I’d be less miserable doing research from 9 to 5 than medicine from 9 to 5. I suppose i’m fortunate to have my phd since it does offer other career opportunities albeit not very secure ones. But I don’t think I’ve ever been so depressed and anxious in my life and dreading something more. Here’s hoping I manage to make it to the first day of ob/gyn at the reasonable hour of 8 am.

  37. Tim says:

    i agree with you blahblah. I don’t want my work to be my life, there is so much more to that. And I also feel everyone is so much more passionate about it. And good on them, it’s a great thing to do. But if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. No point wasting your time doing something that is doing you wrongs!

    I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that I’m going to jack things in before Christmas. I’ve found something else I want to do and I’m really excited about it. I just hope it works out!

    Good luck

  38. Nat - australia says:

    yes, i’ve been following this blog a few weeks now. I’m currently in my 3rd year and doing paeds rotation. The workload is not that hard. But everyday, it’s been getting harder and harder for me to get up and go to hospital because i dont see medicine as my future career or anything related to healthcare. Am really sick of it. I saw a counsellor at my faculty who referred me to another counsellor outside the faculty, and i have not been following this up. I know it in my heart that am depressed because of medicine and am doing it to make my parents/family happy. My mom said it’s the sort of career that can give you stability in life, not to mention money. Yes, we need money to survive in this world and to have all the things you want. But what about real passion? Am talking about being happy in what you do everyday, or is it impossible and irrelevant nowadays, noone can have it all? I envy successful people who love what they do, and being able to make lots of money of out it. Getting into medicine is surely something to be proud of, but i would not be proud if at the end….being a doctor is not what i truly enjoy. I am near 24 now, only two more years left. I’d be 25 by the time i graduate (if i graduate), but i really dont give a damn about diseases and treatments right now. I want to live a good life now, earn money & travel, seek new experiences.

  39. Dan says:

    Ok, Natakie..most of all. design a scheduel where you get something passionate everyday out of , i don’t know what you encounter, but get it..when you finish you can do anything,a dn with the med degree, people will listen to you..more passio forever, and come on…you can run the project even if it is not medicine…just do this, it wil work think Chrstiane Northrup, the great Obstetrician..follow her, mentor herin your daily pursuit of the grind, each day have some kind of thing, TATTTOO HER NAME on your arm if you must..you can emulater her…once youg the degree you can run a business, or a health program for the state, or community, or just travel and give speeches, or MANUFACTURE things..but you wil have a “range of opportunities to customize that and lead…if you finish this hard degree..”

    Look, I see it like this: LOOK at the PANDEMIC possibilites, ..you will be relied upon if there is a local or big crisis…forget about nifty surgical possibilites..there is a need here–ok, another thing is ORPHAN health..come on..these are huge and the docotr potential to direct efforts and quality healthcare in just these two areas is huge.
    OK, hopethat SARA up at the start can read this as well..and see that there is apassionate RANGE ofopportunities at the end of this timespan.

    NOW, is here. But LATER will also become a NOW.

  40. Gayle says:

    Hello people. I am a 1st yr med student too and tomorrow morning I have a major exam in biochem but look at what I’m doing right now…simpy put, I’m depressed and basically not motivated to go to med school anymore. The past few months was the hardest in my life, not because of academics in med school, prior to this I feel that my premed course was even harder than 1st yr med but my family have so many problems right now. I really find it very very difficult to balance my family life while I need to lock up myself in my room to be with my books..most of the time I get lucky and pass even though I spent my weekend just dozing of from the week of thinking and praying about our problems. I even find myself cramming more than ever. I’m really at a crossroads since I am really the one who decided to pursue med school but now I’m the one about to quit already.
    But just to share what I think, quitting med school is not a sign that I cannot take it anymore because academically I know I can really do it but with all the things happening in my life right now, I realized that my family is the most important thing for me and I wouldn’t be at peace or content going into med school while they carry so many problems on their shoulders. I am seriously considering quitting med school and pursue my passion which is really music. I think I’ll be enrolling in a music academy after I sort everything clearly. And to all of us here who are at the crossroads, consider all the possibilities and never regret anything. I know that the school expenses, the loans are something that’ll make you think twice about quitting but all the 4/5 years is a pure waste if you don’t love being a doctor in the first place. I salute doctors and I don’t think less of myself when I don’t become one, I truly believe that we’re all meant for different things and I shouldn’t lock up myself in a box thinking that this is the only option I have. I thank you all for the insightful responses and I’ll continue thinking about this carefully. Thank you again and may all of us be enlightened on what is the right thing to do.

  41. Dani Bowers says:

    Hi there,

    I am a prospective med student. I am conflicted at this point if I should go to medical school or not. Not because I think I cant make it, but because I have a small child. I want to be there for him and med school would swallow up my time with him. I am a BSN nurse and I am considering going to the NNP or NP route instead or medschool (the school time is a lot less and you still get paid well).

    Does anybody here is FEMALE and has small children? could you write me a note and tell me how you manage medschool and family danibowers(at)comcast(dot)net

    thanks
    Dani

    • nic says:

      i’m a fourth year. i know of many residents that have had children before they started residency and even some that gave birth during. however, it seems that they all have nannies or someone at home that can basically care for the infant or child most of the time. so as an observer, it definitely is possible to balance the two, but you may not be as integrated in your child’s life as you would want to be.

  42. Jan says:

    blahblah I completely agree with you as well! your bit about what you want out of life is almost exactly what i have said to friends before!! have you decided to stick with it?

  43. Calyx says:

    Hi,

    Wow, I can’t believe I am not alone in wondering where to go with my life. I am 25, in a Masters program in the US that is essentially the same as MS1, waiting to hear back from med schools, and more depressed than I could have ever imagined being. I am practically failing all my classes and am completely convinced that med school and medicine are not for me. I never wanted to do medicine but was pressured into it by my father, who is controlling, to say the least. I have tried talking myself into wanting to do it and into believing that I would enjoy med school. However, considering how I am doing in my program right now, it’s clear that is just not true. Moreover, I feel that my life is passing me by. I have never had real financial independence, despite going to a top undergrad school, because I have been working towards getting into medical school.

    I don’t have a dying passion to do anything in particular. I am interested in something else but am worried that I will no succeed at that either. Also, I would be cut off from my family, whom I am not close to by any means, but would still be devastated to lose in that way. But I am reaching a point where I sometimes feel I would be better off searching for the right thing instead of wishing to get out of the wrong thing. I have a history of depression because of things that have happened in my life that were beyond anyone’s control. But for the first time, my depression is directly related to something that can be changed, and I feel like I owe it to myself to try to change my life to make myself happy.

    • strangemeadowlark says:

      To Calyx and others:

      Please don’t allow ANYONE to pressure you into doing something you don’t want to do. I did and am now perpetually depressed and on meds. Also to Calyx, how would you be cut off from the rest of the family? Does your father control them as well? What is your cultural background? Sorry to be asking so many questions.

      • Calyx says:

        Hi Strangemeadowlark,

        I know this is a very late reply but I hope you read this. About 13 months after I posted my comment, I left medical school and was able to turn my life around. I am on my way to becoming a special education teacher and feel more fulfilled and alive than ever before in my life.

        I barely made it through the rest of the academic year, didn’t earn my grad degree but somehow made it to SGU. I tried approaching my parents about my doubts (which they’d long been aware of) , but pretty much got the response I was dreading: that, if I wanted to be a part of their lives, I needed to stay the course. By the time I made it to MS1, I’d become so sick of being depressed and hopeless and thoroughly unhappy that I was now a very angry, depressed mess. So, the day after my last exam of the first semester, I decided to leave medicine. My friends were all super supportive, as were the few people in my program at SGU I opened up to (I’d turned in to an unsociable bitch because I felt trapped and annoyed by all the excited MS1′s around me, something I couldn’t even recognize at the time). My parents’ reaction was what I’d expected and my relationships with each of them has deteriorated since I decided to leave medicine. But, as awful as it sounds, the heartache I’ve experienced due to that pales in comparison to the exhilaration I’ve felt in the same time frame. I thought very hard about what I wanted to do, was able to get my foot in the door, and am six months away from earning my MS in special education.

        I truly hope that anyone reading this who is agonizing over the decision to leave med school knows that they aren’t alone and that being happy is totally feasible, whether that means staying in medicine or not. For me, leaving medicine was part of a bigger, deeper transformation I underwent in recognizing that being happy was something I needed to actively work towards. And what you said, strange meadowlark, is completely, undeniably true: being pressured into something (especially something as monumental as med school) is not the way to live. I know that there are a lot legitimate practical concerns to think about when you’re faced with a decision like this. And facing them head on should you decide to leave med school is a struggle. I also know that my situation was a bit strange because I never felt passionate about medicine. But I’ve come to understand this: life is about balancing what makes me happy now with what I believe will make me happy in the future. It’s an agonizing decision to think about; but one day, it’ll come to a point where you either just decide to jump without knowing exactly where you’ll land or you’ll instantly know which way to turn. Regret is a terrible feeling but depends on the context in which you’re looking back on your life. When I was in the middle of this mess, I heard someone say that no one regrets the things they’ve done, only the things they wanted to do but never did. I’ve always been a very cautious person, but the biggest risk I took leaving med school has turned out to be the thing that saved me.

        Strangemeadowlark, I sincerely hope that you are in a better place now than when you left your message. To you and anyone else reading, please feel free to drop me a line anytime. I’m just a stranger, but knowing that you aren’t alone in this can be what it takes to get you through the day.

        Calyx
        jezebelclothes@gmail.com

  44. Jenny says:

    I have 100,000 debt and see my future as bleek in nearly every respect. I don’t have motivation and don’t know who I am or what my interests are. Any advice or support would be appreciated. jennygrounds@yahoo.com

  45. Amanda says:

    Well. I have just completed my first year of medical school, and I am quitting. I made the decision today, after a lot of thought the past few months. I don’t care that when I go back to get a degree in nursing I will almost be graduating at the same time as if I just stuck it out in medical school. I hate it. I have no passion to sit an learn this stuff. I wasn’t going to quit due to how the heck am i going to pay for the rest of my apt lease here without my school loans, how to pay off the loans without a job or deferrence etcetc.. but Ive changed my mind.. I want a life, a family, time, happiness.. I say, if you are unhappy – quit. Its just money after all.

    • nic says:

      BRAVE SOUL!!! i commend you! now if only i had done the same 3 years ago…;(

      • strangemeadowlark says:

        Amanda,

        There are a lot of nurses who don’t like their jobs either. I hope you didn’t switch just to get away from being a physician. Make sure that the medical field, in any capacity, is what you want to do.

  46. chikchik says:

    hi all
    i thought i was alone!
    i’ve been working in busy hospitals for past 3 yrs as part of my rotations in general med.. the first 2 yrs i was exhausted but i just went on with it because i thought ‘heck…i can do this!’. now halfway through 3rd yr, the uhappy, empty feeling is still looming and i seriously am thinking of quitting.
    im seriously damaging my soul. when i go to work, i put a facade. i give my 100% at work, doing things dilligently, being pleasant and all especially to patients. but when i returned home, i feel so helpless and depressed. everyday is the same…doing a job that i seriously hate but instead i still suck it up and continue to do it…DiLLIGENTLY.
    i should have quit med school.
    for all of u out there who wants to do medicine, pls think about it. ur in for a big sacrifice in ur life.
    im sacrificing my life and wellness to help others. i hope i won’t end up ending my own life.

    • nic says:

      you are pretty much describing word for word how i feel and have felt. i feel like i pretend everyday as well. but we are not actors, we are future doctors. this is no television drama of hottie-filled OR’s. we should be genuinely passionate about our career choice. we owe that much to the patients. the feeling that comes when i’m finally out of the hospital (thank God!) is one of relief but then one of deep sadness, because i realize i’m so far in, and this is what i’ll be doing for the rest of your life. if only i would’ve listened to my instincts in first semester and dropped out! these feelings never go away, and that’s how i know i am in the wrong profession. however, it is difficult to understand how i got so far without some sort of intrinsic motivation…how did i escape failure and keep pressing on despite the horrible feelings and life’s incessant setbacks? and why did you keep pressing on? although you or i or anyone may have this deep depression, perhaps there is that much of an emotional attachment to the profession that should make us reconsider. we’ve gotten married to this career, and now have fallen out of love…even though we took an oath (in our case the hippocratic) that we truly didn’t understand when we said it out loud. i am too close to the end to stop now, because i’ve dragged myself through the dirt so long it would be absurd to stop now (4 months left before graduation). however, i am worried for you because of your last line…perhaps look to medicine for answers, as in anti-depressants. i have in the past and it helped tremendously. we are in the field of medicine, but we forget to treat ourselves sometimes. use your knowledge that you have acquired to help yourself as well as others. please feel better.

  47. beach doc says:

    I really thought I was the only one feeling like this until I stubmled across this blog. I’m going to a med school in the Dominican Republic. And yeah, I pretty much hate it. It started out as a mild dislike the first trimester, then steadily progressed to hating getting up in the morning to go to class. Now all I wana do is get out! Not even sure what I’d do if I did leave school. And I’ve thought long and hard about whether I’d regret the decision if I did leave. And I think that if I left I’d be more relieved than anything and would really never regret it. The problem is how do I leave when I have so much riding on this and solid plan for the next few years.

  48. Frank says:

    I just finished my sophomore undergrad as a pre med and had the presence of mind to switch majors to nursing. Like many of you, I don’t want my job to take over my life and I don’t want to waste my twenties in school and residency. I am so happy with my decision and regret having not switched as a freshmen. I basically got into the premed track to please my parents, but at the ned of the day you have to be able to look at yourself and like what you see and be happy with your life.

    DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY!!!

    Best wishes to you all

  49. Nat - australia says:

    Hello. Am back again and still continuing with medicine :P I failed one of my exams last semester so now i have to work harder to get my grades up. I just had a month of holiday and it helped me to take the stress away. I talked to my parents and they were supportive and couldnt be more disagree about me quitting at this point. After a holiday, it does feel better i.e. am not as anxious, but i still have this uneasy feeling. I guess it’s only normal to have these kinds of feelings, i just need to control my thinking to stay positive and that am only a student, am here to learn. The one thing that keeps me going is my passion to travel at the end of medical program. So, for those of you who are still stuck (who wants to quit but simply can’t), find a hobby or passion, something that inspire you, and the day will seem better. Remember that everything will come to an end eventually. Cheers.

  50. Natalie says:

    I don’t even mind the classes. But the snotty know-it-alls, the gunners, the multiple students that approach people in the group library saying not to work together on a group project. The arrogant people that think they are better than everyone else because their mommy + daddy’s checking account sent them to an ivy league college. I am at a state school and I did not expect there to be such a high number of uptight people here…

  51. caffeinatedchum says:

    Hey, it’s S. from one of the first comments here. I ended up quitting a few months ago, halfway through what would have been my 3rd semester at med school. I feel relieved, I’m now free to do whatever else I want, to explore, to spend time with family, friends, and to start building a life instead of burying myself in debt and spending the majority of my 20s in a library.

    Anyway, I just wanted to post an update. I know many of us found this post while googling “quitting med school” (well, at least I did!). It’s amazing how much all of these post resonated within my head, as you guys are thinking many of the things that I was thinking at the time. Namely, that med school was my classmates’ world and I was living in it, that I was afraid more of telling my family/friends than I was of actually quitting, and that I just couldn’t bear the thought of the years to come. I knew I was academically capable, but I eventually realized that I just didn’t WANT to be because I found my classes mind-numbing. Anyway, I hated medical school, so I quit. It took me a while to muster up the courage to do so, but I’m happy with the decision I made and the choices it’s allowing me to make now.

    Drop me a line if you need to talk to someone who understands. I posted my e-mail address in the first comment.

  52. blahblah says:

    Hi! I also wrote a message last November here. Like I said in my first message, I’m from Quebec and I speak French, so please excuse my English!

    I didn’t quit yet because I just wanted to see what it was like to do.. Well, I don’t know the English word for it, in French we say “stage”.. like.. training? I think you guys say “rotations”, like you’re in the hospital and you see patients and stuff.. Anyway (it’s kind of different here in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada and in the US..). I had an “elective” in dermatology because I thought I would really like it, but now that I did 2 weeks in dermatology (I still have 2 weeks to go for that), I see what it means to be a specialist and I really don’t like it. And I’m still not interested in being a “general physician” or whatever the name is. So know I really know I should quit. I just don’t know how! I don’t know who to talk to, when I should quit… Was it simple for you guys who already quit?

    I talked to my parents just before Christmas, I was really afraid because they are the ones paying the school fees. My dad didn’t react very good and is still not OK with my choice, but my mom finally is OK with it…

    I think I finally know what I want to do, I kind of discovered Speech Pathology recently. I do what to know more about it though before starting all over again at school, not really knowing if I really like it or not..

    So that’s about it for me, I really like reading your posts and seeing I am not alone in my situation!
    Good luck to everyone!

  53. ItsOnlyTime says:

    Hi blahblah,

    Just wanted to give a shoutout to a fellow Quebecois! Med school can be tough, and seeing that you don’t seem to enjoy it that much, I’d have advised you to quit if you are in 1st or second year. But you are already in 3rd, with one year to go, might as well just stick it out and at least get an MD after your name. Plus, it sounds like you haven’t done your clinical rotations yet — for some people it makes a big difference.

    Also, derm is not really representative of the rest of medicine (the hours are a lot better, there’s no inpatient, etc), some might say it’s better (lifestyle-wise), but you might find that you’ll like the more “core” medical disciplines that are more intense and challenging (not to diss derm.) Whatever you do, if you don’t find something you love by the time Carms roll arround, DON’T GO INTO A RESIDENCY just because you feel you have to. Residency is a thousand times worse than med school in terms of taking over your life. Cut your losses and go do something else you love with that MD tucked under your belt. I wish I had.

  54. Nat says:

    Re:ItsOnlyTime

    I was thinking about finishin my degree and do something totally different career wise. Like, really different, because that’s where my heart lies. And, correct me if am wrong, if i took the alternative career, and say 4-5 years down the tract, i got bored with it or that it wasnt taking me anywhere, i could come back and do my intership/residency right? I already hate med rotation, and i can’t imagine myself spending another 2 years in the hospital after i graduated. Can there be pros and cons in this? I could think of one con: i’ll be behind other interns knowledge-wise after takin all those years off.

  55. Danger Mouse says:

    Courage. That’s what made America great. Have the courage to ask yourself if medicine is right for you. Do not sacrifice balance, quality of life, family, inner peace, your own health, youth, mental stability for the hope that just maybe you can find something beneficial in medicine. I was a 4th year, who had passed the step 1, shelfs, etc. and I realized that it was not worth it anymore. I did have a Masters degree in Biology, which gave me a bit more leverage as far as finding another career. Right now I am happier than I’ve ever been. I am married, and do wish to start a family, actually see/spend time with my children, and have a decent quality of life. No one on their death bed would ever say they wished they spent more time at the hospital. The key to life is balance. Medicine was sucking life out of me; my health was decreasing, I had become bitter/angry/hateful. Essentially I was just surviving. So I said enough! Life is too short to allow yourself to feel trapped. And DONT feel ashamed that you left medical school. I takes real strength to leave/quit/whatever you want to call it. Stand up to you parents/family/etc; I was there; yes it was hard but eventually everyone gets over it. So I’m telling you this as someone who has run the race, but decided in the end I didn’t need to cross the finish line. I’m happier and more confident for it. May God bless all of you who are struggling through this decision. Peace.

  56. ItsOnlyTime says:

    Nat: I’ve come across people online who say that they were able to land another residency after walking away in the middle of one, so it might be possible as well to start one later as long as you spin it well. But chances are you’d not get the more competitive disciplines.

    Danger Mouse: would you mind sharing a bit about what you did after you left? As in what kind of employment opportunities were available, etc?

  57. BI says:

    Wow I cannot believe how helpful reading this blog is. I am a second year, but decelerated so I’m only taking one of the two classes. I decelerated for mostly emotional reasons. I did great in school first year, but by the end of the year practically had a nervous breakdown and took my final exams commuting from an hour away. I hate medical school. I came here wanting nothing more than to help others and was completely passionate about it, and now all of that is lost. Even with only taking one class, I have tons of extra time. I volunteer with the mentally handicapped, exercise, take time to myself, and still I’m unhappy. I don’t relate to the people here, don’t enjoy the science and am really only in this because I want to help people get health care who can’t afford it. Med school has turned me into an extremely anxious and depressed person, when I used to be such a smiley optimist. I can’t believe that even with this spare time I still hate it here this much. Definitely thinking about quitting, and it’s looking better and better each day. I’m just afraid that I’ll have regret, because being a doctor has been my life long dream and I can’t figure out what else I’d want to do? Also is this newly developed depression/anxious thing something that will endure beyond medical school? I HOPE NOT!

  58. Nat says:

    Re: BI

    Hi, perhaps taking time off would help you to clear your head and think better? Because i did that, and it helped me a lot (it was a holiday break). I don’t know when you will get your holiday, but that would be the time that you really know whether medical school is giving you depression or you just have depression. But medical school can be depressing and produce lots of anxiety. Talk to your professors or GP, they may be able to give you some courage.

    • Ivy says:

      Hi BI,

      Read Patch Adam’s story, maybe even get in touch with him? He really hated medical school too. But the med system needs people like you to make a difference.

  59. med411 says:

    I am 23 years old and I left med school last semester after Med 2 and now I am pursuing a career in Chemical/Biomedical engineer. I don’t have any regrets and I think this is the best thing I have done. I am getting married this year and I have a great job right now. I never liked medicine…I don’t like blood nor seeing people suffering. I wanted to do pharmacy, but I had the opportunity to try medicine and I gave it a shot. Although it’s the worse mistake ever, but I believe that knowledge is power. Since I had a scholarship, I only owe about 20,000 I am glad I left before accumulating more loans and waste more time. I just want to enjoy my life and my family. Don’t waste your time on something that makes you unhappy.

  60. Ruchi says:

    Wow !! so many frustrated medics!! i was one – used to work all the time – i was exhausted & when the time to start a family came,i’m glad i quit cos there’s no way i could handle both – i’m happy i can spend time with my 3 yr old & enjoy life – and i’ll make sure my kid doesn’t go through what i went through unless she is very sure about it!!

  61. Dang says:

    I was browsing through the net trying to find the answer to my question to whether I should continue to try to go to Medical Schools. I’m currently a Sophomore/Undergraduate at UCSD, and my current GPA is 3.52. However, I just finished another quarter, and I have a feeling that my grade will not turn out to be good. And so I’m really afraid that my GPA will go down the drain and then I won’t be competitive enough for Medical School. So these few days I have been pretty sad. But, I got to this blog and I’m just amazed at all these comments. It makes me realized that I should really reconsidered to whether I want to continue to pursue this dream of being a doctor. At heart, I really wanted to be a doctor, but the problem is I feel like I won’t be one of those “students” who has fantastic GPA & MCAT scores & tons of extracurricular activities. Even though I’m currently volunteering at hospital but I just feel like I’m not never good enough or as smart as the other students. I know one thing for sure is that I do have the passion for medicine, but I’m very afraid that I can’t make it there. Any words of advice? Deeply Appreciated

    • Ivy says:

      Apply for med school if you haven’t already. You sound like you have the passion and insecurity needed to make it in a typical medical school. Good luck!

  62. sonya says:

    UNlike most of u googling quitting med school, I googled quitting pharmacy school. I just started this year bc I my parents wanted me to just be in something. The thing is,as an undergrad, I was premed and by the end of my senior yr I had a nervous breakdown bc of a bad mcat score and other personal problems–basically my life was not going to mmy ideal plan. i worked, then started pharmacy school, but since entering I realized I should be in medical school. I love patients and biology. I hate it here and although I am glad I took time to determine what I really want, I am so scared of dropping this and trying to enter med school- a real task in and of itself. Does anyone know how to quit pharmacy school?

  63. ItsOnlyTime says:

    Re: sonya

    Medicine is not the only path to dealing with biology and patients. And medicine is not only about biology and patients, unfortunately. If you choose to be a hospital pharmacist, you’ll get ample opportunity to work with diseases, biology… basically a lot of the same knowledge base as clinical medicine, because that’s what you’d have to know in order to recommend drugs to the MDs and determine what should be in the hospital formulary. You’ll also work one-on-one with patients, for example counselling them on the proper use of their new meds prior to dischage from an inpatient service. All this with stable, predictable hours, home call, no dealing with feces and bodily fluids, or stabbing people in the neck with a big needle to put in a line while their blood pressure skydives, nobody paging you at 3:30AM because they “can’t sleep”, etc. Think carefully.

  64. Kay says:

    Wow I googled I dont want to be a doctor and this is what i came up with. I am a fourth year medical student, have matched in emergency and have been in an absolute crisis for the last week. I just dont feel passionate about medicine. I have done enough always to do well but in my heart I know I’m not giving it all and I dont care. Or maybe I do care and am terrified that I wont be good enough wont have the energy for all this. I am pretty passionate about international/ refugee health policy but thats more an mph. Parts of me the last week have been contemplating how many years I could work and than get out. But there isnt anything else I one hundred percent know I want to do and am terrified I will wander through life without commiting to any one job. It doesnt help my husband and I matched away from my home and I am so sad, more than I though I would be. So this isnt helping any of you in school at all really. I dont think being a doctor is bad, honestly, I just think its like anything else and seems miserable if its not what you want to do. I am utterly distraught.

    • Ivy says:

      Kay: the feelings that you have are normal for a conscientious doctor. It is the arrogant ones who think they know it all who make the most mistakes. This advice was given to me by a great internal medicine consultant (attending) after I sought his advice in my intern year. You might want to try Medici Sans Frontiers; the United Nations requires a minimum of 4 years experience before signing you on. Perhaps think about not doing residency but practising in another area of need, maybe even out of the country after joining your husband and waiting it out? Just a suggestion. Take care.

  65. Lebo says:

    hey all. im a fourth year medical student in south africa. here, there is no premed, so i got straight into medical school, after grade twelve. i dont know if its the same in other countries, but here we study bachelor of medicine and bachelor of surgery concurrently. its a five year course.

    i knew i wanted to quit after first year, but my mom said i should wait till second year, maybe things would change. well, they have not! but im still here, miserable,sad and caught in a tough place. no-one forced me to come here, i was thrilled by the thought of helping the sick. but i didnt realise how draining and daughting that task is.

    i have decided to finish because im scared of the unknown. really SCARED. another reasons i can blame for not leaving are: 1. my dad was a doctor, he passed away, i feel i have to live up to his dreams. 2. quitting is not just about me, its about my whole family, their dissapointment and the whole community too. they all celebrated with me when i got into medical school and their support has been tremendous. i would be letting down way too many people.
    3. i have a bursary, which i will have to pay back in cold hard cash, if i quit.thats quite a lump sum.

    wow, getting all of that out makes want to cry,cause its truly a tragedy to be miserable at the tender age of 21. i made the wrong decision coming here. i know it in my heart. everyday here has been a slow soul killer. but, i have no one to blame but myself.

    i dream of running away to just do some casual work and have time to find myself again. i dream of travelling and seeing things that will leave me in awe. i am in love with words and fascinated by visual art. my passion lies in the arts.

    well, thats a whole lot abt me. to all of you who are considering quitting. if you can, do it-DARE to be passionate about what fills up your days. if u cant, find a hobby or something to keep your soul alive.

    im going to finish, hopefully in record time. then do my internship and save up to pay my debts. the thought of it makes me dizzy- its aweful,bt i choose to see medicine as a stepping stone to my dreams

    • Ivy says:

      Hey Lebo,

      My heart goes out to you. I also wanted to quit in first year, my heart was and still is in the arts and my father who was a well-known doctor passed away last year. You must have graduated by now – good luck and all the best!

  66. anthony says:

    Hey guys, this is the second time i’m posting here. Last time was sept 2008, I was miserable. Well, its 7 months later and guess what, I”M STILL MISERABLE. I had a 4 month break in which is wasnt miserable. That was when i decided to take the first semester of my 4th year off. I didnt go to school, i just did whatever i pleased everyday. Basically, i thought that if i didnt go to school for a while, i’d start to regret my decision and i’d realize that i really did want to do medicine, but sadly, it doesnt work that way. I hate medicine. i hate the fact that i’m doing it for my parents. I hate the fact that i’m doing it to compensate for the fact that both my senior brothers failed to do it. I hate the fact that i’m too afraid to quit right now. My heart is not in it. My heart is in the arts. In self expression. Not in memorizing ideas created by other minds. I’m so tired of it all. I feel dead inside sometimes. If i quit now, i would have wasted 4 years of my life. I could have been a graduate by now if i were doing something else. i’m thinking about seeing a psychologist. I cant go on like this.

  67. Frenglish says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I am a french canadian mature student, in my early thirties, studying in the UK. I’ve just spent the past hours reading through your posts and feel so similar to you guys, if not worse, so I thought I could share my thoughts with you:
    1-I have been chasing medicine for the past 10 years
    2-in the meantime I had build up a career in pharmaceutical industry. Actually, this career was never planned in any way.
    3-but still I ‘ve always kept a glance at medicine and in my best to get in
    4-In the meantime I had acquired a very international experience which opened my mind to the real world. actually I am already from a multicultural background
    (French from France, became Canadian, speak french, English, German, Italian, Spanish, very basic Croatian and would really like to learn Japanese and Chinese)..anyway…
    5- after almost 10 years chasing medicine, I finally got in….in the UK
    6-It was a long run as I come from a poor social background with illetare parents (yes this still exists…) and I had to make it on my own.
    7-Since I’ve started, I have never felt so depressed in my entire life…I used to be so funny and happy in life, now everything is dark, I’m so negative that I even feel angry and frustrated at myself….constantly ruminating “why? wasn’t my choice to go to medicine? I ran after it for about 10 years, so why is it that I am not happy?”
    8-Without my lovely supportive wife (who is studying at the same university but not in medicine) I wouldn’t have made it to medicine, but now I feel guilty that we don’t have a great quality of life
    9-I feel guilty that she seems more supportive than I could be for myself…for ourselves may be…
    10-I feel stupid to have run after medicine in a very stubborn way for 10 years while I was offered many times (and still am) excellent positions at 100 000 dollars..
    11-Also I feel so different than the other students in my class although there are plenty of mature students in their late 20′s early 30s..
    12-I don’t adhere to the arrogant ambiance that we can find in almost every med school in the world
    13-I criticise everything (may be because I’m French lolllll…), I hate being in this country, ahve no friends ..I mean “real” friends….those you can trust
    14-I am shocked when I hear some mature students saying things like “If I don’t become a doctor my life is worth nothing”….is that all they’ve learned from life?…
    15-I feel it is so difficult to swap from an international open minded environment where creativity, and interpersonal skills are favored to the med school environment where the school tries to mould you that you fit in what they want.
    16- In terms of ethical behaviour, empathy, respect, towards others I feel there is so much discrepancies between what we’re taught and the reality…At hospital doctors are so arrogant!!! there is no empathy at all, and if you’d challenge them you’d get blasted and kicked out of your rotation….med school is not democratic at all!

    any positive side?:
    yes!
    1-I am amazed by the knowledge doctors have
    2-I ‘ve always had a scientific curiosity for medical knowledge, and although the worload is f’ing heavy, I feel like the only things that make me not quit is my interest for medicine and the support I get from my wife.
    However, i’m just hanging on to that, otherwise I’d have left a while ago…

    another point is: money
    1-why did I accept to be in debt while I could go back in pharmaceutical industry and earn 100 000 dollars?
    can’t find the answer….
    2-If I quit now, in a month I would get rid of my debt
    and would live a very confortable life with my wife, build up family, house and so on…

    But everyday my wife says: “if you quit medicine you’ll regret it for the rest of your life, we knew it would be hard when we made the choice, and you wouldn’t handle having a boss giving you orders. so stick to medicine, you like medical knowledge, when you’re on rotation it is never like a job for you, you enjoy patients’ contact, clinical knowledge and so on, this is what you’re made for. every med student feels the way you feel, this should be another reason to stick to medicine.”

    my opinion is :She’s right, but I would say noone can understand what a med student is going through except medical students….

    I’ve been looking for job offers these days, my year one is over but we have the end of year exam in may.

    I’ve committed myself to take it and then we’ll see what happens, If I go through it, this might change my mind to a more positive approach, if not I am thinking of leaving…

    One last point: there ‘s on vicious spiral Ienjoy experiencing in medicine: neing constantly driven and stock between the feeling of adrenaline and the desire to get rid of the heavy workload..weird feeling isn’t it? …

    anyway let me know your thoughts, and sorry for my poor English…

  68. J Smith says:

    I am in practice in ob-gyn. It’s not terrible. It’s not great. I have some good experiences. There’s also a lot of bull to put up with. But, if I had to do it over again, I would have quit early on. I think about what it would feel like to quit today, and I think I would feel one predominate emotion — relief. I live for weekends off and vacations. I hate that. I feel like I’m wishing my life away. I have never had any passion for medicine. So, if anyone is in the early stages of their training and really wants to quit, just quit. You’re too smart and too talented to not be employable in SOMETHING, and you’ll learn not to settle in life. Hey, maybe I will quit today! Just kidding.

    • mike says:

      You live for weekends off and vacations. Sounds like every other working American… The grass is not greener on the other side. You can have that less stressful job if you’re willing to work for 1/4th the salary… or even 1/10th the salary. Teacher: $30,000. OB/Gyn $250-300k. I think I’d put up with the grind..

      But, I understand the stress and ingratitude we deal with in medicine. I never understand why doctor’s don’t put themselves in positions to work less. Just work half as much and make half as much money as before but you’d still be making twice what you would in some other career. I’m a PA who can make $120,000 a year working 40 hours, but I choose to work 30 so I only make $90,000 and have lots of time off. You’re the doctor, you actually call the shots.

  69. ItsOnlyTime says:

    Hey J Smith, a question for you, since you’ve been there and done that… do you think 3 years into a 5 year residency + obligatory 1 year fellowship is too late to quit? I too live for weekends and vacations, and I’m not even in practice yet! I’m so stressed out I’m not really enjoying any time off, just dreading having to get back to the grind every morning. Also, what’s stopping you from quitting?

  70. Nat says:

    re: above comment

    perhaps another important question is what will you be doing if you quit? can you see urself doing other things that you enjoy and have you tried having a go at other job/career/hobby?

    for me, i just discovered the entrepreneur side of me from making it as a hobby first and now am confident that i can keep this spirit going. So for me, i have found the best solution – is to become a GP (part-time) and doing what i love (as a business) on the side as well. And i’m very excited about this discovery!

    BTW am third year medical student, graduating next year.

  71. liz says:

    –> nat

    You’re graduating next year/? where u from. it;s usually a 5 year or even 6 year course isn’t it.

  72. Nat says:

    Hello, it’s 4.5 year course in Australia (postgraduate intake)

  73. rose says:

    thanx frenglish… i will keep ur advices on mind..

