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    I'm having a total meltdown over what to do and I'd really appreciate any advice.

    For a bit of background: I just finished my first year of medical school and I've really, really hated it. At school I loved studying arts and humanities and actually found science quite hard, but went into medical school because I wanted to make a difference to people and the idea of being a doctor and saving lives was really attractive. I haven't been interested in any of the topics we've studied so far, and I've actively hated lots of them, especially anatomy. I really hate rote learning subjects. I've been plagued with doubts all year about whether I should be in med school, and these factors combined with me not having huge aptitude for the sciences meant I barely scraped through most of my exams and failed two of them. Because I'm so anxious about what to do next my head is in a terrible place for studying, and I'm seriously afraid I might also fail the resits in a few weeks.

    I know that in the short term I'd be much, much happier dropping out and studying a completely different course - probably English or philosophy. However, I can't help thinking that I might be throwing away a career that's the best I could ever have because it helps other people so much, and that if I drop out I'll end up doing something meaningless. On the other hand, my interests all lie outside of medicine and I'm worried that if I stick with it I'll end up "losing myself" to the course and the job - having to drop all the other things I love (like literature and music) just to keep up.

    Can anyone offer any advice? Am I likely to enjoy the course more as it goes on? I genuinely love connecting with people so clinical might be better, but if the amount of rote memorisation continues like this I'll probably still hate it. Are there any other careers that would offer me the same humanitarian opportunities without making me miserable in the short term? I'm really stuck so if you have any ideas at all I'd be really grateful.
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    (Original post by katya_z)
    I'm having a total meltdown over what to do and I'd really appreciate any advice.

    For a bit of background: I just finished my first year of medical school and I've really, really hated it. At school I loved studying arts and humanities and actually found science quite hard, but went into medical school because I wanted to make a difference to people and the idea of being a doctor and saving lives was really attractive. I haven't been interested in any of the topics we've studied so far, and I've actively hated lots of them, especially anatomy. I really hate rote learning subjects. I've been plagued with doubts all year about whether I should be in med school, and these factors combined with me not having huge aptitude for the sciences meant I barely scraped through most of my exams and failed two of them. Because I'm so anxious about what to do next my head is in a terrible place for studying, and I'm seriously afraid I might also fail the resits in a few weeks.

    I know that in the short term I'd be much, much happier dropping out and studying a completely different course - probably English or philosophy. However, I can't help thinking that I might be throwing away a career that's the best I could ever have because it helps other people so much, and that if I drop out I'll end up doing something meaningless. On the other hand, my interests all lie outside of medicine and I'm worried that if I stick with it I'll end up "losing myself" to the course and the job - having to drop all the other things I love (like literature and music) just to keep up.

    Can anyone offer any advice? Am I likely to enjoy the course more as it goes on? I genuinely love connecting with people so clinical might be better, but if the amount of rote memorisation continues like this I'll probably still hate it. Are there any other careers that would offer me the same humanitarian opportunities without making me miserable in the short term? I'm really stuck so if you have any ideas at all I'd be really grateful.
    if I'm being completely honest, if I was a patient in a hospital, the last doctor I'd want would be one that isn't enthusiastic about their job and as a consequence not good at their job.

    If you stay and hopefully graduate, you're in a position of massive responsibility.
    You'd be doing a disservice to patients if you weren't a doctor who wants to be there, in my opinion.

    I'm honestly not trying to be rude or mean, I'm giving you my genuine opinion so sorry if I'm coming across as horrible, but like I said, i wouldn't want a doctor treating me who doesn't really want to/likes being there.

    But that being said, I think dropping out now would be unwise, you say you're in first year so I'm guessing you guys wouldn't have delved into the clinical stuff, you might relish in that environment, There might be content to come that you really love. So I personally think dropping out now would be premature, but it's up to you of course. Bottom line is, you're like 1/5th of the way there, making a definitive decision at this point I don't think makes sense.

    in terms of the humanitarian stuff you mentioned, being a doctor is definitely not the only job that enables you to help people.
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    Can I ask how you enjoyed arts and humanities yet got into med school? Like what A levels did you do?

