The Student Room Group

Rejecting my med school offer?

Hello, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career options lately and thinking that medicine might not be the best career for me.

2 main reasons for this:
1. Social anxiety. I am extremely introverted. My sympathetic nervous system always seem to be on when I am around other people or even acknowledging that there’s a person next door. It’s so exhausting and I really can’t imagine myself working as a doctor and interacting with other people 24/7 without feeling suffocated.
2. Speech disorder. I’ve struggled with stuttering+cluttering my whole life. It’s not the worst you could imagine but people who have been with me for about couple of weeks notice it.

Speaking is definitely a struggle for me, but I know that every job comes with some sort of speaking aspect and I really can’t tell if it will improve over time. My mother is verbally abusive+emotionally unstable and I’m thinking if I live away from my mother at uni, my speech might improve.

My alternative options are studying physics or engineering. Academics, especially maths and physics comes naturally to me (pretty certain I got a A* in further maths without studying) and I’m thinking it will be nicer to use these strength as a job.

Is there any advice people can give?
Reply 1
What sort of jobs do you aspire to? Medicine seems to be to be the sort of degree which is really great if you are all in and can’t see yourself doing anything else, pretty bad if you are not fully committed.

Especially so if your alternative degree are maths/ engineering related so have good career outcomes.

On the other hand - you got an offer! U.K. medical school drop out rates are amazingly low. The courses must be very good at selecting people with the required qualities.

Be careful that you aren’t suffering from imposter syndrome or setting an expectation for yourself at 17/ 18 years old which is too high.
(edited 11 months ago)
Original post by Chameleon(
Hello, I’ve been thinking a lot about my career options lately and thinking that medicine might not be the best career for me.

2 main reasons for this:
1. Social anxiety. I am extremely introverted. My sympathetic nervous system always seem to be on when I am around other people or even acknowledging that there’s a person next door. It’s so exhausting and I really can’t imagine myself working as a doctor and interacting with other people 24/7 without feeling suffocated.
2. Speech disorder. I’ve struggled with stuttering+cluttering my whole life. It’s not the worst you could imagine but people who have been with me for about couple of weeks notice it.

Speaking is definitely a struggle for me, but I know that every job comes with some sort of speaking aspect and I really can’t tell if it will improve over time. My mother is verbally abusive+emotionally unstable and I’m thinking if I live away from my mother at uni, my speech might improve.

My alternative options are studying physics or engineering. Academics, especially maths and physics comes naturally to me (pretty certain I got a A* in further maths without studying) and I’m thinking it will be nicer to use these strength as a job.

Is there any advice people can give?

You will have to work with others and engage with others in any job. Not pursuing medicine is not going to solve the social anxiety issue and that is going to come up no matter what. You need to speak with your GP and discuss how best to approach that in terms of management and/or treatment. Also not all medical specialties are "patient facing", if that is your concern - radiologists and pathologists largely engage with other health professionals. But you will need to engage with them.

Regarding having a speech disorder I doubt this should affect you from an external perspective - that's not going to stop you becoming a doctor. However if it is something which concerns you and/or is a source of anxiety this is again something to discuss with your GP to see how best to manage that (or more particularly, your feelings around it possibly).

The reasons you give for not wanting to pursue medicine are not medicine specific, so I don't think there's any reason not to continue to the medical degree if you have an offer and are otherwise interested in the study and practice of medicine. It may well be when you have more distance from your current situation and better able to develop and begin supporting yourself, and crucially get help from your GP that you will find the issues become much more manageable and won't be a barrier to any career.
Reply 3
Specialities I’m interested in are radiology/pathology/clinical genetics/psychiatry/neurology.

Luckily I had work experience in all these specialities - and I can imagine myself working especially as a diagnostic radiologist, I love finding patterns hehe.
If there is an speciality that use my strengths in maths (or programming) that would be very ideal - but is there such speciality?
(Another career option was going into research as a clinical fellow, but is it worth going to 6 years of med school+foundation years to do research??)