  74. J Smith says:

    Hi Itsonlytime. I’m sorry, I hadn’t even thought about my post here until today. I don’t think it’s too late to quit. I feel like I was a baby at three years into residency. Quitting would be amazingly scary, exciting, and, like ending a bad relationship, very hard to do. I haven’t quit because I have a massive amount of debt and I need my current income to pay it off. Plus, it would be a huge adjustment for my family for me to quit and I would feel terrible about that. Good luck to you, whatever you decide to do.

  75. sara says:

    Hi nat,
    i am a third medical student myself and i am interested in working in Austrailia. i really need info on the exams and the prep i would need to do as a foreign student. i would appreciate it if you would give me some advice.

  76. Dr. Avery says:

    My two cents: I can relate to alot of the people when they describe the feeling of being numb, lost, confused and drained….overall this is the symptom of life without balance. After going through pre-med curriculum and obtaining my bachelor’s in biology. I decided to become an entrepreneur and got involved in the world of business and real estate. I truly love it. I was 24 when I did both real estate and now own a frachise. I did this to gain life experience and first hand, understand the “feeling” of making a living, owning a house, a business and overall, the american dream. Now, at 27 years of age, I am contemplating to go back to medical school and finish what I started 2 years ago. I think that some of you guys that have started on this journey too young and without much life references, it becomes difficult when the “what if questions” starts to creep in. I am fortunate to have satisfied my what if questions. On the flip side, day to day living and working can also be mind numbing. I mean going to your place of business day in and day out gets freakin’ old too. So yeah, you say, but “you have the time” to do whatever. Listen, being an entrepreneur has its own set of challenges and just like anything…it can be gone as fast as when you started. Also, leaving you with debt, bad credit and out to go looking for a job. To those of you that talk about doing what you love…what does that mean? If you are talking about the feel good tickly feelings…well that’s fleeting from one moment to another. One should first begin with the END in mind (the full picture) decide if one is willing to pay for that price…coz if I’ve learned anything in the “real” world, is that the best things in life are usually those that require the highest price and slow growth. Focus on that end picture…everything gets old….even doing nothing gets old…the grass is never greener on the other side.

    • Dr. John says:

      I agree with Dr. Jason-I hear you guys talking. I remember I was committed to a life in the clergy when I was about 18 or 19 and then the inevitable “what, ifs” start.
      I dropped my clerical training and went to the dark side, partying, doing poorly in school, and so on. I always wanted to be a doc but always did poorly in math. I was decent, even good in science but math was a bomb because of poor instruction I received in a really backwards town. And I was not interested in math either.
      I liked what little chemistry and biology in took in high school but sure wish I had done more.
      Anyway, the upshot is is that I am now almost 38, and contemplating trying to knock out the prereqs and hit med school in the next three or for years. I’ll go to the Carribean, Greanada, anywhere I have to.
      The whole point of this post is I want you youngsters to know that what Doc Jason said was right, that the grass is never greener and if you make sudden decisions and just drop out you might end up regrets all the same.
      All of you younger people that wrote these blogs have your whole lives to explore other interests after you get out of med school. I know it seems like forever but when you look back it will seem like a blink.
      Hang in there!

  77. Melissa says:

    I want to quit right now. I just took my practice board exam and failed it. F***! I don’t know what to do. A week until my real USMLE and I failed the practice one. I can’t even calm down enough to study. I went for a run, took a shower, and felt better… now 2 hours into studying I am shaking again. I have hated medical school for 2 years but kept with it for a number of reasons… if I quit how the HELL are my husband and I going to survive financially??? We don’t have the kind of money these loan repayments are going to cost us, not even close. We’re counting on me GRADUATING to pay off the massive amount of debt I’ve been building up. I have always thought I’d love being a doctor but since I’ve been in medical school I’ve felt a drastic change of my mind. I feel like I’d be happier as a teacher or something, someone with a life outside of work who can have a family and take time to spend with her husband… I know if I get through this exam and pass it I’ll probably keep going but I wish I had the MONEY to quit. If I won the lottery tomorrow I’d quit right there and then. No regrets. I’d go back to school and become a teacher.

  78. Myra says:

    I wish i could find out if i really like Medicine. I’m sure it will break my parents’ hearts if I quit right now. They have saved and worked hard to send me to Medical school and now here I am, doubtful. What should I do? I feel like I dont really belong here. I’m not happy.

  79. Jason says:

    Melissa,
    I’m in the same boat. I’ve been studying for 12 hours a day for the last 7 weeks and I barely passed NBME 6 (193). My test is this coming Tuesday and a large part of me has given up on the inside and am preparing for the blow of failing this test. Same financial situation, it would crush me and my spouse (200K minimum). I thought I had done the leg work too…explored the career…didn’t do it for money, prestige, etc. I just thought there was something special about using your knowlegde to really help people in need. The truth is…medicine just uses that as a slick marketing device. At the heart of it, it’s a business with a really bad training program. I miss my wife, I miss my old life (even if it was sitting in a cubical). At least I could find things that made me happy back then. The best I can hope for is to get through it, pay off the debt as fast as possible and run like hell. So, you’re not alone.

  80. Chloe says:

    Hi everyone,
    Setting the scene: I am halfway through my second year of medical school in New Zealand. I am an undergraduate student which means that last year (aka “first year”) was actually a competitive year for entrance. Therefore this is my first year of experiencing the actual medical program. The entire degree takes 6 years.

    The most torturous decision of my life: I never felt that workload would be an issue for me since career/study has always been my paradigm…until I started to question my commitment. I had a hectic first semester with several personal problems, and really got the year off on the wrong foot, almost instantly getting behind in work. A few months into the course I started glancing in the rearview mirror and having severe cases of “what ifs”, then these feelings brewed into panic and finally I was forced to recognise that I was genuinely considering leaving medical school. It is commitment that is the issue for me. When I left school I wanted to be a journalist. I had always wanted to take arts papers at university. But when it came time to commit to that, I found the idea of living without science absurd. To spend life studying the sometimes bizarre and illogical actions of humanity and never have a second thought for the basic facts underlying life was impossible. I knew that I could not spend my time in a lab working alone, but I could do medicine. It made perfect sense…a job where I could study science theory but apply it very practically to helping and working with people, and on top of that I could work anywhere in the world and would earn good money. It ticks every box. So I enrolled for the competitive first year with the view that I would soon find out if immersion in science was not my thing, and I could swap back to arts if a) i did not like it b) i did not get in. Turned out I loved learning about medicine. I had never studied biology before and I thought cells were just amazing, every fact was opening a new world, I couldnt believe I had never looked at my body that way before. Consequently when I got into medicine I decided to go for it and not look back, despite the foreboding feeling of huge committment when I signed the enrollment forms. I WISH I had paid more attention to that. This year, probably because I have been away from arts for so long, I am really starting to miss the creativty and conceptual thinking. I am torn between arts and science (in school my best subjects were english and physics)but I wont settle for anything other than medicine or law and a BA in international relations. Sometimes studying medicine can seem like so much work, whereas I KNOW that I would love studying BA papers and although I recognice law is difficult I believe it is so in a different way to medicine.So why dont I just jump? Because with medicine I love the idea of the career, and there is no way you can know what the career is like until you’re there, and once you jump (with my medical school anyway), you cant climb back in, its gone. I am 19 years old and IF i jumped now, by the end of the year I would have a years worth of points towards an arts degree (because of cross-crediting) which means I would only have lost one year. But for that to work I would have to make this life-changing decision in the next 2 weeks. That seems impossible. Is anyone else here torn between 2 completely different careers? Has anyone quit medicine to do something they had a feeling about? How did it turn out?

  81. Australia says:

    Hi Chloe,

    I’m sort of in a similar dilemma as you but I’m in 4th year, graduating next December, so I’m not going to quit whatsoever. I kind of understand because we are young and have lots of creative energy in us, for me, i’d love to travel the world and experience different culture, get into photography, art and fashion course. I’d love to do it all, i just love art and fashion. Medicine is the complete opposite and you have to shut down every aspect of non-medical interests (your interest in on the PATIENT). I really hit rock bottom in 3rd year, i seeked help from counsellor, talked to the Dean, talked to my mom (who wouldnt let me leave). And I am still here, in the course, not doing so great as before, but hanging in there. Anyway, what I want to say is to find balance in life, i have a part time job that i really love so it’s my little “getaway”. If you love art, find a hobby that involves the area that you love e.g. painting, writing, dancing etc. If you love to travel, try to save up some money and take a trip during holiday. It’s great that you love certain area of medicine and find it fascinating (microbiology) so I think you can really do this. It’s good to have this kind of personality because it means you have passion, but try to get things in perspective because feelings always change and getting bored with things quickly can backfire you later. However, if you quit now and pursue something else I personally think it will be fine but if that thing turned out not to be so great, you are going to have the “whatifs” again.

  82. Australia says:

    Reading your comment again, I think you just need to let out your creative energy – I’m sure you can spare a few hours everyday or week.

  83. GingerPeach says:

    Chloe,

    I’m sorry you’re struggling! I’m just finishing up a very difficult first year of med school and am having many doubts, but I am 32! 19 is very young and I hope you don’t feel like it’s too late to contemplate a change. You have your whole life ahead of you, and I emphasize YOUR life.

    Australia makes a good point that maybe you could try balancing out your schedule and see how that goes before making any major decision. Sometimes a small tweak can make all the difference.

    Good luck.

  84. J says:

    Hi, i’m a third year and i’m on my medicine rotation. It’s my first rotation and i’m already freaking out. All my classmates are so intense/competitive and know just about the answer to every question that the attending/resident asks them. Meanwhile, I find myself forgetting things, really basic things, and i just took the boards like 1.5 months ago. Most days, i just feel incredibly stupid and i question whether or not i can do this. Does anybody else feel the same way?

  85. rj says:

    if your heart really isn’t in to it you should just leave. it doesnt get easier especially when you are in the clinics and charting on an average 60 patients a day, and if its really bad as much as 130 patients. the first two years of medical school is the easiest part. all you have to do is buckle up and study. so quit while you’re ahead

    • ca says:

      Charting on 60 or 130 patients a day ? What universe are you in? Its more like 30 max in clinics and
      somedays I only have 10-15 patients. I am done with med school, done with internship, done with residency, done with fellowship and have been working as a primary care doc for 3 years. Nowhere have I ever seen 60-130 patients a day, nor do I know anyone who has. Its all good. You’ll get through it.

      • Cate says:

        African countries,our hospitals get quite overwhelmed with too many patients coz the facilities are not enough!

  86. eq says:

    im about to start medical school soon.and i am nervous anxious and terrified..it seems like b4 i got that acceptance letter i was in the matrix and i thought that once that letter would be the key to my happiness..but once i got that letter it was like taking the blue pill(or red i dont remember)..i realize that while i used to want to be a doctor to help the underprivelaged that is no longer the case now..it was more about the challenge and achievment of getting in..i realize i dont want to deal with patients..i may do pathology but i think if i do it would be for the wrong reasons..i shouldve just applied to pharamacy school..as a pharmacist i would have a job in the sciences that pays well a lot sooner than medical school..if it was up to me id quit and apply to pharm school but im still financially dependent on my parents and i would dissapoint them to no ends if i declined acceptance after i worked so hard to get in..dam..FML

  87. Laura says:

    Melissa and Jason,

    I am in the same boat. I had to take a LOA due to anxiety/dep after a few weeks of my first rotation in 3rd year. I’m glad I did it! They actually found my thyroid is acting up… They’re thinking Grave’s. Although it may explain the anxiety, I am still terrifed of going back after this LOA is over. I thought getting a physiologic explanation would make it all better. However, now everyone expects me to get Tx and go on to the next rotation. Ugh!

    I am about 70k in the hole, but can you put a price on sanity and time with your spouse? I want children and I want to attend family events, but I also don’t want to be a financial burden on my husband. I can tell he really wants me to go back, but I rather go teach! I think I may go back and ask for a year LOA and give teaching a shot. I’ve got a taste of life out school and I don’t want to ever feel trapped gain. It takes more courage to leave med school than to suck it up… But I think it’ll be worth it!! I will try to post again once I’ve made my decision. Good luck to all!!

  88. l says:

    So I spent years working to get into med school. finally got in left my 6 figure salary and started this week. I have been anxious and doubting why on earth I did this. what was it really about? the challenge of getting in? pleasing parents? et cetera.
    don’t know how long I should try and tough this out. the longer I stay the more money I lose. but on the other hand if I walk now – what kind of regret will i have to live with. friends and family keep saying its only first week, give it some time. Not sure. I’m 30 was living a very comfortable life and walked away for 7 hours of lecture and studying I don’t feel like doing.

    Any Advice??

    • folsom says:

      I don’t know what you decided to do; but my hope is that you left medicine. My parents were immigrants, I worked my ass off in school and was a valedictorian etc; they wanted me to become a doctor for the prestige, money etc. Thankfully, I had great mentors. My high school AP physics teacher begged me, I mean BEGGED me, NOT TO GO TO INTO MEDICINE. His 4 brothers all became doctors (1 orthopedic surgeon, 1 cardiologist, 2 internal medicine ) and they were all miserable divorced a-holes. I studied engineering instead (4 years undergrad & it was no walk in the park)and got a decent paying job right out of college in San Francisco and now I’ve worked my way up as a manager with a solid six figure salary. I’m 30. I have a 401K, I’ve dated the spectrum, I’ve traveled overseas, I’ve read all kinds of books, stayed out all night, taken unbelievable wonderful chances in life. I’m BEGGING you, I’m BEGGING ALL OF YOU, DO NOT GO INTO MEDICINE. (unless it is truly your calling)Do what you love and if you don’t know what your passion is yet, then don’t be afraid to drift – even if you’ll be extremely poor and struggling. Your life is your life and no one elses. If you are happy, rest assure you will make others happy too.

  89. dentalschoolguy says:

    I’m a little different from most of you here because I just started dental school a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if this is the right career for me because I know that my heart simply isn’t in it. I KNOW I’m completely capable of the work, but I know myself well enough to know that my main interest in the job is having the “Dr.” title in front of my name, and getting the feeling of prestige. My true passion in life in wind conducting/music education but I’m scared to drop out and pursue it, mainly for reasons of not making as much money, and for the sheer terror of turning my back on the career people “expect” me to have. Any advice?

    • Pastimperfect says:

      The Dr title and the prestige are not enough to get you through when times get tough. I am studying a dental hygiene and therapy course because that’s what I really want to do at the end, and I still lose motivation every single day, and had to repeat the 2nd year due to burnout. Life is too short to spend most of your day doing something you don’t enjoy. There is more prestige in doing something you love and excelling in it because you love it, than the prestige of an empty title.

    • Ivy says:

      A PhD in music?

  90. Henry Kim says:

    This is one of the most brilliant blogs I have read. I am an M4 student in the midwest USA and I am completely and utterly burnt out. I never thought this would happen and it caught me completely by surprise! I had to take time off and went on anti anxiety meds like Xanax and Klonopin which made my mood disorder worse… The benzodiazapine withdrawal syndrome is absolute hell. FYI… Never take or prescribe benzos until a last resort. But for me, I am nearly done, but no motivation to study for Step 2CK. NONE… I sit there for six hours staring at the first page of the First Aid for Step 2CK book. Literally. I am completely brain fried. I had a nervous breakdown too. My life is pure hell now. I respect anyone who goes through med school, but the big problem is that a person never really knows what their minds/emotions are going to do to them. For me, it came out of nowhere, I had to take a second LOA from school, and cannot study for Step 2CK after days/weeks/months. Complete crash and burnout. So unlucky… I never felt as though God Hated me, and it sounds silly, but I felt He turned His back on me. And I have no follow up plans! You sort of get stuck as many of the other writers noted with debt, expectations, family, time, lost effort, etc. I actually seriously truly applied at Target as a security guard this past week as a backup plan for paying rent and food. But guess what, I didn’t get the job… overqualified… Sigh. The most lucky and blessed by God are the ones who are told by Providence that they should quit medicine in the first week of their M1 year…

    • me says:

      wow that is exactly what is happening to me right now! how did you end up getting through it? i feel like such a delinquent because i have changed my ck date 3 times…now it’s so far back that the programs i will apply to will get my scores late. and mind you, my step 1 score was mediocre. i struggle to get up everyday and motivate myself to actually care. but i really, really don’t. there, i said it. i don’t care!!! i wish i did, but i don’t! what is the solution for this?

  91. sickofUSMLE1 says:

    I just got my step 1 results and I got a 180… I can’t believe it, 5 little points…. Sigh. I had written on this blog earlier and got wonderful feedback from people, so thought I would try again.

    I am feeling better about medical school in general. I am on my first rotation of 3rd year and I love it. I love the patients, I love figuring stuff out, the presentations, all of it. THIS is medical school for me. The first 2 years were hell and I wanted to quit the entire time. Now that I am learning and enjoying my life again, I get a failing board grade.

    I wanted to ask if anyone has experience with the Falcon review courses? I have read a bit about it and it seems promising, but having to take off yet another rotation to take it is kind of a bummer. I am thinking about doing 4th year part time so I have more time to organize myself for applying to residency and taking step 2 and everything. Thoughts, suggestions? Anyone with board review class recommendations would be very helpful too…

    • ca says:

      Review courses are excellent. They help you prepare in the right way. And yes, there is a right way to prepare for these tests. After never failing a test in my life, including Steps 1,2,3 of USMLE, I actually flunked my boards with horrible scores, took a review course and retook the test the next year and passed with great scores. Not much changed in my knowledge bank except for what and how I studied. Passing the test did not make me a better doctor. You are not stupid. You can do it. Check with your academic office for locally offered review courses.

  92. stupidmedlife! says:

    i feel the same way everyday! specially now because I failed in my pharmacology and nueroanatomy examinations. I feel like crap of a crap! I am a second year med student. I already had a leave of absence last year and then I just decided to go back in med school this year! and I guess I made a terrible decision of going back. I am sooo depressed because I did everything to study and yet, I still failed. I thought its not really meant for me. I am trying to hang on but it seems that I am being dragged further.. spooooff… anyway, I am just waiting for the year to end and if I passed all the exams, well and good then its 3rd year. but if not, i guess I have to look for my other options. you see, if you really wanted to be a physician, you will find ways to pass it(even if it will cost your life), but if you have realized that it was a mistake going in med school, then simply quit! BUT and if your still unsure (like me), just survive each day until you know what you really want! or assess your self NOW if you really wanted a crappy med student life, BUT think really hard coz after a loooonnnggg life in med school, maybe it will pay off when you graduate and become a physician. right? yeah, its really hard, but we don’t have options if we really wanted to be a crap doctor… or else, quit asap before you’ll regret it again everyday and wasting another year of your life doubting why your still there wasting your time being depressed, deprived of sleep, lost of connections and having no life except to study!

  93. Medmakesmemad says:

    I am so glad for this discussion board. I feel normal, like I’m not the only one who questions why to stick it out and that is struggling in Med. I’m in 3rd year and while I love the clinical aspect, I’m not sure I want to spend the rest of my life studying for licensing exam after exam . . . etc. Sure I have friends that are attendings and making a fortune, but not sure that the price to pay is worth it at times? I’ve seen them struggle too, at work, at home and still studying. I’m going to stick it out, or so I think, but I really don’t feel like it most days. I have a degree in another area and had a great career and came back as a mature student. I’m still not sure I made the right decision. If I could magically erase my debt six-figure school debt and go back to being a teacher, I would do it. I hope it gets better, but I’m not so certain. I envy those that are in touch with themselves enough to be true to themselves and have the guts to quit and move on; I just don’t think I’m one of those people, though I wish I were.

  94. The Dude says:

    I can totally relate, I’m a month into the first year of a 4 year accelerated course and I’m starting to wonder why it is of benefit to me to put myself through this. In PBL group work I feel like I am the most stupid person alive whilst others showboat because they did a first degree in physiotherapy and I did zoology. Then we get short answer tests all the time which are exchanged between students for marking which is so embrassing if you don’t have a good answer. I’m just tired of the humiliation and fear what it will be like in a few years (not that I think I will even get there). I’m rather just enjoy my life, many others on the course seem to have a ‘medicine is my life’ tattoo on their head and I just don’t.

  95. Australia says:

    why do we have so much doubts….

  96. frenchdude says:

    I m 33 and started med school as i was 27. At that time,i was emerging from a very rough time and was on antidepressant medication. Being boosted up by the meds i decided to give a try to med school in Germany. I m French so i got to really improve my German to get there. 2 successful years later i got off my antidepressants, and it was as the whole world collapsed…i thought passing the first 2 years would have been like a cure for me..bad mistake!
    So now after 3 more years of struggle, i had to quit definitely med school, i felt like crap, sick, no motivation, lost in withdrawal symptoms (i took the horrific drug Paxil, tried to take it again but completely pooped out). You can imagine my despair, and it s crazy how guilty i feel for all this, although i shouldn t really!
    Now i m back to France trying to reconstruct my life, i have the project to become a professional translator ..but am still struggling with mental health issues.

    So, my advice would be : be careful with your health, and be sure that you have a genuine motivation for medicine and know what awaits you + be careful with psych meds!

    • konstantina says:

      I really wanted to tell you that I m sure you can move on with your life. If you did such a great step, trust me , you do not need any medication. You just need to be useful to others and have people around you. Please contact me I d like to ask you some things practical about germany and education, and language criterions.

  97. frenchdude says:

    i d be grateful for any input

    • Ivy says:

      Try alternative health. I know it’s frowned upon especially in such circles. With your French and German exposure you should fine information on such things readily accessible. Something or someone is telling me to mention past life regression to you. Do look it up and consider. All the best.

  98. Rex says:

    I was an engineer in the grueling semiconductor manufacturing industry, and I quit to pursue medical school. I had those same feelings that you people wrote about when I was pursuing my chemical engineering degree and working as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. I think no matter what occupation you decide to choose, you will encounter hurdles and problems. The important thing is that you have to do something that you feel is worth your time. I would certainly encourage people to change their career path if they really give med school a try and didn’t like it.

  99. Gayle says:

    It’s almost a year since I’ve written a comment here saying things about quitting, on how my 1styr is full of drama and persistent episodes of asking myself if I wholeheartedly want to be a doctor. I thought it over and decided not to quit, now I’m halfway through 2ndyr and I ask to myself if I will be a “good” doctor. Now compared to 1styr I’m struggling academically, I’m tired and I terribly miss the people I love.

  100. Jason says:

    How many people on this thing told the interviewers for med school in some form or other that the want to be in medicine so they can make this world a better place? So they can help people? So they can save lives? Sure, i’m sure some of you are nodding your heads and rolling your eyes but realistically, if that’s not what you’re interested in than you should bail.

    Things will always get worst before they get better, the important thing is that you understand that there is a light at the end of this tunnel..It’s you’re dream job. Well at least mine..If you believe in God/Buddha/Allah/whatever and you believe in faith than you can’t deny the fact that you were all given a gift, and by not using that gift to it’s fullest potential is a sin..If you don’t beleive in God or faith, than take it like this–it’s just a waste of potential. and consider the message you’ll be sending accross to the next generations as well as your fellow peers..You think it’s ok to give up?? Are you going to tell your kids that when the going gets tough? Imagine if all the current doctors followed that–we’d be screwed..Probably many of us wouldn’t be around right now…All the good you can do for people in this world, all the great things that you can accomplish which will enable others to accomplish there dreams is why we are in this profession..It’s a bitch i know..I’m struggling with exams now (2nd yr student), electives, research–but i know that it’ll all be worth it once i start practicing..I’ve tried tons of different jobs and came to the realization that this is the one i can walk in with a smile on my face everyday..Yeah sure..Lots of continuing education, lots of long hours—but life will always be under your control whether you believe it or not..THINGS WILL GET BETTER GUYS! BUCK UP! I read in one post that life shouldn’t be like this..It should be full of family and friends not studying long hours—Life can still be like that..Just because we need to buckle down at times and study doesn’t mean we don’t get vacations or time off..It doesn’t mean we can’t maintain contact with our loved ones! Most importantly, by becoming physicians we are helping our loved ones–we are providing examples for are younger members of the family, we are providing resources for them, we are making them proud of us!

    Medicine is what you make of it as is life, the waters will settle and the sun will rise–sometimes things will get a little rough but as i said, they never stay rough.

  101. Audrey says:

    Jason,
    It’s not because you have the potential to become a doctor that you waste your potential by quitting and studying in something else than med school. Med school is not everything and you people can certainly make the best of their talent in another field of study. I quit med school about a year ago and do not regret it at all. I still see my friends who haven’t left med school, they are really happy there and could not imagine being anywhere else, but my decision is always confirmed when I see them and talk about medecine.

    Guys, it’s not because you got in med school that you can’t get out. We don’t know much about it until we get in, and we don’t even know much of our personality and our true goals. We’re still young, and a bright future may reside elsewhere.

  102. Jason says:

    Audrey,

    You’re right, i don’t doubt anybody on this thing wouldn’t be successful in anything else they choose to do..I was referring to people who want to bail because of the workload, not because they have a passion for something else. Clearly, if you want to be an artist but force yourself through med you’re making a mistake. But if you do want to help people and a physician is your dream, than you shouldn’t quit just because the workload is hard because it will get better.

    Regardless of the profession you choose, one should never give up when things get tough.

  103. CeeCee says:

    Jason,

    There are many careers worthy of pride and happiness. You speak like so many did back when I told them I was quitting, as if there can’t possibly be anything outside of medicine. There is, and from what I’ve found it’s a happier world.

    Hard work is not a reason to quit, but that is hardly the reason why most people quit. Let’s face it, if we made it into medical school chances are we are no strangers to hard work and all-nighters. I certainly wasn’t. But when everything you do feels wrong because you hate every single minute of it, THAT is the best reason I can think of why anyone should quit. Things don’t get better if you don’t enjoy what you do. There is absolutely nothing noble in doing a job you hate.

    It’s a common mindset among medical students (not so much among practicing physicians, I find) that careers don’t get as lofty and noble and worthy of praise as medicine does. It’s an arrogant point of view–and a bit naive, too. If you are doing this for the recognition (ha!) then you are just as wrong as someone who is doing this for the money. You should only go into medicine if you love MEDICINE itself. Forget about the money (because if you end up in primary care you will resent your lower salary), forget about the recognition (because most people truly won’t give a damn), forget about the nobleness of the profession (remember this when you’re doing rectal exams). Go into medicine if you want to practice medicine and nothing else.

    • hatinglife says:

      Ceecee,

      How did you quit? How did you deal with the massive amount of debt???

      I want nothing more than to get out right now… but I can’t see how to afford it. I’m feeling pretty depressed and distant from my husband and family. I would love to get my life back and enjoy living again…

      • hatinglife says:

        ceecee or audry or anyone else who quit…

        Can you comment on the debt load and what you did about that??

    • Ivy says:

      CeeCee,

      YES! I so find that common mindset that being a doctor is THE only thing that is worthy to be in this lifetime, even amongst junior docs!!! Although with the current shift of thinking in healthcare and the change in how doctors are perceived by society these people may have another think coming.

  104. CeeCee says:

    Hatinglife,

    I still have some student debt, though almost half of it is from undergrad. It was a concern when I quit that I would have loans to repay for whatever time I spent in medical school, and probably a reason why I thought about quitting for longer than I should have. At the end I had to just accept that debt and tell myself to worry about it later. I will be repaying it when I finish the graduate program I’m pursuing now…I am planning on living cheaply for a couple of years and repay most or all of it then.

  105. medicinesux says:

    Wow, what a thread this is! I write a blog , http://www.medicinesux.wordpress.com , dealing with many of these very issues that so many of you are struggling with. I know what you are all going through. Never thought it could happen to me as I always wanted to be a doctor going back to elementary school. However, I found that my dissatisfaction with medicine started to emerge third year of med school and only grew from there. Residency is where my feelings REALLY began to sour and I got to see medicine in all its horrid glory. I somehow made it through residency graduating several months ago. I am diligently working on my escape plan and hope to be out of medicine forever someday. It is almost like being in a marriage that has gone horribly wrong that is beyond repair. As each day goes on, it only gets worse and I want a divorce. Especially since I found something else I fell in love with (yes, I had an affair with another career for a year in between switching residencies!) hatinglife, I may have a possible exit plan for your particular situation. Please email me at medicinesux at gmail dot com.

  106. theraldy says:

    I’m in my 3rd year of the medical course now and I find myself doing really badly. My grades are passable but no where near what my classmates have attained. I have put a lot of pressure on myself to try to keep up but it seems that no matter how hard i try, somehow i keep falling short. I personally don’t like to compare myself to others but its so hard with all the pretentious know-it-alls around.

    Now, I haven’t thought about quitting med school because i really do have an interest in the whole being a doctor thing. However the lectures and materials just bore me out and its usually the boring stuff that gets tested. I tend to do better with clinical stuff and dealing with real patients. I really want to be a good doctor but i think that my grades will affect me very badly.

    Can any MDs out there share their views on how doing badly in medical school can affect the future career?

    • Ivy says:

      Theraldy:

      “The great physician is a man of average ability” – William Osler. Also, my late father, a well-known paediatrician in the community, observed that it was the students with the lower grades in medical school who went on to become noted specialists whereas the ones who graduated top of their class mostly stayed in general practice. ;) All the best!

      • llv says:

        Firstly, since when does bad/below average grades=chances of getting into a “good” specialty?

        Secondly, why is “general practice” a bad thing? This is the problem with pre-meds, and medical students. We have a problem with medical students not wanting to go into primary care because of the supposed “lower salary” (which is not always the case; my father makes >300K working as a primary care physician), and maybe less prestige than say, a cardiologist, or a brain surgeon.

        More med students need to be encouraged to go into so-called “general practice” or primary care, because it is a field that is currently in high demand. We need people who are willing to serve the under-served and poor, as well as rural communities in this country (and even internationally). Too many people think that these specialties are glamorous and pay so much money. Let’s get real. There is nothing glamorous about medical school, and there is nothing glamorous about medicine. No matter what field. Yes, even derm and plastics.

      • Ivy says:

        Apologies if my communication was unclear. I hold no prejudice against general practice, in fact I love it and think it’s the epitome of being a doctor and am considering going into it myself should I ever go back to clinical practice. I would be happy with 300K as opposed to 1mil :) And FYI your refernces count for as much if not more than getting the grades. And I totally agree that beneath the veneer of glamour that makes everyone want to jump into this field is slog and sacrifice. I have never known medicine to be a glamorous job. Peace out.

  107. Anna says:

    I just quit after only a few months into my first year of med school. Actually, I was first accepted to med school in the U.S. 2 years ago, after getting my B.S. in Biology, but I decided at that time to not go. Having seen my mother die young, I’ve always understood life’s fragility and that one should never compromise their happiness or dreams. What was tough though is that I really did have a passion for medicine; but I’ve also had a passion for music. So I decided that I’d give music a try. Then 2 years went by and unfortunately I didn’t really give it my all in regards to pursuing a career in music. What happened instead was my bouncing from dead-end job to dead-end job (in entry level research work, pharmacy) and hating every minute of it. So instead of gaining the courage to do what I REALLY wanted to (because of financial limitations and having to work a 9-5), I realized (or thought) I missed school and learning and that I wanted to do medicine again. So I applied again but only got accepted to a 6-year program in my home country, abroad. Then the unthinkable happened: Again, I was having second thoughts about medicine. I remember studying the cadavers, and though I’ve always loved anatomy, that feeling of life’s fragility and doing what truly makes you happy, came back to me. As others dissected and joked about what they saw, I stared at the lifeless face and wondered what kind of life that person had. Did he lead a happy life? Did he die having regrets? I think everyone should lead life as if today was their last day. The end does not justify all the sacrifice and pain. Yes, you may have to work hard for what you want out of life, but the process SHOULD NOT make you “miserable.” No job or amount of money is worth MISERY. So once again, I decided to follow my gut, and I left. It was very difficult, especially since part of the reason I moved “home” is to be near family I haven’t seen in ages. So not only did I have to deal with “giving up” one of my dreams, but also leaving family behind once again (I moved to the States when I was 8). I am about $90,000 in debt. But hey, our government is in debt too!!! This time though, I have the courage to go all the way with my dreams. I am not materialistic by no means, so I am living on the bare minimum, just surviving, and not working. Working on music, but that is my “labor of love.” This will be more of a challenge actually, as there are no guarantees. There may not be a light (success/money) at the end of my journey, but I will enjoy every second of my creative endeavors. Now I can also play devil’s advocate and say that the grass is never green on the other side. Having been on both sides, I can say that this is partly true, but only if you let it be true. Every once in a while I feel guilt, maybe because this is still all very fresh, but the most important thing to remember is to have COURAGE. You have the power to control YOUR life and to lead it as you wish. Everyone’s story is unique so it’s important to know yourselves at a deeper level; to understand your reasons for your decisions. I’ll stop my ranting – hope this helps a bit.

    • Ivy says:

      Hey Anna I’d like to correspond a bit more with you, would you have an email address? I too have walked the in-between line between medicine and music (left in my intern year to follow my dream of recording an album after a really unhappy time in med school) and lived a similar life in terms of fully committing to music because of financial constraints, and am also living on bare minimum currently. Would really love to chat more and even maybe walk together in support. Cheers and hope to hear from you!

  108. konstantina says:

    While reading all these comments, I felt something in my stomach. It is this tension of anxiety you get esp when you see people doing what you always wanted to do and things came like this in life that you never made it. It is hard to have read all of these. I will give exams for the medical school even if I m 22 now and have a ba and a master degree. This is because what you do people have nothing to do with a personal life.This is a matter of saving lives. I would be blamed for a total optimist if I d say that If I were you I d be happy…but to hell with me. Quitting medical school is common for many people and it is the right decision only if you cant see yourself belonging to the others. If relations are impersonal between patients and doctors make it personal. It is on your hands. Being a doctor is more or less a bless if you use it properly. Misery can be killed by you. Do you really think , all of you that people will not dissapoint you ? Families are always the way you dream ? This is not a hollywood film, this is life and you are the ones that know it better than me. You see misery every day. If the dream is yours, you ll do anything it needs to make it happen. I feel useless bcs I m not in your position. It is not a matter of being intelligent. Intelligent people are also biologists, professors, writers, normal people of no education. You have the knowledge and some are waiting to get it by you!
    thats all… good luck to all of you. life doesnt suck…we make it like this. I sleep with my jeans on, do not care to go out , just because I m not a medical student…I m from Greece and our system has nothing to do with civilised educational systems. we do not have an interview or statement of purpose…nothing really…just four grades maths, physics, biology, language.