    Also, if you really want to work and help people there's also nursing and teaching, but it sounds as if you didn't really consider what medicine was (science, anatomy etc.) Since it has caught you off guard?

    Are you really surprised that you haven't enjoyed it? Were you pressured into med on retrospect?

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    There are plenty of other ways of helping people, rather than forcing yourself to stick with Medicine.
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    (Original post by That Bearded Man)
    Can I ask how you enjoyed arts and humanities yet got into med school? Like what A levels did you do?

    Also, if you really want to work and help people there's also nursing and teaching, but it sounds as if you didn't really consider what medicine was (science, anatomy etc.) Since it has caught you off guard?

    Are you really surprised that you haven't enjoyed it? Were you pressured into med on retrospect?

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    I did biology, chemistry, english lit and history. You might be right - I don't really want to blame other people bc it was definitely my choice but school and my parents were much more enthusiastic about medicine than about my other ideas and I definitely felt pressure to make them happy.
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    As others have said, medicine isn't the only career that lets you help people. You can do just as much good as a social worker, teacher, psychologist, play therapist, or even in an administrative role. The jobs might not get the same pay or recognition as being a doctor, but you can still make a huge difference in people's lives.

    You've said that you hate the rote memorization involved in medicine, and unfortunately that never goes away even when you qualify. I find it gets a little bit easier in clinical years once you begin to get more context for what you're learning, but it's still a challenge.

    My advice would be to get in touch with someone your medical school and talk things over. Maybe speak with the careers service to see if they can offer advice about alternative careers that might be appealing. If you do decide that medicine isn't the right career for you, don't worry. You were smart enough to get accepted onto the course, so I am sure you'll be successful no matter what you choose to do. The important thing is to find something you're happy with.
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    (Original post by katya_z)
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    I felt almost exactly the same as you do when I was in first year. I used to hate dissection, almost failed my anatomy exams and found our end of year exams in first and second year very difficult because of the amount of memorisation that was needed and my complete lack of interest in the detailed pathology and biochemistry.

    I tried to maintain my interests (and my sanity) through extracurriculars; I joined societies like Nightline, which helps students who are stressed/worried/depressed etc, to fall back on the reason I went into medicine in the first place - to help people. I also continued my interests outside of medicine - things like reading, writing and learning languages & philosophy. Sometimes I was able to combine these interests with medicine, for example through Medical Humanities & Ethics.

    Once I started clinical years, things seemed to fall into place. Medicine was no longer about reciting words from a page, but applying these concepts to patients and their lives. It was far from abstract, and the mixture of communication, the interactive environment and the thought-provoking discussions that were encouraged (particularly towards the end of the course) made me realise why I went into medicine.

    I would say you should stick with it for now. Most people in my year hated their first year of medicine, and it sounds like you went into medicine for the right reasons.

    Also remember that you can still combine your outside interests with your career - I know what you mean about 'losing yourself', I had the same worries, which led me to researching more about doctors who were also writers, or physicians who were able to combine the Humanities with their day-to-day job. There are actually a lot of resources out there for medics who have these types of interests - there are essay competitions, talks & events, plus there several career paths which offer a more arts-minded way of looking at things.

    Basically, stick with it, your first year of medical school is not illustrative of your medical career. Medicine has a lot of opportunities, and you are not alone in feeling like your interests are not being met just because you don't care about the intricate details of the Krebs Cycle.

    Also feel free to PM me if you want more information/advice about combining Medicine with the Arts.
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    (Original post by Nessmuk)
    As others have said, medicine isn't the only career that lets you help people. You can do just as much good as a social worker, teacher, psychologist, play therapist, or even in an administrative role. The jobs might not get the same pay or recognition as being a doctor, but you can still make a huge difference in people's lives.

    You've said that you hate the rote memorization involved in medicine, and unfortunately that never goes away even when you qualify. I find it gets a little bit easier in clinical years once you begin to get more context for what you're learning, but it's still a challenge.

