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    I am currently a 1st year medical student. For my first semester I enjoyed the course however about 5 weeks ago, I had what I can only describe as a mental break down. I wanted to leave my course completely. I have been advised to finish first year which I plan to do before making a final decision.

    All of a sudden I just couldn't cope. Everything became really stressful with approaching exams and deadlines and suddenly Medicine seemed so overwhelming - I cracked. This feeling had been building inside of me for a while and talking to my parents felt like a relief.

    Since starting the course I have left my part time job for more free time at the weekend and very rarely see any of my school friends. I struggle to go to the gym some nights too. I feel like medicine has consumed my life - particularly when I see my other friends enjoying uni and out and about together. I am in a serious relationship and this is something that is important to me - everything I read about medicine says 'relationships won't last through med school' and once again more doubts creep into my mind.

    I knew Medicine would be demanding and challenging however I don't think you know anything completely until you try it. As I get older I think about my future and currently all I can see are exams, stress and pressure. I have found myself worrying ridiculously about things in much older years, I have shut down from people around me and my favourite part of the day has become returning home. Medicine had been my dream for so long but now I feel drained.

    I still very much want to work hard and help people however I am not sure Medicine is the right pathway for me anymore. I have considered nursing and midwifery yet the thought of being 'overshadowed' by doctors has prevented me applying.

    This has been an extremely difficult time for me and I know ultimately this has to be my own decision however I just wondered if anyone had any advice, or if anyone else has ever felt the same? Or if anyone could think of any other career options to consider I would be extremely grateful. Thanks
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    I think this is something faced by most medical students to varying degrees. My advice would be to stick with the course now that you're in. If you speak to student support they may be able to arrange some time off to consider your options.
    FYI. I did nursing instead of medicine as it seemed less demanding. Seven years later I'm applying for medicine as I feel unfulfilled. Should have done it years ago.


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    (Original post by paton123)
    I am currently a 1st year medical student. For my first semester I enjoyed the course however about 5 weeks ago, I had what I can only describe as a mental break down. I wanted to leave my course completely. I have been advised to finish first year which I plan to do before making a final decision.

    All of a sudden I just couldn't cope. Everything became really stressful with approaching exams and deadlines and suddenly Medicine seemed so overwhelming - I cracked. This feeling had been building inside of me for a while and talking to my parents felt like a relief.

    Since starting the course I have left my part time job for more free time at the weekend and very rarely see any of my school friends. I struggle to go to the gym some nights too. I feel like medicine has consumed my life - particularly when I see my other friends enjoying uni and out and about together. I am in a serious relationship and this is something that is important to me - everything I read about medicine says 'relationships won't last through med school' and once again more doubts creep into my mind.

    I knew Medicine would be demanding and challenging however I don't think you know anything completely until you try it. As I get older I think about my future and currently all I can see are exams, stress and pressure. I have found myself worrying ridiculously about things in much older years, I have shut down from people around me and my favourite part of the day has become returning home. Medicine had been my dream for so long but now I feel drained.

    I still very much want to work hard and help people however I am not sure Medicine is the right pathway for me anymore. I have considered nursing and midwifery yet the thought of being 'overshadowed' by doctors has prevented me applying.

    This has been an extremely difficult time for me and I know ultimately this has to be my own decision however I just wondered if anyone had any advice, or if anyone else has ever felt the same? Or if anyone could think of any other career options to consider I would be extremely grateful. Thanks
    Like someone else said, if you're having to ask, then it probably isn't right. However, do you feel you can get over this slump at some point, that you'll eventually be able to shake it off and pick yourself up?

    I don't think the thing about relationships not lasting medical school is true. Like you say, you are in a serious relationship, and people in serious relationships help each other along the way. As long as your SO is understanding, you'll be able to make it. A lot of sacrifices have to be made initially and maybe along the way too, so it's important to be with someone who gets that.

    That said, it's only going to get harder from here with Medicine. Ultimately, it's up to you what you decide to do with your life but if you still want to help people in the medical field, nursing or midwifery is a good option. You may not necessarily have to take on a role that causes you to be 'overshadowed' as you put it. What about nurse practitioners? They're specialised, especially Macmillan cancer nurses. Are you interested in becoming a paramedic by any chance? I think that's what I would like to do if not for Medicine.

