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3rd year medical student, hating this course. What should I do?

I about 2 months into my 3rd year of medical school and I'm really starting to not enjoy this programme. Don't get me wrong; I understand that this is a difficult course, I experienced that in 1st and 2nd year. But this feels different. I'm genuinely not interested in the content I'm learning. When I revise, I either get bored or frustrated and when on placement, I just want to go home. I'm getting distracted very easily and preparation for my upcoming Progress Test has been disastrous. I keep telling myself that I'll find a specialty/subsection of the degree that I enjoy but it hasn't come so far. What should I do? I feel like dropping out wouldn't do me any good. I appreciate any advice. I understand that this isn't exactly a unique situation too so let me know if there's another discussion similar to this.

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Original post by IR2002
I about 2 months into my 3rd year of medical school and I'm really starting to not enjoy this programme. Don't get me wrong; I understand that this is a difficult course, I experienced that in 1st and 2nd year. But this feels different. I'm genuinely not interested in the content I'm learning. When I revise, I either get bored or frustrated and when on placement, I just want to go home. I'm getting distracted very easily and preparation for my upcoming Progress Test has been disastrous. I keep telling myself that I'll find a specialty/subsection of the degree that I enjoy but it hasn't come so far. What should I do? I feel like dropping out wouldn't do me any good. I appreciate any advice. I understand that this isn't exactly a unique situation too so let me know if there's another discussion similar to this.


No offence but if you did a degree you were more interested in you would nearly be finished, however you still have 2/3 years left. Do you want to carry on? Tell your tutor and maybe get more support/ extensions. Worst come to worst maybe transfer your credits to a similar course so you can finish soon?
Don’t know but just know that you will get through this, don’t worry.
Have you started the clinical phase of the course yet, formally? I gather it's fairly different when you're on placement regularly, so you might find things different/improved in 4th/5th year when you're mainly doing clinical placements.
Original post by IR2002
I about 2 months into my 3rd year of medical school and I'm really starting to not enjoy this programme. Don't get me wrong; I understand that this is a difficult course, I experienced that in 1st and 2nd year. But this feels different. I'm genuinely not interested in the content I'm learning. When I revise, I either get bored or frustrated and when on placement, I just want to go home. I'm getting distracted very easily and preparation for my upcoming Progress Test has been disastrous. I keep telling myself that I'll find a specialty/subsection of the degree that I enjoy but it hasn't come so far. What should I do? I feel like dropping out wouldn't do me any good. I appreciate any advice. I understand that this isn't exactly a unique situation too so let me know if there's another discussion similar to this.

It's worth remembering that were you drop out of medicine, you would not be able to reapply to a UK medical school again. You'd need to be 100% sure that it was the right thing for you to do, both educationally and from a future career point of view.
Original post by Reality Check
It's worth remembering that were you drop out of medicine, you would not be able to reapply to a UK medical school again. You'd need to be 100% sure that it was the right thing for you to do, both educationally and from a future career point of view.


That sounds so scary tho, too final. Hope op makes the right choice for them
Original post by 2102945
That sounds so scary tho, too final. Hope op makes the right choice for them


Yes, quite! It's not a decision to be taken lightly, though I'm sure the OP is quite aware of that.
What was your motivation for applying to medical school?
Original post by Faisal101
What was your motivation for applying to medical school?


Yes, if they realise why they might fall in love with it again.
Reply 8
Original post by 2102945
No offence but if you did a degree you were more interested in you would nearly be finished, however you still have 2/3 years left. Do you want to carry on? Tell your tutor and maybe get more support/ extensions. Worst come to worst maybe transfer your credits to a similar course so you can finish soon?
Don’t know but just know that you will get through this, don’t worry.

At the moment, it doesn't feel like I could do this for another 2.5 years. Transferring my credits is definitely something I considered. However, I'm not 100% sure if it would work out that I just graduate after 3rd year. I did think about completing my intercalated BSc and then just quitting the MBBS programme. That way, I'd at least get away with a BSc; I'm hoping to do Public Health which I genuinely find interesting. Anyways, either way it just feels like I wasted three years of my time and, crucially, tuition.

Thanks for your advice though. And, on the bright side, socially everything is fine. I've got good friends, a lovely girlfriend and my family is nearby. It's just my academics that feel like a real slog right now. Especially when I know people on other courses are doing things that they really find interesting.
Reply 9
Original post by artful_lounger
Have you started the clinical phase of the course yet, formally? I gather it's fairly different when you're on placement regularly, so you might find things different/improved in 4th/5th year when you're mainly doing clinical placements.

