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    To make a long story short, I'm really not enjoying the course at the moment. The first semester was fine and my November exam went well, but coming back in January I'm finding myself dreading lectures, seminars, and particularly hospital and GP visits. I have a huge fear of formal communication and the idea of talking to patients makes me very anxious. I thought initially that I could get through the course and then everything would be better, but I'm realising now that the aspects of the course that I'm not enjoying - learning the information and patient communication - are things that are going to continue for the rest of my life if I choose a career in Medicine, and I don't want to go through five years of Medicine only to confirm that I don't enjoy the career and have effectively wasted my time at uni.

    I've arranged to talk to my tutor so hopefully that will help, but meanwhile any advice would be gratefully accepted.
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    Not enjoying either learning the information in a medicine course or talking to patients do sound like reasons to rethink your career.
    Most people find talking to patients daunting at first though, getting comfortable doing it comes with practice and I still find some consultations stressful and upsetting after over 20 years as a doctor. It's important to realise patients are just people though, and as a medical student they don't have high expectations of you and most want to help you learn. If they seem pissed off and grumpy it's probably because they are ill and scared and nothing to do with you.
    There are less people orientated areas of medicine but you'd have to enjoy learning all the theoretical stuff to do those and still have to do med school and foundation years. That's alot of years to be miserable in if you hate it.
    What made you think about medicine as a career? It takes alot of motivation to get into med school these days, although I think the numerous hoops to jump through can turn applying to medical school into a game for high achievers with people maybe not really thinking about life as a doctor in the future. Perhaps if getting in was easier people would think more about whether or not they want to do it rather than whether or not they can do it.
    Sometimes it's not until a course starts that the reality of the path ahead becomes clear.
    Have you got ideas about what else you'd fancy doing? It should be fairly easy to apply for something else if you got the grade for med school.
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    (Original post by halidon)
    To make a long story short, I'm really not enjoying the course at the moment. The first semester was fine and my November exam went well, but coming back in January I'm finding myself dreading lectures, seminars, and particularly hospital and GP visits. I have a huge fear of formal communication and the idea of talking to patients makes me very anxious. I thought initially that I could get through the course and then everything would be better, but I'm realising now that the aspects of the course that I'm not enjoying - learning the information and patient communication - are things that are going to continue for the rest of my life if I choose a career in Medicine, and I don't want to go through five years of Medicine only to confirm that I don't enjoy the career and have effectively wasted my time at uni.

    I've arranged to talk to my tutor so hopefully that will help, but meanwhile any advice would be gratefully accepted.
    You're still in the very early days of the course. Lots of people are anxious about talking to patients at your stage, but as taysidefrog says, they're not expecting you to be a doctor yet! It's not something that's going to magically get better once you pass and are a doctor, it's something you're going to have to practise and practise until it's not scary. If you really feel like you can't do that, then maybe medicine isn't for you, but lots of other jobs require formal communication and talking to clients etc, so it's a useful transferrable skill to develop whatever you decide.

    Think about why you felt you wanted to do medicine in the first place. Are you just letting your anxieties about certain things overtake everything else?
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    (Original post by taysidefrog)
    Sometimes it's not until a course starts that the reality of the path ahead becomes clear.
    Have you got ideas about what else you'd fancy doing? It should be fairly easy to apply for something else if you got the grade for med school.
    (Original post by Helenia)
    Think about why you felt you wanted to do medicine in the first place. Are you just letting your anxieties about certain things overtake everything else?
    Thanks for both your replies, much appreciated.

    During secondary school I did a week's work experience at a GP surgery and loved it. I wanted to work with either children or animals, and thought that doing Medicine would be a way to have both an interesting career with different things to do every day, and to work in a field involving children. After deciding that I sort of shut out the possibility of doing anything else - I didn't particularly enjoy work experience at a hospital, but remembering how much I loved the GP work experience still persuaded me that Medicine was something for me.

    I knew it was going to be hard work but you never know exactly how much work it's going to be until you're there. I can cope with the workload but it's the fact that I'm not enjoying what I'm learning that bothers me - if this is the stuff I'm going to be learning for the rest of my life, I want it to be something that I'm interested in.

    It seems like you have to sacrifice so much for Medicine - time, effort, much of your life outside of the course/job - and there are other things I could think of that I would enjoy much more and that wouldn't require me to give up as much.

    Ideally, I'd like to take a year out to reassess what I want to do, but I don't know how feasible that would be as I'm only in first year and I have no personal extenuating circumstances as such. Animal biology interests me, as does primary education, but I don't want to rush into a course only to feel like this again.
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    Giving up on something after a single term is far too early regardless of what it is! At least finish this year, for starters.

    I didn't much enjoy the first few years of learning pre-clinical information either, although by the sounds of the amount of patient contact you're getting... you're not at my medical school :P The stuff you learn changes dramatically when you get to clinics, in my opinion. And you do adjust to communicating with patients. The synthetic 'meet patients' environment of younger medical school doesn't really relate to actually speaking to patients 1:1 in a less fake setting, or so I found because a lot of the problems I had with it melted away. The fact you wanted to work with kids usually says "gets a kick out of communicating" to me so perhaps you just need to build your confidence doing the same with adults.

    Talking to your tutor should help you a lot.
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    Talk to your tutor but to be honest it's way too early to give up.

    I'm also a first year, placements and GPs can be daunting at times but at other times, realy exciting and fun! I've also disliked many topics during semester 1 but I know that it will improve

    Talk to older years too about what you're going through. They've probably gone through it too

    Pre clinical years are usually boring compared to clinical.
    Unfortunately life outside medicine in uni can be limited but there's still a life outside med!!
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    Definitely talk to your tutor, medic support system at your uni, friends, older years, doctors, just about anyone who's willing to listen and can relate to your experience I'd say. Give it at least a year or something before you come to a conclusion!

    I'll reassure you that you're not the only one, especially in a very pressured environment like with medicine.

    Personally, I found it really scary to talk to patients/doctors in the beginning, thinking back it was probably because I felt there was a lot of pressure to take history well and I lacked understanding and confidence.
    However over the year, I've done so many history takings and examinations that I'm a lot more clued up and better, and I naturally found myself being more confident in the consultations.
    I don't know if this might be something affecting you, but I thought I'd put it out there just to reassure you that it's okay to have doubts, especially if it's a lot to do with confidence!
 
 
 
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