    I hope you come to a decision but it is best to stick it out for first year so you get some sort of qualification out of it. I think you get a diploma or something? Don't quote me on that though, that might be for 2nd/3rd year drop outs. Also just think about whether you'll be satisfied in life if you dropped out of this. What would future you think?
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    (Original post by paton123)
    All of a sudden I just couldn't cope. Everything became really stressful with approaching exams and deadlines and suddenly Medicine seemed so overwhelming - I cracked. This feeling had been building inside of me for a while and talking to my parents felt like a relief
    Reading between the lines (and do correct me if I'm wrong please), but it sounds a bit like you haven't been particularly vocal about how stressed out you've been feeling until as you say, you cracked. If that's the case, it's no wonder you felt a great sense of relief when you finally unburdened yourself to your parents - I can't imagine how stressed out you must have felt going through a term and a half without anyone to talk to about the demands of the course and how it makes you feel.

    You've mentioned friends from home, and it's a shame that you're not able to see them as often as before - have you made any friends at medical school? If so, I cannot emphasise enough how helpful it is to talk about your worries with them - you will almost certainly find that they will feel the same way to a great extent.

    If you feel like you'd benefit from talking to someone more impartial or removed from the med school bubble, you could contact your uni's counselling service? They will have a lot of experience with helping students who feel unsettled and overwhelmed in their first year.


    I knew Medicine would be demanding and challenging however I don't think you know anything completely until you try it. As I get older I think about my future and currently all I can see are exams, stress and pressure. I have found myself worrying ridiculously about things in much older years, I have shut down from people around me and my favourite part of the day has become returning home. Medicine had been my dream for so long but now I feel drained
    It's a bit unfortunate really and a lot of pre-clinical students feel this way - you spend sixth form doing work experience, entrance exams, interviews etc, and getting in becomes the be all and end all of your academic life for at least a year.

    Then you finally get in, and you're immediately sent off to lectures and PBL for two years and inundated with a lot of science that often seems both dry and irrelevant to clinical practice. It's only natural that many first years find themselves tired and having lost their passion for being a doctor very early on in the course.

    There's good news and bad news as far as this goes. The bad news is that unfortunately you're right: medicine does take over your life to a great extent. It's not just a degree or just a job, it is definitely more of a way of life in the same way that being in the army is. So I won't pretend to you that if you stick it out it will be a breeze.

    The good news is that several things will happen - firstly, if you can stick it out to clinical medicine, you could well find that your passion and interest returns as you start placements. Being in the hospital is way more interesting than being in lectures and driving yourself crazy trying to cram lots of science into your head. A lot of students find this is the case, so it's not unreasonable that you might feel similarly.

    Secondly, your ability to cope with stress will improve. You'll have gotten through two years of intense pre-clinical medicine. You've been in uni for six months now - with more time, you will continue to mature as a person and as a student...so you will find yourself coping better than you did at the beginning of the course. Like I say, I won't try and tell you that it will all be peachy and never stressful, but things can definitely become less constantly overwhelming.

    But in my opinion, and to summarise, the most important thing to do is NOT shut yourself off from people. Talk to anyone...classmates are probably the best people as they know exactly what you're going through, but parents, partner, siblings, uni counsellor etc are all fine too. But talk to someone.
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    (Original post by jenigma)
    Like someone else said, if you're having to ask, then it probably isn't right. However, do you feel you can get over this slump at some point, that you'll eventually be able to shake it off and pick yourself up?

    I don't think the thing about relationships not lasting medical school is true. Like you say, you are in a serious relationship, and people in serious relationships help each other along the way. As long as your SO is understanding, you'll be able to make it. A lot of sacrifices have to be made initially and maybe along the way too, so it's important to be with someone who gets that.

    That said, it's only going to get harder from here with Medicine. Ultimately, it's up to you what you decide to do with your life but if you still want to help people in the medical field, nursing or midwifery is a good option. You may not necessarily have to take on a role that causes you to be 'overshadowed' as you put it. What about nurse practitioners? They're specialised, especially Macmillan cancer nurses. Are you interested in becoming a paramedic by any chance? I think that's what I would like to do if not for Medicine.