  109. Funmi says:

    Have any of you thought about pursuing a career in public health instead? I am applying for medical schools now, but I also find myself very drawn to the the public health aspect, which is another way to ‘help people’ that can be less draining and more fulfilling, and still utilises your interest in medicine. Also it may be very difficult or daunting, and for some people it is not practical, but the work environment for practicing medicine in some other countries is preferable to the current structure of medical practice in America, so you may try going to a place where you can practice medicine as you imagined it would be before reality hit lol. For those who cant make such a drastic change, maybe consider giving yourself an outlet and participating in something like Doctors without Borders, or some other medical volunteer trip each year. Again the environment you practice in is crucial to how you feel about what you are doing, and bein somewhere where you can make a tangible difference may help rejuvenate your passion for medicine. For those who are at the beginning of their journey, I believe in some specialties you get to the point where you can work 3 or 4 days a week and then you have the rest of the time to pursue your other interests. So depending on what it is that has you depressed and hating medicine, these may be some options. I guess my advice is do some soul searching and plan accordingly, and dont be too discouraged because there are a lot of ways to make your situation work for you.Good luck with whatever your decision is.

  110. SuchATrueBlog says:

    What a crazy site! I’m 1/2 through yr 2 and I feel exactly like everyone else on here.

    I think there’s so much wrong with medical education in the US. It could be totally restructured and so much better for all the med students and patients out there. I could write a book on how thinks could be restructured. Ex, to promote long term memories of important things instead of being bombarded with meaningless details we all forget after the tests, then after the boards. And why are the rarest things on earth always on the boards. Med school for sure sucks.

    I took a LOA after a few weeks into micro at the beginning of yr 2 and went to live on the beach. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I told everyone I knew that I wanted to think about different careers and do internships and try to find something else I like. Everyone was on board…except me, I knew all along I would come back and didn’t really give another career a single shot. Not cuz I like medicine, but because of all the stigma that surrounds it. Everyone else whats to get here, so how can I quit? I’m gona make but loads of money right? how can I quit. Prestige, respect, on and on… Its just so hard to get all that stuff out of your head and think about medicine for what it is. Taking care of sick people. I never realized that that’s what being a doctor is really all about until some time way to late into med school.

    After one year LOA, 1/2 through my second year, im pretty sure im gona quit now. But I think maybe for different reasons than some other ppl on here. I’m the guy that set the curve on every single test. no joke. all H’s so far, but ive killed my self to do it. What I hate about med school is its a jail for your mind. I do classes on class capture (like an online thing) so i sit on my desk and study every single day (10am-2pm) straight. only 10 min for lunch and 30min for dinner. Just to cover all the lectures. Weekends are the same to, only a rare weekend in between tests where I’m free. Then there the stupid small group things where you have to actually go to class to sign in and get the percentage point. I hate those cuz I learn nothing and they slow up my studying.

    Anyways the point of what I’m saying is my mind is in a jail, not a single free second to think of something of interest to me, Even when im sleeping im going over stuff in my head. I like to read books, think about news and the stock market, persue other intelectual interests. But im forced to think day in and day out about what they give me.

    My body is in a jail, forced to sit at my desk 16 hrs a day every day. Lost many pounds of muscle. (dont med schools know anything about health?)

    Year 3+4 are probably different, but horrible in a different way. probably more of a physical jail.

    Anyways, im quitting cuz i finally figured out what I want to do and realized what being a doctor is all about (taking care of patients) and not all the other crap.

    My advice is this: if you like taking care of patients, stick to it, it will be very rewarding, mentally, emotionally, and financially. Just get through med school, and maybe even try to reform it some day. There lots of cush specialties, and if you can get in one of those and you actually like it, life will be great.

    stay strong, search for what you really like, and go for it. any carrer has its challenges. just make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons.

    On the other hand, im quitting cuz i dont like taking care of patients and i feel like my brain can be made much better use of somewhere else.

    well… i rambled, hope it made some sense, helped me put my thoughts together.

    • John says:

      What career are you pursuing once you quit, if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Ivy says:

      Do you mind sharing how you would reform medical education? I’m trying to articulate everything that I hate about the system and its corporate culture both to understand myself better and hopefully to make a difference. Please write that book!

  111. Leavingmedicine says:

    I’ve read so many comments and replies on this webpage…Im in third year (seven year MD system) and I think im gonna leave and be something i’ve always wanted to be (not sharing :P)..its always been my dream and passion…but i dont know what i was thinking..maybe external pressures and somehow convincing myself..i mean dont you feel it sometimes when u and medicine dont really click.. It sounds amazing..helping so many people..getting so much respect..but will i be able to show my creativity in it? I feel like im living some kind of lie! Soon, my friends im gonna take the courageous step and leave this place..do what i always wanted to do, and change the world with my music!!(oops gave it out didnt i?) :) I hope you live happy lives and find the solutions to all your problems :)

    • John says:

      Music is my career of choice if I leave dental school, so I find that very interesting that that’s your passion as well

  112. nick says:

    I have also been thinking of quitting almost every single day since I started med school. My ONLY problem about quitting is that I don’t know what I would do instead? Pharmacy? Graduate school? What do people who quit end up doing instead??

  113. Linda says:

    I am a first year med student in Hungary, and having questioned my choice of medical school since I begun. I wanted to give it a fair chance of a year effort before I really gave up on what I think is my dream. I constantly battle the thought of living here for 6 years and living away from my family is really worth it. My parents are dead set against my decision to quite and won’t support my decision to do so. Both feel I should write up a detailed description of what I should do next as far as career, ways to pay off the loans…unfortunately I have no idea what to do next? As far as the economy is concerned I know there will always be a need for doctors and when times get tough they will be the ones with a steady income. Anyone that knows me has said that they have always seen me as a veterinarian as that is where I worked in high school and my first two years of undergraduate prior to moving overseas. I wonder if it is possible to switch from a medical school to vet school??

    P.S. Thanks to all of you whom wrote above…it has been refreshing and helpful to see you are not the only one in the boat of uncertainty!

    • Sad in the South says:

      Hi Linda,
      I just started thinking about switching from med school to vet school… which is how I got to this web page… I was wondering if you found out any information on making that switch. I suppose it wouldn’t be seamless, but everyday I hate medical school makes it even harder to remember why I ended up choosing med school over vet school in the first place since I too always saw myself working with animals until the last few years of undergrad when I lost my sanity and decided to take a stab at med school… If you’re still plugging away at medical school I’d be interested to know how you were able to work yourself out of that funk and keep on keeping on…

    • lmt says:

      I’m in my third year in Hungary – studying in Szeged. I’m so frustrated. I’m only 20 but i look at all my friends here in the US who are on their way to graduate soon and i would feel foolish starting from the beginning. I don’t know why I let myself be persuaded by others to go to Hungary. I hate every minute that I’m in the country. I am intelligent and if I wanted I could have done so much better at an American college. I was at the absolute top of my class/ finished exams in a week for the past two and a half years. And it makes me angry and disgusted to see where I am for all my hardwork. Recently, I’ve been more and more depressed, can’t seem to find any reason or motivation to study and i’m consistently failing mid term tests. I want out. But, is it too late? I don’t want to become a doctor. I hate the idea of people looking down on me because I’m an FMG. And frankly, I have no issue with living on less than 50,000 a year. I’ll save up travel, work abroad etc. I have so many dreams and medicine is whats in the way of it all. I miss my family. Im home for ten days right now and I’m counting each and every day and cherishing every moment at home because i feel like I’m going to be shipped into a warzone in a few more days. I feel suicidal, like theres no hope.

  114. BeenThere says:

    Hi guys

    I can’t tell you how many times I went through the cycle of thinking to myself “why am I here, there are so many people who want to be here more than I do!” I don’t like the way medicine is practiced today because I think patients are short-changed in terms of their care, and thats exactly why I decided to go into it. I wanted to change things, or at least give people options. The thing is, that everywhere around me I saw a system, and an attitude that was broken. It was really depressing. Plus, not being sure was really tough. I took a year off to get my head straight. Figure myself out. I told the student affairs committee it was to do things I was interested in, but really, it was because I was angry that I couldn’t spend time with my husband after we just got married. I was beyond tired, and definitely depressed. I worried, like many of you, about whether I made the right decision by spending most of my 20′s working this hard and sacrificing so much of my happiness.

    During my year off, I did a lot of amazing things, but I think the most important thing I did was be really proactive about my situation. I had been diagnosed with ADHD, so I read a lot about it, and I got myself an ADHD coach. I thought a lot about where I was. I journalled. I started a program through the American Medical Student Association that was about self-care. Its intention was to help other people with what I was dealing with, but little did I know how much it would help me! I got to talk to lots of students who were feeling the same way. Some of them were doing a great job coping, and some weren’t. I learned a lot from them all. I realized some things. One is that med-students are great at keeping a stiff upper lip. Just because everyone else looks certain, it doesn’t mean that they are. It just helped so much to know that how I was feeling was normal and I wasn’t unique in having these feelings. Its not that I wasn’t like everybody else. Its just that all of us are great at hiding our unhappiness.

    Also, I’m not like a lot of you other guys who really have this other passion you want to pursue. I was just looking for the best fit for me as a career, and I picked medicine because it seemed the best fit but I felt I could accomplish what I wanted other ways, but just not AS effectively. This led to a lot of self doubt. During my year off, I realized that not everyone gets everything they want, and you can’t ask for a life where everyday is a joy. Life brings with it different challenges. I think being in the US and being taken care of by my parents like I always have been, I kind of thought that you can get EVERYTHING you want. You don’t. You just do the best you can with what you’ve got, and if you are lucky, things will pan out for you. In terms of my uncertainty about whether I would actually have the career I wanted out of med school, well I think being well rested had a lot to do with my feeling a ton better about it. Once I had spent sometime enjoying myself as a newly-wed, and was no longer depressed, I was able to make more accurate assessments about myself as well as my situation. For those of you that are depressed, I would highly encourage you to think about this AFTER you’ve gotten your head straight. Also, just being able to step back and look at where I was at and where I wanted to go helped me.

    Something that really helped me cope: When I was getting diagnosed with ADHD, the counsellor at my school asked me if I had a strategy for my school-work. I said I couldn’t stick to a strategy because I was mired in self-doubt every time I picked one. I kept worrying if it was the right study strategy – should I go to class, should I rely on scribe-notes, etc etc. He said to me “but theres no guarantee. You just have to pick something and stick with it. You just take a risk and hope for the best. ” This advice has helped me a lot. I’ve applied it to school successfully, but more than that, I’ve applied to my whole life. I think of those words everytime I feel self doubt. This is a risk that I took, going into medical school. I don’t know if it will pan out the way I would have liked, but I’m not going to quit because of uncertainty. And freeing myself of that worry about the uncertainty of the future really has helped me in a big way. I know I am giving a lot of my 20s away to this, but I think about my dad, who came here from India when he was 19, and all he did was work work work for many years. It reminds me that having a “normal life” where you have all the same privileges and enjoyment as others do is not a guarantee, so I shouldn’t feel sorry for myself or pathetic just because I don’t have that. Stopping the cycle of feeling sorry for myself because others had it better, and forgetting about the uncertainty have really really helped me in coping. I feel freed of these burdens, and now I feel like I can actually concentrate on school and put my heart into it. If you don’t give your heart and soul to this effort, its much harder is what I realized.

    Now everyone is different, and I’m not preaching here. I just wanted to share my experiences, because I’m sure some of you who visit this blog will be able to relate to me. If you are going to take a LOA, I would highly encourage you to be really proactive about it. Talk to therapists, counselors, psychiatrists during your time off. Read self-help books. Seek support. Get your head straight anyway you can. Try to make peace with your situation. And remember that if you are getting down on yourself while you are depressed, you are most likely not accurate about yourself. So rethink your negative self-talk. Being psychologically healthy as a doctor is really important, because I think it really comes across in your patient care. I would suggest you keep that in mind when you think about what you need to do. Think about whether or not you will come out of this psychologically in one piece.

    Also, a big piece of this has been moving to a nicer area, and joining a gym. I know it sounds trivial, but living in an inner city area where it just seemed like the sun never shined was awful. Now I live somewhere lively and happy, and it relaxes me during the day. When I start to slow down in my school work, I take walks in the sun (or rain, or snow). Exercise has literally been working for me as an anti-depressant. Its done wonders for my mood AND my ability to concentrate. I go to the gym and I do 5-15 minutes of something I want to do, then I go sit on the bikes and I study while I bike away, lol. Read “Spark” by John Ratey. Its an amazing book about exercise and the brain.

    I wish you all the best of luck. I hope all of you find whats right for you, and most importantly, find peace, because that is the closest I think you can get to happiness.

  115. Riv says:

    I was never the kid who wanted to do medicine and here i am at med skool and i hate it,i always regret that i should have persued my dream of becoming a musician while doing some course which would allow me havin enough time to take music classes but here i am stuck in med skool i dono how to leave it and i dont want to stay here either n the difficult part is being away from home i wish i would never have come here.

    • Ivy says:

      Hey kiddo I hear you – as someone who passionately wanted to be a musician but was stuck in med school I went through med school kicking and screaming. Miraculously I managed to graduate and I’m following my dream now and singing. And you know what? It’s not easy being a musician either and despite the years that I’ve wasted I’m glad that I have a degree. My main regret is not keeping the faith and studying when I should have. My advice to you is to have patience and focus on your studies and to really try and manage your time. Allocating some time a week to practising music will help you cope – I know I definitely have to do something creative every week for my sanity and knowing that you definitely do helps a lot. Med school will be over soon enough – get a decent degree (you don’t have to be top of your class) and a daily disciplined practice will stand you in good stead of practising your instrument daily when you become a serious musician after you graduate as a doctor. It CAN be done. Hang in there.

  116. stupidmedlife! says:

    HOW I WISH I HAVE THE STRENGTH to stay in MEDschool! the year is almost done and im not passing Pharma! im realy depressed and I dont want to repeat the subject next year… I missed a lot of things outside medschool! I hated my self because of Medschool! i have been masochist due to medschool! what should come next? sppooooofff… BUT i still hang on because i know there is Hope! This is what I wanted and I will fight for it! If others can do it, why can’t we? even a smartass med student will doubt himself why he is in medschool if he doesn’t want he is doing! its just a matter of liking it and forcing ourselves to like it and survive! there is no other way but to suffer in medlife and become a doctor. so if you are not willing to be battered and abused, better quit! what matters is you like what you do and you will have no regrets! Its your choice! quit or be a doctor! either way, just ENJOY! there will always be hard times and good times! its all part of life!

  117. stupidmedlife! says:

    besides, quitting doesn’t mean your a loser! its just that your not happy with it. so why do things you hate? right? its stupidity!

  118. Andie says:

    Here I am sitting in a small town doing my rural family med rotation thinking what am I doing? I was never the one in undergrad who was super keen about getting into medicine. I’m not even sure what planted the seed in my head but in 3rd year I found myself writing the MCAT and started to apply to different schools. Really I only half-heartedly applied to 2 schools thinking that it wouldn’t be so bad to take a year off and travel. Well I got into the best medical school in Canada and just went with the flow.

    Of course I was excited my first day, my first month and then slowly reality started to hit. I was definitely not fitting in with my classmates, my motivation had taken a nose dive and all my energy and free time was spent doing things I loved. None of which included medicine.

    I am now in my 3rd year and every day is a struggle. I always have gotten good marks and have gotten really good feedback so far. I guess i’m a better actor then I thought because inside i’m always on the edge of tears. I used to be a morning person and now I can barely get out of bed. I’m tired all the time. What should be one of my easiest rotations i’m finding i’m just plugging through. I mean I no longer go up and beyond to learn anything. I hate opening my books and just have no desire to learn the drug names. So what kind of Physician will I make?

    It’s funny because I have led a very charmed life. Yes I worked hard in undergrad but had no problems getting into medical school. In the Canadian system, I have many friends who have applied multiple times and have never even gotten an interview. I have always done well on tests. But yet do not enjoy it. Some days I can almost fool myself into thinking this is not so bad. But those days are getting to be fewer and fewer.

    My conundrum is this. Once you get into medical school you become stuck. To me it’s not because of the stigma associated with dropping out. If that was my only obstical I would be out in a heart beat. It’s the amount of loans that you accumulate over your 4 years. I’m at about 100, 000 $ in debt currently and feel trapped. How could I possibly pay it back if I would to leave medical school? For me I have a lot of interests but nothing that would enable me career wise to pay that kind of money back.

    But yet how can I continue??

    • Adam says:

      Wow,
      Andie. It’s like you read my mind. Im in the EXACT same position you are in. Im in third year and I want to leave. I got in and just went with the flow….the med school river swept me up and took me for a ride. It’s now third year and I just don’t care anymore. I always got great marks, and I can’t even be bothered right now with taking a proper history nor do I think I can even take one the way my mind is working right now. I am in about 120 000 worth of debt and have no idea what to do. What have you done? How do we pay this debt back?
      A

  119. mellowyel says:

    intro: senior undergrad at a great school… african (whole other set of parenting issues)… biology major…. trying to figure out if this medical school thing is for me. i have an idea of what i want to do, but medicine is so much easier, in terms of practicality, avoiding struggling through the job market, pleasing my family etc etc. i am considering going to medical school and then becoming a journalist, but is it worth the 4+ years i will spend in misery? i’m depressed now, without even applying – am i going to be less depressed later, once i actually start medical school? when is the best time to stop following the path of least resistance and do the hard thing that makes me happy? what does it mean that every time i think about medicine and being a doctor, the only thing i’m excited about is the stuff i will do outside of treating patients, hobbies, extracurriculars, other jobs? the work doesn’t make me unhappy – it’s the idea that i keep giving up what i want to do for something else that others want that makes me unhappy. also the fact that i don’t see myself breaking out of that cycle if i don’t do it now makes me unhappy. i’ve never struggled for money before, and the idea that i might have to support myself by myself (as a biology major trying to go into media/arts) is terrifying.

    i’d really like to hear from the people sticking it out and enjoying it: why is it worth it? what were you thinking then when you wanted to quit, and how is that different from your thinking now?

    and from the people who quit: what about your life now is better than when you were in medical school? do you think you will still be happy with your decision in the future, even if it gets really difficult?

    • Ivy says:

      Follow your heart. I was always an arts student who wound up in the sciences and I RESENTED the opportunity costs the time required to put into medicine cost me. I had to forgo being established in the local arts scene, an album offer and even marriage to the love of my life for a degree that my heart wasn’t even in (but had an unconditional offer for). It sounds really stupid but by then I was in up to my neck and I couldn’t see straight and it took me a few years after graduation to really remember who I was as a person and even the things I liked. If you can postpone doing the things you love by all means go ahead, but if your main reason for going into med school is money (please go and become an entrepreneur instead, or do an MBA and become the CEO of a hospital – it’d get you as much cash) or your family (that is a whole can of worms and as an Asian who has tried to be filial for the most part of her life and has lost and found herself in the process I can only say that your family is there to love you unconditionally no matter WHAT you do, and if they don’t, it really is THEIR stuff, not yours) then PLEASE do yourself a favor and DON’T apply. My two cents. If you’re already interested in journalism, why don’t you apply for that, and then if you’re still thinking about med school apply then.

  120. SKP says:

    I just feel I failed USMLE step 1 , does anyone know if ecfmg or oasis sends the results to your med school?
    pls pls someone reply

  121. SKP says:

    and I also need to find a way out to quit med school cuz its just not me ,after putting in my life in this stupid exam , I know I will fail it …pls someone reply to my previous question

  122. JD says:

    I left medical school in good standing after 2 years and a 1 year leave of absence at a highly ranked U.S. medical school largely for the following reasons: i) I hated the hours and the lack of time to pursue other interests or even read a novel, ii) the large student debt I was accumulating that made me feel “trapped” with no way out, iii) that highly ranked medical school was located in a not so progressive rather conservative city, iv) a good friend committed suicide in medical school due at least in part to the terrible stress of medical training and feeling “trapped” by the loans, v) I hated, detested and loathed performing procedures on people, vi) I was very sensitive and empathic with patients so that seeing human misery everyday a large part of the day was exceedingly taxing emotionally, and vii) I wanted to explore the world and my place in it rather than commit to at least 5 or 6 more years of brutal hours and no money. I went on to a middle of the road in rankings law school on scholarship located in a major metropolitan area in a beautiful part of the country, worked to pay my living expenses during law school so there was no more debt accumulating, graduated at the top of my class, and became a patent attorney. I have worked on both coasts in 5 of the most desirable cities in the country, paid off the student debt, met a lot of highly intelligent colleagues and inventors worldwide and have traveled a good bit. Law school was a breeze after medical school, but I was always a talker, a creative thinker, a writer, and a communicator, never a scientist nor a memorizer of minute facts at heart. For my two cents worth, it took me 2 years to get the courage to quit medical school, and I quit while about “middle of the class.” I felt so relieved once I quit. I had my life back. I had escaped the barbaric and jealous mistress and lived to tell about it. I subsequently went through several months of mourning the loss. Law is certainly no bed of roses, the patent field is now far oversupplied, and the competition is fierce to get a foot in the door as a patent lawyer. Many patent lawyers cannot find a job. The jobs are far less secure than as a doctor. I have regretted the decision sometimes. However, it was always comforting to me that even if, assuming arguendo, I made a mistake, I didn’t commit suicide in medical school as my friend. What is my advice? If you truly hate it, have other interests you want to pursue, or you perceive medicine is “ruining your life” or seriously impairing your mental health, you can cite to me as someone who quit and found a reasonably lucrative career in another area that has brought some happiness and fulfilment. My own physician 4 years ago asked me about going to law school (he thought he wanted out of medicine) and I advised him emphatically, “No.” That is not to say there are not other jobs that might be a good choice for a medical student or a physician. Just I seriously doubt a practicing physician could stomach law or starting out working as a young lawyer.

    • LB says:

      Thanks for the success story! I’m hoping to take some time off from med school to decide if I really want to do this and it’s nice to see that someone had the courage to quit and still made a good career for themselves. I know you said you have regretted the decision sometimes. I fear that – feeling like I made the wrong choice after going through all this. I’m hoping that my time off can afford me some clarity as to what the right path for me is. Any suggestions?

  123. Robert says:

    hey fellas…i’m 32 and i don’t know if i should go on…i was supposed to have my clerkship 3 years ago but somehow, started drinking so much just to forget about the stress that i will be experiencing inside the hospital…one more thing, i fear that i might kick someone in the face if ever they will yell on my face…and that will be very bad…

  124. drowning in dilemma says:

    hey everyone.really glad to have came across this site, especially to find a lot of people whom i can relate to.it’s just amazing to see how accurately some of you describe the torments and torture we have to endure everyday.it’s almost like u read my mind…
    i am in my 4th year of medical school and getting here was not a fun ride at all.i failed twice which caused me one year as i had to refresh the subjects i failed. so,not only did i lose my time and money but also my friends as i had to join the junior batch..and i just hung on because this whole thing is my mom’s dream and i don’t wanna disappoint her even though i am experiencing a slow death.literally.tried quitting few times before but never got the support from my parents n also med school friends. plus i foolishly thought things will get better,which never happened.
    like most of u,i was once a very bright student too but now just feel like a dumbstruck standing in the ward knowing nothing and to make it worse,i just dont have the motivation or enthusiasm to open up the fat text books and seek more knowledge on some diseases.it just doesnt excite me.as much a i hate not being good enough,i find myself doing nothing to change that. its like i dont really give a damn coz i really don’t enjoy it.
    i have been missing 10 days of class without any valid reason.n i just missed a test this morning.if i was given a chance,i would be the happiest to quit now.but no balls to do it,maybe.
    i used to be a very cheerful person.life always danced to my own tunes until i entered med school.everything just turned upside down.i start my day every morning with a”oh damn,i hate my life” ,i am very irritated always,no peace of mind thanks to the constant exams and workloads,living in fear everyday expecting to be screwed in front of patients by the lecturer.and as a house officer,your life will only get worse.sleepless nights.doing all the things in the ward even the nurse’s job coz they will be too busy disrespecting u.bearing the insults of ur specialist for being so dumb.performing all the procedures.neglecting urself totally.and not getting the proper respect we deserve.and not to forget looking 50 at 25…..sounds pathetic but predictable.
    basically i dont even know who i am and what i want anymore.i am losing myself.i simply hate my life.i really need help.i want to quit badly but i dont know how.i am already 24 but still dependent on my parents.its such a shame.
    i tried talking to a few people and they suggested me to stay till i graduate.at least i will get paid as an intern.
    there is so much more to be shared about wat all i went through n how i just wasted my life here.i wasnt living my life n i am not getting anything out of it too.i wasted my youth as well.n i really dont think it is worth the pain.
    god bless us.

  125. daniel says:

    Has anyone quit and later became succesfull in other fields? I guess I just want to hear a good success story to make me finally go for it:quiting.
    Sorry, for being so weak.

    • Azureus says:

      I have to friends who quit medical school..one has become an engineer and one has diploma in computer programming.If you want to quit go ahead.Do you want to wait until your are diagnosed with mental disease which never ever be cured because of chronic depression?..its too late

  126. from Australia says:

    I think if you can get into medical school, you should be successful in anything you put ur heart into. Success is what you define it. Is success all about big money to you? then get into multiple career. The most important thing is PASSION. I havent quit medicine yet, this is my final year, IF i graduate this year, i might not even do internship.

  127. Chen Le Yang says:

    Hi,
    try not to be depressed first of all.. I totally understand what u are going through…U know , but there is a paradox here..I will tell u what… After high school….i enrolled in an engineering programme and believe me my days were the exact same like yours…i would fail tests and feel bad abt it but did not have a clue even worse no effort to find a clue to fix the problem…I would just wonder in my mind..silly things like what does the guy who is topping eat for breakfast and stuff like this…and not really focussing on the part of him thats really putting the effort to study.. Then after 1 and a half year I quit. I realized my heart was in Medicine. I joined a medical programme in China…I didnot know the language..but i learnt…studied…did well..won scholarships…passed myh own country’s liscence exam with superb results…i became a total different person….now my life dances according to my woven sweet tunes…and when i look back I realize the best thing i did in life was to quit the engg programme… U know sometimes quitiing make make u a winner…but before that please please please find out for ur self a suitable proffession and just go in for that… Dont worry abt depending on ur parents at ur age..u can easily apply for study loans and with ur innate intelligence i have confidence in u that u will be able to repay ur loan in no time…so feel happy…take a skip and a short run whenever and quit the damn situation thats making u so miserable…with lots of empathy…

    • belloglaecus says:

      Good story! Glad to hear from the “other side”-someone who studied engineering and dropped in favor of med school-this is a good story because it lets everyone know that the grass isn’t always greener!

  128. from Australia says:

    is anyone here around 25 and in their final year? is 25 too old to start again? lol…..

  129. Sad in the South says:

    I’m glad there are other people on this planet to commiserate with… I’m in the limbo between my second and third year right now (taking Step 1 later this week), and having what’s probably my third serious bout of feeling that I’m in the wrong place and doing the wrong thing with my life by being here in medical school. My dissatisfaction with my medical school experience hasn’t been so much about my own performance, my grades are a little bit above the average for my school and attendings and preceptors seem to write pretty good reviews for me… I feel mostly that there are pieces of me that aren’t being fulfilled. Plus I don’t really feel like I fit with all the overgrown frat boys and girls who have never paid a bill for themselves in their lives (I go to school in the Southeastern US). I think about teaching, veterinary school, social work, being a mom sooner rather than later, a better partner to my poor spouse who has to deal with me telling him, “I’m sad, but don’t really know why,” all the time… I guess I keep sticking it out for all the same reasons the rest of you have mentioned. It just seems crazy to quit after all the gnashing of teeth that went in to getting here, and I wasn’t raised to be a quitter… I really want to believe that things will come together and start looking up, but right now I’m not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I keep telling myself that I’ll feel more fulfilled when I start my clerkships. I think we’re all too chicken to quit because we’re so hell-bent on achieving goals – it’s what got us in and here in the first place- unfortunately we might have set our sights on the wrong prize…

  130. daniel says:

    Yeah, and try talking to your family. Actually, I noticed on myself that I have begun to avoid certain people, or avoiding discussions just to avoid being asked about my university or my progress. I failed 3 of my exams. And I’m pretty committed to not follow through with med school. Now, I have 2 problems: conveying this message to my family and creating a new plan ( new university, new goals, basically new life).

  131. Pearl says:

    I am in my first year of Medical School and honestly, this is not my thing for one reason: the games. I can’t believe that in the US, where Doctors are needed so dearly, Professors and these standardized “tests” are designed to weed out smart people who get the concepts but are not in this for tricks and games. I’m 26, like most of you on here my heart is in the right place but I’m beginning to ask myself if I want to save others lives while slowly losing my own, or not?? Some say it gets better and easier with time, how are we to be sure? My debt will be close to quarter of a million, is it worth it? Our work load will be nothing like America has seen. Is it worth it? My heart is in it, but, I too want normality in my life, enough time for myself and my loved ones…. Job security in Medicine seems decent, the respect and legal battles can negate the security (esp financial) within minutes. So after 15+ years of my life devoted to “making it”, I could get sued and lose everything in moments pretty much. So, is it worth it? I am doing okay, I could pass… But I’ve never been one to “just pass”. Is that a sign that perhaps this is not for me or does that mean I need to kick it up a notch (sleep for like 5 hrs a night as opposed to the 7 I get now) and just study harder and smarter. I hate feeling like a machine. Any suggestions would be great.

  132. Hebba says:

    well well, here I am going back to square zero asking the same questions at the very top WHY AM I DOING THIS, but with a huge twist, just before I utter a work I must tell you all hello and I am looking for unconditioned support, motivation, someone to create the tunnle then hopefully light will be at it someway as now there is no tunnel even
    I graduated from medical school overseas,,,,,,,,,,,,,,drum rolls, 1987, and by 1992 I finished my OBGNY residency and got my masters, the thesis and exams passed excellently, worked for 6 years then came a dire moment where I just decided to go UK and study healthcare management, huge leap to a no where specific, met my “late” husband, married him 2002 got my child 2003 he died in 2006 leaving me here in North America with a complicated estate case that simply went wrong, in 2006 I started going for USMLE, worked hard for a year then withe my little one growing up and with me in debt I quit the USMLE courses and worked a survival job and now I must tell you, my deginity and intelligence were insulted massively that I left all those hard work years and now I am just a part time office worker, so I am trying to “think” of redoing my USMLE, studying that is as I am emotionally drained and financially too and my only way to make a career is go back to medicine , let aside my masters and let aside my work and all of that, must start from a scratch at a time that the USMLE has gone tougher, to do it or else I am stuck where I am , I have zero family and all my friends have dispersed, so I am having cold lower limbs, and feet should I retry to study again or not, must quit my part time Job in Septmber to do that and focus, in a very hectic situaition, will there be anyone of you ladies and gentlemen to provide me with motivation and just cheering so I can move on, this is mostly what I need as I had lost self confidence massively in those dark years, thanks

    • SGU says:

      Hey Hebba,

      I want to encourage you to not lose hope especially when it seems (as it does right now) like you are moving against the tides. Life is hard and cruel at times and it seems like it is mocking you. But just allow yourself to breath and be still. You’ll know what your next move should be.

      Don’t give up. I’m praying for you.

      Dr.E

    • Confused says:

      You can do it!! Totally worth it in your situation too- you need some peace and quite in your life!

  133. Luke says:

    Hi!
    Just wanted to add my bit to this forum as it was so useful in making up my mind!
    I did two years in the UK and just decided to take a year out, but I think it is unlikely I will go back.

    I feel free again… I would say one thing to people… medicine is not the only way to help people! It is just medical students and doctors who think it is the best way (not all of them I know)… It is not the only way, it is just one way. Educators have as much responsibility… stopping people getting low self esteem and helping them before health issues kick in… this is just once example…
    Quitting is not a big deal and not the end of the world… if you wanna do something else… go do it…

    If you have huge debts, get a job and pay them off as you go… just dont settle if you are not happy!!!!

    If medicine is right but it is just hard.. keep going..

    x

  134. dany says:

    These past weeks I’ve been starting to ask questions like: Do you know anyone who has quit medschool and later become successful in another field ? Or what will my ex-classmates think of me if I quit ? Or what will I do during my year off, how will I look into other fields ?

    I know that currently, I’m in a state where pretty much nothing about med school excites me. But…for example I have a few exams now, and I can’t see to put myself there to study. I can’t loose myself in the subject, you know where you immerse yourself in learning. One day, instead of studying I stayed up to 1:30 AM reading about other universities in my country. Unbelievable.
    The biggest thing, is knowing that your going to piss against the wind, and yes to a certain degree you will get wet, and fall on your face. And everyone tells you, what a wonderful thing you’re doing, and it’s hard but in the years to come you’ll be payed back with financial security and a pedestal position in society. But I can’t stop saying to myself, it can be done, it can be done. Somewhere else lies my real goal.

    I’m in 1st year, and I’m definetly not thinking about going another year. It just seems, like I’ll be there loosing my time, being a zombie.

    • AK says:

      Are you going to continue do you think?

      • dany says:

        I took a year off. I didn’t tell my parents about my plan, and gave them the news after I found out that my leave of absence was approved. There was a lot ot shouting and naming going around.
        But, in the last minute my dad found out that there was a spot open at one of the universities at sofware engineering (if i translate correctly). My parents pretty much said: Hey, go do this for a year, and in the summer you can really make a decision. So that’s my plan right now. I will see something at this university, which is obviously more math and informatics centered. And after that i can say something.
        The interesting thing, i have to admit it is that right yesterday I met up with my former med school collegues and talked. I explained it to them that I’m not sure if this is what i want to do. And some of them really understood and it shocked me. i was prepared for being called a loser. But know, they listened and said, you did a good choice by taking a year off. It really blew me away. And right now these days, oh my god, the thought that i woun’t be in the same class and same environment with those people shook me. I mean…maybe i’m discovering now what my parents said, that not everyone goes to med school and it takes a special kind of people to go there. And honestly, it hasn’t been a week and i already thought of going back. I don’t know why.
        But, I hope that with the help of God, I will do some real soul searching while at this other university, and find out stuff. What i also want to do, is go and do some volunteering with my ex collegues at the emergency room. I have to see more of both fields, i feel like i haven;t seen medicine fully.
        Other thing that i have observed is that when i has really poised against med school i usually pulled out negative reasons, for not doing it. while now looking back i see why my parents came with positive comments: white collar job, good salary, social status. I’m really sorry, that in the US the system is so cruel, I believe here in Romania the system is more okay.
        here you go to med school for 6 years, after which you have an exam. According to that exam the places for specialities are given out nationally. The higher your grade the earlier on the list you are to choose a specialty and a place in the country. And according to your specialty then you do residency from 3 years up to 6 years ( for surgeons i believe).
        Please, besides my thoughts say something about the two systems put in front of each other, US and Romanian. Is our more easy ?Is it better ?

  135. from Australia says:

    wow, i left a few comments here 2 yrs ago, and now i only have 7 wks left of med school, hoping that i will pass this last year…and guess what, i just withdrew from my intern application for next year at my local hospital. I applied just to see how i’d feel….and it took me the very last day to finally lodged my application in. THen sent me a letter for me to sign….i just left it there sitting on my desk for weeks…without touching or looking. There is no passion there, just nothing, so i decided to withdraw. Can’t fake it any longer….and I can’t wait for new beginning next year.