Not formally. I do go into hospital twice a week though it's very PG stuff. I'm only there from about 9am to 2pm, half of it is just teaching and the other is either shadowing a doctor in clinics or on a ward. Honestly, most of the time, I'm just counting the minutes till I can go home. That said. you do make a good point that the official clinical years may be more interesting.
Reply 10
Original post by Reality Check
It's worth remembering that were you drop out of medicine, you would not be able to reapply to a UK medical school again. You'd need to be 100% sure that it was the right thing for you to do, both educationally and from a future career point of view.

Very true. That's another good reason why I'm not being impulsive on this decision. I know so many people who would kill to be in my spot. I almost feel guilty because when I could've taken a spot from someone who wouldn't be second guessing themselves right now.
Reply 11
Original post by Faisal101
What was your motivation for applying to medical school?

Good question. I always enjoyed human biology. Around the age of 14/15, I started reading Siddhartha Mukherjee's books (Emperor of all Maladies, The Gene); yes, I know very boring/typical medical school applicant story. I did work experience in A&E when I was 16 which I found really cool. I also clearly ruled out a research/academic career because I found lab work really dull so a clinical setting seemed more suited to me.

But frankly, I'm not really sure what led me to choose Medicine over other interests I had. I loved history, philosophy, following politics, debating. I'm actually an editor on the student newspaper which I find much more stimulating than my actual degree. I think I might've been subconsciously swayed by the fact that I could say "Hey I'm a doctor". 17 is definitely too young to choose this career path. I understand now why they make you wait till grad school in America.
Reply 12
I really do appreciate all of the input, guys. Even if I don't have an answer to my problems, just being able to talk about it is quite therapeutic!
Original post by IR2002
Good question. I always enjoyed human biology. Around the age of 14/15, I started reading Siddhartha Mukherjee's books (Emperor of all Maladies, The Gene); yes, I know very boring/typical medical school applicant story. I did work experience in A&E when I was 16 which I found really cool. I also clearly ruled out a research/academic career because I found lab work really dull so a clinical setting seemed more suited to me.

But frankly, I'm not really sure what led me to choose Medicine over other interests I had. I loved history, philosophy, following politics, debating. I'm actually an editor on the student newspaper which I find much more stimulating than my actual degree. I think I might've been subconsciously swayed by the fact that I could say "Hey I'm a doctor". 17 is definitely too young to choose this career path. I understand now why they make you wait till grad school in America.


You can be a dr via a phd instead. Maybe you could finish the degree and work in a and e.
Original post by IR2002
Good question. I always enjoyed human biology. Around the age of 14/15, I started reading Siddhartha Mukherjee's books (Emperor of all Maladies, The Gene); yes, I know very boring/typical medical school applicant story. I did work experience in A&E when I was 16 which I found really cool. I also clearly ruled out a research/academic career because I found lab work really dull so a clinical setting seemed more suited to me.

But frankly, I'm not really sure what led me to choose Medicine over other interests I had. I loved history, philosophy, following politics, debating. I'm actually an editor on the student newspaper which I find much more stimulating than my actual degree. I think I might've been subconsciously swayed by the fact that I could say "Hey I'm a doctor". 17 is definitely too young to choose this career path. I understand now why they make you wait till grad school in America.

maybe you could intercalate and see if you could find a degree that relates to your other interests? And maybe see if you can get more involved during placements, might make it more enjoyable. I’m not a med student, hopefully I’ll be one soon, but I am a hca, and I spend lots of time on the wards. Have you ever thought about picking up shifts as a hca? Might make you feel more fulfilled and you’ll probably like med school more, after you see the real term effects doctor’s treatments have on patients.
I think you should just try your best to get through this year though, you’ve worked very hard to get here.
That’s my two cents anyways
Original post by 2102945
You can be a dr via a phd instead. Maybe you could finish the degree and work in a and e.


That is 100% not how it works, at all.

An academic doctor (i.e. someone with a PhD) is not the same as a medical doctor (someone with an MBBS). You cannot work as a medical doctor in A&E, or any other medical specialty, without a medical degree (i.e. the MBBS). No PhD, in any field, will replace the requirement to have a primary medical qualification for that.
Original post by artful_lounger
That is 100% not how it works, at all.

An academic doctor (i.e. someone with a PhD) is not the same as a medical doctor (someone with an MBBS). You cannot work as a medical doctor in A&E, or any other medical specialty, without a medical degree (i.e. the MBBS). No PhD, in any field, will replace the requirement to have a primary medical qualification for that.

I think the two sentences are separate.

You could say “hi I am a doctor” with a PhD.

Or, you could finish the degree (MBBS) and work in a&e..

OP. Am sorry you are feeling like this. I think if you can push through and finish the third year it could be a good option. 1, you may well find that the clinical side works better for you. 2, it may consolidate for you that medicine isn’t for you, but if you leave at the end of the third year then you may well finish with a different kind of degree, as I believe this can happen at some unis. 3. You could pause and intercalate, you could pause at the end of the third year and just have a year out. You could pause have some time out and a thinking space, and never return at that point.