    I hope you come to a decision but it is best to stick it out for first year so you get some sort of qualification out of it. I think you get a diploma or something? Don't quote me on that though, that might be for 2nd/3rd year drop outs. Also just think about whether you'll be satisfied in life if you dropped out of this. What would future you think?
    Thanks for your reply. I wonder myself if this feeling will pass. I also wonder whether this feeling will get worse.

    I totally agree with the relationship comment however it is daunting to hear. I don't think I could get through this without the support my partner has provided.

    A macmillan cancer nurse is something I am very interested in, especially as I currently have family member suffering with cancer and have seen the amazing work they do. I am unsure however of the exact pathway I take to get to this role.

    I have also thought a lot about what I will think in the future, right now I would do anything to be happy, and if future me is happy then I don't think I would regret this decision.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    Reading between the lines (and do correct me if I'm wrong please), but it sounds a bit like you haven't been particularly vocal about how stressed out you've been feeling until as you say, you cracked. If that's the case, it's no wonder you felt a great sense of relief when you finally unburdened yourself to your parents - I can't imagine how stressed out you must have felt going through a term and a half without anyone to talk to about the demands of the course and how it makes you feel.

    You've mentioned friends from home, and it's a shame that you're not able to see them as often as before - have you made any friends at medical school? If so, I cannot emphasise enough how helpful it is to talk about your worries with them - you will almost certainly find that they will feel the same way to a great extent.

    If you feel like you'd benefit from talking to someone more impartial or removed from the med school bubble, you could contact your uni's counselling service? They will have a lot of experience with helping students who feel unsettled and overwhelmed in their first year.




    It's a bit unfortunate really and a lot of pre-clinical students feel this way - you spend sixth form doing work experience, entrance exams, interviews etc, and getting in becomes the be all and end all of your academic life for at least a year.

    Then you finally get in, and you're immediately sent off to lectures and PBL for two years and inundated with a lot of science that often seems both dry and irrelevant to clinical practice. It's only natural that many first years find themselves tired and having lost their passion for being a doctor very early on in the course.

    There's good news and bad news as far as this goes. The bad news is that unfortunately you're right: medicine does take over your life to a great extent. It's not just a degree or just a job, it is definitely more of a way of life in the same way that being in the army is. So I won't pretend to you that if you stick it out it will be a breeze.

    The good news is that several things will happen - firstly, if you can stick it out to clinical medicine, you could well find that your passion and interest returns as you start placements. Being in the hospital is way more interesting than being in lectures and driving yourself crazy trying to cram lots of science into your head. A lot of students find this is the case, so it's not unreasonable that you might feel similarly.

    Secondly, your ability to cope with stress will improve. You'll have gotten through two years of intense pre-clinical medicine. You've been in uni for six months now - with more time, you will continue to mature as a person and as a student...so you will find yourself coping better than you did at the beginning of the course. Like I say, I won't try and tell you that it will all be peachy and never stressful, but things can definitely become less constantly overwhelming.

    But in my opinion, and to summarise, the most important thing to do is NOT shut yourself off from people. Talk to anyone...classmates are probably the best people as they know exactly what you're going through, but parents, partner, siblings, uni counsellor etc are all fine too. But talk to someone.
    Thanks for your reply. I have made comments here and there but they have never been seriously considered.

    I have heard many people say how much of a jump third year is and the sacrifices that will have to come with this terrify me.

    I have spoken to class mates and most of them do feel the same in many ways, yet they have never considered dropping out as they say 'there is nothing else for me', where as I have been looking and hoping to find another course that is for me.
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    (Original post by Lisagee10)
    I think this is something faced by most medical students to varying degrees. My advice would be to stick with the course now that you're in. If you speak to student support they may be able to arrange some time off to consider your options.
    FYI. I did nursing instead of medicine as it seemed less demanding. Seven years later I'm applying for medicine as I feel unfulfilled. Should have done it years ago.


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    I guess that just proves that you never know how you will feel about something until you try it!
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    (Original post by paton123)
    Thanks for your reply. I wonder myself if this feeling will pass. I also wonder whether this feeling will get worse.

    I totally agree with the relationship comment however it is daunting to hear. I don't think I could get through this without the support my partner has provided.

    A macmillan cancer nurse is something I am very interested in, especially as I currently have family member suffering with cancer and have seen the amazing work they do. I am unsure however of the exact pathway I take to get to this role.