  136. flamingo says:

    So I am sort of torn at the moment. I decided to defer my first year because well frankly for a while I had been dreading the day I would start…then I started and I was horribly depressed. Unlike some I actually loved my pre-med classes and feel like a scientist at heart. I prefer to work in the lab and read rather than interact with people and deal with red tape. I know I could potentially do well and I feel honored for the privilege of getting in ( I know some people would give their right arm) but I’m the sort of person who likes to work on projects and be left alone. However, I feel like I “owe” it to the world to practice medicine because I’m actually above my class average as far as mcat and gpa even though perhaps I would do better going to get a PhD (even though I don’t want to delude myself into think that a PhD will be perfect match seeing as I would be starting med school out of undergrad). Anyway, thanks for any constructive comments.

  137. Bob Smithers says:

    My Story:
    M1 for me was last year…which i failed. I started when i was 17 right after highschool. I live in canada but my school was abroad in Poland (that is why i could start so early). I failed the first year because i got seriously depressed, started drinking, and basically gave up. I have 25,000 dept already. I flew back to poland a couple weeks ago to redo the year but after soul searching i decided its not worth it. I know i could do this medical school but i will be unhappy for 6-8 years.
    Im going back to canada. Pay off the loan for a year and take everyones advice on here and live a happy life not a book life. the comments were helpful. thankyou

  138. dany says:

    So how can someone know what’s the right career for him ? I mean I always studied everything ? How should I know i’m going to be successful in medicine ?
    At times it seems I could learn pretty much anything I wish, but sometimes it feels like chemistry is not 1 of those. I have 2 chemistry exams, I’m at the point where I want to pass just to prove that I can pass one of them. I don’t like chemistry one bit.

  139. AK says:

    Wow! I’m so glad I found this blog! A few months ago I left my first semester of medical school in the caribbean. I really did enjoy the subject but hated the way I was learning it. Intense rote memory style learning does not work for my learning style. The inability to learn concepts because you have to simply memorize to get through the material did not appeal to me. I thought I was one of the only people who quit medical school but thanks to this blog, I know there are others out there.

    I have been depressed since I’ve been back wondering who I am if I am not a medical school student. I realized that my dream of becoming a doctor defined who I was. I am still considering applying to a problem based learning medical school but am not sure yet. I’m not sure if it’s worth it anymore. Even if I learn the material in a way that is conducive to my learning style there is still all the time it takes to be done. I am struggling with whether it is worth it. And if my answer is no, what will I do. Who will I be?

    Thank you to everyone who has posted on this blog, you give me hope that I’m not alone.

  140. eli says:

    hi everyone!im anewstudent in medical uni!imso hapythat after 7years with no sleepno happinessiwouidbeadoctor!but i dontknow howto beaperson wholikesher life!sosorry 4 not knowing good english!!!!!!!!plzzzzzzhelp me2 fidout!

  141. LB says:

    Wow. It’s kind of amazing reading things other people have posted and feeling like they’ve come out of my own mouth…or in this case, my fingers, I guess. I am a second year medical student and suddenly, I just don’t feel like I can do it anymore. I had a small bout of something like depression (ok, maybe it was depression and I’m just afraid to call it that) last year, but I kind of gave myself a week, got over it, and kept pushing. So I’ve hit that point again now, but this time I’m not pushing past it. I can’t convince myself that it’s worth it to keep going. I mean, I want to do something meaningful with my life and I thought medicine was it, but what is the point of doing “good” if you you can barely get yourself out of bed? I have no illusions that life should always be easy, but I think you should be able to be happy. And I don’t know if I can be happy doing medicine – at least not for many more years. And I’m not sure it’s worth hating my twenties and possibly beyond. So this is just my 2 cents. If anyone has advice or even just wants to commiserate, please do!

    • AK says:

      Sounds like the exact struggles I went through! Have you decided what you’re going to do?

      For me it wasn’t only about med school itself. I also thought alot about the career post med-school. Long hours, stress, etc.

      I feel your pain!

      • LB says:

        Yeah, I’ve made the decision to take some time off. I haven’t ironed out any of the details yet (as in, I haven’t even met with the dean yet to finalize this!) but in my mind, I know this is what I need to do. It’s scary as hell because I have to find a job and probably move back in with my parents and leave all of my medical school friends but no decision is ever really easy, is it? At least I will have the option of coming back next year and trying second year again!

        So wish me luck! And AK – or any other like-minded people – if you wanna talk, you can email me at lnickelb@gmail.com. It would be nice to hear what others did with their time off or what they’re doing now if they quit.

  142. from Australia says:

    In my experience (being in the last year of med now, done all clinical rotations) — if you’re not happy while in year 1,2 or start of clinical placement, you will never be happy, period. Sure, there will be good days where you got good comments from ur clinician etc, but the days where you think to yourself “what am i doing?” — will put you back to questioning ur chosen path again. I just know now that my attitude/personality/passion do not fit this career and i won’t do my internship next year (if i pass this last exam). But i will get the grad. paper to hang on the wall. That’s about it. Start something new. I am turning 26 next years.

    • AK says:

      Wow! So you’re going to get through it and then move onto another career choice? That takes a lot of guts and self-reflection. Good for you for finishing. I decided to leave within the first few months of med school because I knew it wasn’t for me. Still struggling to figure out who I am if I’m not a doctor but it wasn’t worth it for me to give up my life or sanity. Within the first few months I already knew it wasn’t for me – started getting really depressed just thinking about how long it would take me to finish!

      • from Australia says:

        so what have you decided to do?

      • AK says:

        Well for me it’s a little different. I am married and gave up my car, full-time job and left my husband back in Canada (he was going to join me later) to move to the carribean to attend medical school. So for me, it took a lot of guts to leave. I’m not sure if the school I went to was extra intense but we learned anatomy in less than 4 months. For someone who has never taken anatomy, this was tough. I did fine on my first exam but didn’t feel like I was really learning anything at all. I didn’t feel like I was learning concepts or using any type of critical thinking skills. Perhaps if the pace was a little slower, I could have understood concepts a bit more. I understand that there is an obvious element of memory in anatomy, don’t get me wrong. But the pace there was so fast (115-130 slides per 1.5 hour lecture) that I didn’t feel like it would adequately prepare me for being a good physician. Of course this was coupled with other things people know about the carribean. It isn’t a supportive environment like in North America. In the one month I was there, I devoted everything I had to studying. I came home from class and studied until 2am, slept for a few hours and studied before class. I could barely hold food down because I was so nervous the prof was going to call me out in class (typical there). So after no sleep and lossing about 15lbs in a month, my husband came to get me. I took a leave thinking I might go back but when I got home I was so depressed there was no way I could go back. I talked to a few friends who are attending schools in North America and they told me it was tough but they had some down time to eat and maybe relax for an hour or two a night. The pass rate at the school I was at was also 75% so that added on the pressure. Simply put, I didn’t feel like the teaching style and pace suited how I wanted to learn. Being a mature married student with a lot of life experience, the journey is just as important as the destination. I know I could have completed the program academically but I felt like I had lost who I was in the month I was there and couldn’t imagine what I would have become in the two years it would take to finish. I don’t want to be negative about the school because for some people, it is an alternative to becoming a doctor. It just wasn’t right for me.

        Now I’ve been back for a few months, am working full time in the public health field and am healing. I am still very torn about what to do. I miss learning anatomy, I really enjoyed the material in medical school just not the way it was being taught. I am struggling with figuring out who I am if I don’t become a doctor. I thought that it was I wanted all my life. I am considering re-writting the mcat and applying to some North American schools but it’s been so long since I’ve learned those concepts that this will be difficult for me (esp. working full-time). I am also considering becoming a physician assistant as it will give me all the things I love about medicine (relatioships with patients, treating disease) but also also me to spend more time on counselling and chronic disease management. I am really torn right now about what to do?

  143. AK says:

    Is there anyone on here who left medical school and is now happy? I am having a really hard time seperating who I am from my dream of being a doctor. I have a masters and am working a full-time interesting job but keep wondering if I should have stuck it out in medical school. I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s pre-med type students in general. I really felt like medicine was me, we were one in the same. And then I got to school where they expected us to memorize everything, use very little critical thinking skills and expect us to give up our lives for 4-5 years! I just couldn’t do it. Was it just the med school I went to or are they all the same.

    I feel like it would help to know there are others out there that either left, failed or didn’t continue med school and are doing o.k. Thanks!

    • AK says:

      p.s Shouldn’t there be an element of enjoyment in learning? Like LB says, I know life and medical school especially isn’t supposed to be easy but shouldn’t you find some joy in the learning you are doing?

      • from Australia says:

        The first 2 years of premed are like that. If you don’t like memorizing those kinda of things then you will struggle in those years. However, in the last 2 years (out doing clinical stuff) it will be more like real stuff, and if you like interacting with people and teaching from the real scenerios then stick with it. I actually was ok in the first 2 years, but since i started my clinical rotation i just knew this wasn’t for me, no enjoyment whatsoever, couldnt drag myself out of bed.

    • DroppedOutNowWhat says:

      AK, I started a Caribbean program at age 29. where weeding out must have been the norm, as clinical spots are limited =P

      After my first semester (failing Anatomy and MCB), I should have taken a LOA but it seemed impossible as my parents would not have understood and label me a failure because they are from a country where academics are revered and cutthroat (high school kids studying till 3am is the norm). Then by the end of my second semester, I decided to withdraw. My parents begged and screamed at me up to my decision, and now I am at home, depressed and unmotivated to think outside the box. I checked out an accelerated teaching program that I may qualify for because I have an MS in Biology (but as a quiet and petite person, I don’t know how I’d do in an innercity classroom).

      My parents said, if I were to transfer to another program (with a much smaller classroom and individualized attention), I’d have to prove my mettle by studying until 3am every night at home before starting in May.

      I’d like to move out, but there’s no money. A few times, I regret not sticking it out… Because I truly had all the reasons to go into medicine and want to help sick people directly and being a team leader. But I haven’t begun my transfer app to the small program because I am afraid to write the Personal Statement explaining what went wrong and what I did to “fix” it. Before I left my original program, the dean of academics (a PhD in Psych!!!) told me to mourn my decision to leave for a few months. It sounded crazy, but I have been “mourning” for almost a month now and I need a new road to blaze through.

      I think maybe public health or hospital administration would be areas of interest, but I am still at a funk– wondering how can I enter these fields with big F’s and W’s in my transcripts? How did you find the courage to switch out?

  144. from Australia says:

    I think at the end of the day, you must think of yourself, what you enjoy, close your eyes and imagine what makes you happy. You must make sure you *live* everyday and most importantly to enjoy life. Your parents do want the best for their children, but it is YOU who have to decide what’s important to you as they are not *you*. We are all unique, remember that, and I think each of us has something to contribute to this world whether it is small or big effect. Medicine is a job, that you must be ready for, passionate for, and enjoyed. I suggest everyone take a year off if they are questioning themselves, because the question will never be answered if you haven’t searched. I did not take a year off when i had a problem back then because my mum wouldn’t allow me. And although i am still in same class with my friends, my grades are dropping because I have doubts, I find no enjoyment, I daydream, I get involved with non-medical things to distract myself, I don’t attend teachings etc. So….just do it, take a year off, get a job/volunteer/live/gain experience/believe in yourself/find out who you are/be inspired/find that fire! :)

  145. dany says:

    So I’m on my LOA year right know and I don’t know why I’m wanting to go back.
    i think it’s the success aspect of it that is making me do it. My parents, grandparents are all like it is a good job, you don’t have to be a robot you wear white coat everyday. you can work as much as you want to. you don;t have to be surgeon, just be a MD, work 4 hours a day and have an enormous free time.
    that’s what they are saying. now i know that in Romania, there are people who live like that and are doctors. but what are the stressess related to being a doctor ?

    right now, i want to start a calendar, and everyday i will encircle the date of the passing day, if i want to go back to med school or not. and if next summer i still can’t decide i’ll go on deductive logic , and if the encircled days are greater in number, i’ll go back.

  146. Scott says:

    Medicine sucks:

    It is without a doubt, the most overhyped and disappointing career choice in the world. You go in feeling that you are about to open new doors to wisdom and finally reach a cognitive level that you could only dream of. Instead you have about 1,000,000 completely irrelevant facts to memorize with hardly any context as well as be constantly fearful of how you are going to make it through the next test without going nuts. Medicine is a joke; a very difficult joke. If you are thinking about leaving, do not hesitate. There is nothing wonderful or glorious about becoming a physician. You will quickly realize how phony the curriculum is and how little of the information you actually obtain. I can’t live like this its just not fun or even SLIGHTLY exciting. I was to have a fun life! I want to go back to grad school and get a masters and teach! Watch football games on the weekends, party with my friends! Be there for their weddings, all without the Burdon of 300,000$ debt and a job that sucks with people who suck even worse. End point, if your thinking about leaving, LEAVE!!!! Get out of here!!! Find something better!!! I promise you it will not be hard to find something better than this crap. Good luck !

    • dropped out and confused says:

      Hi Scott! Where you in medical school? Did you leave? I completely agree with you about the fact the it is basically an accumulation of facts with hardly any context! You hit the nail on the head! Thanks for your post!

    • IW says:

      Hey Scott! THANK YOU for reminding me about how phony and ridiculous the curriculum is….am getting back to studying and remembered why exactly I never bothered in the first place! Have been footloose and fancy free from the horrors of the medical establishment for over half a decade now and am thinking of grad school and teaching. Follow your heart and miracles will happen :) thanks again!

      • dropped out and confused says:

        Where you in medical school? How long were you there for? What did you do when you left?

  147. anon says:

    first year here…….. cant go on…….. cant quit… want to kill myself…

    • Blank says:

      first year above, definitely don’t kill yourself. It isn’t worth it. Just take one day at a time, don’t look at the big picture, and find someone to talk to. It is a huge life adjustment, and you will be stronger if you overcome this, but nothing is worth going into that level of despair. My heart goes out to you.

      • dropped out and confused says:

        I agree! You need to think about why you are feeling that way. If it’s not right for you, take some time off. There are other options out there! Take it from someone who felt like you and decided to leave. Good luck!

  148. IW says:

    DOAC: I finished by the skin of my teeth and the expense of my soul, and left halfway into internship with 6 months to go for the sake of living. Probably the wiser thing to do was to have hung on and finished the 6 mths but I have no regretsn leaving when I did despite the inconvenience that it may represent. I left, volunteered in a grassroots NGO, became a florist, worked in an events company and then became a singer in a 5 star hotel entertaining diners on a tropical island watching the sun set over the ocean every evening :) Looking back I think of Steve Jobs and his calligraphy class and how it was integral to the design of the Mac, and I know it’ll all pull together someday. As cheesy as it sounds it’s the journey, not the destination, and things have travelled full circle and I may even be at a point that I may be able to make a real difference in healthcare. The only regret I have is not knowing how to follow my heart at a younger age. If you like you can send me an email and we can talk about this further. Hope this helps.

  149. Confused says:

    Like many people on this blog, I am also so confused about staying in med school. I’m only in my first year, and just completed Anatomy and started biochem. I want to leave for several reasons: I don’t like the way we learn- I’ve always found pure memorization repulsive. I hate learning without concepts and I don’t feel any smarter after I’ve studied for 12 hours straight during the day because I know that all I’ve done is drilled facts into my brain that anyone could look up and figure out. I mean, not to lie, once I finished Anatomy, I was really happy about knowing all the nerves/veins/arteries in one’s body. I mean even though memorization is boring and not really learning, memorizing that much information is still some kind of skill most people don’t have. But at the same time, I don’t know if I was happy enough knowing where everything was in the human body to continue spending 2 years memorizing things for a living. I was pretty excited to start biochem initially becaues i was a molecular genetics major in college and really enjoyed my major. However, after we started biochem, I realize that we only superficially cover most of the subjects and don’t go into good detail for most of it. That bothers me a lot. I like knowing about things from the root, and a lot of what we learn is the opposite of that.
    I’ve always wanted a career where I’m forced to think, and analyze problems, and be creative. I feel like medicine is the opposite of all these things.
    So you may be wondering- why exactly did I go into medicine? well for several reasons. I went into medicine becaue I loved science, and I like interacting with people, and I wanted a flexible job because I get bored incredibly easy. So obviously- it seemed medicine was the right choice. On top of this- I would get a steady income, and the flexibility to live and practice pretty much wherever I want. As an MD I can reserach, teach, practice, or even go into health care policy or administration. Some additional perks are definately the respect you get when you tell someone your an MD, and also, if I want to work partime or quit my job for a while when I start a family, I know that I can take some exams and start back up with a decent income. Also, people my whole life have been telling me that I should go into medicine becaue i would be a great doctor (not sure why they would know this) and so I believed them. And so for these reaons, getting my MD seemed like the perfect choice – 4 years of misery followed by a life time of rewards. So what is missing in this situation? A true passion to pursue medicine.
    I would never ever (except ofcourse in my personal statement and interviews) say that I am passionate about the art of medicine. I’m not at all. I like people and I don’t like people suffering, so I would like to do all I can to alleviate that, but my choice of action would not be medicine- in fact it would be through promoting educational equality ( for this reason I actually applied to TFA and had to choose med school over it extremely last minute because of a family crisis) Also, I am actually agasint several of the therapies western medicine now uses to increase the lenght of someone’s life. I am a huge believer in quality over quantity- so often times I don’t see the point of making someone miserable (unless they really really want it) for 2 extra years at the cost of thousands of tax dollars just so they could live for two years, albeit uncomfortably and in pain.
    But no career in education has all the benefits a career in medicine has. and more than that though- a career in education ( I would go into education administration/education policy)would mean I would have to let go of my second passion, science. Because I didn’t want to let go of science, I decided that I could go into medicine and essentialy “help people” while still learning.
    But now that I’m in med school – I’m wondering if it really worth it. Is it worth all the “benefits” of an MD if i’m not truly passionate about giving back through medicine? If i’m not happy with the way I learn? should I quit, and go into education? Or should I stick it out as an MD- and then maybe be be really happy about it later on in life when I have tons of job flexibility and security and can work in free clinics or oversees if I feel like giving back to my community (though in a differnt way than my first choice)? or when I realize- hey I somehow actually am a good doctor like everyone said I would be and am increasing the quality of life of my patients ? ahhhh i don’t know what to do!!!

    ANyways, Sorry for this ridiculously long post- If anyone actually read this, I would really appreciate any response!

  150. wdpmd says:

    Dear Confused,
    I didn’t find your post ridiculously long at all and I will gladly respond. It’s a very turbulent time and full of contradictions and internal inconsistencies that lead one to question long and deeply held convictions.
    I speak from the viewpoint of being near the end of a long and very successful career as an academic physician/scientist/teacher. I am one of the few active clinicians who has been able to maintain a very active laboratory effort (biochemistry/molecular biology) while staying involved clinically. I achieved my goals and I feel pretty satisfied. However, reading your post was literally like listening to my own thoughts when I was at your stage. I saw medicine as a chance to use my scientific talents in a way that had very immediate and direct benefits for others. I entered medical school with a strong science background and really believed that I would love the preclinical years in spite of all the horror stories I heard from others. That proved to be rather naive. Toward the end of the first year I was pulling my hair out and wondered how it was humanly possible to take such important and interesting material and make it so utterly revolting. I questioned whether or not I could hang on and maintain my sanity. As I now look back at that same situation but from the other side of the fence I realize that it almost has to be that way. I endeavor to make my basic science lectures stimulating and relevant and I try to make the material come alive but there really is a limit to how far you can go. The bottom line is that clinical medicine is often very empirical. There is much that simply is not understood. Example: Gentamycin has side effects. Somebody somewhere may have spent a lifetime figuring out the mechanisms but whether you or anybody anywhere understands the side effects, know them you must. That is true for every drug you encounter. You simply have to memorize and that will go on for as long as you treat patients. If you can understand them – even better, but one way or another, you must have the information at your fingertips.
    The good news is that what you are doing now is not really the way medicine is practiced. You will start seeing it in your clinical rotations. There is a great deal of analysis of very complex situations that change in front of you and it’s fun. The most successful doctors are often those who are most able to maintain that spirit of inquiry and analysis even in situations they have seen hundreds of times. Complacency will bite you pretty quickly. Being able to recognize the zebra when it comes by is a real gift and analytical people are best at it. Your urge to “know about things from the root” will serve you (and your patients) very well.
    You are quite correct that the MD degree opens up a huge range of possibilities ranging all kinds of clinical practice to teaching to health care policy work to basic research or to any combination of those that appeal to you. Whether or not it’s worth the time and financial investment is a question only you can answer but you are wise to examine the question closely. I haven’t met a lot of unhappy doctors but the few I have met are the ones who should have questioned things but didn’t.
    As my wife (also MD) of 35 years and I look back we inevitably question whether we would do it again. For both of us the answer is unquestionably, yes. We had and continue to have good careers and come home at night feeling good about how we spent the day. We raised two happy, healthy children. The only doubts either of us harbor relate to the ever increasing “industrialization” of medicine. Who knows what the future will hold in that regard? Of course, who knows what the future holds for any profession?
    Know that you are not alone in your doubts. This process is extremely demanding and they payoff is still out in the future. I think any rational person would have to question all this. For most people it works out. Good luck.

  151. augustine says:

    Would like everyone’s opinion…

    I am currently 1/2 way thru my 2nd year of medical school and feel absolutely miserable. I don’t want to dedicate the next 6+ years (if i factor in residency, which I dread) dedicated to studying and memorizing random trivial facts and to laboring away in the hospital— don’t get me wrong, I like patient care, which drew me to the profession but not enough to make so many sacrifices (including my already deteriorating mental health) it’s just something about medical school, and the training… it stunts your creativity and you have to deal with a lot of bureaucracy and arrogant severe TYPE A Personalities… it’s suffocating when u’re not like them, and are unable to conform to this type of environment….

    anyhow because I’m attending a private university in a really expensive area.. i’ve accumulated $140,000 (70K per year in loans incl. living expenses)… + i think the tuition has already been billed for this upcoming 2nd semester… *sigh

    Should I tough it out? The only thing that’s keeping me here is fear of not being able to pay off my loans without making a physician salary… I have interests in other careers, non-science related but they pay very little and since it’s business, can be very unstable… i’m feeling so trapped!! though i’m grateful for the opportunity to get in and study medicine, of which i am reminded constantly that so many people would ‘lose their right arm’ just to be where i am… (this has added more guilt and only worsened my depression), my heart says, I will be miserable and only more severely depressed should i choose to stay for the next 6+ years… + few more to pay off my debt first and then do something else? Who knows I might end up liking it? I’m so confused.

    what would you do??

    • dropped out and confused says:

      How are you doing? Have you made a decision?

      • augustine says:

        well, i spoke with a friend of mine (MBA student) and she told me to consider a career in consulting (health care management related), i need either a competitive MBA degree or an MD/professional degree to even be considered at this particular firm, which is offering $120,000 + bonuses to start if u have an MD (even without any experience) but it’s really competitive. Sure beats residency salary, maybe i can do that and pay off my loans… then get on with my life. IF ANYONE HAS QUIT MEDICAL SCHOOL, and want to share their experiences post med school, please share your success stories/struggles.

    • LB says:

      augustine,

      I am so there. I was in very much the same situation, except that I have actually taken a leave of absence and am now trying to work through figuring out what I really want to do with my life. At this point, I’m thinking I will go back next year and finish my medical education. Taking some time to get away seems to have helped me gain some perspective. But that’s me talking today, right now. It changes, but I still have until mid-April until I need to make a final decision. There are many wonderful things about medicine, but it’s also not ideal. There are long hours, demanding patients, and a lot of responsibility. Like I said, I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do. If you can take a leave of absence, it may be what you need. I’m really having trouble finding a job, which makes me regret the decision sometimes, but I also feel like it has let me step back and assess some things a bit better. Plus, I feel more like myself since I’ve been able to sleep normally and talk to friends both in medical school and in other careers honestly to get their feedback.

      I wish you the best in whatever you decide to do!

  152. Jim Bob says:

    A good read about dropping out, not just from med school, but from a culture that has gone insane.

    http://ranprieur.com/essays/dropout.html

  153. Sean says:

    I googled “why does medical school suck” and came across an incredibly refreshing page that I actually had seen several months ago when I googled the same thing. Basically, it was a 2nd year student ranting about why he was in medical school when all it seemed to do was bring him down. I scrolled down the page and saw some of the comments that had been made. I have to say I am extremely thankful to not feel quite the same way as some of the posters felt. That being said there is plenty of time left in my medical education to feel the same way they did.
    The posting that caught my eye was the one about a 3rd year being berated by his residents for being stupid. I really hope that isnt me next year. I can deal with feeling stupid around the classroom. After all, I don’t put as much time into it as my peers. However, I don’t think ill react well to public humiliation. In fact, I think this lack of being “exposed” for what I am is what has allowed me to shirk my way through medical school up to this point.
    Let me clarify that last part. I mentioned twice above that I do not see myself as being the hardest worker in medical school. That being said I am by no means the type of person who “gets it” easily. I must get it enough, as I have made it to the second semester of second year without any significant problems, but I am on whole a C student. As proof of this I submit to you the fact that I am currently writing this while wearing a stethoscope on my head, when I have a pathology quiz ominously lurking in 8 hours. And the stethoscope is not on my head in the proper sense. It is on my head, with each end hanging on opposite sides of my face much like a woman’s hair might when it is down. I am sure I look like a total idiot. But the way I see it, as long as I don’t get an email from the dean of students telling me not to show up anymore I must be doing something okay.
    Don’t get me wrong. Getting an email advising you to go to special tutoring sessions is humiliating enough, but I am happy to say I only have received one of those. That being said, the tutoring sessions were wonderful and did give me a leg up on the rest of the course. I now rationalize it as having done just poorly enough to get an advantage. This attitude still got me a C while my peers, I am sure, all got A’s but like one of my old roommates always said “whatever helps you sleep at night.”
    Back to the point, I think the reason I started writing this was to say that “stick-to-it-iveness” counts for quite a bit in all walks of life. I understand the frustration of many people and have to say that I believe anyone who says they are not frustrated like this entire board seems to be is full of you know what. The thing that keeps me happy is realizing that while I am struggling, like many other people, my lack of success generally does not frustrate me. Even the worst person in my class (perhaps me?) will graduate and be called Doctor one day. I guess for me the key to not getting down has been for me to hold myself to the standards I set. I enjoy my life even though I am in medical school, and would not trade my situation at this point for any of the successes many of my brilliant classmates have achieved. I often wish that I was able to get A’s instead of C’s, but not if it means killing myself for it. Plus, if I got A’s in every class, it would make it that less special when I finally do get my first A (yes, I have not got one yet).
    I guess the bottom line for me is that I can only be the best me that I can be today. For me, that means putting others first even when they have no hesitation to put themselves before others. Karma always catches up to people and if I can go through life doing the right things everything will work out ok.
    Anyway, Not really sure why I started writing this, but on a closing thought If there were a “short bus” to medical school I would ride it and ride it proudly.

  154. capitalist says:

    I attended an US medical school, and I dropped out after two years. I don’t ever want to re-visit what happened and give a post-mortem. I remember wanting to quit after the first two weeks, but sucked it up for two years until I couldn’t take it anymore.

    Before AND after my years in medical school, I can maintain strong work ethics and singular focus on goals. It was only during medical school that I could not focus, and I would think about distracting things. I am at a start-up now, and I work brutal hours and take abuse on par with residency, yet I remain focused and energized.

    The take away is this, if you have always been focused / energized, and somehow you are not that way when you are in medical school, take a LOA and seriously explore other options (don’t just travel or lounge around). Medical school is definitely not hard, it just does not excite you anymore (and will unlikely excite you later); it’s time to cut your losses and explore other interests. A med student have enough intelligence and drive to succeed in many fields that would yield equal if not greater financial and lifestyle rewards.

  155. I feel your guys pain. But you guys are making me sound old with all this talk about being 24-25 and wanting to quit haha*no disrespect intended*. Im going to be 31 when i finish med school. I served 6 years in the military, hence why im a little older *wink wink* than you guys. Quiting is a hard decision, especially with the financial burden you would have accumulated over the years. Not to *glorify/recruit* for the military, cause i hated the military. Do you guys think if you went the “military” route quitting would be easier? Since med school would be all paid for, and they would be paying you while your slowing killing, yourself haha.

    you guys dont have to respond, but i like to get some feedback to what you guys think?

  156. kruniza says:

    This site makes me feel so much better, to know that I am not alone. I look at my life now and think “What happened to me?” I used to be friendly and fun, and now I am ready to snap at any moment, because I am miserable in my med school. I wanted to get into med school so badly, I did everything I could to make my dream come true and now… I am living my dream, and thinking “be careful what you wish for…” There is no free time anymore, and the social pressure is worse than high school. We are together for 10 hours a day. Some people live with their classmates as roommates, and spend 24 hours a day together. So much drama, and no privacy. I get a headache just by walking into the building, and I can’t escape the dreadful feeling of being in the wrong place. I thought about quitting, many times. But I am only interested in medicine. I still want to be a doctor, if I can make it through med school. One day at a time, pulling myself through until I can escape my NYC school environment and practice in a rural quiet area, where I belong.

    • it's a battle says:

      Kruniza, I can totally empathize with you. I’m in NYC as well. MS2. Block final on Wednesday.. taking a break from studying and stumbled across this page. It’s certainly a relief to know that I’m not alone in my sentiments. Since we’re both in NYC, would you be up for chatting over coffee sometime? To be frank, I think the support would be good for both of us.

  157. Melissa says:

    I love this post. I’m a pre-med student now, and I go through these cycles, too. These “things are awesome, I get this, life is a dream” to having a terrible week where I feel like I’m behind on everything and yet my drunk party girl lab partner who never studies seems to understand more than I do. And I am so tempted to quit some days, but I don’t. I push on, and I’m glad I push on, and it’s inspiring and comforting to know we all go through this on our journey to become physicians.

  158. Melissa says:

    Also, I want to say–before I started working towards a career in medicine, I started a masters in social work and quit. So I understand where the posters are coming from who DID quit medical school and feel it was the right choice. Quitting social work was definitely the right choice for me…I care more about other people’s problems than they care about their own, and it’s too exhausting mentally and emotionally to put so much of yourself into helping other people just to have them belittle and curse you in response. I, too, went through a major depression when I first quit. I felt like, what am I if I’m not a therapist? I had been so passionate about it. I had worked for so many years towards it, putting in ridiculous hours observing sessions and doing research and memorizing psych facts. But I got through the depression, and now I think I’ve found the career that I will be able to enjoy and still be sane…after med school is over, anyway ;)

  159. lmt says:

    who else here wants to quit and move out west and live on a meager income but live free. all i can think of is this car i saw in denali, alaska last summer. it was a beat up old volvo painted a maroon color with these huge moose painted on the doors. there was one door that was falling off. and was tied to keep it closed. a canoe tied to the top. and the car was filled to the brim with all sorts of things. stickers plastered on the back. and the guy who owned it was this free soul. young mid twenties. a true adventurer. Ive never forgotten him because I WANTED TO BE HIM. I HATE MEDICINE> i hate the thought that ill be tied to a 9-5 job for the rest of my life. with a four week break per year. i want to kill myself. i want to work in india or africa. but frankly i can work in an orphanage managing it, work with the children, teach them. I DONT NEED to BE A DOCToR TO DO THAT .

  160. silentdesperation says:

    I can relate to most of the comments on this site. There’s another site that’s similar:

    http://citystreams.wordpress.com/2008/07/17/dropping-out-of-medical-school-uncensored/

    She dropped out and is a now a happy mom/teacher.

    I withdrew at the start of my 4th semester at a Carib school. I had to repeat Physio, but I was just barely passing most exams, as most students. I was struggling with overwhelming feelings of anxiety and depression because of my borderline grades and I also was in love with a fellow classmate, who broke my heart, making it harder to concentrate. The pressure of being weeded out made it hard to learn anything. I sought counseling and advice from the school psychologist and the Dean, who suggested I withdraw and possibly re-apply in the future.

    These systems are not great and I advise anyone seeking to become a Physician to do everything in their power to make it to a stateside school, even if this means getting an MS and waiting a few years. The right preparation is worth it in the long run. I wish someone would have told me this before I embarked on that journey.

    Anyways, to make a story short, it has been two years since then. I reapplied one semester after withdrawing and they rejected me, but I had not really done anything to fix my academic problems, although I did see a psychiatrist and therapist, took some short-term medication, and had the psychiatrist provide a note to the school that I was ready to return.

    I have traveled, hung out with my family, painted, baked, written, and soul-searched. I’ve come to the conclusion that most of us struggle to align your passion with your work, and many people don’t seem to know what they want to do in life, someone even wrote a book about it, What Should I Do With My Life, Po Bronson, since we always seem to be asking ourselves this question. Coincidentally, In it, there is a story about a girl who dropped out of medical school after a few semesters. I recommend the read for those of you struggling with these questions.

    It’s hard to make decisions with so many options that we have, but there are many things that are out of our hands. We’re not 100% in control. Maybe there is a higher power, some believe in destiny.
    You have to work with what you have and make the best out of your opportunities. It’s good to follow your heart, but I think it’s also important to have a balance between your heart and your mind.

    I looked into Master’s programs since the economy isn’t so great and my job current prospects aren’t so clear.
    I wanted to use the education and credentials I’ve worked for, the science courses, my MCAT.
    I have found it difficult to let it go these things, and felt they must count for something, since I worked hard for them, but sometimes I think it’s best to just let it go. The point is, which many have made, that it is hard to just start from scratch. This is the reason people stay doing something that makes them unhappy.
    You have to work with what you have. Someone told me a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, but what if the bird is biting your hand or what if it sucks so bad you’d rather risk the chance of not having any bird at all. Where would that leave you?

    I got accepted to an MS Program in Medical Sciences. I’m thinking now after I finish the 1 year program I can apply to PhD Programs in Neuroscience or Physiology. i have contemplated returning to medical school as two of my old professors gave me recommendation letters, having been out of undergrad for a while, for the MS program.
    I’m trying to work with what I have but also find a job in something I like.
    Yet, after reading some of these posts I’m reminded of how I felt when studying some of these subjects and I’m wondering if I should just forget about this field altogether, even if it means going to work at a bar (this might just be fantasy speaking).