Sounds easy for me to say just stay and do it. I know it’s not that easy. Take advice and talk about how you are feeling with those close to you and from those at the uni and on your course. I am sure you are not the only person who feels like this and has felt like this so they will hopefully have some more experienced advice and support available for you. Take it.

Lastly. Bit boring but worth bearing in mind. We are heading very fast into a recession. Entry programmes for companies are getting more scarce, there are a lot of worries about job security, especially for higher than living wage jobs and it will get a lot worse possibly over the next two to three years. The grass may not be greener on the other side. If you decide to jump ship, may be good to have somewhere to work already in place before you do.

All that said. Look after yourself and your mental health. That is the single most important thing.🤗

Lastly, I went through a period of feeling disinterested and unable to have any momentum a year or so ago. I thought it was in my head. Turned out I was anaemic. I am not suggesting you are anaemic, but perhaps looking after yourself better physically, lots of sleep and vitamins and eating well might help a bit ? Take care.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by George&Mary44!
I think the two sentences are separate.

You could say “hi I am a doctor” with a PhD.

Or, you could finish the degree (MBBS) and work in a&e..

OP. Am sorry you are feeling like this. I think if you can push through and finish the third year it could be a good option. 1, you may well find that the clinical side works better for you. 2, it may consolidate for you that medicine isn’t for you, but if you leave at the end of the third year then you may well finish with a different kind of degree, as I believe this can happen at some unis. 3. You could pause and intercalate, you could pause at the end of the third year and just have a year out. You could pause have some time out and a thinking space, and never return at that point.

Sounds easy for me to say just stay and do it. I know it’s not that easy. Take advice and talk about how you are feeling with those close to you and from those at the uni and on your course. I am sure you are not the only person who feels like this and has felt like this so they will hopefully have some more experienced advice and support available for you. Take it.

Lastly. Bit boring but worth bearing in mind. We are heading very fast into a recession. Entry programmes for companies are getting more scarce, there are a lot of worries about job security, especially for higher than living wage jobs and it will get a lot worse possibly over the next two to three years. The grass may not be greener on the other side. If you decide to jump ship, may be good to have somewhere to work already in place before you do.

All that said. Look after yourself and your mental health. That is the single most important thing.🤗

Lastly, I went through a period of feeling disinterested and unable to have any momentum a year or so ago. I thought it was in my head. Turned out I was anaemic. I am not suggesting you are anaemic, but perhaps looking after yourself better physically, lots of sleep and vitamins and eating well might help a bit ? Take care.


Yes sorry, it was meant at two separate things but I agree with everything you said. Sometimes it’s external factors that can affect your mood and emotions. When I was anaemic I was extremely fatigued and just gave up on everything, had iron drips and 6 months of iron tablets and now I fell normal again. Maybe take a year out and rediscover your passion for it?
Hi there,
I think that 3rd year is the toughest year of medical school personally. You've spent 2 years in the system now, so being in clinical settings has lost a little of the new shine and glamour to it, whilst you're probably getting bogged down in more complicated conditions and OSCE skills. Naturally, you're going to lose a bit of the motivation to continue.

This is something that I experienced too. However, for me, it got better in the subsequent years, as once you near the end of the degree you'll find that the healthcare staff trust you more and give you more responsibility e..g being able to be more hands on at placement or seeing acute patients in GP. It's possible that you could experience the same/something similar.

A medical degree will open far more doors than any compensatory degree that your uni could give you for completing 3 years of medical school. There are plenty of jobs out there for medical school graduates that don't involve clinical practice. My personal advice would be to wait it out for a bit, see if things get better and if you find that medicine isn't for you, to make suitable arrangements to transition into a more appropriate career. This is just my perspective though- make sure that you are doing what's best for you and prioritising yourself!

I hope this helps:smile:

John C
Y5 UEA Med Student
Medic Mind
Reply 19
Original post by Faisal101
maybe you could intercalate and see if you could find a degree that relates to your other interests? And maybe see if you can get more involved during placements, might make it more enjoyable. I’m not a med student, hopefully I’ll be one soon, but I am a hca, and I spend lots of time on the wards. Have you ever thought about picking up shifts as a hca? Might make you feel more fulfilled and you’ll probably like med school more, after you see the real term effects doctor’s treatments have on patients.
I think you should just try your best to get through this year though, you’ve worked very hard to get here.
That’s my two cents anyways

You've made some really good points. I'm definitely going to use intercalation as an opportunity to explore another subject that I might like. And definitely open to working as an HCA (though I'd have to find the time). Anyways, best of luck to you on getting into Medicine! I really think universities should be offering more spots to people like you who actually have experience in healthcare rather than a bunch of school kids like I was.

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