    I have also thought a lot about what I will think in the future, right now I would do anything to be happy, and if future me is happy then I don't think I would regret this decision.
    Honestly, your happiness comes before anything else and even as a doctor/medical student, it's good to be a little selfish and take some time off to look after yourself. Your mental health if unstable would affect your career, your relationship and most importantly, yourself and no career is worth it. If you're unable to handle a career in Medicine, that's okay too. I hope you're not thinking of yourself as a failure for not wanting to complete medical school either. You were smart enough and capable enough to get in, you've just decided you want to choose a different path in life.

    Before you do give up though, I hope you talk to other students on your course as many people would in fact feel the same way with regards to stress, pressure and keeping on top of things. God knows it's a hard, demanding course. Is your partner supportive of your decision to drop out?

    Check this article about Macmillan cancer nurses: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/...listnurse.aspx

    Seems like you go through the normal Nursing degree, become a nurse then apply for it.
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    (Original post by jenigma)
    Honestly, your happiness comes before anything else and even as a doctor/medical student, it's good to be a little selfish and take some time off to look after yourself. Your mental health if unstable would affect your career, your relationship and most importantly, yourself and no career is worth it. If you're unable to handle a career in Medicine, that's okay too. I hope you're not thinking of yourself as a failure for not wanting to complete medical school either. You were smart enough and capable enough to get in, you've just decided you want to choose a different path in life.

    Before you do give up though, I hope you talk to other students on your course as many people would in fact feel the same way with regards to stress, pressure and keeping on top of things. God knows it's a hard, demanding course. Is your partner supportive of your decision to drop out?

    Check this article about Macmillan cancer nurses: http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Aboutus/...listnurse.aspx

    Seems like you go through the normal Nursing degree, become a nurse then apply for it.
    I agree with all what you're saying. Many people have told me it is ok to change my mind, and I feel as though I have, however I don't know what I have changed my mind too.

    My partner is very supportive, he believes I should do what makes me happy as do most of my family members.

    Thanks so much for the link, you've been great help. Are you a medical student/ doctor yourself?
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    (Original post by paton123)
    I have heard many people say how much of a jump third year is and the sacrifices that will have to come with this terrify me.
    A jump in what sense? In terms of academic difficulty it becomes a bit easier in my experience - the breadth and volume of information which you have to learn is still high, but at least it's mostly clinically relevant unlike pre-clinical histology and biochemistry.
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    Does the BMA have a helpine for this sort of thing? id finish the first year and think carefully. Its a personal choice so hard to say. Maybe one you qualify then you cna choose a specialism youd enjoy more or was less stressful or you switch to being a GP and go part time eventually?
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    (Original post by jenigma)
    Like someone else said, if you're having to ask, then it probably isn't right.
    I really hate this mentality. It couldn't be any more incorrect.
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    (Original post by Etomidate)
    I really hate this mentality. It couldn't be any more incorrect.
    Missed that, yeah same here, it's probably part of the reason why there are so many anxious/depressed doctors. It encourages medical students and doctors to hide their problems or self-treat for fear of being told they don't actually belong in the profession.
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    (Original post by Etomidate)
    I really hate this mentality. It couldn't be any more incorrect.
    Agree. nothing wrong in looking up occasionally and thinking about where you are going.
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    (Original post by Democracy)
    A jump in what sense? In terms of academic difficulty it becomes a bit easier in my experience - the breadth and volume of information which you have to learn is still high, but at least it's mostly clinically relevant unlike pre-clinical histology and biochemistry.
    I would say in terms of the work, I understand it and can get my head around it when I put the work in. What I am struggling with is the volume.

    I have lost sight of the light at the end of the tunnel.
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    (Original post by paton123)
    I agree with all what you're saying. Many people have told me it is ok to change my mind, and I feel as though I have, however I don't know what I have changed my mind too.

    My partner is very supportive, he believes I should do what makes me happy as do most of my family members.

    Thanks so much for the link, you've been great help. Are you a medical student/ doctor yourself?
    You shouldn't have to change your mind because of what people are saying whether it's on here or in real life. Make sure you can get all the help you can from the BMA, your friends, partner, parents etc before you come to a decision. You might just get over it and want to stick with Medicine.
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    The BMA helpline is 0330 123 1245

    Whats most importnat is you take your time, and get advice to make the best decision for you.
 
 
 
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