    I used to teach English and I was working on an MA in English before I switched to pre-med, in my early to mid twenties. I’ve always had a place in my heart for poetry and writing since high school. But, I didn’t want to go the scholarly route of professorship, and I became very interested in science, which I knew nothing about. I’ve thought of going back to this field but I have lost touch with most of the professors in the field. Also, I have to remind myself I left for a reason. Also, I don’t think I could ever make a living from my writing. Or I need something to support me while I work on it on the side. Most artist have another job to support them, that is until they write their masterpiece, and even then sometimes they could use a day job, look at Van Gough.
    I feel the best thing is to just keep going with what I have, but do it differently, a way that won’t make me sick. Try to get a balance in life. I think there are number of things we can each do job-wise. For instance, I know I have no interest in nor have I ever even attempted becoming an accountant or tax collector or lawyer, engineer, even though many love these fields. But, I studied psychology, english, and medicine. So, I know what I like. We just have to find something that will get us a job that is worth our time, unless we have trust funds or win the lottery, something that will make us happy productive citizens who will pass on something good to each other. Striking the balance between the opposing forces in our lives make the goal we all share a true challenge to acquire.

    Lots of us go for medicine because of the good job prospects, but it doesn’t mean we are going to like it all the time. Someone said education was learning to do do things you don’t want to do.

    I don’t want be in school again, I want to be out in the world living my life, and I really don’t want to study anymore for awful exams, but I think the MS will give me more opportunities in the real world than I currently have, making a temporary sacrifice lead to a better life in the future.
    I can’t think of anything else to truly act on. I love stories of people who get on a bus and move to LA or NY or anywhere with $50 in their pockets and make it in acting or anything they just take off and land on their feet. I dream of doing something crazy like going to a foreign country to teach English or moving to California, maybe get into the booming Medical Marijuana business, but at the end of the day, I don’t have that thing that makes people do it. I have my family and I have the feeling that I started something, worked for something, and I should try to use it in some way, the MCAT that I worked hard on, the grades, the contacts.

  161. Suzy Q says:

    So like many of you, I have dropped out of medical school. The only difference…I would do anything to get back in.

    I was a pharmacist (only practiced one year), and decided to move across the country to attend a D.O. school. When school started, it was hard to adjust to the student income again, plus the idea of accruing more loans. I’m also married, and my hubby wasn’t fond of the new colder climate we moved to. He was semi-supportive of me going back to school to say the least, so that added some difficulty.

    I waivered a little about staying in med school in my first semester, and then decided that I was doing the right thing even though I had an easy fall back plan. But in my second year of med school, I felt really burnt out. I requested a leave of absence from school, but they felt that my reason for the request was not good enough. So I did what seemed logical at the time, and I just quit school. That was 7 months ago, and now that I’ve had time to ruminate about what I’ve done, I realized I made a mistake.

    I’m not saying that everyone who quits med school will later regret it, but it could happen. Seven months ago, I found this blog and it seemed to echo every one of my thoughts at the time. It even felt good to know that I wasn’t the only student who felt lost and confused.

    Basically, my point is that this decision is pretty permanent. I mean, are you really going to go through the whole process again to get back into school if you later change your mind? If you can, get a leave of absence so you have the option of going back. Trust me when I say that your whole perspective can change in 6 months!

    • Suzy Q says:

      Oh, and I highly recommend What Should I do With My Life by Po Bronson, along with the above poster. It won’t give you all the answers, but it will definitely open your eyes to the possibilities.

  162. Kitten says:

    Wow. I’m not alone! I’m a Malaysian. Year 1 med school. The truth is, I’ve always wanted to become a dentist. I don’t know, teeth just fascinate me. The life of a dentist draws me. I love doing crafts and most of all, making people look good. Then my dad came into the picture. He was saying I ‘might as well’ take medicine. And that my hands weren’t skillful enough, and that his dentist friends suffer from chronic back pains. Since my dad’s paying for it, why not just listen to him? (I thought)
    I really regret being sucked into it and being firm on my ground. Because the truth is, there’s a huge difference in being a doctor and a dentist! Now that I’m in medical school, I realise that I would be dedicating my life to the sick. Which I’m not thrilled about doing. I get stressed out everyday because I keep getting this feeling I’m in the wrong place. My friends are all so happy to be here, my parents shower me with gift as they see me as an investment and are thrilled I followed their advice. In the expense of my own happiness. There’s no one I really dare to talk to. Sometimes I just stare into space feeling all tensed up, people ask me if i’m okay. I just say yes. Hoping the feelings will just go away. I realised I entered medicine for all the wrong reasons. Furtheremore, the med school I’m in is hard to get into, and the fees are reeeaally expensive. My place should have been given to someone who really wanted this. Sigh. Some say I’m ‘called’ to do it. But am I really? Now I wonder everyday.

    • Chronic says:

      Hi Kitten,

      I’m a Malaysian too. You sound Chinese Malaysian (ie your financial and family circumstances in this country). Do you go to IMU? Just want to let you know that dentists and docs study the same basic sciences in first year and if you have a passion for teeth I say go for it, it’s not too late to change after first year. Don’t care about your parents, if they don’t care about your feelings, you shouldn’t care about theirs. I know this sounds harsh and against everything that we’ve been taught but trust me if you continue at the end of the day you are just going to feel very angry, resentful and dissatisfied with your life and chances are you might take it out on your own children even though that may be the last thing you want. It’s not common to have this passion for teeth and it sounds lkke you’d excel at it. When you do you’ll prove yourself to your parents in time and they will eventually come around. Believe me I have seen too many cases like this. I currently have a student right mow who really wants to be a designer but her mother wants her to be a doctor or a dentist (see, so you’re not so far off) :) If you are seriously STUCK in medicine, I suggest you look into maxillofacial surgery, but that is a long and intense road. Good luck.

  163. Circle of Willis says:

    ………………………..thinking of what to write, I have been staring at this blinking curser for several minutes now and realized how appropriate this blank page was to my life. Like most of you, I too am loathing life in medical school and missing what was once a happy life of family, friends, love interests, travel, adventure, and everything in between. Now, like this page before ink, it’s empty, a distant memory that I long to return to.

    I recently finish my 2nd year and have been contemplating quitting for a while now. I have seen so many people quit, starting with my friend who got to school and then quit before classes started. Then my roommate after the 1st semester and another friend during 2nd semester, the list goes on and on. Now I find myself in their shoes, struggling to find the courage to quit.

    Depression and sadness are constant companions that seem to never fade. Anger, frustration and bitterness control my mood and actions as if I was a puppet on a string. I have lost myself to this once insatiable passion, now looking for guidance and direction. I realize how bad this may sound and some may even recommend therapy, but I know what my disease is, “MEDICAL SCHOOL”. Now it’s up to me to decide my fate, but do I have the courage to follow through?

    Finding this site has been great and a valuable therapy tool, understanding that I am not alone out there. We all are in similar situations, some further in school than others, but nevertheless we all have the same concerns and there is strength in numbers. I wish I could meet you all, I’m sure I would find many friends here, many who share the same hopes and dreams as I do.

    I hope you all find the courage within yourselves to determine what path is right for you. We only have one life to live and I will be damned if I am going to live one more day in misery. I have only one wish in life and that is to be “happy”. Find what makes you happy and do it, follow through, make a commitment. If medicine isn’t what makes you happy, don’t waste another minute of your life, it’s not going to get better or easier. Medicine is a life long journey that will take you to hell and back if you’re not fully committed!

    • neptune says:

      dear circle I am in the exact same situation ,i’m sharing your pain. i’m truly sorry for what you’ve endured…all the times i spent with my friends and family before i joined medical school is a long lost memory now
      the thing that stabs the worst is that i brought this on to myself convincing my parents to change college from an IT course.

      i originally wanted to become an artist in middle school but my parents brushed that dream aside. they said i had no scope following a painting/drawing career. i believed them and locked those aspirations away, and just did it as a hobby.
      i then wanted to do dentistry but they convinced me medicine was better and i also believed that i could do it
      after studying in medical college for nearly 2 yrs i’ve come to realize that i’ve made the biggest mistake in my life and i may not be able to turn back. i knew what i was getting into but at the time i was so focused on the ‘doctor’ position that none of it mattered. i just wanted to make my parents so proud, i felt i could give up almost anything to make them happy
      i just dont know what to do now, i’m depressed all the time, i cry and i’m angry with god but i know i shouldnt be. coming here has made me a totally different person i never wanted to be.
      so thats my story. i’m here just living day by day hoping things may turn out better but theres always that feeling of sadness that i know will never go away if i continue to stay on this path

      it’s almost a year and i’m not sure if you’ll read this but what happened after you left medical school?

  164. Jessica says:

    Hi to all…I feel so awful that you are so collectively miserable and hating what you went into. I completely understand the feeling, only I have a different background. I am U.S. based, 26, single mother to a 6-yr old, and I work as an investment banker. I have spent the last year of my life despondent. My job has devastated my quality of life. Pressure, aggressive bullshit sales techniques, rules out the ass, bullying by higher-ups, long hours…sounds a lot like med school, doesn’t it? The point is, I am a cancer survivor. I also lost my father 2 yrs ago to cirrhosis and accute esphageal necrosis and internal bleeding. My best friend committed suicide 3 months after that as she suffered from Bipolar1, and all the while I was being treated for anxiety and PTSD because I found my friend hanging in her dark basement, and my fiance was hitting me and cheating on me. I took a year off to finish treatment, try to heal and just take a step back. The first job I applied to, I got; alas, here I am, the “responsible, prestigious banker who should be rolling deep in money.” ITS CRAP. My entire life I dreamed of being an OB/Gyn; it is all I ever wanted to do. Medicine calls to me; I feel this fervent, burning desire to pursue it.BUT I cannot decide if I can handle the committment and the lifestyle. Can someone PLEASE tell me: I love my daughter more than I can conceivably articulate, and the though of this baby girl suffering in my absence, would completely withhold me from even applying to med school. Conversely, I am so convinced I won’t even get in, that I figure, what the hell, I will try. Are the 3rd/4th yr rotations REALLY 80-100 hrs per week? Is that a myth or fallacy? And is it possible to be a good, available mother when completing this process? I need to hear from everyone who doesn’t mind responding, but more specifically , single parents. As of now, I need 5 pre reqs and the MCAT to apply, then I would start fall 2012 or 2013. I believe I would go into V-TACH if I even got accepted :) lol. Honestly, I spend friday nights tucked in bed with medical journals that stimulate me more than any lover, novel, or film. Sick, eh? I could really use some guidance. Essentially, when you are a devoted, loving mother, can you do this?? I can;t afford a nanny. My mother would love to help, but I DONT want her raising my daughter; I want to. It is May, and I have 4 months to decide whether or not I will even begin the application process. Any advice, please be blunt; I respond better to uncensored truth! I wish you ALL THE BEST. It’s disheartening to see so many bright, motivated people lose hope and ambition and feel lost and trapped. I feel that everyday at my desk; like a rat in a cage, I want to crawl out of my skin. I know life is hard. No shit. But if I am at least doing something I am passionate about, isn’t it worth it? In banker speak, is the risk worth the return? haha :) My email is Bellasmama11@gmail.com and I value any and all responses. THANK YOU SO MUCH AND HANG IN THERE! :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Whatever you do, just don’t go to a Caribbean med school with your child! I did that mistake, and have paid a great deal for it (twice.) this is especially true for mothers who don’t want anyone else raising their children. Medicine is more demanding than one can ever express in words. Motherhood is at the same level of demand. Either wait to get into medicine until your daughter is older or reassess what compromises you can make right now. Good luck with your decision. It is not an easy one.

  165. Kay says:

    Hey people!
    Am really stressed in here like most of you.Currently the worst thing is that i cant tell my friends,my classmates! I cant share this with them coz sometimes i feel like i will be dragging them down with me!Some of them look so composed like they have it all figured out and i feel so alone.Am in my 3rd year and i just dont know know how much longer i can take this!
    PS:Anyone from Kenya please share with me your experiences!

  166. Vimentin says:

    So sorry that I couldn’t read through all the replies (because there are so many) so this may be a repeat of what has been said:

    DON’T QUIT MEDICINE IN YOUR FIRST TWO YEARS! You don’t have any idea what it’s like to be a doctor until you hit year 3. Those little glances inside a hospital room taking histories is not representative of medicine. You came to med school for a reason and that reason is not to study your ass off for years 1 and 2 but for what comes afterwards. If in 3rd year you find yourself miserable in every single rotation, then you should reconsider. But until you’re in 3rd year you can’t possibly know that you’ve made a wrong decision to go into medicine.

    Best of luck!

  167. DiscontentedDiva says:

    This is a wonderful blog, I have read it several times since my first year in med school (now in my 4th year with 2.5 years to go). I’m still not any better off than I was in first year, but I have realised that my depression and anxiety is not specifically because of med school, but that med school doesn’t make it any better at all. I have consulted my GP about my depression and the answer was some meds and counselling – to no avail.

    I used to be such a passionate person and sometimes I catch myself getting passionate about helping my sister write an english paper and I wonder – “maybe I should’ve been a high school english teacher”. but then I see my dad (he’s a teacher) and all he has gone through as such and I just don’t think I’d have been able to handle those nasty kids for a measly paycheck, good holidays and a short day. *sigh*

    I’ve taken time off, I’ve tried researching other careers, I’ve sat in on lectures, taste tested working at various environments and to be honest the best I can say i’ve been is “not miserable” but never “happy” or “content”. I’ve started my clinical rotations and hate it more than ever, it’s so monotonous, and I just don’t have the motivation to study anymore, I really don’t care what kind of meds are required for diabetics or where you can best hear cardiac murmurs, or what colour should urine be? Seriously, it’s beginning to feel like a prison sentence, but one that is entirely self imposed, sometimes I fantasize about committing a crime just to get arrested so that I’m no longer eligible for med school lol (utterly and totally ridiculous, I know, but such is the derangement of my predicament).

    I know I am sticking to it entirely because I’m afraid that I am unemployable and will be stuck relying on my parents, but I can’t help thinking in the 2.5 years I’d be dependent on them anyway, I can’t possibly be completely unemployed for 2 years? But then I’ve been in the working world (I’m 23) and there are plenty of people plenty miserable there too. I’ve tried praying, travelling, soul searching, talking to other people, career counselling, working, talking to my parents… everything and anything I could think of. There’s got to be something I’m good enough at and passionate about! I used to be okay at public speaking and occasionally when I have to give presentations, I’ve been given positive feedback, so I thought maybe I could do something related to that, lol but what kind of person gets to talk for a living and make money? (besides a politician… and I prefer not LYING for a living… hence barrister was also not an option *sigh*)

    I’ve been suicidal many, many times throughout my years of study (in total, this is my 6th year..finished a bachelor in med research) and to be honest, I don’t know if I can keep pushing myself anymore…

  168. Hello,

    I am 28 and about to start medical school in a month. I am terrified and think I made the wrong decision. Two years ago I quit my job in public radio to get medical experience and do my pre-reqs. I didn’t have the courage to say no to medicine even though my first hospital experience was uninteresting and boring. I told myself it would get better once I knew what was going on. But now I’ve spent time doing clinical research and don’t like dealing with such sick and ill people. It’s exhausting. I feel like I’m losing a bit of myself each day…and I’m not even a doctor yet. Plus, I don’t find dealing with individual cases interesting. I think more on a conceptual and systemic level. Maybe things will get better, but I just can’t see how I’ll ever find things like diagnosing and treating diseases to be interesting. I think I’m too self-absorbed for that. I think I chose medicine as a way to tell myself that I’m a good person who wants to help people. And while I do want to help people, I’d rather do it in a non-medical field.

    I don’t really know what to do. I’m already 90K in undergraduate debt (from undergrad and my post-bac program), but am terrified at the thought of going into 140K more. After graduating from school, I’d definitely have to practice. But if I quit now, I might still have a chance. I’m just scared of being unemployable in this economy. I am smart and personable, but I don’t know what I would do and who would want to hire a drifter like myself. I thought medicine was the answer for my restless woes, but now I’m thinking it isn’t.

    Is it too soon to quit? Should I at least give it one year and see?

  169. Chris says:

    @Nontrad student. You’re not that unique. Nobody likes what they do. You either sit on the fence with a decent paying job, or sit on the fence and be broke. Just suck it up and push on…

  170. kera says:

    You really have to find out what is about medicine that got you excited to quit your full time job that you enjoyed to accrue 90k and go through the journey to be accepted into a medical school.

    There are a lot of options post MD, but so is with so many other professions so you might have to go within and find out your drive, reason and desire to be in med school.

    I am a third year med student and didn’t care for anatomy or bio-chem, but my passion is community health and preventive medicine. I am sure I could have done it without med school loans, but I do believe that having a MD degree does open a lot more doors for me.

    And there is nothing that excites you about medicine, I would not go through it. Follow your gut feeling!

    Good luck and you know the answer.

    p.s. I quit my high paying IT job and did post bac and played the AAMC game and still struggling a little.

  171. versalin says:

    After 3.5 years of medical school, I’m finally out, not by choice but I hit some rough patches financially and am not able to continue.

    What I want to share is that, its ok to quit if you reeeally reeeaaallly find that medicine doesn’t suit you, as in the idea of being a doctor *gasp*, triggers an asthmatic attack. You’ll be wasting time and money if you do quit, but if you were sufficiently diligent with your studies, you’ll still come away with some really useful and practical knowledge that can make your life healthier!

    One of the most important questions you should ask yourself before you quit is: “What do I not like about medicine?” There’s a lot in medicine and I believe there’s something for everyone. For example, if you absolutely hate clinical medicine, and hospital routines in particular, you can always opt to do public health or research stuff after you graduate. While you’re still a student, you’re made to do plenty of stuff that you might not like, but its like a process that you’ll have to tough out. Once you’re through, there’s plenty of options what you can do with that MD. What you do as a student will not necessarily be what you’ll be doing for most of the rest of your life should you become a doctor.

    So if you have the finances and family support, but are a little unsure if this is what you really want, I say just grit your teeth and go through with it. The going may be tough but at the end, I’m sure, is a very fulfilling career waiting to happen!

    As for me, I’m pretty much broke and have no degree (really wanted to finish med school so I can pay off my debts and do what I’ve always wanted). Well shit happens, but lucky I’m still young and fit so I might just head off to do some rough dirty work, and hopefully continue where I left off, in about a decade or so, lol. But enough about me, this isn’t my livejournal account :D

    Anyway best of luck to all you other med students out there! Hang in there!

    • pu3nicx says:

      i still have only 1 year ahead and thinking of quit from medical school..really dont how i survived for the past 6 years including 2 years matriculation programme..my problem is i hate words, love numbers..i’m never feel any enjoyment during medical school like other friends..i’m never thinking of doing this before..those who in doubt to take medicine or not, please think twice..u dont have to agree with ur parent’s decision, u dont have to be a doctor just to chase for extra money..u dont have to show ur cleverness by doing medicine, just be what u wanna be ,find the job that can bring u happiness and put full commitment on it..Ur friend might didnt understand ur feeling..but im sure if u keep trying push urself into medicine which is really miserable for u, then u will feel regret later or u will not sincere going throught it…pftt it is, only god knows what is the best for us..

  172. DebatingIT says:

    Finding this site was really helpful. Its good to feel I’m not the only one who feels this way. I just started my second year. My grades first year were solid so this has nothing to do with not doing well academically. The classes do not interest me, but worse, patient care does not interest me anymore. Despite doing well last year, my closest friends no I had serious doubts about wanting to be a practicing doctor. I feel like my life is on hold when I’m here at school. I’m 25, and looking at many difficult years ahead of me. I’m very envious of all my friends who did the traditional business/accounting major, partied in college, and are all now making good money (not doctor money, but who cares), all who are back in my hometown which is where I will end up regardless. They do their 8-5 during the week, and live it up on weekends. Some have even gotten apartments or are renting houses. They’re enjoying their 20′s and saving for their future. This is what I’m missing out on. After talking to some physicians at my school, I’ve been told countless times you have to love medicine to do this because if you don’t it will destroy you at some point. I think I’m highly motivated, intelligent, and I think I will land on my feet if I leave. I have no problem living a middle class life. My debt is 29 thousand. My family is more in love with me being a physician than I am. I don’t even remember my thought process when deciding to apply to medical school. I know it had something to do with money and prestige. If I do leave, I have a plan in mind. So what is the only thing that would keep me here in medical school? Parents and the economy. I’m expecting my parents to undergo anxiety attacks when I tell them very soon. The economy is very scary, as there is no greater job security than that of a physician. I feel trapped and would do things completely different if I could go back in time. Best to all of you. Life is short.

  173. Michelle says:

    How do I know if I want to go to med school or grad school?

    • belloglaecus says:

      Michelle first you have to ask yourself, am I more “affective” and “theoretical” than “concrete”? I debated med school with myself on and off through the years and you have to ask if you can put up what appears to be (never went to med school so can’t say for sure, but this is what everyone I have talked to says) of memorizing boring CRAP in order to get through? But conversely, I have seen/read about/talked to people that LOVED med school (Such as the writer of this blog.)
      Its up to you to decide-I finally decided I was more subjective and “soft science” oriented and should stay with a field like history or psychology instead of med school, also my age (forty) was a factor since most med schools, at least in the States seem to look askance at students forty and over, especially when you factor time and cost versus years of practice!
      Good luck and you probably already know the answer-just listen to your heart and make sure you will have no regrets, if you want to try it, try it, going to med school can never be a mistake!

  174. jds says:

    I know this is a tough topic. Just by the extent of the replies here i can see there is a lot of passion to this. I for one have my perspective. I knew about my 2nd year i was in it for the wrong reasons. I wanted to complete an image for my family for myself, and for the doubters around me. I also took the path of foreign med school. Unless ur heart is in it, this can be a real trap. I finished med school cause i felt i had to. I wasnt going to quit. NOt until i started the match did i realize i cannot do this any longer. I needed time to think. I was afraid to have the responsibility of peoples lives in my hands when i felt i hadnt tried and studied my best through the years of medschool. I NEVER wanted to hurt anyone. I took time off, i traveled abroad. I Came home and realized i needed money. I got a job as a server and surprisingly made enough to pay for my loans and expenses. I was happy. I felt my life , though not the conventional route, had come to a better place. Then the recession happened. Ive been struggling since. My life is a fragment of what i had hoped for. I feel a failure and im crippled by the loans i owe for medical school. Ive decided to “quit” I am a cautionary tale and i hope all who doubt or take lightly their decisions read this. Live wisely, choose from the gut. i never wanted to hurt anyone, and now my life dissapoints and saddens many. So i give up. Wish you all the best.

    • DebatingIT says:

      Don’t feel like a failure bc you left medicine, it’s not worth it. However, I’m not going to sugarcoat the current state of the economy. That was my biggest factor in staying in school. The tuition at medical school is IMMORAL. It makes us all feel trapped from day 1. If it wasn’t for my debt, I would have quit. But I did follow my gut and I think I made the smart choice. Wishing you the best

    • belloglaecus says:

      Don’t give up jds-you will survive this! It is not the end of the world, and one mistake does not make you a failure! You will do what is right!

  175. DebatingIT says:

    I decided to stay after having a very constructive conversation with my family about leaving med school. I think I made the right choice as of now. After school, I’ll figure out whats best for me in terms of what kind of career I want. To those still struggling with the decision, make sure you think of every element to your decision. Deep down, I knew there were outside factors making me want to leave school and go back home (and eventually to grad school). Girlfriend ending our relationship and seeing my friends starting their lives were bringing me down daily and making me feel like my life was stuck in mud. I think we’ll all look back and view med school as a bump in the road (albeit painful). If you know the right/best decision is to leave school, then do it. It’s your life and no one elses. Live your own life. To those who have left school and are struggling emotionally or economically, just hang in there. I know it’s not easy but try and take it one day at a time. Best to everyone, and thanks for pouring all your emotions out. It helps to know not everyone thinks medicine is the end all be all to happiness and career satisfaction.

    • Lucy says:

      Good for you! The troubles you describe are ones I experienced too, and it’s so easy for them to cloud your judgment. I keep trying to remind myself to mKe decisions for the long term, rather than the immediate short term.

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  177. wagamama says:

    just checking

  178. Lucy says:

    It is amazing to read everyones posts. Thanks for all sharing your stories. I myself, am 25 and only in first year. Med school sucks but really, what else would you be doing? A good friend once told me to not make any changes unless I had a tangible plan. This works for me. When I start to get negative I think, okay well I could leave and get a job? In what? Would I enjoy this? Will thus suit me in five years time? Until now, this thought process has helped me from making decisions that in hindsight I would have regretted. I am a fairly self confessed cynic and possibly quite cranky and miserable as my usual personality haha but somehow I manage to keep ploughing through despite adversity. I was a psychologist before starting med so perhaps this has helped.

    • belloglaecus says:

      Lucy, how would you compare an M.D. versus Ph.D? Was M.D. harder or vice versa? What led you to change-I have a Master’s in Psych and am thinking of med school-do you have any advice?

  179. please stop... says:

    everyone needs to stop whinning, and just suck it up. Have fun being MY nurse!!

    • Empathetic one says:

      This is a rather asinine comment. There are people in this world who are suited for different things in life. Arrogance (not to mention the dig at the nursing profession) is not a helpful way to respond in this forum.

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  181. Dangles says:

    I’m 22yo and in the 4th year of a 6-year MBBS in Australia. I’ve just finished my first clinical rotation and I’m thinking of leaving med. Even though in many ways I’m in a better position than many of the other posters here (in my case there’s no family pressure and thanks to govt-subsidised education there’s little debt) I still feel really really scared about the decision.

    I know I’m more passionate about learning so many things other than medicine (like maths, physics, anthropology, philosophy, computer science) but I don’t know where those fields would take me and what kind of job I could end up doing in them. And whilst I dread forcing myself through med school, I think being a doctor could be okay; I like the idea of seeing patients, the human interaction, the teamwork with colleagues.

    It’s annoying how division of labour in society means we’re increasingly specialised and made to invest most of our time into one job only. This is particularly true of medicine, where I have found people look down on you if you don’t put your all into it. It’s partly because they believe that if you don’t love it 100%, it’s not the right area for you. Is this really true?

    It’s been fascinating to see all these posts here. I worry about the people who seem to be spiralling into depression due to med. Anyone like that should quit or at least apply for a leave of absence. And I’d also encourage anyone who is facing family pressure to stay in med to take the leap and quit. It will be so hard at first but your parents will get over it and will still love you, especially when they see how passionate, happy and successful you are in your next career pathway. Besides, it’s not worth sacrificing your soul for anyone else’s sake.

    This forum is great. I feel we should make a pamphlet out of all this stuff and give it to every wannabe med student.

    • Holly Donnelly says:

      Dangles I’ve been reading this page for a while and your post struck a chord with me as I’m basically in the exact same boat. After reading this forum I’ve pretty much decided to quit it feels so pointless though when I’ve only got two years to go and if I did stick with it I could at least have a degree to fall back on. But I really don’t think my state of mind could cope with those two years. I’m interested in finding out what can be salvaged from these four years in terms of other degrees as I do believe most occupations these days only require proof that you studied something at university and the rest you learn on the job. I’m interested in hearing what you decide.

      • Dangles says:

        Hey Holly, sorry about delayed reply. I thought I asked WordPress to send me emails about replies but they didn’t obviously.

        To update on my situation… well I was lucky enough to have been granted a year-long leave of absence, so I don’t really have to decide whether to stay or quit for a while. The decision still stresses me out, though, and more time won’t necessarily help. Thankfully, most of my family and friends and even the faculty at the hospital have been super-supportive. I worried a lot about negative comments and discouragement when I told people about my situation, especially doctor friends, but I’d say that doctors know better than anyone else how tough the choice to do medicine is.

        I’m also in a lucky position because if I did decide to quit I have enough credit points to get a bachelor degree in medical science (since I already took a year off to do a special research program). If you quit with enough credit points you might be able to get a degree or at least credit transfer.

        The “only two years left” you mentioned does bug me sometimes. But I realise that if I decided to do those two years I’d be two years older and I’d feel even more “stuck” in medicine. I know I’d go straight into internship and ever quitting would become an even more daunting prospect. On the other hand, people say that a med degree is pretty useful for things outside of med.

        I’m curious to know what you’re interested in outside of med. I think I have so many other interests that if I did quit I would just feel like a whole new world of possibility is suddenly open to me!

  182. Anon says:

    Trapped in a Bubble called Medicine
    I must say I’m surprised at how many people dislike studying Medicine. I thought that I was the only one. Its very brave to acknowledge that one doesn’t prefer studying medicne because most people feeling miserable while studying medicine,will keep on studying it.

    I studied Medicine for 2years. In my matriculation year my dad (medical doctor) passed away. I managed somehow to pass Matric with straight A’s and I was offered an early spot for Medicine at the university. I was ecstatic. I started my 1st term at varsity thinking “this is what I want to do. I want to save people’s lives”.

    Studying at varsity was far different from school. There was so much freedom. Group sessions were 3hours long, twice a week. In those session we had to brainstorm and answer questions relating to case study. We had 3 hour long pracs in the labs – either dissections or observing histology slides. We also had 3hour group session weekly about Professionalism and Becoming a Doctor. We ended at 5pm but I always arrived home at 6 30 – 7 pm, having to take 4 buses daily. After arriving home, I’d eat supper and get cracking on my work until late and then wake up early the next day and start the process all over again.

    This Process got to me. I eventually became really fed up with all the studying and demands we had. My social life diminished and I wasn’t the same person I was when I 1st started out Medicine. I became depressed. The strange thing is that my fellow medics seemed so eager and excited about studying medicine. I don’t know if it was a facade but whenever I asked them if they liked this, they always said yes. This one guy kept going on and on about how easy everything is and said he had a photographic memory. Somehow I just believed everything he told me. I kept thinking why can’t I just be more like them…

    Sooner or later I ended up skipping one lecture then it became 2 and 3 and eventually I skipped them all. I only went to those things that we medics were required to go to such as the group sessions and pracs. I came late for tests and exams, blaming it almost always on the buses. Truth is I lost my motivation completly.

    I wrote June exams of 1st year with no knowledge of the work in my head. When results came out I was not suprised that I failed because I put myself in that situation.

    I entered the 1 year Extended Programme thinking I’d do my best. I eventually passed with really good marks but when the students of the programme had to return into mainstream, I then fell back into my old routine of skipping classes etc.

    I couldn’t understand why I was feeling like this. I wanted to study medicine all my life and I threw all those opportunities away without a whim. I became envious of those who apparently loved Medicine. Does anyone really love studying Medicine?

    I took a good look at my life and decided that this was not for me. I took LOA and went to see a psychologist. I got the help I needed. I then decided to drop out which I did. I pursued another career instead. The funny thing is I still envy the Medics. I envy the fact that they will eventually become doctors and save people’s lives. It wasn’t the money or status of being a doctor that appealed to me,its the fact that as a doctor one can literally save another’s life.

    Currently I’m taking a break from my studies. I think of medicine everyday and what lifestyle would I have if I returned and it doesn’t seem all too appealing. 6 years medschool, 2 years com serv and 2 yrs internship..is it all worth it? My dad died young and I tell myself the stress caused his heart attack.
    Is it not true that doctors lead really hectic and stressful lives? That their health is put at risk due to all the stress and worrying?

    Currently, I’m at crossroads. I don’t know which career I should pursue.

    • paw says:

      dear Anon
      I dont know if you’ll see this msg but I’m hopeful that one day you may. What did you finally decide to do?

      I am a medical student in Sri Lanka and im almost in my 3rd yr.
      I have my finals in 3 months and I still haven’t started preparing for them. My seniors advise me to start as it’s quite late.
      ever since i came to this place i’ve been depressed with the work load antisocial medical life and homesickness. I used to be so energetic but now I dont feel like doing anything apart from crying and missing my family.
      I havent told my parents yet but it would shatter them if i tell them howmuch this life is affecting me.
      i thought medicine was all i ever wanted to do, actually it was dentistry what i wanted to do but my parents convinced me to opt for a medicine. I knew that it would make my parents proud of me to become a doctor one day.

      i’ve stared smoking because it’s the only thing that’s keeping me calm. I’ve had suicidal thoughts which scare me sometimes to think that i may have depression (something i never truly believed in) i used to say that i’d never feel depressed and that those who said they suffered from it were shamming or making an excuse to escape reality…but now i find myself falling deeper into it each day.

      not a day goes by that i dont regret choosing this path, i’ve been angry with god many times but i’ve realized that i put myself into this predicament and i’m afraid if i tell my parents everyting than what will happen next.
      I love art and i’ve always wondered how my life would be if i had chosen to join art school ( i know artists dont make much but atleast i’d be doing something that makes me happy)
      I dont know what to do, please help me :(

      • anon says:

        Hey Paw, I feel your pain. I’ve been where you’ve been so I can understand. I’m so sorry that you’ve been having such a hard time. You seem strong as u almost in 3rd year in spite of all these setbacks. I admire u. If you feel you are depressed I suggest you either go see a clinical psychologist or a psychiatrist. Throught talk therapy and medication it’l help you deal with the feelings you have. It workd for me. I’l suggest a few options that you can possibly take in order to get better:

        1: Take leave of absence from your studies, get better and return to medicine. (If u feel that leave of absence will make u lazy don’t do this..I became lazy).
        2. You said u always wanted to study dentistry. I suggest u either tell ur parents u want to change to dentistry or finish medicine and go into the dental field with the MBCHB degree.
        3. See a therapist whenever u are available (or during ur leave of absence) and get prescribed medications. I promise you anti-depressants really help. Its not a sham. Depression is due to an abnormal chemical imbalance in the brain so one’s seratonin levels won’t be as high as it should be. Anti-depressants help stabilize these levels.
        4. Take leave of absence, tell medical school u might return in the future, then study Art. Once u done with Art u can return to medicine if u want to. Don’t EVER tell medschool u don’t want to study there. U might change ur mind later.

        Your health comes 1st so I suggest u 1st get better then return to medicine or do dentistry or art or whatever u prefer.

        My psychiatrist told me that having a medical degree will open up lots of doors which is true because if u graduate u can go into numerous field with that degree.

        I know your parents told u to do medicine but what made u strive to pass up till now? Other people wouldve just have not have done good enough if they really wanted it but if u passing it means there’s hope. I want u to think of all the things u can do once u are qualified. You can saves lives, people will respect and look up to you, your life will have purpose and meaning, God will reward u, people of young and old will thank you for saving their lives. You can make a difference in this world if you just believe in yourself.

        If you decide that all those reasons don’t matter you can change your degree. There’s many other ways of getting job satisfaction.

        As for me, my alternate career path wasn’t working for out so I plan on returning to medicine. Funny thing is even when I was studying something different I yearned to become a doctor. I know this is what I was meant to do so I plan on commiting to this idea. I know now there is no other passion for me besides medicine. Medicine is rough I admit but if many people can become doctors why can’t u and I become one?

        Through dilegence, determination, prayer, and self power you can overcome anything, even depression. I wish you all the best..let me know what u do decide.