Perhaps the main concerns would be the 4-6th years of med school and foundation years, it’s already hard for normal people, it scares me to think how mentally tolerating it would be for me.
Reply 4
Original post by artful_lounger
You will have to work with others and engage with others in any job. Not pursuing medicine is not going to solve the social anxiety issue and that is going to come up no matter what. You need to speak with your GP and discuss how best to approach that in terms of management and/or treatment. Also not all medical specialties are "patient facing", if that is your concern - radiologists and pathologists largely engage with other health professionals. But you will need to engage with them.

Regarding having a speech disorder I doubt this should affect you from an external perspective - that's not going to stop you becoming a doctor. However if it is something which concerns you and/or is a source of anxiety this is again something to discuss with your GP to see how best to manage that (or more particularly, your feelings around it possibly).

The reasons you give for not wanting to pursue medicine are not medicine specific, so I don't think there's any reason not to continue to the medical degree if you have an offer and are otherwise interested in the study and practice of medicine. It may well be when you have more distance from your current situation and better able to develop and begin supporting yourself, and crucially get help from your GP that you will find the issues become much more manageable and won't be a barrier to any career.

You are right, I would definitely speak to my GP about this.
Reply 5
To add more info…. I feel less anxious with colleagues and with older people
Original post by Chameleon(
You are right, I would definitely speak to my GP about this.

I think that's the best starting point - as it may be they can help you find ways to manage it in the day to day and/or find treatment options (e.g. medication or therapy options) that help address the root cause of it. Either way, you may well find that in the longer run by the time you actually get to day to day work in the NHS you are much less affected by that :smile:
Original post by Chameleon(
To add more info…. I feel less anxious with colleagues and with older people

Well that's probably good as a lot of who you will be talking to are colleagues (other health professionals) and I gather, older people (as I understand due to the changing demographics in the UK and the healthcare issues that go with those, a lot of the patients in ward based hospital settings are going to be older patients anyway - of course in community healthcare settings or A&E you might get a wider range of demographics). So it may be more manageable off the bat than you think anyway!

Original post by Chameleon(
Specialities I’m interested in are radiology/pathology/clinical genetics/psychiatry/neurology.

Luckily I had work experience in all these specialities - and I can imagine myself working especially as a diagnostic radiologist, I love finding patterns hehe.
If there is an speciality that use my strengths in maths (or programming) that would be very ideal - but is there such speciality?
(Another career option was going into research as a clinical fellow, but is it worth going to 6 years of med school+foundation years to do research??)

Perhaps the main concerns would be the 4-6th years of med school and foundation years, it’s already hard for normal people, it scares me to think how mentally tolerating it would be for me.

I gather at least the college exams for clinical oncology and radiology include some physics, not sure how mathematical they are though.

If want to go down the research route it'll be 5-6 years medical school +/- 2 year foundation programme (if you don't complete F1 within a certain amount of time you can't be fully licensed with the GMC ever I gather, so probably best to do it anyway) then +2-4 years PhD, then +? years postdocs and so on. And that's just for pure research - for becoming a physician-researcher (or whatever other specialty-researcher) you actually do all that interwoven with your postgraduate medical training (this may be through dedicated academic tracks like the specialised foundation programme, academic clinical fellowship scheme, and clinical lectureship schemes, which all combine the medical training with protected academic time to work on research and usually work towards a PhD or MD(Res) I gather) or through out of programme periods doing a PhD (or taking time out at natural breakpoints in the training e.g. between foundation and specialty training, specialty and higher specialty training etc).

But ultimately the time frames are kind of meaningless to focus on. The time will pass anyway, what are you going to be doing otherwise? May as well do what it is that interests you. If that's medicine so be it. If it's not then that's another consideration but, nothing you've said suggests you aren't interested in medicine or don't want to do it due to intrinsic features of it (other than some concerns about what it's like as a junior doctor which are valid considerations but also consider by the time you get there the entire programme may have shifted - at the very least I think it's very possible we'll have a different government in place by then...).

Something else to note is that if you have a formal diagnosis from your GP (another reason to see them if you don't already!) is that your uni and employer are obliged to provide reasonable adjustments for you under the equality act to support you. How that may look will be individualised usually dependent on your needs but, there is some scope for support there too.

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