    My advice would be to get in touch with someone your medical school and talk things over. Maybe speak with the careers service to see if they can offer advice about alternative careers that might be appealing. If you do decide that medicine isn't the right career for you, don't worry. You were smart enough to get accepted onto the course, so I am sure you'll be successful no matter what you choose to do. The important thing is to find something you're happy with.
    Thank you so much for the advice, I really appreciate it. Do you mind me asking how far through you are? Have you found that intense bio/chem carried on all the way through, or did it become more practical?
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    (Original post by Angury)
    I felt almost exactly the same as you do when I was in first year. I used to hate dissection, almost failed my anatomy exams and found our end of year exams in first and second year very difficult because of the amount of memorisation that was needed and my complete lack of interest in the detailed pathology and biochemistry.

    I tried to maintain my interests (and my sanity) through extracurriculars; I joined societies like Nightline, which helps students who are stressed/worried/depressed etc, to fall back on the reason I went into medicine in the first place - to help people. I also continued my interests outside of medicine - things like reading, writing and learning languages & philosophy. Sometimes I was able to combine these interests with medicine, for example through Medical Humanities & Ethics.

    Once I started clinical years, things seemed to fall into place. Medicine was no longer about reciting words from a page, but applying these concepts to patients and their lives. It was far from abstract, and the mixture of communication, the interactive environment and the thought-provoking discussions that were encouraged (particularly towards the end of the course) made me realise why I went into medicine.

    I would say you should stick with it for now. Most people in my year hated their first year of medicine, and it sounds like you went into medicine for the right reasons.

    Also remember that you can still combine your outside interests with your career - I know what you mean about 'losing yourself', I had the same worries, which led me to researching more about doctors who were also writers, or physicians who were able to combine the Humanities with their day-to-day job. There are actually a lot of resources out there for medics who have these types of interests - there are essay competitions, talks & events, plus there several career paths which offer a more arts-minded way of looking at things.

    Basically, stick with it, your first year of medical school is not illustrative of your medical career. Medicine has a lot of opportunities, and you are not alone in feeling like your interests are not being met just because you don't care about the intricate details of the Krebs Cycle.

    Also feel free to PM me if you want more information/advice about combining Medicine with the Arts.
    Thank you so much, I haven't spoken to anyone else with the same mindset as me so it's really reassuring I'm not the only one.
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    (Original post by katya_z)
    Thank you so much for the advice, I really appreciate it. Do you mind me asking how far through you are? Have you found that intense bio/chem carried on all the way through, or did it become more practical?
    I just qualified as a junior doctor.

    It does become much more practical as you go along. There's still a fair amount of physiology and biochemistry you need to revise as you go along, but it's mostly disease processes and practical skills. The good news is that unless you want to be a surgeon you won't need to know anywhere near as much anatomy as you do in the pre-clinical years.
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    Some thoughts in no particular order:

    - Anatomy is fairly useless unless you're a surgeon and is by far the most rote-learning in the course. You can forget 95% of it now that you've done it, most likely.
    - The learning of science part never goes away. You continue to have exams etc even after med school.
    - The clinical course is a lot more interesting.
    - If you drop out now you still have 3 years of student finance left. That is important.
    - Your career options with an English degree are clearly far fewer than with a science degree.
    - Completely lose the idea that being a doctor is the only way to help people. Almost all jobs help people in some way - that's why they exist - but even if its the more direct satisfaction you want there are lots of options. Teacher is the most obvious one.
    - Make sure you aren't just shocked by your recent failure and telling yourself that it must be because you hate the subject. Med school is hard and many people who have never got less than an A in their life will get a retake or two. That is not something to be ashamed of. I was told i was failing in first year and it was horrible and it makes you think about all the worst aspects of the course, the stress, the amount you need to learn etc. But i stuck with it, didn't get a retake in the end, tolerated second year, then after that things got a lot more pleasant.
    - Don't be fooled by the opposite either - studying English Lit at uni is not just reading the books you want and then having an easy exam. Did you enjoy revising for and taking your English Lit exams at the time you took them? I'd imagine not. But you have a positive association now because you know you passed. Your decisions needs to be objective and based on the whole year and a realistic view of the alternative, not just based on real events and the grass being greener.
 
 
 
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