      • paw says:

        Hi anon firstly i want to thank you for taking time out to help a stranger :) I truly appreciate it! what you’ve advised me has made me more confident of hanging on.
        I will surely consult help from a therapist like you did :)
        I honestly i don’t know how i’ve made it this far but i think i’m going to give it a shot before i call it quits, and hey if i’m not able to do it then like you said i can take a leave of absence and decide what to do next.
        life is too short and i’m afraid that after leaving i may want to return just like you. It’s great that now you’ve decided what you really want in life and that inspires me a lot.
        I want to thank you again for your help. It is true that a medical degree will get us anywhere we want to go so that’s one goal to strive for!
        Hope everything works out beautifully with your career!
        cheers

    • belloglaecus says:

      Hey, Anon, just want to throw my two cents in:don’t give up, and don’t believe the idiots in your program that brag about how easy it is-I bet you a steak dinner they are struggling just as hard,,,,some people like to feel they have a leg up no matter what, even if it isn’t true,,,,usually so they can look good in front of others,,,,I saw your later post and glad you decided to stick with it! Good luck!

  183. Wits End says:

    I found this website last night and I was surprised to find so many people who felt like me. I am not sure if it made me feel better, but at least I didn’t feel alone in my tormented state.

    I started medical school as an FMG in 2007 and left my studies the following semester because of a problem with the program. I remember feeling so lost when I returned back to the US. I mean, after you have decided to be a doctor, what else is there to do? I felt to top that, I would have to become a CEO of a company. I did, in fact, do that. However, I started to dream of being back in medical school. I thought it was a sign and decided to pursue my studies again, returning to the same school under the pretense that the school’s problems were resolved.

    The problem I am facing is unique, but basically the school has a course they want you to pass before allowing you to take the Step 1. I have been trying to achieve the passing percentage designated for each semester (it seems to change constantly) and haven’t been successful. I don’t want to study anymore. I can’t make myself open my FA book. I actually admitted yesterday that I think I am actually depressed. I don’t even know if I want to study medicine any longer. The education at this FM school has been noticeably inadequate, that I think they stole my zeal for medicine the first semester – I just didn’t know it. I don’t know if I just feel this way because I haven’t been able to move on from this ONE exam, or maybe I can’t move on because deep in my heart I don’t really want this. Maybe I fell for an illusion of what I thought I doctor would be.

    And then, last night, I didn’t sleep all night. I think I rolled over about every 5 minutes, wrestling with my own decision to leave medical school, tormenting myself hour after hour. When the alarm rang, I stood up and started walking in circles and didn’t stop for ~15 minutes. I was wringing my hands. And then I started to sob. This is bizarre, like something snapped – like something changed overnight. I feel like I am standing on a cliff – I am paralyzed with fear…paralyzed to move in any direction or I may slip and fall. I am paralyzed to make a decision for fear of the “what-ifs”…

    I don’t want to quit medical school – I have always been so proud to say I was going to be a doctor. Perhaps I am more in love with being a doctor than the road to becoming one. But I also don’t want to let my family down even though they have already lost a certain degree of respect for me for being an FMG. Most of all, I think I fight with my own mentality about what I want, who I am and wrestle with what to do with my life if I am not a doctor.

    I feel incredibly sad, like I have suffered a great loss, and I haven’t even made the decision 100% to leave the career. I keep trying to go back and recapture the feelings I had when I first decided to do this. Was I truly excited about studying all this science? Or was I just excited about the illusion? Sometimes I feel like I am trying to force something that is unnatural to me – I can’t think of ONE course in med school that I actually enjoyed besides Nutrition. I have been unable to recapture that initial joy of when I decided to study medicine and I don’t know why. So, was the joy I initially felt just an illusion or did circumstances kill it?

    Your comments are welcome because I am truly at my wits end with this decision…

  184. Georgia says:

    I am a 31 year old DO student in Georgia. Yeah, easy to figure out where I go. I am a first year student, so barely 2 months into my first term and I hate this shit. Not exactly the most professional wording, but compared to the awful language I hear from other students and the professors… All we have is rote memorization of anatomy in 13 weeks. That’s right, most schools have anatomy over a year, we have to learn everything in 1/3 of the time. I am not a memorizer to begin with, my undergrad degree was in physics, so my grades are lackluster, and it doesn’t help that I see it all as pointless. My GP even said gross anatomy was useless to him, everything looks vastly different on a live human than a dried up old corpse.

    My school has zero academic support services except a LOA. Essentially if you aren’t passing they call you in and ask you to take a LOA. I am not the type to say “well, I can slack off because I will get help” but at every other medical school I have talked to students who said the school works with you and tries to help you pass and make you a good doctor. Here it seems like we are in some diabolic machine that wants to churn out doctors with no regard to them being useful. 10% of every class has to repeat (which is high from what I understand) and 10% has to remediate at least one class. They leave out the 5% or so who quit due to not doing well and having no support.

    Combine that with my disdain for the unscientific basis of osteopathic medicine, and I am at my wits end. I should have waited and applied again to MD schools, but I was stupid and said “I’m too old, I need to go NOW!” without really researching what makes DO schools different. The school also just DOUBLED the class size from around 70 students in last years class to over 140 in mine. I feel more like a number or robot than a student. We don’t even have the proper facilities for this many students.

    I think I also was more into the idea of getting into med school than actually being a doctor. Sure I wanted to fix people, but that intervening 7+ years was a vague thought. Part of it may have been that I was dissatisfied with my job at the time since I had to travel all the time, but now I see it wasn’t so bad: I made good money and I saw my friends A LOT more than I do now, and according to our professors our social life is on hold permanently. I somewhat see that as my GP leaves home at 7am, gets home at 7pm or later, eats dinner, charts for an hour or two, and works at least half a day on the weekends. I am questioning if I want that kind of life.

    Like a lot of you, I have people pushing me to continue no matter what. My mother came to help me hunt for an apartment, but when I said I wasn’t sure I wanted to go, pissed off doesn’t describe how she felt. I can deal with her, but when I was getting my physical I admitted to my GP that I wasn’t comfortable going and he acted as if I had lost my mind. Luckily my dad is supportive and always tells me to do whatever I think I should, but he also feels I will be successful at anything I do, not just what he thinks I should do. Not to sound racist, I feel very sorry for many of the asian students who have posted here with their troubles, I know what manipulation my mom has tried pales in comparison to what you get from your entire family.

    I keep being told getting into medical school was the hardest part. I typically hear than mantra from second years and graduates who had low MCAT scores, but high GPAs. I think it was hard for them because they try to memorize everything, whereas my background was minimize your memorization but APPLY everything you know. The change to there being no understanding is such a shock. Maybe it gets better, but what I’ve read on here is it is just more of the same.

    I will admit not having good grades in some classes makes me question myself more, so it is a feedback loop. Conversely, the classes I am doing well in are the two where understanding is actually needed and I barely study for them. I am thinking of taking a LOA, which means I will have to repeat the first year. That also bugs me about this school: fail one class or take an LOA in the middle of the year and you can’t just take that class over, you MUST repeat every class in the year you failed a SINGLE class! Is it this way at all schools? On top of that they offer remediation, but you cannot remediate until the summer and they won’t even let you know if you are allowed to remediate until the end of the year, making it a gamble.

    • DebatingIT says:

      You are a first year? If you know 100% or even 80/90% you don’t want to be a physician then leave school now! I decided to stay for a number of reasons, mostly bc I was already a 2nd yr. A few things, your schools remediation policy sounds horrible. At my school, you just repeat the class during the summer. If you fail 3 or more classes, then yeah you will repeat the year. I have no clue why your GP works those hours. If you decide to leave school, don’t use the word “quit.” You are not quitting anything, you are just realizing you don’t want to do medical school and don’t want to be a doctor. This isn’t high school football, you are not quitting on anybody. Do what you need to do, we’re only guaranteed one life here.

      • Georgia says:

        Due to continually not doing well I decided to take a leave of absence, only I was informed by the Dean that depending on my scores, I could be completely dismissed from the program, due to ONE TERM! When I told him this school seemed to lack any academic support for students, I was told it is that way at all schools. I think if I was in a more supportive environment I would be grinding ahead and interested in what I was doing but I can’t see that happening here. On top of that, being sick for two weeks and unable to study doesn’t help, or a death in the family that takes half a week. Luckily there are a few really good and professional professors on staff, but even they have said they have issues with the administration and the way things are being run. Depending on what happens next, I may decide to return just because I have no real choice, getting into a different medical school is unlikely to happen after starting. One word of advice I would give any future student is REALLY investigate where you are going. Not all medical schools are created equal, no matter what you are told. If you have a gut feeling that you shouldn’t go somewhere, don’t, apply again next year and go somewhere satisfactory. If you got into one school, you can get into another.

    • belloglaecus says:

      Either way, you will make the right decision,,,if you have a degree in physics, you are smart enough to make it no matter what you decide!

  185. Augustine says:

    I’m really not sure what I should do at this point :(…

    3rd year medical student at a pretty competitive medical school in the states. Failed my Step 1, first attempt (by 3 points).. had to sit in front of all the deans to justify myself b/c not many people fail here… which made me feel even worse. I HATE medical school… i admire the profession and I know a lot of great doctors out there and I totally respect them. but medical school almost feels like boot camp for those who like pain and and suffering and willing to PAY BIG bucks for it just to be a part of it. So I sat there, and repaid the $535 registration fee for STEP 1 and my heart just sunk.. what am i doing to myself? why am I still doing this if I hate it so much? I’m a creative person but all my talents squashed! and I’m wasting my time away in the hospital pushing paperwork.. F*&K’n SOAP notes. Repetitive, mindless… standing there like you’re nothing at times… 14 hours+ straight… i can’t memorize any more crap. I’ve really had it… the system is CRAZY.

    I don’t know why I’m still doing this when I hate it so much… is it worth it to finish and get my MD, be another $100,000 in debt just for a piece of paper on my wall and those two letters at the end of my name? I don’t even want to practice medicine or apply for residency. So what am I doing? I’ve been feeling super depressed :(… figured i might as well i finish what I started… has any1 quit medical school and actually found a more meaningful job, and NOT have any regrets? how did u move forward, what helped you?

    • DebatingIT says:

      im a 2nd yr, so im not at your point yet dealing with rotations. before i give you any advice, I just want to say amen to your description of the medical school system. I never knew what a joke medical school would turn out to be. All it is is strict memorization. There is no intellectual learning or creativity (unless you seek it on your own and do research or unique electives). My friends and family back home just think I’m being humble when I tell them anyone can pass the classes in med school. Do you know how to read? Congratulations, just memorize these powerpoints and notes and you’ll pass. You don’t have to understand anything, just come up with some cool mnemonics and you’re golden. If I could run my own medical school I would do things so differently. Now back to you, even though I’m below you right now in the heirarchy of medicine..don’t quit. Do the bare minimum to pass. Money is not important to me, but at the point you’re at with the debt and economy it should matter a little. My advice is just do an internship, get your medical license and have an immediate plan right after (whether research, high school/community college teaching, or grad school). I’ve researched this whole leaving medicine/non-clinical careers topic about 14 million times since first semester of 1st year. Just have a plan, figure out how to make it work while DOING THE BARE MINIMUM. If you can do this then don’t quit this far into the game. With that said, if you’re clinically depressed or all of your relationships are crumbling bc of school then quit. I hate med school, almost quit as a 2nd yr but for me its worth it in the end to keep pushing. Money isn’t a huge factor so I don’t care, I will pick a specialty or field that gives me great hours regardless of pay. I have my own formula on how to make it through and its been working. Good luck to you.

      • anon says:

        Hey, u mentioned mnemonics. Does it actually work? If so..can tell me how u go about using them? Since being in medicine I found that parraot fashion memorization overloads the brain because there is just sooo much of work. I need another way of studying. Does pictures work? Flowcharts? if u had a powerpoint presentation with a phsyiological process on it in flowchart form..how would u study that? I hate how they give us a powerpoint presentation that is 100+ pages! All on phsyiology! That’s why the best thing to do is read and study ur work everyday and study weeks in advance for tests, exams.

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  187. Gg says:

    Hang in there. It only gets worse up to age 30. Then it gets Better.

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  189. Shale says:

    I’m really surprised to see so many out here being fed up of med school. I’m a first year med student in Sri Lanka and this was my dream and passion. I know I have the capacity but my situation right now makes me wanna quit. I am married for 2 years and I have a 1 and a half year old son. I live with my husband and inlaws, so you can imagine the pressure. I’m gonna face my bar exams in april and I have lost all confidence. I’ve had problems with my attendance and I have to face a seperate exam for that specific module. I really don’t wanna quit but I have no choice. Just wondering if there’s anybody out there who completed med school while havin a kid. I know some people out here in sri lanka, but not exactly like mine. One of my lecturers had her kid when she was doing her internship. So for everybody out there who’s thinking quitting: if she can do it, so can you. Don’t give up, this is a blessing in disguise.

  190. Joann says:

    Hello everyone,

    Came across this site by accident, was looking for question banks but decided to post. Many of you are realizing the sacrifice of Med school and seem rather unhappy. May I give a suggestion. I recently finished my pre-med studies, did well on the MCAT and never applied to med school. The reality of what I was entering really struck a chord with me. I was horrified at handing my life away. Not because of the work (it should be hard, we will take care of people in the end) but because of what I would miss with loved ones and all the life experiences I want to have. Being in medicine isnt just hard in school and residency, it lasts your entire career. I previously worked in nursing and most of the docs I worked with, tried to talk me out of it. One told me he had to struggle just to get a weekend off. (NO THANKS!) Anyway, I knew nursing was not my ultimate goal, I loved science, loved medicine and wanted greater involvement with my patients. So how did I combine medicine with time for living a life? PA school! It is awesome. Not even done yet and getting amazing position offers. The schooling is 5-6 days a week for 8-10 hrs a day plus studying but its only 2.5 years. Residency optional! Just an option. And from what I have seen, you get to do plenty without many of the hassles docs have.

    Take care and keep smiling

  191. FreeBirdy says:

    Well fcuk me! I wish I had read this thread few years ago when I failed my first year at med school. I had a lil personal problem that set me off on the road to depression… Allied with the no ‘me-time’ and dwindling social life through the years of med school and lack of financial stability as a student which I craved so badly… I have tried my hardest to complete this degree, even one summer being left with only a £20 note to tied me over for a week in London till I got paid from work, whilst remediating a firm I had failed the previous academic year. Fuck all that… I have not been in full attendance for 2yrs… Still managed to pass my 4th year… Now the medical school don’t want me… And I am so fucking glad… Cos they done what I couldn’t do… Put an end to my misery!! I was in denial for so long, telling myself its what I wanted… I don’t care about the debt! I’m gonna go make something of myself and I’ll clear that shit in no time… What bothers me is the people in my life I feel I’m letting down… But they don’t know how I have felt… How I felt like slitting my wrists or jumping off the balcony… Fuck prestige I don’t value anything more than my sanity and my life…! Will repost soon to update you all.

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  195. Ash says:

    man, it’s so nice to know there are other ppl on the planet that feel as confused as me

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  211. imrankz says:

    Hi, I’m a final year medical student from Malaysia. i have been in medical school for the past 6 years. I’ll be 25 years old by May this year. My final MBBS examination will be this coming March. Ive been the lower centile students since my first year. Medicine was not my calling since 6 years ago but i sucked it up in every single year and pulled through. i hit my lowest about 3 months ago. I had severe depression and anxiety disorder and was diagnosed last year to have bipolar disorder. I couldn’t even drag my self to classes. i was doing my Paediatric rotation then and i felt very much trapped to be in the ward from 8-5 not including past hours attending to patients, taking histories from one bed to another. Ive done every single rotations there is and Paediatric was my last and turning point. The consultants and my superiors were not much of a help. I have to face them every single day, they will bark at you over simple mistakes in history and such. I know that we’re dealing with patient’s health, but i don’t think such mistake need such respond and i am not saying this coming from a single person, but from most of them. There were few who were helpful, but being barked at soooo many times made you lose all the motivation to suck up and go on. My depression was very severe, i was suicidal every other day and to be alive at the end of the day was a miracle. I had few episodes of overdose with benzodiazepines and few times of admission to the psychiatric wards. I was in the state where a slightest idea or visualization of the wards and clinic will make me breakdown and started asking for benzodiazepines. Weekly consultation with psychiatrist was a must and i was and still is on 800mg of Seroquel. My parents and wife started giving me the idea to defer, taking a few months off the study. The idea of it excites me but it was short-lived. i started questioning the idea and started thinking that i will be wasting 6-7 months more of my life. Everyday was a battle to decide whether to defer or continue with my underlying condition. i started having breakdowns again and was feeling hopeless and trapped all the time. I started reading more about depressions and how to get over it from every single articles and books that can be found. i started questioning myself on what was the underlying problem to my condition, was it the consultants? was it the clinics? was it the posting itself? and finally, i t came to my realization that medicine and being a doctor is not the life i wanted. I started thinking of quitting the course and believe it, i started feeling better and slowly recovering from all the negative thoughts. By today, I’ve already submitted my letter to change my course and it is supported with a medical report from my psychiatrist. There will be and has been moments where i regretted of wasting 6 years of my life, but the sudden relief from all the burden has saved my life from my-suicidal-self.

  212. Alex says:

    I realize I may not belong here, but I can’t find good advice anywhere, and I don’t know anyone in medical school, so hopefully you guys can help me. I’m not in medical school yet, but I’m a senior undergrad, and my goal is to become a child psychiatrist. My true passion is psychology, but since my mom is a doctor, she said i might as well do psychiatry. Sometimes I’m unsure if I’m on this career path to please my family, for the “stigma” of being a physician, or the money, for the freedom of not having to live paycheck to paycheck, or because I’m really interested in it. I guess there are a lot of upsides of being a doctor, I’m just not sure which reason is my biggest one. My mom would never accept me studying anything other than medicine,which i totally understand..she wants the best for me. It’s just me and my younger brother (who has autism), so I realize she wants me to be wealthy enough to support him in the future. The reason I’m desperate so early in my career is because I’ve always been horrible in science. I’m a senior undergrad and barely in Chem 114 (which I’m probably failing already). I had to repeat Chem 101 three times, until I finally got a B. My gpa really isn’t great, but aside from my worries of not getting into med school, I’m just so depressed right now. I know so many family members and friends who understand chemistry perfectly! every aspect of science, they love it and understand it right away. they seem so motivated, passionate, and more importantly, it comes so easily to them! And i feel like no matter how much i study, i never seem to pass a test. My mom just keeps telling me to take it one day at a time, that the important thing is just to get the best grade possible and be done with it. But I still have like 3 levels of chemistry and 1 advanced biology to do before i graduate, and if I’m already feeling this way now, I can’t imagine what I’ll feel in med school when everyone around me is so smart and good at science. i feel like i’ll just fall behind completely. I dont think im cut out for this. not because i cant handle the long hours or lifestyle, but because i feel i wont do well grade-wise. my mom has her own clinic, and she says it’s mine the day i graduate. how can i turn that down? my mom is wealthy and happy and loves her work, i want that and i think i would really love this career, but i’m afraid about the pathway there…how am i gonna do it if I’ve been struggling since the very beginning? Has anyone else here ever struggled with science courses in undergrad? Any advice would be appreciated…Thanks.

    • mike says:

      Go be a nurse, and then if you really want to do medicine, which doesn’t really require chemistry knowledge for day to day clinical activity, go be a nurse practitioner. Honestly, you don’t sound like med school material.

  213. I have been a student in the US, basically in the same stage in my education.

    If possible, I would suggest really try to be creative w/ how you prepare for exams/lectures/etc. No one recipe works for every student, but I would recommend finding time to do research on how you learn — sometimes napping helps or waking up earlier in the morning.

    Try to get ahead and stay ahead of the material so you don’t feel so down in the dumps– and there may be times where you aren’t getting the grades you want, and that can be frustrating–but there is always room to improve.

    It may seem hard, but if you aren’t finding time to care for yourself (hygeine, appearance, body, health, wellness), you are probably being less efficient than you could be. My medical school is very stressful/difficult, with hard shelf exams, etc–but some students find ways to prepare more quickly.

    I built a computer to help me deal w/ the volume of material, and stopped being so dependent on things that “other students use” and what “everybody else” thinks is an appropriate # of hours to study.

    You are the one who is training to be a future doctor, so weigh things that people tell you with a grain of salt–you have the tools avilable to research things. If someone tells you it takes 13 hours to learn new concepts, see if you can find a way to learn it faster and prove them wrong.

    Medical school is a challenge, just like beating a disease can be a challenge. Sometimes the school may not give you all the tools you need, and you have to believe in yourself and your classmates. Everyone is stressed, but everyone handles it differently.

    There are papers and statistics written on the topic of “med students” that try to place you in a “category” (i.e. students who get “xx” MCAT score are likely to perform at “XX” level and get “XX” USMLE score).

    Just try to remember that medical training is by no means perfect, and your cirriculum will likely be re-formatted by the time you graduate.

    I know it can be difficult, but your friends who are getting married and making $ are future patients too. You are entering a profession that is a humanitarian/service profession that many people –including some of your friends–will be swept into before they know it.

    Don’t worry about hundreds of youtube/comments/videos questioning your choice to occupya seat in a medical class, you got accepted to your program for a reason–because you were selected based on everything you presented.

    Now, the difficult part of your training is just beginning, but NO ONE should accept “looking 40 while you are 20″ or becoming critically ill as a part of being a doctor, because if you are diligent, you will soon have all the tools you need to help protect yourself– and your future patients– from preventable diseases.

    Just keep studying those diseases/path/micro/pharm/phys lectures/review books– if you can keep at it– and as emotionally difficult as it can be to study illness 24/7, just use it to your advantage and know that everything you learn is something that you or a patient might need. Look for high yield sources that help you integrate all of the “dispersed’ information you need.

    There are doctors who are 35 year old doctors who look 20, and 35 year old doctors who look 60, but this is true of ANY Profession– don’t feel like you have a personal right to let yourself go just because you know other physicians or professional who did–because YOU are the doctor, and don’t give up on yourself, colleagues or future patients if you don’t have the best reasons to do so.

    (Also, don’t underestimate the poewr of getting basic labs, regular check-ups, bloodwork , hormones, and imaging studies if you actually having symptoms of illness. A lot of med students get sick, and they and their doctors don’t provide them with adequate medical care because they write things off as “stress.”)

    You should definitely go to the doctor if you’re feeling unable to study and try to see if you can find a medical cause (i.e. pituitary hypofunction, stress, hypothyroidism, ADHD, depression, generalized anxiety disorder).

    If your doctor isn’t being helpful, go to another doctor! Learn from the bad experiences, so you can get through this– remember, at least you are learning how to fix health problems, and although you are getting $$$ cash $$$ right know, you are getting medical intellectual resources that patients and doctors alike generally value.

    So, in short- studying pays off– even though it doesn’t seem like it sometimes. Exercise and take care of yourself, and study smarter so you have some time to play/party! You need it…. just like your sick patients need to do things to de-stress from their illnesses- I wish you the best and the best of luck!!!

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  217. Paul Bliock says:

    I went to Grenada back in 1989. St. Georges University. I have always suffered from anxiety, depression and social phobia. Especially with women. I went down there in August 1989 and hated every minute of it. I left after 6 weeks. I really didn’t give it a try. I guess I was rejected by American schools because they saw an immature guy who was not ready. I should have worked out my emotional issues before I ever went down there. Back then the place had nothing. Just a few buildings, prefab dorms, electricity on and off, water on and off, no air conditioning. I grew up spoiled and pampered. I was not use to the 3rd world environment. I am 51 and my life has pretty much been down hill since. I should have stuck it out, realizing that a guy like me really can’t do anything. I have been told many times that I am very smart, good looking and could have the world in the palm of my hand. I just don’t execute well under pressure. I don’t think I could deal with med school, and have never really held down a 9-5 job because I can’t handle the stress. I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, depression, and borderline personality disorder. Obviously, if you have these issues medical school is going to be very difficult. It is difficult even if you are well adjusted. I did well in high school and college, but was fat and socially isolated. When I lost weight, girls wanted to have sex with me, but I was always too nervous to do it. Thankfully, I have gotten over that problem and have been about a dozen women but have never had a long term relationship. St. Georges now is built up and probably would be a more comfortable place to be. I regret not finishing. I didn’t realize at the time that there was nothing for me if I came back home. I did eventually go to grad school and became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. But it is not my field. I am NOT a people person. I should have stayed in med school and become a pathologist or radiologist. I am most comfortable doing my own thing in a lab or quiet environment. I hate working with the mentally ill. I have MY OWN Problems. I just couldn’t deal with the stress of medical school and that is why I could not finish. I always had low self esteem and maybe did not feel worthy of becoming a doctor. But what else is there for a socially inept, bright Jewish guy. I have been in therapy and was told that between the stress of med school and dealing with women/dating I had a nervous breakdown. I have never really recovered. I am unable to hold down a job and currently collect SSI/SSD. If I were you, and you are having problems dealing with the stress, talk to somebody have them put you on prozac or something to help you cope and finish. I should have been a doctor and could have been a good one, but I had a lot of problems I should have worked out before even thinking about attending. I am a shell of my former self. I can’t hold down a job, have never been married, no children, and I am 51. You don’t want to end up like me. If you are in y our twenties, you still have a chance to correct the problems and create a life for yourself. I never did. I did not have sex until I was 32. Had plenty of opportunities in my 20′s but was always too nervous to go through with it. This affected my ability to concentrate in med school, added to my depression, feeling different from others and consequently could not finish. It still affects me. I can have sex with a women but can’t develop a relationship. I have been in therapy on and off for many years, but the anxiety and feeling different is still there. I met a girl recently who was much younger. I look young for my age. She wanted me to move in with her and started talking about having kids after 6 weeks of dating! Only semi-serious relationship I have ever had at 51! I knew I could not support a family, and when she realized we were not on the same page she got rid of me. Only girl to have taken me seriously since my 20′s. I have not been the same since. I had a job when I met her, but hated it and lost it. I did not tell her for about a month. The only relationships I can have with women are casual. As I am unemployed and living with my parents. I don’t ever expect to get married or have children. If I had finished med school I would have felt better about myself and maybe could have had a life with someone. If you are thinking about quitting….don’t . There is not much out there and you will spend the rest of your life regretting it. It is not easy….but nothing is. At least you will eventually be able to find a girl who will see an established guy and have a life. And not end up like me…51… and living with his parents. Also I lied about my age to this girl. She was 33 and I met her online saying I was 38. I look young but I knew that it would not last. The only girls I can get are the ones that have there own problems. Finish school….. you DON’T WANT TO END UP LIKE ME. Bright, good looking, but at home with no job and no future.

    • belloglaecus says:

      Paul,

      I hate it you seem so down on yourself. Have been in that situation where I felt worthless and had lost so many opportunities. I wish I could change things for you, or at least change your emotions about your life-just don’t give up!

  218. Paul Bliock says:

    Yes… Like I always do I confided too much. Just wanted everyone to know that there were personal issues that affected my ability to concentrate on my studies. Guess an anxious guy who can’t deal with stress should NOT be a doctor. Perhaps a psychiatrist as I am in the mental health field. As an LCSW I deal with people who have the problems that I have. But I would rather deal with the winners in life. Not the losers. It just reinforces the feeling that I am a loser. Dont leave med school if you have no other options. You will regret it for the rest of your life. If you can deal with the stress and have the brains…finish. I had the brains….but emotionally could not deal with the stress and felt totally studied out. I essentially in my 20′s became addicted to running and got very concerned about being thin and my physical appearance. Guess this comes from being fat and picked on during my teenage years. Should have gone into therapy in college or even earlier. I would have grown and learned that I am a bright and worthy person and no one is better than me. It’s hard to get thru med school feeling different and with low self esteem. Get yourself together whatever it takes. Otherwise you will be middle aged and looking back with regrets at all your missed opportunities. I went from being in med school to ending up on SSD disability insurance. I had a girl who wanted me to move in with her….and now she has moved on and I will never see her again. I am almost suicidal and become even more depressed when I look back at all the missed opportunities of my life.

  219. Paul Bliock says:

    Just wondering why no one has replied? Medicine now is not as profitable as it used to be. If I had finished I would have been a doctor in the 90′s. Now you have to see more patients because of managed care. So doctors make good money, but now they really have to work for it. I would finish and try to get into a specialty that has regular hours. PA school is not a bad alternative. But wouldn’t you rather be the doc. I also hate that word assistant. If you are good at memorizing, you will be able to get through medical school. Med school does not encourage creative thinking. Just study and memorize…..study and memorize and you will get through your exams. If you are married great!!! Serious relationship great!!!! If the love of your life gets rid of you….then you might have a problem. You have to shut out the rest of your life and concentrate. I was not able to do that. I should have stayed in Greneda….but hated it down there. Hated the heat, the living conditions, and essentially having nothing to do except study.

  220. Paul Bliock says:

    I know this is off topic….but whatever you decide. Don’t go to Temple University School of Dentistry in Philly. Teachers are assholes who couldn’t care less about the stress you are under. North Philly is a lousy neighborhood. You will be mugged. Also it is harder and there is more work then the medical school.

  221. iris4998 says:

    Ivy, you helped me a bit! I’ll soon have to choose what to study and it almost makes me laugh how ridiculously passionate for medicine most people from my class are(I’m from Poland, I have biology and chemistry extended and a few months to decide what to do with my life). I have good grades and even did quite well in two serious Biology contests. But now, 2 weeks before the final stage of one of them I can’t find motivation to knuckle down :P For some time, I’ve been finding it hard just to sit down and study(especially chemistry, which for me is all about memorizing equations…I can cope with simple thermodynamics and stuff like that because there’s not much to memorize; however, I know I could do so much better if I tried harder). If I ever see myself doing anything medical, it’s orthodontics. But frankly speaking, I’m quite a sensitive person and I think I’ll die if I don’t get my dose of arts every week(music, photography, art exhibitions…). Almost 2 years ago, I fell in love with singing. My first performance was a disaster, though :D Not that I was terribly off-pitch or forgot lyrics or something like that but I screamed too loud in the microphone at the beginning and ruined a part of a song because my group had had no rehearsals before and we hadn’t resolve details about our rendition. The second performance, at the end of school celebration, was better-rehearsed and turned out alright ;) Since then, I’ve been singing at home, taking advantage of some youtube tutorials. I feel really happy when I sing. I get my kicks from singing. However, I’m not extremely good at it. Yeah, I have certain hearing and when I went to some 1-week vocal workshop they said I should use my voice, join a choir and stuff but they didn’t seem amazed. My vocal range is unexceptional, too. Still, I see some improvement as I practice and I think I could be good if a vocal coach helped me. In my region, they are hard to find or expensive, though. What’s more, I’m being treated for malocclusion. I feel that the bite plate(a big acrylic something on my palate) I’m wearing changes my voice, not to mention diction. I’ll probably have it taken out as late as at the age of 19(I’m 18 now), just before going to uni. It’s freaking complicated… Sometimes I think I should go study dentistry and when I’m done, with a certificate, earn some money, and pursue my dreams. However, I’m not very quick (at anything) and I’m afraid I won’t have time for hobbies and vocal practice while studying dentistry. Maybe I should choose some easy subject to study to have more free time. The worst thing is how easily I change my mind. One day I think I should become an orthodontist and treat singing just like a hobby, another day I cry in my bedroom thinking that I will hurt so bad if I have to spend the rest of my life tinkering in some people’s teeth(boring?).

    I wish I had taken part in those singing classes someone offered me after a brief audition at the primary school when I was 7. I wish my parents had encouraged me to participate. Maybe I would be somewhere else now, with less dilemmas…

    Thank you all for reading.
    Forgive me my English.

  222. Lucy says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. And more so that I was able to read it. I’m half way through second year too and I am feeling despondent about my life. I moved away from friends and family to study where I gained entry. It was near my long term boyfriend but we have since broken up which has made things very difficult. The shiny newness of first year has worn off and it seems many others in second year are feeling similar. I am sure it happens across all years.

    I also had a conversation with myself in first year about my alternatives, and would I be happy with them. On the days when I feel so exhausted and helpless that I can’t even remind myself how much I love medicine, my last resort is to consider my alternatives. “okay, you feel like shit right now, you can drop out, what’s the alternative? working in research….happy with that long term? No. Hanging out mindlessly partying at bars every wknd because you are bored by your job and “live for the wknd”? Happy with that? No” and it goes on. I’m sure others have different alternatives. When you’re feeling really down, and I mean considering dropping out, try have a practical think about your alternatives. It’s helped me a handful of times.

    • Confusedjuniorundergrad says:

      Thanks Lucy
      I’m a third year undergrad studying human biology and i’m not exactly enjoying this field either. I recently found myself building up the courage to tell my parents that med school is not the path for me; my passion has gradually declined through undergrad. I believe this is because this passion derived from external sources (prestige, acceptance, approval, and my parent’s joy), and overtime i began to internalize this and believe that this is what i truly wanted. I’m not the most social person, and my school is overly populated (uoft), so it gets really competitive and depression becomes an easy path. I’m 19, and i’m extremely confused. If not medicine, what then? My gpa isn’t the greatest (or medschool worthy) because of my major, but i found myself excelling in my electives, yet i’m still not sure this is what i want to do. When i graduated highschool, i was so sure of myself. The feeling of not knowing where you’re headed drove me in and out of depression, and my parents just dont understand- they find me weak minded. I’m not bad at what i study, i do decently, and i can be interested at times, but not entirely motived. The difficult part is finding alternatives, and frankly i’m not sure what to do now…

  223. Dr. Stan K. Sujka says:

    When you at the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.
    I graduated from SGU 1982 . At one point I called home and told my dad I was coming home. I was missing girlfiend, friends, hangout. He was a wise fella and told me just go to the beach. I lasted less than a week. Went back to class and never looked back. You must follow your dream no matter how hard it is. The personal reward over the last 30 years have been worth every second of struggle.

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  225. Gna od says:

    A final year medicalstudent who doesnt want to quit- but what can you do when u realise that you r jus nt good enough comoared to everyone else?? Have passed every exam by the skin of my teeth but now come final year everything is different- a lot harder. I jus wanted some advice abt people who struggled at medical school bt still got through in the end and made doctors?

  226. lulu22 says:

    Hi, Im from Malaysia…. IM studying medicine and almost finish my 3rd year n by middle of September 2012 ill be moving to my 4th year if I pass my final 3rd year exam….U noe sumthing….I have the same feeling as u guys….last time I am a good scorer in my school but that was at school….once I have to take decision to choose which path I wanted, I have no idea to do medicine, in fact I was just thinking to rest a while before doing any short courses and start making money…even my biology I just got B but Im more interested in chemistry whereby I scored A+….but when Ive got my offer letter in chemical engeneering….my father he hide the offer letter from me….n he was giving me idea to do medicine….ok…since im a gud daughter so i was just following tehir ideas….as in my 1st year….i start guessing medicine sucks a lot….but Ive been trying to tell my parents but they r ignoring my words n they r keep on asking me to study harder….I dun mind bout the classes n can perform in class…but exam time….really its a hard time for me….Im not a exam kind of person….I prefer pactical more…..n in medicine line….were having most exams most of times….n I really hate it…sometimes I even skip my end module exams just for sake of avoiding it…….however….the people at college and drs are keep on pushing so much….I just feel like shouting n telling them wth u care….I really hate medicine n it sucks to the max but couldnt….till now im still obeying to my parents word….n I was stuck to no where….I dun think so I will cont doin medicine even if I pass my exam….dats the question that always cums to my mind….so what should I do after finishing my studies…..Im x gonna stand n follow like a dog as other housemans do…..hello cum on la…..they should also threat dr as a human being n not like a dog…..now Im in a big dilemma, should I push myself further or should I just drop n do sumthing light….since Im in a big debt too….mine is already RM270K…..which is a real big dilemma to me…how m i gonna pay my debts……I really wish dat I can b like sum of my frens who drop even in their 1st year….I really wish that I could go to 1st year to drop my studies…..buddy….u still have time….2nd year is not a big waste for u……u can still plan a better future for u…..u are goin no where with medicine…..

    • 50-50 says:

      hi… i’m a third year student also.. like u, i’m in dillema as well. As i get in clinical year, I star seeing the reality of medicine. it’s really2 suck! Everything u have in mind before like : ‘my ambtition since i was a kid’ or i want to help people’ just dissapear. previously i’m doing my pre-clinical overseas, and now clinical in Malaysia. u know what? if i quit, my debt would be more than half of a million!!! This is a huge dillema! like u say, i dont want to have a working life like a slave!!! everybody just dont understand me when i say i’m not suit with doctor’s resposibility since i was in my first year. Like u, I wish i never get an extremely excellent result in SPM so that i can forget my ‘childhood dream’ to get into medical school and becoming a doctor! What shoul I do now??????

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  228. belloglaecus says:

    Gna od,
    DO NOT give up! You are so close! Have you thought about maybe seeing someone to see if you have some underlying depression going on? This is not unusual with people under extreme stress, such as you are experiencing! Just DO NOT give up-you are so close, it just sounds like you maybe have some depression going on, which is not at all unusual in medical students!

  229. Robert says:

    I have a problem with deciding to which major I want to go with, I’m almost graduating High school in 2 days and I applied to Cal state University-Northridge for a B.S in Biology to attend Premed then Medical School. It’s my parent’s dream to see one of there son’s attend medical school and be a doctor. I really do want to be a pediatric but I also have a dream in the creative field. I was born with talented gifted hands. I learned how to play more than one instruments by ear, Pain with any tool, Cosmetics, Colors, Fashion and Vocal. I really want to Do something creative but when I tell my parent’s I’m applying for FIDM, My mom is a designer and she rejects my creativity. My dad said that if I don’t go to CSUN he’d kick me out of the house and pretend he never had a son. They think I’m gay but I’m not I was just born with Klinefelters and have a dream in doing Both Medical and Art school. Would anyone help me on deciding this? I can’t hide my creativity because I’m also a Musician. I started my musician career in 2010 and My band and I are on itunes and spreading like crazy. reason why I started my music career was because I want to succeed in education as well. Education is important because our economy is so F*CKED that not many jobs are offered. I want to impact the young and the Old that even though I decided on being a Musician I also succeeded in my education as a Doctor or a Designer or Maybe Both.

    • belloglaecus says:

      I would do pre-med. You can always do the other later, I know a guy that is a retired opthamologist that now teaches at a community college!

    • Ivy says:

      Do both. My friend was at John Hopkins doing a surgery residency and she said she had a classmate who’d graduated from Julliard. A churchmate who’s a great singer is finishing her degree in Scotland to do paediatrics and she’s recorded an EP. I’ve recently discovered doctors’ orchestras and I met a GP who makes art with funds from the Wellcome Trust! You’re not alone. It CAN be done.

  230. KAG says:

    I’ve applied to go to med school, and I’m bricking it. I just kind of went along with the application procedure, because it seemed like a respectable idea and I got good grades and didn’t want to do law. I was thinking I could backtrack at any time and kind of half-hoping I wouldn’t be accepted. Now I’ve been given offers from literally every uni I applied for. My family is so proud, I’ve accepted the best one. Fuck. I don’t want to do this! I want to travel to America and France and write and find out more about life. I’m only seventeen. I don’t want to go through a whole five years of school again. And please don’t tell me I’m selfish for taking up someone else’s place at med school – I’m just trying to work out what to do with my life. I really need advice.

    • Ivy says:

      Try asking your uni if you can defer entry, then travel. You won’t regret it and you’d be in a more ready frame of mind to study when you return.

    • 50-50 says:

      you are just seventeen. it’s still early to make a u-turn. Do what make u feel happy. My advice, dont get in med school if u dont like.. it will kill you from inside. I’m third year med student, and I started hating ‘mad’ical school as get in clinical year. it really need a great passion! doing medicine without passion like torturing yourself and perhaps others( your patient)

    • mike says:

      umm, just reapply in 4 years. Patients don’t want to deal with a 20 year old med student anyway. Plus, you have time, time, and more time. As young as you are, there are no one way doors yet.

  231. Danny says:

    I HATE MED SCHOOL IT’S SUCH A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY!!

  232. effy says:

    Med school is not everything and you people can certainly make the best of your talents in another field. I quit med school about a year ago. Some people are really happy there and could not imagine being anywhere else, but when I see them and talk about medicine I know I made the right choice. Just do what’s best for you, that is all you can be expected to do.

  233. AAJ says:

    I am in my first year of MBBS and i feel like Hell being here.
    I want to quit. I am rather interested in studying Physiology separately. Is this possible? Help me out :(

  234. Kon Sama says:

    I was majoring Studio Art and right toward the end of my senior year when suddenly something hit me in the head, like a rock, something heavy. I said, “what in the bloody hell am I going to do with my life when I get out of college?”. Oops, Shit! I never thought about that. And here I am, working some of the oddest jobs while trying to decide whether to go back to school for a change into engineering or deciding to join a studio and make 50K/yr.

  235. unilad says:

    Im in my first year of medical school and I can frankly tell you that I have hated every moment of it from the very beginning. The endless information to memorize and just puke out in exams is just too much for me and I feel that I would enjoy something more intelectually stimulating than this. Medicine is a fantastic career to pursue but only go ahead with it if you have a true passion to see others happy. Don’t go into medicine for any other reasons, be it, a source of prestige and the money. Hope this helps

    • 50-50 says:

      If you think you dont enjoy it, just leave and try other field that can make u happy before u get further in the ‘mad’ical school! I’m in my third year now, and every day i feel like quitting, and run away from these medical things! I actually want to quit since first year, but everybody told me to go on, so I just go on until now, when I started clinical year, it just like hell. Now I know why all of the doctors that I met before I get into med school forbid me from entering medical school. All of them ask me to get into another field. but during that time, u just say it: ‘that is my ambition since I was a child’. But now, when u know the reality, that is not a good ambition if u dont have a really2 great passion in studying a lot of information and doing a lot of skills. My sister in law is just graduated and now working as H.O in a hospital. Her experience just make my feeling of quitting stronger, u know what? She fainted once during work due to lack of sleep and perhaps too tired. Working more than 12 hours a day like a slave is a crazy thing. even robot could burn out!

  236. Emma says:

    I am 25 and just decided to go into med school. I took a horrible access course where the teaching was the worst I have ever had. However the standard was high and a lot of med schools accept it. I fell in love with someone on the course and through that realised I wanted to be happy. I was so emotionally drained that by the end I couldn’t take the finals. I could have got the grades but I am now coming to terms with the fact that med school is not for me. The stress and constant study is not for me. It will drain me.

    I have a degree and although I worked very hard for it, I loved it and still had a really good life and was not stressed at all, just pressurised.

    You guys have made me realise I am not the only one. I hope you are all happy.

  237. Sweety says:

    I am done with med school..just have the boards left. I love medicine but i feel like as its not for me…I dont know what to do. I took step 1 and failed it..so thats driving me nuts. feeling like its end of the world.

  238. ddean says:

    Aw, this was a really nice post. In idea I wish to put in writing like this moreover – taking time and actual effort to make an excellent article… however what can I say… I procrastinate alot and under no circumstances appear to get one thing done.

  239. kristofer90 says:

    Hi guys I just wanted to share my story. It’s been great reading all of your posts.

    I am currently only three weeks into my third year of medical school. And from the first day of coming back I’ve been hating every living minute of it and being miserable and anxious all the time. I did very well on my first and second year (top of my class in most courses), BUT, I absolutely had no life outside of it, my life revolved around studying and if I would for example decide to go out I would make plans to study more some other time so I could do so. When I look back I could have been in jail instead. At the time I didn’t realize how extremely miserable I was. I lived alone, had no girlfriend and only a few good friends (which I had to make plans to see!). Now I realize these things won’t change in the next few years, because this won’t get any easier, and I do not want to waste time of my life doing something I hate so I can maybe become a respectful person when I’m in my 40′s. I want to stay strong and just walk away from all this with no hindsight in mind and quit now!
    I feel like I want to be able to live a life and enjoy myself while pursuing a career at the same time. I think I want to learn something completely different from medicine with the option of a 9-5 job, healthy family life and most importantly; peace of mind. I’ve been thinking about marketing or business administration, the thing is that I will have to wait for a year to go back to university.

    I am so happy to see that I am not a alone,

    Kristófer from Iceland.

    • belloglaecus says:

      Kristofer, I wouldn’t quit at this late stage in the game-the worst is over-maybe you could figure out how to stay in the game yet have a little more of a social life-just be sure you think it through-scroll up to read my other posts-Good luck!

  240. sam says:

    I recently withdrew after a leave of absence from a Caribbean medical school during the middle of my 2nd year for medical reasons. I had a gpa of 3.40 and a class rank of 36%. I am re-applying do you think they will accept me? My student affairs Dean thought I would be accepted back based on my performance but she is not involved in the process.

    Also, you should leave as soon as you can if its not your dream or does not fit your lifestyle. Live a life that gives you a sense of happiness and meaning rather than just going through the motions because you’re afraid to change. The average person changes jobs 7 times, you’re changing yours just once.

    • kristofer90 says:

      If you want to continue I am sure they will accept you, based on your previous success. The best of luck to you! I am thinking about taking a leave of absence, and contemplate this winter about what to do, continue med school or do something completely different; business etc…

  241. Doubtful&Disappointed says:

    Hi, i’m in my first year of medical school (second semester), for the past 5 years of my life (high school) it was like – getting into medical school was my only hope and my only goal. I worked extra hard in school neglecting most opportunities to have a social life. i remember thinking then, that it was the only thing I would be interested in doing with my life but now that i’m here i cant help thinking that maybe I idealized/glamorized the whole becoming a doctor thing in my head. i had just made the academic requirements to get into my school unlike many of my freshman classmates who excelled above the required averages in high school. last semester i failed physiology, got a rewrite and then passed – it was the worst feeling in the world and i doubted, questioned and really beat myself up before i pulled through and i promised myself it wouldn’t happen again, but now i’ve failed pathology which means i have to repeat it next year which sets me back. I feel like such a failure because its the second thing i’ve failed this year, its emotionally draining and I cant focus on the new modules i have to learn because of the fear that i’m not as intelligent as everyone else or don’t have the ability to succeed and the fact that i now have this constant empty feeling due to the disappointment I have in myself. i’m the only one out of all my friends failing each time and i am at the bottom of the class. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to hold on to the motivation and keep telling myself that if im failing it should mean that im not supposed to be here or something? I knew med school was hard work when i applied but i didn’t think i would be failing it. I’m miserable all the time especially at residence because I don’t really have good friends there that i can count on, only acquaintances. I’m always alone, and when i look at the other first year (med students) for example, they’ve all got it worked out, study groups and friends and they seem happy like they belong there. Anyway I haven’t told my parents that i have to repeat path next year, that’s why i’m doing this post so that i can feel like its less of a burden even if it’s strangers i’m telling this to. thanks for reading.

  242. belloglaecus says:

    Dear D&D-I would say the same thing I tell everyone here-don’t give up-your school should have an academic success center that can give you tips-read some of Topher’s suggestions in his “first semester” section-med school is unlike anything else, and read some of the stuff on Google about how to succeed in med school. Sounds like you are bright enough, just maybe you need to re-think some of your strategies on studying-I bet all your classmates aren’t having it as easy as you think! And I would try to find a study group and try to identify your learning method-the success lab or center or whatever they call it there should be able to help you! Good luck and don’t give up!

  243. belloglaecus says:

    Oh, and D&D-this is probably the first coursework you have ever failed, so of course it is going to be really hard on your self estem, just figure out what you did wrong, or what your learning style is, or better yet, both, and onward and upward! Like I said before, and everyone says on here, med school is unlike anything else-my master’s was set up like med school, so we were working just as hard as we could up till the VERY last minute. I feel like I need to say I never went to med school, but I certainly researched it to death and I feel the principles I described to you apply anywhere, and if you check Topher’s website under first semester, he gives strategies of how to succeed-my master’s was very demanding and difficult, so I know how it is! Good luck and again, DONT GIVE UP-you are just as smart as your classmates-they must have thought you were Dr. material or they wouldn’t have let you in-I think you just need to re-think your learning strategies-also, they call the lowest-ranking member of a graduating medical class “Doctor”, so don’t worry about that-sounds like you are really beating yourself up-stop it!

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  245. Nat says:

    Hello everyone. I hope that this will be the last time am pondering over the subject of leaving medicine. I have stuck out third year and fourth year and to having repeat fourth year for another year (3 yrs altogether) ive earned the title Dr. To tell you the truth it doesnt mean much to me except it reminded me of life’s most important lesson is to never let anyone tell u what is best for you because they had absolutely no freakin idea, even if they were your parents and i know they only want the best for their children it is you who has to go through life and live your own life at the end…..For those who are in their second last or last year just finish it up if u dont have suicidal thoughts or mental issues impeding you… I know we all have in some degree but now looking back am glad i did because it brings a sense of accomplishment eventhough i hated it and was not that proud graduating but i just want u all to do it for ur own good. I am currently doing internship , have done 9 months into it and landed in a rotation i absolutely have no interest in, i actually have to interest in anything medicine-related, is going to rock up to hospital tmr and call it quit. Yep. Finally doing it in the first 3.5 yrs of self doubting and serious anxiety over this career path. My goal was actually to finish internship then i could get a license. Haha. Oh well that license was not meant for me anyway. During tough times such at this rotation, i sit in the meeting every morning wanting to just quit and “what am i doing here” I never attended a single teaching session for interns , thinking of how to avoid them, I avoid interacting with patients in fear that they would ask for things i dont know about and holding me away from getting home, i had to literally run away from them! Yep I just knew then i am never gonna be a dedicated caring passionate doctor. I dont enjoy anything I learn in medicine its like Heree we go againn another material that i could not care less. Prestige and money will NOT get you through medicine if it doesnt come from the heart or ur true calling please face his FACT before you considered going into it please. I am a living proof of it. How funny if ppl knew how much i feel jealous of the other multidiciplinary of health workers they seem to have it easier and who the heck said not being a doctor will not not guaranteed hou a job // its a scare tactic ! Please , they probably earn more if there were shortages than an intern! Know your motif guys….sure money is steady but u know what I havent been saving any because my spending habit stems from being unhappy at the job i have so buying myself luxury things only bring me temporary happiness knowing that if i have this item i will work harder or commit to it or got something to look forward to. Sad isnt it. I am still single…never wanted to date doctor at workplace, dont feel like ive got anything in commmon with them. I am looking for a guy with artsy background. And i ve been looking in the wrong places too…please know who you are before entering, I dont care what you do to make this happen (leave, holidays, gap year) u will have to figure out the gift in you or ur calling!!! For those who are half way of everything – there are only two way out at the end of tunnel right? Stick it out or leave – either way you will have light at the end of tunnel. Believe in your self and destiny and trust that it will all work out at the end. Just look at all the other ppl who dont have medical degree, their lives are fine :))))

    • Nat says:

      And understand that u will be thrown into a rotation or something you dont like or hate so having a passion or sense of happiness of belonging in the field does count. So in the long run, that is what u ll be faced all year long….you might not get along with ur partner, team, boss….but u need to have at least passion for it and thats how other doctors survive because they have goals and aspirations!!! And I dont!!!! Since the beginning of my clinical rotation in med school!!! If you’re like me, you’re not gonna have the mind set or heart of a doctor! And this will eat u up little by little everyday until major sh*** comes along one day and you wont be able to handle it because ur doing it for other reason!! Sooner or later u will realisr this and putting any more time into it is like waiting for a sentence day or anothee major sh** to happen so that finally u’d wake up and realise what the f*** am i doing here? Whoo. I live for weekends and holidays….what about those 5 days of ur life times that by 52 wks in a year….thats a big portion if life to feel miserable guys…..

  246. chasingkitestrings says:

    Hi. I have a management undergraduate degree, but I went to med school for 1 year, because I thought it was my calling. Ish. Halfway in and sucking very badly at biochem with no sleep for days at a time and still failing those pointless exams anyway, I just sat down long and hard and asked myself “what the heck am I doing here I could be working in finance 12 hrs a day -_- and it would still be WAY less time than I’m putting into pointless biochem exams and I’d be getting paid OVERTIME.” A few weeks later, all I could think was “If not medicine, then..what?” which was pretty much the most depressing thought I’ve ever had in my life, even worse than thinking “why did I ever go to business school? I HATE capitalism, I should have gone to med school.” Which I seriously thought was the lowest ever point in my life before that. Anyway, I joined a med sorority because I thought it would make med school less intolerable, and really ended up hating THAT too. Right before second year started, I just told my parents I couldn’t go back. To quote a friend: “Stress is always a choice.”

    So for 2 months I looked for a job and wondered what to do with my life (again). Luckily, before med school, I took an internship at the WHO, so I ended up asking a doctor friend there (who went to the same medical school I did) about advice on quitting/coming back, since after one year all I still really wanted to do in the health field was the public health bit. He recommended quite wholeheartedly TO QUIT, and he told me he really wished HE’D quit before, and that he felt that a part of himself was really destroyed in medical school.

    Two months into my year of aimlessness, I found an ad for a post in the government office for foreign investment and international trade. I’m working here now, learning about international economics, taking french classes on weekends, and studying for my CFA finance exam. AND I CAN TELL YOU, THIS YEAR IS THE MOST AWESOME I’VE HAD IN A LONG WHILE. I still have the renewable option to go back to med school though, but I’m in no hurry to make the decision. Might take me a few years, actually, but it really doesn’t matter that much personally.

    What have I realized so far in life?
    1. We have NO IDEA what to do with our lives upon entering college. We have LESS OF AN IDEA about what to do with it upon graduation. It’s okay not to know.

    2. I really though that I HATED my business degree. Right now, I realize if I’d taken a pre-med and gone to med school, I’d be left optionless today and probably not be able to quit med at all.

    3. EvERY experience you have in life is worth having. You just have to learn everything you can from it.

    4. Everyone gets sick of doing the same thing everyday. Especially doctors (and lawyers, too, probably).

    5. Normal people go and tell you they all wish they’d become doctors and how it’s SO COOL to have a white coat. They never understand the lack of sleep, fatigue, blood, sweat, and other body fluids that all have to go into med school.

    6. It all boils down to your bucket list of things to do before you die. At one point, I really thought adding an MD to my name was on that list. One thing I realize though, is that just because you take some exams and pay tuition for something doesn’t really mean you get that much more ADDED VALUE than the next person. Life is about doing the things you want to accomplish and will be proud of. I mean, it’s not like being a doctor is a very RARE thing. Lots of people can do it, before and after you.

    yeah, that’s about all I wanted to share. Might go back to med school though, just because I want to MD. Residency, I seriously doubt.

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  248. medicine says:

    wow. alot of people commenting here. Glad to see im not the only one on this boat XD. Im about to be a 4th year college senior and right now im torn between PA school or medical school. Medicine seems interesting but Med school seems long and difficult. I think the title of being a M.D was engraved into my head by relatives. Is the title of being a doctor that special? or just something put on a pedestal by society? I am interested in medcine but I dont think I am mature enough to commit to 4 year+ residency…I am so confused right now, I do not know which path to chose and I have been this way for the past 3 months. I dont want to regret not going to medical school but then again I dont want to dread every moment of medical school either. I wish there was an easier way to decide :(

  249. tim says:

    I am an IMG and I recently took step 1 and got a score of 183 due to testing anxiety. My scores on the NBME forms
    were 200+. The main problem with me is I completed basic sciences on April 2011 and only took the exam on October
    8, 2012 due to Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Clinical Depression. After trying several medications, I was able to achieve remission on July 2, 2012 with TMS therapy. I was advised by the physician that I may need to get the procedure done every year. Can I still get residency despite the long layoff, past medical history, and failure on my 1st step 1 attempt? Also should I disclose my past medical history to residency programs even though it is not on my
    record?

  250. White house says:

    Someone asked about pharmacy and medical schools. I think I can help you with that. Pharmacy school can be hard if you wanna do well to get a residency after graduation. If not, it’s not hard. A pharmacy residency makes it easier to get a hospital job. However,it’s not well regulated so it depends on your luck. Just like some attendings, residency directors can be straight ***holes and bullies and some will go a step further to ruin your careers. I know some residents in this situation. When you’re done and get a job, you will mostly do brainless order entry and get stuck in a basement.
    It’s tough in medical school. Tougher… but once you’re done, it’s a brighter future than pharmacy

    • White house says:

      I forgot to add that while you’re stuck with an ***hole attending for a mont as a medical resident, you have a whole year or two with a bitchy pharmacy director and they have authority over you entirely. And right now, there’s no place for residents to make complaints

      • tim says:

        I have completed basic sciences at SGU. If I decide to switch
        to pharmacy school then how much will that help me?

  251. CaribDocx3 says:

    In my 5th semester right now in the states, looking back on my situation i’m not quite sure what I would do. I don’t have a bachelor’s degree, but have the pre reqs, Both of my parents are in the medical field. They didn’t force me to do this, but they definately encouraged it. I met some wonderful people at school, but the drama is too much there. I wish we all could be laid back stable people. But the fact is, medical school brings out the very worst in some people. I have aged significantly over the past 2 years, and I just feel burnt out. What initially drew me into medicine was the money and job stabillity. I have no choice but to finish, no matter what the circumstances are. However, really think long and hard about studying medicine. I have had suicidal thoughts before, have been adderalled up for months, which put me into even more depressions, and been on Anti depressants. I hate the fact all my friends have jobs, are in relationships and enjoying life. But I keep telling myself my day will come one of these days. Just have to keep struggling, and eventually I will have enough money to retire early, and relaxxxx

  252. John says:

    Antidepressants? ……. To all you people reading this blog… FINISH MEDICINE DAMN IT!!! You guys are in medicine!!! JUST DO IT!

    • William Carter says:

      What is wrong with people like you? You act like medicine is some be-all-end-all and no one should ever be depressed because medicine? Yes, it has it perks, but it also has it’s cons as well and it’s not for everyone. Medicine isn’t as great as some people make it out to be

  253. karen michitsuji says:

    I took sick leave for depression and anxiety in May this year. Struggled to find a good therapist and psychiatrist, so ended up spending many months down in the dumps, not studying, not eating or sleeping properly. Now the new year is around the corner and I’m dreading starting 4th year over – don’t know anyone, still not fully recovered, head all slow and empty. Opened a textbook today – don’t remember jack. Feel so helpless and miserable…

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  256. Hillary says:

    Good lord, just be a PA or NP!

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  261. jack says:

    I really hate medical school too, because of the classmates. I held the firm belief that most med students were educated, empathetic, non-judgemental tolerant people. No, too many of them are more obssessed with jumping through the hoops, sucking the dicks and pussies of the higher ranked doctors.
    All these political games they play, counter productive competition is really hindering the advancement of medical practice and bringing about change for the better.

    I can’t wait to get out of this shit hole and get my moneys worth then open a clinic myself.

  262. Alex says:

    I’m fighting tears as I type this post but I officially quit medical school at the University of Alberta as of 3 days ago. It took every inch of will power in me to go through with it. I want to live, laugh and love, but medical school and being a physician suck that right out of you. Long sleepless nights study for the Step 1 and what do I have to show for it? I’m in my early 20s and these are the most precious years of my life. Initially I loved medicine but around 2nd year I realized that it consumes your life to where you are waking up in cold sweats shouting cranial nerves.

    Tomorrow I’m calling my parents to tell them. I can’t imagine what they’ll respond with, but I love my child, my girlfriend and my best friends. I just want to live my life.

    Either way I’m unsure what the future holds. I’m looking other career prospects one of which includes engineering.

    • sillycibin says:

      “the most precious years of my life”
      Every year is a precious year of your life. I think you have a twisted notion of what life is like. I’m 38 and damn happy I’ve stuck it out in medicine. Man it sucked for a long time, but now it feels good to have the competence, the responsibility, the respect, and the financial security. Good luck finding that else where. It can be done, but its far less easy than you think.

      But still, that quote really is telling to me about your issues – and probably that of many young twenty-somethings. Sacrifice at any age is hard. You will get old whether you fritter/play your twenties away or you work diligently. The difference is the payoff in your 30s/40s/50s etc.

      Medicine may not be for you, but please lose the soft/whiny/entitled/unicorns and rainbows deluded attitude. It will help you out in your new path of engineering which you will find will not live up to your expectations either.

      • belloglaecus says:

        I agree! I am forty-one-and can identify with these kids wanting to quit, I remember in college in my youth it seemed like it was forever-I try to encourage them to keep it up and just finish, even if they don’t want to PRACTICE medicine, an M.D. opens up SO many doors!

  263. Luke says:

    I’ve read over this entire page over the past few days. It’s quite amazing how frequently people have come to these conclusions about medical school! I would love to hear from those in internship/residency, to see if it’s any better on that side of the fence.

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  267. P says:

    So I know this is an old and long thread but anyway here goes:
    I am 23 and currently at my 5th year of medical School, yes 5th, so next year would be my last and then to residency and so on…
    My problem is for the past few years I have been thinking I have made a mistake, but stuck to the “oh you´ll see you´ll like it just stick to it” atittude.

    So by the 2nd year of med school I thought I should think about if medicine was what I wanted, “should I drop med school?” (Dont take me wrong but it never was the hard working type truth be told, I am quite a lazy guy and never actually tried to be top of the class nor anything like that, but always got through with around average grades without that much effort, while simultaniously not being able to stay foot studying, or without suddently realize I had been day dreaming for 45 min in the library. No matter how little I had studied, no concentration what so ever, either that or plain lazy or just studying something that doesnt really interest me, this still happens) So dont get me wrong but I have no problems with what others think when it come to exam scores and so on, no “oh I am dum or anything not at all” “Oh if I fail its so shamefull” in that area I really dont give a damn about other peoples opinion regarding my abilities or intelegence as I think people shouldnt mind but often do mind a lot in med schools. , whit such petty things.

    Anyway back to point by 2nd year I thought “just stick to it dont be so lazy” and “the first years are very different from the clinical years” so “You´ll see you will possibly like it” anyway so I thought about quitting again on the 3rd year and thought the exact same ” at least get to the clinical years dude”.

    By the end of the 4th year nothing really changed still studying enough to get by and above all thinking even if you dont continue medicine until the end, dont waste this year, do the classes you have to and the exams you have to. And here is were I should have realized, which I kind of think I did, I should have talked to someone some friends or my parents, anyway didnt, chickened out, was afraid of the reaction because I was so far along and still am afraid actually (some of my closest friends would definitly say are you stupid or what, and be completely unsupportive which really hurts me cause everytime I even started to try and scratch the surface of this problem not directly, this was how they reacted) so i just went on, its easier to keep doing the same old same old, same routine and avoid making changes than to change. I managed to allure my self to keep on by doing a semester abroad which was very childish I realize I should have adressed the issues instead of getting distractions.

    So by now I am finishing the 5th year and I just feel more lost than ever because I still drag my self to study what I have to, just enough to get by as usual, find very little or no pleasure in that study, I keep finding my self day dreaming about doing something other than medicine and just pretending that all is fine, I am a pretty happy guy but I feel that If by now I dont feel any passion for medicine and cant picture my self anymore spending my entire day inside of an hospital for the rest of my life, and its not the ..I will be away from my family worry or that I will have to spend so much time working that worries, if you see further ahead my possible alternative of carrer would also require me, if it went well, to be away from friends and family, and I am not thinking of starting a family before 28/30, its more that I fel that I wont take as much pleasure out of it as I should, I mean work is work but shouldnt we aim to work in something that makes us pationate?

    Medicine Is not the worst thing in the world, it aint, but Its just not what I would say I want to do with my life, if anyone asked me if I won the lottery tomorrow what would I do, the first answer would be quit medicine… and maybe doing journalism (I dont think its such na extravagante wish), this is also the part I am not sure either but I believe that journalism might be something I might have a passion for. I really do like helping people thats why I think I though that medicine would be it, even though even when I applied for med school I wasnt sure If I wanted journalism, medicine, acting or zoology, (Yeah I know they have nothing in common but thats why I like them). the problem is I think I was very Imature and probably still am to realise that there is more than one way to help people you dont have to be a doctor to help people

    So long story short, I fell lost and like I have no aparent good reason to quit medicine but still feel like theres something missing, what if its just me chacing childish dream of getting out of bed and feeling like I actually want to go to work. but its not a dream is it? some people do feel like that. And I apologize for the extent but its year of keeping it in, anyone has any kind of advice?. If I quit should I quit now or finish the 6th year and the quit? Honestly I am quite scared even if I quit because by the time I would end the journalism degree I would be at least 26/27 I this as idiotic as if someone suddently at 30 decided “Oh I want to be an olympic athlete” or Is it just me being afraid of failure in another area? Or any other advice regarding feeling accomplishe actually
    Thanks for any help
    cheers

    • sillycibin says:

      “shouldnt we aim to work in something that makes us pationate?”

      Common delusion held by young 20-somethings. I had it too. Fed to us by TV and movies. “Follow your bliss” “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

      These are generally fantasies. Anything worth having takes hard work and sacrifice. At 23 you lack the broad perspective to see that “the grass isn’t really greener on the other side.” Most jobs have a lot of boring, repetitive aspects to them. That’s how things get done effectively. Systems are put into place that are found to be effective, and you repeat your actions in the system over and over again. You don’t reinvent the wheel.

      I hated medicine for a while. Now I value what it has given me. I am now a “grown up.” Which is to say, I can pay all my bills and I am completely emancipated from my parents. I can save for retirement, pay off my house, and do things I want to do. Take a look at unemployment rates. Look closer at unemployment rates for young people. Now compare this to the fact that you have a virtually guaranteed track to a ridiculously high income compared to the average American.

      It’s sad that we blow smoke up young people’s asses instead of telling them how hard life really is, how competitive it is, and that it is inherently hierarchical.

  268. S.A says:

    I am from Malaysia. 3 more papers to go and I will be completing my 1st year of Mbbs. But I feel like I can just pack my bags and go home anytime. I got to enter to a medical school after repeating my pre-u. Miraculously, I passed all my 1st year assessments except for the last pharmacology paper. I never find myself catching up with the others. I really believe that if it wasn’t God who pulled me through, I would not be here today. It turned out that almost all the questions I paid attention to came out during exam. But I am really tired of spotting, not knowing whether I will pass or not for the many many more exams to come. Last minute studies I have been doing. Mom has been so encouraging and supportive throughout my whole 1st year, even until now that she knows I am finding it difficult to continue. I am already 22. I wouldn’t mind if I get my 1st degree later than the others. But I find myself physically and mentally worn out. I am not sure whether I got into the right track. My mind automatically shut down during lectures. My dream is to have a hospice and bring comfort to those who are terminally ill. I am laughing at myself now. How can I ever make my dream come true, not that I am at the risk of failing my 1st year? If I quit medicine, lots of people will be disappointed, some may even laugh at me, for having a dream too big and for entering mbbs which many said that I don’t have the capability to cope with it. I wish my dad was still around. At least he can guide me through and telling me that it is okay. Mom is the best gift from God. But she loves me so much that I feel that I will break her heart if I tell her I want to quit.

    To those who reply, thank you so much for the time and heart.

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  270. moobear says:

    I can’t speak for everyone here, since some of you guys are in very complicated and difficult situations…..but, has anyone who is thinking of dropping out of medical school but still somewhat has the passion to stay in the medical field ever considered PA (Physician Assistant or Associate) school? You still get to practice medicine (see patients, diagnose, prescribe meds, order lab tests, etc., except you have a physician as your boss….but depending on your practice setting/experience, you’ll still have plenty of autonomy…the PAs I shadowed made their own decisions regarding diagnoses/treatments/had their own set of patients) and yeah, you have to cram “medical school” in 2 years, but it won’t be 4 years. And residency is optional. You can also switch specialties (you can pretty much work in any specialty a physician works in) throughout your career without going through additional residency trainings.

    You still get paid well (I know a few who make over 100k)…so at least if you become a PA, paying off loans won’t be absolutely impossible (though it will still take a while), and you won’t have to give up on your love for medicine…or taking care of people… or helping people…or whatever it was about this field that tugged your heart. If this matters at all to you, you’ll still LOOK like a doctor b/c you’ll wear a white coat. It’s the CLOSEST thing to being a physician. After all, a physician CREATED the PA profession almost 50 years ago. You’ll just have to be willing to give up the title, “Dr.” You’ll have to be okay with getting a master’s degree over a doctorate. You’ll have to let go of wanting to be the ultimate boss.

    I was originally on the medical school track, but I had to take a step back when the time to apply actually came. I knew I would be able to get into medical school (I went to a top university, had the GPA, the test scores, research experience, etc.), but I realized I didn’t want my training/career and my own darn pride to overtake my youth. I also pictured what kind of family and lifestyle I wanted. I knew I wanted to be a mom who could invest a lot of time for her kids. I knew I couldn’t stand putting my non medical school friends/family aside. But most importantly, I realized I can’t plan my life/desires out perfectly, and life is just plain unpredictable. I needed something that would allow me to be flexible.

    I think the best part about the PA school route was the fact that paid patient healthcare experience is, for the most part, REQUIRED . Yeah, being a doctor (or PA) is more than just about taking care of patients, but it’s supposed to be the MAIN part! I think most medical school students don’t actually get to experience what it’s actually like to take care of patients (both the beautiful and ugly parts of it) or just work in healthcare in general. I chose to work at a nursing home. Some patients I took care of gave me hell, and nothing I did for them seemed to make a difference. For others…well, even the smallest actions I took touched their lives. And I experienced what it’s like to see someone you gave your best to die in front of your eyes. After all of this, I truly confirmed that I have the heart to stay in healthcare, and that I still want to give more for people. So although you may have to set time aside to accumulate patient care hours (if you go the PA route), you’ll still learn SO MUCH in the mean time.

    So please, seriously consider PA school if you’re still wanting to practice medicine but don’t want to go through all the years of medical school/residency annoyances.

    If prestige/respect STILL matters to you a lot there ARE great schools that offer PA programs (Duke, Yale, Emory, Stanford, Northwestern, Cornell, Tufts for example).

    Just wanted to lay out another option, in case some people felt like they had no where else to go!

    • sillycibin says:

      I am a PA. Going the PA route is a great choice especially if you are not 100% confident you want to be a doctor. If you are already in medical school, it is a terrible choice to quit and try and go PA. By the time you would get into a PA program, you would have already finished your MD. And whether your an MD or a PA your still practicing medicine. Residency – your just practicing medicine at 70 hours a week. As a cardiothoracic PA I was practicing medicine 70 hours a week. There is no real gain by downgrading to a PA. Less money and less respect and less autonomy. Great advantages to a PA: you can jump specialties which is a HUGE bonus, and you can always phone a friend for help – your supervising physician.

  271. Meerz says:

    I don’t know if anyone will see this but I thought I’d share this just in case. So my case is a bit different I’m not yet in med school but I’m already concerned about it. I mean I was super excited before and I was looking forward to it and looking forward to learning the material. But after I made some research I become really discouraged and began to question my decision, seeing a lot say its hard and even more quitting i became terrified of having the same fate. So now you’re probably thinking just transfer but I can’t, it’s really complicated.
    First I wanted medicine because I enjoy biology and in general love science, health and learning about the human body and I really don’t know where I’ll go if not med school.
    Second where I’m at we require to study a year before we choose the major and I did but my marks were not enough to get me through. But since my dad works in the school I’m in as a doctor and a teacher was able to help me through so now I’m accepted.
    So now I’m not sure what to do should I just continue anyway even if it was bad, to not disappoint my dad or should I leave anyway.
    I know I shouldn’t have allowed this to happen( dad helping me through) I really didn’t want to get in this way for many reasons and this is one of them. But it’s too late now and I’m not sure what to do. So any advice? Is med school really that bad?
    Thanx anyway and sorry for the long rant.

    • Belloglaecus says:

      Don’t feel bad about using connections to get in-most things in life are like that-sounds like you just need to decide if med school is what YOU want-though I am always in favor of finishing!

      • Meerz says:

        Thanx,well I guess you’re right I’ll just need to figure out if it’s right for me.

      • belloglaecus says:

        You’re welcome, Meerz! You will figure it out, just try not to worry yourself to death about it,,,med school itself is difficult enough without adding to it, and I bet many of your classmates aren’t nearly as confident as they appear!

    • ksv says:

      I was one of the people who said I wanted to quit a few weeks ago, but I like med school again. You will enjoy it and you could not have gotten in just because of your dad- if your work was not close to the level it needed to be then even your dad could not have helped. Don’t think about others- just focus on the task at hand and you’ll do great!

  272. Dilemma says:

    I am really struggled currently whether to go for medicine or not. Having done BSc, MSc and PhD in the biomedical research field, I know I love this and I know that having a medical degree is very helpful for a career as a physician scientist (in terms of getting research grants). And most importantly wanting to study is what I want all my life, but I have just failed to gain admission throughout until this point which now I have an offer to start it next month. However since I have received this offer I have not been excited at all, but felt rather anxious. At the tender age of 29 now and starting a 5 years course I want to know medicine is what I truly want, but at the moment I just felt i have not gained enough experience to know its my calling, especially now I have been looking into the career carefully. (To my naiveity I have never thought about the downside of it while applying). So i have decided to withdraw/trying to defer (though very unlikely to succeed). do you think it’s stupid to try to rack in more experience in the hospital and hospice to inform myself more whether it is sth I truly want before diving into the long road of medicine, and then apply again? (With no guarantee I will get an offer again of course). Seriously the last 2 months have been hell for me being torn apart by making this decision and I regret myself so much not to have done more experience to make a more informed decision. And of course I will always have “what if” with me if I decide to go for other career and finding out I hate the job and regretting my initial decision to withdraw from this offer.

    • belloglaecus says:

      Dilemma,

      don’t worry, if you don’t like med school or it’s not for you, you will find out soon enough. Your job right now is just to go and do your best. And try not to agonize over your decision. It will work out! Best Wishes!

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  274. leavingmed_to_happyhuman says:

    after reading all the replies, everyone is in the same loop hole. we all entered for the same factors and that were family and peer pressure, and prestige/wealth. we are all dealing with anxiety depression and even suicidal thoughts at some point. Now, to analyzing the factors of going to medical school, family pressure: why even care about their happiness when they dont care about yours knowing you are going through torment and torture. and if you are uncertain and scared to discuss with them the topic of leaving medical school, tell yourself this- if they really care about my happiness and success, then they will accept the fact that medical school is doing the opposite for me and that leaving would honestly make me happy and would be more successful in doing what i like. i can almost guarantee you, that they will agree. analyzing wealth/prestige: Really? so you’re screwing your mental psychological, and emotional stage for the money and the name? whats the point of being labeled as the “intellectual doctor” when your also labeled as a delusional, depressed, unhappy person because in the process of becoming a doctor, your whole health stance was torn into shreds. i also thought medicine was the right path for me til i had a close up visual on it, it confused the hell out of me and my direction in life, let alone knowing the fact that i was losing my contact with friends family social-life happiness. no matter how early or deep you are into medical school, its still a good choice to leave because remember if you dislike it at this point, imagine where you would stand on this issue practicing for 30 years in the future, that is complete torture to even think about it! do what you love to do and dont live life on other peoples opinion because at the end of the day, everyone hits their own grave! meaning you dont go to your own grave on peoples opinion do you? do the same for the life your living in this world, its very beneficial. Remember, YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE! do what you want to do in life and be happy no matter others opinion, name, or wealth. we all want a healthy body in all aspects of health.

    p.s. leave medical school if you dont like it! just do it! its worth your stance in life

  275. animaltropical says:

    has anyone had any doubts whether to become a psychologist or a physician? it´ll all i can think about and i just can seem to come to a conclusion with myself… time is running by and i am stuck, i have so much doubts about medschool and yet i´ve always been drawn to it, on the other side psychology has always been a passion of mine and the ones who really know me say i´d be a better psychologist than a physician…

    • Belloglaecus says:

      Either way is good-if you are strong in math/science I’d say psychiatry if you are still young enough-the lines are blurring with strong lobbies wanting to give psychologists the right to prescribe psychotropic medications-either way is good you will probably get more in-depth patient interaction as a psychologist-most psychiatrist just prescribe meds nowadays-as a psychiatrist you will be in the lowest paid tier of docs but you will still do fine-ninety to a hundred and thirty is always good-most of the psychologists I know earn between seventy and ninety-of course there are GREAT variations in these numbers depending on where/how hard you work-I’d say follow your heart, try to take some classes in both and talk to both psychologists and psychiatrists and you will get a feel for which one you want to do! Best wishes, you will figure it out!

      • Thank you so much for answering, I appreciate that! Well my situation is a bit more complicated, I study in another country and here there´s no premed and then (maybe) medschool – you just gen into med school directly, which lasts 6 years. and the study doesn´t cost anything and i wouldn´t even have to move away, the university is 15 mins by bike from where i live! and it´s one of the best universities in the country and i should feel so happy for passing the admission exam – and still i´m not! it´s so strange. once the whole tension (accumulated during months of learning and of dreaming about how wonderful my life will be when i´ll finally pass the exam) was gone, i just felt scared and claustrophobic. it´s ridiculous, i know, but maybe i should stick to psychology, which makes me feel i´m actually in the right place, although it´s really hard to enter to a masters programme and then to become a psychotherapist (it´s also extremely expensive), all of which makes me worry about my future. and i have to decide next week which study i´ll do and after that i won´t be able to switch directions again. which means i won´t have much time to speak to psychologists/psychiatrists, although i know it´s a very good piece of advice you gave me. do you happen to know how the employment prospects for (clinical) psychologists are? is there a lot of competition or is it pretty easy to find a job (regardless of the paycheck) once you have the right degree (PhD in the USA?) ? And again, thanks a lot!

      • soapie7 says:

        You can do med school and then speciialize in psychiatry, but it takes further training to become a psychotherapist. Both paths are expensive. But when you say it “feels right” to do psychology, then I would say go with your gut and the doors will open. Med school is very different from psychology because it deals with the body and not a whole lot of psyche/mind. I entered medschool with a view to do psychiatry for the very same reason (I am passionate about psychology) – now 10 years later after graduating from medschool I am still looking to do a PhD anyway. I hated medschool and suffered like hell – the only time I really exeperienced joy in my studies was all of a few months in my psych rotation as well as my palliative care rotation. The only advantage in going through psychiatry instead of psychology is, quite frankly, snob value. Though I found out recently that music therapists in the US, an emerging field with great client demand, are making as much money as psychiatry consultants in less number of years. With a PhD you still have “Dr” at the beginning of your name, with a whole lot less pain. Then again you may like med school and learning about the body, though from what I see with regards to the direction of medicine there is vast scope for psychologists to become consultants from doctors regarding the increasingly holistic treatment of the patient. My two cents. Best of luck!

      • belloglaecus says:

        Probably what you are feeling is the natural buyer’s remorse and the crash that naturally accompanies a big letdown after all the stress of studying to pass the admissions exam-just give yourself some time to recover, and you will probably feel differently and can make a rational decision then,,,,I would certainly attend med school if I got in!                       

    • belloglaecus says:

      Yes, the demand for psychologists is expected to grow here in the US over the next few decades, so if that is what you like, then go for that, and if you change your mind, you can always do medicine later-or vice versa-just do what seems natural though I can certainly see why you would find it stressful! Best wishes!

      • lebont says:

        Yes I agree follow your heart! To do medicine I think you also have to be absolutely sure you want to live the very difficult life in the first 10 years of your training. And as other say if you find medicine really appealing later on you can always do a post-grad medicine (not sure whether you are in Europe or Asia as you stated you are not in the US but within the EU, UK does have a 4 years graduate-entry medicine that only takes graduate students!)

  276. Troubled says:

    So I need URGENT advice:
    I have finished 3 out of 5 years of medical school, it’s an MBBS degree so I got into it right after high school. I was never sure about what I wanted to become, except that I wanted to study Psychology and Literature in college. My parents pressured me into studying medicine, as I did not have an alternative career in mind and they thought I could combine my interest in Psychology with medicine and become a Psychiatrist….anyway worst decision of my life. I have spent the last 3 years crying and hating every minute of every day, cursing internal medicine and histology and generally finding the subject matter completely boring. Furthermore, I resented medical school for the countless hours I spent standing in clinic or on call doing something I absolutely hated. Because of this I progressed into a very depressed state, despite successfully keeping up with my studies. When my Psych elective rolled around I enjoyed it thoroughly and developed a love for Child Psychiatry, but after some time in it began feeling sad/depressed by the patient’s stories, and found they were affecting me too much. I cannot discern whether this sadness was due to the field itself or because of my own depressed state. Anyway, after much research into psych residencies I realized that pursuing psychiatry still, for the most part, involves endless hours of medicine/neurology etc. and because of how depressed and anxious I have become in medical school I no longer feel cut out for listening to other people talk to me about their sadness either. I don’t know if it’s a phase or I should just genuinely cut my losses and run now. I won’t be in debt so the financial aspect isn’t a huge problem, but if I leave now I have the option of starting an undergrad in Canada and completing it in 3 years. My worry comes from the fact that I have NO idea what career to pursue instead, as my interests still only include Autism, Psychology, Literature etc. and I don’t want to be living paycheck to paycheck after giving up med school. In fact, the undergrad degree I plan to pursue would be far more costly that med school.
    The problem with continuing on this track is that I am so depressed I am finding it difficult to carry on, and even if I do manage to stick it out for the next 2 years, if Psychiatry truly isn’t for me then my career options outside healthcare are severely limited…so that’s a huge risk too, on top of risking my sanity of course. I am just so tormented because one does not simply leave med school after 3 years with NO idea of what they will pursue instead at their new college. PLEASE help me guys if you have any advice…I need to make a decision by tomorrow and I have no idea what to do….
    Thanks

    • sillycibin says:

      Just finish! Two years is nothing in the long view of things. Get your degree completed and reassess. Nothing says you can’t go do something else. Think of all the people who get degrees and then never do anything in the major they studied. You can always take a year off when you are done to figure out what you want to do. You are not trapped.

      • troubles says:

        Thanks for the input sillycibin, but as far as I’ve researched the only career prospects open to me after this degree involve healthcare and I feel I will go crazy if I have to be confined to medical journalism or research…my degree isn’t like other undergrad degrees so I cannot even get into masters programs without fulfilling the necessary prerequisites…and med school itself is miserable enough, giving up your days and nights in a hospital are terrible if u dont plan to practice anyway.
        Regardless, my only fear is that I will regret not doing psychiatry. In comparison with psychology It entails a whole lot more stuff that I hate, so I just dont know if it would be a good career for me in the end

    • chasingkitestrings says:

      1) I think what a lot of people are trying to tell you is that you will really appreciate having a degree [any degree] under your belt after just 2 more short years rather than having no degree and having to start over from scratch in a totally new field that you’re not even 100% sure about interest-wise… Here’s how it’ll play out: if you finish your MBBS then completely change careers after, you’ll seem like a real cool, perverse martyr and you’ll get a lot of respect for finishing something so hard and then not practicing med (some types of people are really motivated by this). And you’ll have a fall back college degree, which is ultimately the most practical thing you could ever get when you’re not sure about anything in life… BUT, you’ll probably really regret having suffered pointlessly, especially if your dead set on not pursuing med after. The second option of quitting and moving on to something that you think will “float your boat” is much more acceptable [only] if you’re filthy rich and don’t really need to be practical and can just indulge yourself. And it also makes much more sense to do only if you’re waaaay sure of this alternate career/life. BUT hey people change degrees/careers/interests everyday [without being sure of anything] and end up really happy down the road. So think about your bucket list and what you want to be remembered as by your grandchildren *snicker.
      2) Sometimes we’re faced with problems and decisions that we think seem like the end of the world. Maybe you should step back and take in some perspective. Can you picture yourself 5 or 10 years into the future? What will you be doing? Can you imagine yourself doing that everyday until you retire? Will you be able to get up in the morning and feel excited about work? Also (lolz, as this really worked for me when I was slogging through med), try to think about the poor people in Pakistan who live day to day trying to eke out a subsistence and don’t have the luxury of ever having to make a decision as mundane as yours… Maybe you could also be a little more grateful for the opportunities that you’ve been given.
      3) Honestly, I see former schoolmates all the time who chose to pursue completely random degrees and end up being really successful in their chosen field. ~I think there’s a saying that it doesn’t matter what you choose to do, as long as you’re the best at it, you’ll always end up with a cool job. And hey we only live once :)

      • troubles says:

        Thanks, your reply actually made me smile. I know I have a lot going for me its just that when you have been feeling so depressed and unmotivated for so long, everything becomes a blur. I guess why I am still here is because I know what everyone is advising makes a lot of sense I just really cant stand the thought of going back when, as immature is it might be, I have the opportunity to just run away from it at all and never have to do medicine again. It has made me unhappy for very long and i shudder to think how i wil feel knowing i voluntarily chose to keep at it. I dont know of psychiatry is a good idea, because theres so much medicine involved and theres a high chance id be miserable doing it….may I ask what part of medicine youre doing and how its treating you?

      • sarah.rahman says:

        Sent from Samsung Mobile

      • chasingkitestrings says:

        Actually I quit med after a year, almost exactly one year ago :)) And right now I’m really enjoying myself. Like crazy much, and sometimes it actually makes me feel guilty when I hear about what my friends who stick it out are slaving over, though in 8 years I’m sure they’ll probably be earning quite a lot and be very smug about it too :)) I’ve got a post somewhere above about what happened to me, just search for “chasingkitestrings”. Oh and if it makes you feel better, my theology prof once told me when I asked him that we never really get to know if we make/made the right choices – probably because there aren’t really any… haha.

  277. lebont says:

    Don’t worry Troubled your MBBS degree is valuable to a lot of career indeed. If you don’t want to practice medicine, there are a lot of route you can go into. Let’s say a MBBS is like any other Life Science degree (but just longer and perhaps more prestigious), and as a matter of fact 90% of the life science graduates go on to work in different fields including banking, accountancy, law, management consultancy etc. I am a life science graduate myself and I see most of my coursemates doing other things that is totally unrelated to science. I also have a medic friend who knew he hated medicine but he finished it nevertheless and did a MBA afterwards and now working in Investment Banking and earned bucks. Well the focus shouldn’t be on the monetary term as he enjoys this much more than medicine. I also have other medics friends who knew they don’t want to do medicine and did a iBSc as a way out and now they are nearly finishing their PhD in medical research.

    So if you can stand 2 more years I will say continue it as the degree is valuable. You can switch to do other things that are not hospital-based like working in pharmaceutical industry (they employ doctors to run clinical trials, or be a scientific researcher), management consultancy (they also like to employ doctors especially if they focus on the health care field) or do another master degree and specialise in something else. You can also take a MPH after this degree and work in public health. To be honest the oppurtunities are endless out there. And to be honest for myself I have got a medical school offer, but i eventually withdrew from it as I knew that I am not 100% sure of it and now I am looking into other fields and found out there are so much that I can do. So being a doctor is not the be all end all. Just my 2 cents.

  278. lebont says:

    So either stick it out for another 2 years, or take a year out now to think about what you want to do (instead of quitting medicine), and perhaps apply for an iBSc if you want during this year. I think from what I can tell you need an extend break to refresh yourself and your idea about medical school might change after this. Remember taking a year out is nothing compared to the so many years you will be on your medical training or your career life afterwards so think about it, make a decision and be proud of what decision you have made.

    • Troubled says:

      Thanks for the support…but how did your friends get into other fields? from the research i’ve done pretty much all masters programs have prerequisites that you needed to have completed in your undergrad…I won’t have completed any of them!!! I don’t want anything to do with healthcare. Not research, not an MPH, not pharma. Even an MBA requires business prerequisites, job experience, internships, etc. Other careers like marketing PR etc require a lot of internships and networking which is more important than what you study at an undergraduate level, but while I’m busy with my MBBS degree I have pretty much no opportunities to explore what else I could be good at or to build a career in anything else. I will feel pretty hopeless at 24 when I have finished my degree and have absolutely no idea where to turn because I have been wasting my life in a hospital for the past 5 years. I certainly don’t want to start my undergrad after MBBS thats just too demoralizing; I just don’t know what I’d enjoy I guess because med school eats away at your time and happiness. Then again I am very scared of leaving it because what if I don’t find something else that I like doing? I used to really like Psychiatry but because of how sad I am I don’t really like constantly dealing with depression, anxiety etc. and I totally HATE the internal medicine side of it. I am very apprehensive about putting all my eggs in one basket, so to speak. If that doesn’t work out my options are very limited…any guidance?? I’d really appreciate it

      • sillycibin says:

        Hopeless at 24?!!?!? After a degree completed even. Hahahahaha. That is such the problem. Hopeless at 24… You are the problem. Your perspective. Your expectations.

        Do you have any idea what other field you would like to pursue? Have you figured out what you need in terms of money and status/responsibility/authority/power?

        You need to come up with a list of possible jobs/fields and get real exposure to them. Even just shadowing. Reading about jobs on the internet is pointless.

  279. Troubled says:

    I’ve thought about it and I think I would enjoy a career in PR, publishing, marketing, editing, advertising, the World Bank, UN, etc. I would love to get real exposure to such careers but my intensive degree doesn’t afford me the opportunity to explore them, or any relevant skills I might require to get a job in marketing or the like. It is incredibly difficult to force yourself to do medicine and complete the degree when every day is a drag and you absolutely hate the subject matter not to mention the endless hours you spend doing the job you hate. In which case, is it really a bad idea to go for a new undergraduate degree NOW? in econ, international relations, pol sci etc. basically liberal arts degree

    • lebont says:

      I can totally understand what you are going through. Might I ask where do you base? I had a friend who was studying medicine in Poland and hated it, and he did get a intercalated BSc at UCL in Molecular Medicine (a intercalated degree is just 1 year and that gives you an award). Perhaps if you hate science you can always do iBSc in medical anthropology, or history of medicine. (but an iBSc essentially still needs to be somehow medically/scientifically related). The iBSc can springboard you to a Master degree i guess, and you can do whatever you want. I can see you want to move away from science and healthcare altogether. And to be honest with a degree you can go into any field anyway. Having a degree in business doesn’t guarantee you a job, it’s more a matter of how you are as a person, how do you look on CV, and how determined you are. As I said if you can stand medicine for another 2 years (or go to do an iBSc), i will say definitely stick it out because as i said in the last reply you can go into any jobs, especially PR (you don’t really need a degree in PR or advertising to get a job in these fields). I guess you might just take a gap year this year, apply for internship (maybe paid or non-paid) just to get some experiences in these fields, just take one step at a time.

      To be honest you are probably 22 now as you was saying. To me you are very young. And don’t think your life has to make a concrete decision at 22. I can tell you I am 28 now I am still looking to change my field having just finished my PhD in a top university in the UK, and I did have a chance to get into medical school but I withdrew the offer. What I am telling you is that don’t get coldfeet about leaving medicine. Yes you will be a newbie in another field, but everything has to make a start right? Just be determined and if you are able you can always rise up to the top!

      • Troubled says:

        I grew up in Canada and wanted to do a liberal arts degree there, but decided to do an MBBS from Pakistan because its a shorter route to medicine (it’s what my parents wanted for me). I have gotten into a good liberal arts program in Toronto in the subjects I mentioned, and all that is standing between me and being free of medicine is getting on that plane right now. I am just very hesitant because although I will be much happier there, economics and pol sci and the like are all completely new subjects for me and to take that huge leap is rather risky–don’t want to give up everything and regret it later. On the other hand, like you said PR etc. don’t require a solid degree and I don’t want to narrow myself down to such careers after putting blood sweat and tears into getting a medical degree. I want to give myself the opportunity to be successful at something else that is worthwhile, financially and emotionally. I just don’t know what that is. Wish I had some answers, I will regret it all my life if I make the wrong decision now. Yes, undergraduate degrees in Toronto aren’t going to disappear in a year, but I really don’t want to give up the opportunity to be happy and ‘get out while I still can’ either

  280. Troubled says:

    also, being currently based in Pakistan and wanting to settle down in North America makes it all the more difficult, as this ‘work experience’ and ‘networking’ becomes infinitely harder to land if you’re not even in the right country for it

    • Troubled says:

      Basically, I am not convinced that sticking it out to get an MBBS degree is actually a smarter career move than getting out now. Simply because it denies me exposure to and prevents me from getting experience in other fields, in addition to providing me with non of the technical skills needed for employment in other fields. All in all, I don’t see the point of suffering for another 2 years only to further narrow down my career prospects as a result. Why, then, is it a better idea to put myself through that misery than to go to Canada and explore other careers as an undergraduate, obviously having a lot more fun along the way? If someone could help me see the light it would mean a lot. Time is running out, I have deadlines I am seriously messing with

      • lebont says:

        I think you have answered your own questions to be honest. You do not really want to continue to be in medical field, and you want to be in north America doing liberal art. You have really made the decision already but you are just seeking approval here. So Troubled from what I can see you should really be brave and just make the decision, withdraw it and start something afresh in canada, start a new degree if your finance allows. No matter what you do not want to carry on the medical degree anyway, not for another 2 years (and these could be long if you are really suffering). And think about it you can be successful no matter what you are doing as long as you are good at the job and you work hard, so go do what you need to do. you have our supports here!

      • Troubled says:

        So just a followup on my situation:

        I went ahead and took a year off to study Economics and English in Canada, and still have the option of going back to med school next year. I have really enjoyed my new subjects and just wish I had been able to do this in the first place instead of 3 years of medicine in between.
        The year is ending of course, and I do have to make a decision now about returning to medical school. I am filled with anxiety about this decision as, after talking to many people, almost everyone is of the opinion that I should go ahead and finish medical school even though I hated it. I have more clarity about wanting to perhaps go into marketing, product management, management consulting etc. But even now as far as I can see, if you’re not doing internships in the field you don’t have a chance of getting these jobs. Furthermore, I am adamant about avoiding a future in healthcare–I sometimes still think about how I used to enjoy Child Psychiatry though, and am very scared to throw the opportunity away forever because maybe 10 years down the line it would give me a better life, maybe shorter hours and more money, maybe it would be fulfilling I don’t know. Its just so incredibly difficult to go back to medical school where I was depressed and hated the subject matter, when I am so happy studying Econ and English here and wishing I never had to go back or do the ‘practical’ thing. Is it really a bad decision to stay on and complete a BA? I just don’t know what to do when I want something that seems so irrational or stupid, really, because so many people have told me “the grass is always greener” and that marketing and management consulting won’t be any better in the long run…help?

      • Troubled, I think if the grass were always greener on the other side you wouldn´t have enjoyed it so much studying English and Economics… Apparently the grass is greener on the side where you are now! Do you think often about med school? How do you feel when you speak to your former mates from there?
        I admire you a lot for being so brave, I wish I could have your guts :).

  281. Lee Wednesday says:

    I haven’t read all of the comments, but many of them. As this site (and many others) helped me reach my decision to quit medicine, I figured I owed it to the online posse to give my two bits.

    A wee bit o arguably relevant history:

    I did a degree in Physics – started out in Electrical Engineering, but after a work term and some summer computer work realized I HATE computers and sitting at a desk. Some people love it, and good on em. Not me. Door number 1 closed.

    I’ve already dropped out of a Physics masters twice, Law School once, and a masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathology. Doors number 2, 3, 4 also shut fo good.

    Also, last year I did a Bachelor of Education and taught grade 11 Physics and Grade 9 biology. Didn’t really like that much either. This door remains a wee bit open as I realized substitute teaching ain’t so bad – you can work when you want and it pays around $200 a day post tax – I can live off of that. And, you don’t take your work home with you and its only a 6.5 hour day.

    Now, I’m 37 years old, and in first year medicine… and, after talking to other 4th years and docs and hanging out in hospitals and reading and soul searching etc… I realized I hate it, hate hospitals, don’t like sick people (although of course I would like to help my fellow humans – who wouldn’t – but perhaps through the written word or some other medium). So, and I would like to point out that this is no easy decision when you’re broke a*s and nearing 40, I am going to quit.

    I’ve tried a lot of things – shouldn’t I just stick this one out?

    I am scared. I am scared of being a ‘loser’, scared of not having something to offer the opposite gender. Scared of being alone. Scared of searching for meaning. Scared of having no job security.

    Here’s the thing. There is one job i’ve loved, and that is serving and bartending. The hours are amazing – you never get up in the morning. Everyone you serve is super happy to be there. There are beautiful ladies abounding, and a ready supply of beer after work (as well as yummy food). However, the societal pressure to achieve the ‘checkmark’ of adult hood, which medicine definitely provides, left me feeling like I needed to be something more. I was getting older and everyone around me was staying the same age. A 19 year old could learn to do my job in 30 hours. This made me feel inadequate and lacking.

    So, to return to the issue of being afraid – should I plow through 6 years of something I am repulsed by / feel apathy towards so that I can feel like I am ‘ok’ in the eyes of others (and my stupid insecure self)?

    Nay I say – even if I bartend (at some hotel in my mid 40s to 60s) at some hotel and substitute teach for the rest of my life (and do some writing and drink beer with my friends and play a lot of soccer and do yoga and go for peaceful walks with my book) – IT IS OK.

    Doesn’t mean I don’t feel like I should be doing something more 90% of the time – but I’m wrestling with that as we all do.

    I am going to be brave enough to quit what I don’t like, and face the unknown. Face a life of mediocre to low income. Maybe I’ll go into sales and make zillions, maybe I won’t. But I will never forgive myself if I toe the line for all the wrong reasons.

    Hope this helps – and all you 23 year olds out there – you don’t just have time to start a new career, you have the time to start three. Get on with your life – it’s short – and as mentioned in another post, you don’t lie on your death bed and wish you worked more.

    (I want to make clear that I am very grateful that the world is full of different folks – some born to be healers, engineers, teachers, etc. I have nothing but respect for all these professions.)

    Grant.

  282. samiqalab99 says:

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  283. It’s encouraging to know that there are people who feel the same way out there. I am in second year of medical school in the Caribbean. It is extremely tough. In first year, I had no problems and really enjoyed learning anatomy. I got top marks. I never even questioned the idea of becoming a physician. I was enjoying myself. Now in second year, the workload has increased even further. They are literally shovelling information down our throats. There is not enough time to learn things properly and it sucks the fun right out of studying medicine. In addition, some departments are trying very hard to fail students on technical details. They change the rules halfway through the term and there is nothing you can do to stop it from happening. You are powerless and no one will listen to you.

    Also, coming to the caribbean has been a huge sacrifice. I have missed many of my friends weddings. I don’t get to see my parents or significant other very often. But then again, anything you try to pursue these days is going to be difficult and will often require you to move away from friends and family.

    I withdrew from a course this term and it was really the first actual failure I have experienced in my life. The gravity of the situation (the fact that I am sitting on $100k of medical school loans) opened my eyes up to how the working world really is. Because I had been doing fine before this, I never looked ahead to the future. I did a lot of soul searching, and internet searching. I looked at other careers. The problem is, at the end of the day, no other career is going to give you the level of compensation and job security as a career in medicine. And you need that level of compensation to pay off your loans.

    I don’t know if I can leave medicine. Nothing else excites me in life. I am not creative, musically inclined or a good writer. I don’t like business and I don’t want to take the risk that comes with the business world.

    A part of me just wants an office job. Something where I can go in everyday, do my work, and come home without anything on my mind.

    I feel like I should continue. After all, I am here for what people seem to call “the right reasons”. I love the subject of medicine and I get great satisfaction out of helping others. But what if I reach clinical rotations and hate it? I am not a “Type A” personality and I feel like this will make me incompatible with the profession. But at that point it will be too late to turn back. It will make more sense to get the MD degree.

    No matter how hard I think about all this, a definite answer is never going to come because I cannot see into the future. I have no idea if I will be happy or not.

    Would appreciate any input..

    • LB says:

      Hey intrepidislander,

      Here’s my 2 cents on your situation.

      I think I went through much of what you’re dealing with now. (I posted comments on here when I was going through it, so if you’re really interested, you can see if you can find those posts. – Username “LB” and it would have been in October or November of 2011.) While I didn’t go to school across an ocean from my family, I still really struggled my second year. I got so bogged down in the memorization and was comparing myself to all my classmates (I was doing a problem based learning curriculum so it was easy to feel like I knew way less than everyone else). I became pretty depressed, failed a couple of exams, and finally (after much agonizing) decided to take a leave of absence. I didn’t really have an earth-shattering realization during my time off, but I think I came to understand two things: 1) medicine was always going to be hard and I either had to deal with that, or leave and 2) it was all I really wanted to do. I’m now a 4th year and just had my first interview for residency today. I won’t lie to you and tell you that it’s all been great since I decided to go back to med school. There were – and are – still days that suck. A lot. Often I feel stupid or inadequate and like I just don’t fit in with “medical people.” But, increasingly often, I feel like I’m learning and growing and getting better. I chose a field that I think I fit in well. I’ve applied to programs that fit my goals for the future. And I’m actually excited about being a doctor.

      So you already said it. “Nothing else excites me in life.” You said that you’re in medicine for all the “right reasons.” So you know where you stand. Medicine isn’t for everyone, but it sounds like it is for you. You just need to find where you fit within medicine. And that will come. And you just need to make it through your second year. Second year sucks and don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. Third year can suck too, but if you’re in medicine to see patients, it’s better than second year. At least that was true for me.

      And don’t be afraid to take time off…if your school will work with you. I was lucky and had no problem taking a leave of absence and coming back. Just know all your options before you make the choice. But if you think you can push through, do it. I don’t regret my time off, but there are certain things that I had to deal with because of it. A big part of it was coming back as part of a class I didn’t really know and I have never really made friends within my current class that are as close as the friends I made my first year. But I accept that as part of the consequences of leaving for a while, and I’m ok with it.

      If you want to talk at all, feel free to email me at lnickelb@gmail.com. I actually emailed a couple people I found on this blog when I decided to take time off and found it extremely helpful to know I wasn’t alone and to get some advice from people who had stuck with it and from people who left medicine. So let me know!

      Best of luck to you!

      • LB says:

        Whoops, I lied. 2010 was when I posted previously and took time off. Apparently, I don’t have any sense of time. Haha

      • Thanks LB. I agree. I do feel that medicine is still my best choice. However, it is a long road ahead and there are a lot of challenges I will face. My biggest worry is that my personality won’t fit with that of a physician. I love doing things for people, but I’m not necessarily a people person. I’m a shy guy and don’t really like small talk. I don’t like going to fancy dinners with doctors. I’d rather hang out with my non-medicine friends in my spare time. However I am hoping there is still a place for me in medicine even if I am not “Type A”.

        I know if I put the effort in and stay positive I can push through. It’s tempting to give up at the prospect of being able to go home to friends and family and drop this huge weight of medical school off my shoulders. But I know that after a few weeks I will realize that I still want medicine. The grass always looks greener on the other side until you hop over the fence.

  284. Logan says:

    People, stop overthinking things. All of you want an answer from someone else’s experience. “Did you quit? If so, how’s things going?” Blah, blah, blah. Find your own answers. I define success as happiness. If you’re not happy, you’re in the wrong field of work. If you love medicine, and you have a passion to be a doctor, do it. I feel bad for a couple of you. Your parents pressuring you and all. Thank God my parents and family are very supportive. I guess because we don’t focus on material things or worldly success. My family always tell me: “If you’re happy, I’m happy.” “This is your future, do what you want.” “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” “We love you no matter what.” “I don’t care if you’re a business mogul or a librarian, as long as your happy.” So on and so forth. I’m not going to med school, so I’m sure it’s nowhere near as hard as what a lot of you guys are going through, but I no longer want to be a radiologic technician. After Anatomy & Physiology it made me realize: “This is not for me, I have no passion for this.” I was only thinking of the money. I know it’s corny but, you only live once. Do what makes you happy. I think I’m going to either get into foreign language, graphic design, business degree, photography, something that I’ll enjoy doing. I also have a passion for traveling. If this is what you want to do quit med school, change your degree, get a job, have a social life, travel, and enjoy life. Once you’re dead and gone none of the accolades we earned here are going to matter anyways. Sounds like people are too focused on money instead of happiness. Good luck to all.

    • Pazam says:

      Some of us came in for the right reasons, and still think this might be it, but feel like $hit studying… It’s not that “we’re doing it for out parents.” I myself am 24 years old, and could care less what anyone else thinks, but it’s still a dilemma that I constantly think about. There’s weeks, and months where I feel like crap, and I think everything I do is inadequate, because this is a stressful environment and competition is out the roof!

      With Step 1 exam looming, and struggling to say motivated enough to listen to 8+ hours of lectures everyday, you question yourself quite often.

      It’s definitely not as simple as you think it is to just say, yea, I’m gonna do something else. Especially considering that I have 40K loans from undergrad and 90k from med school already. As soon as I stop being a student, I have to pay back $130,000 with 7% interest.

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