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I Hate Medicine: Advice and Discussion

formula16

Member
This thread certainly needed to happen. I certainly think that the learning curve in medicine can be quite steep for some people and if you don't happen to immediately take to it then I think it's reasonable to try it out for a short while (or even up to a year is reasonable since offers for courses tend to only come once per year). Most of Australia's medical school attrition (i.e. students stopping studying medicine) is during or right after the first year of study, and that's okay - as stated above, it's perfectly sane to do this and choose a different career pathway if you feel like you aren't heading where you want to. I do think the best time to decide that you don't want to do medicine is during the first year, owing very much to the committment you make to medicine if you do decide to follow down that pathway - provided you have a good idea of what kind of decision you are making by speaking to those who have been in medicine many years.

That said, PBL isn't exactly everyone's piece of cake either, nor are hospital tutes, and even between different medical schools things can be very different (speaking from personal experience). People find their strengths and weaknesses and comfort zones in medical school. It's the same kind of transition as going from not being at school to starting school - a big change.

My thoughts are - give it a while; you're making a judgment based on ONE DAY of PBL (I did SIX YEARS of PBL). It might very well grow on you, or you might find some part that really grows on you, and you might find a good reason to stay as a result. Good luck!
Thanks for the response, I've also been thinking about if PBL is the best learning style for me, we'll see I guess. Also thank you to everyone else who made a response today. I've been reading everything!

Another day of medical school done. Started with some SP (standardised patient) work. Was all about making small talk with the SP. Didn't do that well, I'm not too great at small talk in my personal life anyway. It seems like the SP scenarios that they set up were a bit plastic, the SPs were always wearing something interesting, or have something interesting by their bedside, in order to make it easy to make small talk. I noticed what happened were my group members started scanning for all the "items of interest" and using them one after another to prolong the conversation. Small talk is probably one area I'll have to work on if I want to continue down this path.

Did some study for PBL after. Heart physiology is quite interesting after it makes sense to you. Kind of like maths. But much much much more info to absorb before it makes sense. Would probably still prefer maths but this ain't too bad..

The school made us do an exam in the afternoon. The exam was at a graduate level. It was basically to determine our baseline knowledge and measure our progression. Obviously I knew nothing and was out in less than an hour, lol.

Didn't feel too bad today, lets see what happens tomorrow!
 

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Benjamin

ICU Reg (JCU)
Emeritus Staff
As with Mana I think this thread needed to happen. A lot of medical students face the reality of what they've got into fairly quickly and a significant amount either don't have anyone to talk to about it or don't know where to get perspective on the issues they're facing. The degree is incredibly hyped up (especially on this forum) as being the end-goal even in lieu of a good lifestyle - it shouldn't be. Even for myself I'm finding this thread a good reflection of how I felt when I first started.

Small talk is probably one area I'll have to work on if I want to continue down this path.
I was about to reply to this saying that I don't make much small talk in my day-to-day job but I realised that I do, it's just not really small talk because it all has a purpose. Chatting with someone to find out where they're from, what their home life is like, something interesting about them etc. I do because it either helps me remember the patient, it gives me details important to their care or it helps them feel like I'm not just treating a disease. One registrar that I refer to regularly loves it when I throw in some qualifying information about a patient (JD is a Hungarian cattle farmer that also makes cheese in their spare time) because it helps them remember the patient as something other than "76 year old social admission for declining mobility OBO dementia awaiting nursing home". Seems a little odd at first but it helps me remember them as people rather than patients.

@formula16, it seems like despite your initial trepidations you're starting to see what some people like about medicine. I think in Medicine/any field of study its important to hold onto things that interest you and chase them, you'll find that you learn a lot more than just attending lectures and the deeper you get into it the more there is to learn. A lot of medicine is similar to maths in a sense - if you threw someone straight into trig identities with minimal exposure they probably would just stare at you.. but with a good foundation they're a lot of fun/kind of enjoyable to work through (sometimes!).
 

formula16

Member
PBL is the worst thing ever.

It was as if PBL was designed to make learners like me fail. I am so bad at reasoning out loud. I need peace and quiet to compose my thoughts. PBL environment runs so fast, everyones throwing out their ideas and I lose track of everything. I'll be first to admit, I'm not the quickest or brightest student. I'm also quite introverted. That combined makes me require alot of time to think through new concepts in my head before I can even begin to explain my thoughts to the group. My tutor probably already notices I don't speak much. I hope to dear God I don't fail just because I'm not "participating" in PBL. I'm trying my hardest to keep up with group discussion and study in my own time!

Oh yeah, did I mention, PBL sucks?
 

rustyedges

Moderator
Moderator
PBL is the worst thing ever.

It was as if PBL was designed to make learners like me fail. I am so bad at reasoning out loud. I need peace and quiet to compose my thoughts. PBL environment runs so fast, everyones throwing out their ideas and I lose track of everything. I'll be first to admit, I'm not the quickest or brightest student. I'm also quite introverted. That combined makes me require alot of time to think through new concepts in my head before I can even begin to explain my thoughts to the group. My tutor probably already notices I don't speak much. I hope to dear God I don't fail just because I'm not "participating" in PBL. I'm trying my hardest to keep up with group discussion and study in my own time!

Oh yeah, did I mention, PBL sucks?
I didn't like the PBL we did either, and thought the whole process was just an inefficient use of time. However, you have to play the game, so I don't know how yours works, but if it's an option you could spend a bit of time before the session going through the work/case whatever, and jotting down a few ideas to have something to contribute. Also, there's nothing wrong with blurting out thoughts you have in those situations- you don't need to have these perfectly planned out ideas to contribute. You're still early on, and noone is going to expect you to know much at this stage.
 

frootloop

House Surgeon
Moderator
PBL seems pretty awful early on, I'll give you that. In preclinical years, I always wondered what the point of giving us such specific examples to spend hours discussing was. Why not just teach us the basic principles, teach us about the diseases?

Turns out people don't present with a myocardial infarction, or an aortic dissection or a pneumothorax. They show up with chest pain.

I know it seems pointless and confusing now (something you'll have to get used to in medical school, pretty much everyone is in the same boat). But PBL in the early years is, imo, less about teaching you specific 'things', and more about teaching you clinical reasoning, and how to bridge the gap between the diseases you've been taught about and the patients you'll soon be seeing.

As per Ben, I think it's good for MSO to periodically have these discussions. A lot of potential med applicants do the fingers-in-the-ears 'nanananacanthearyou' thing whenever someone brings up the less-than-awesome aspects of medicine. So I think it's good to have an open discussion about how the land of unicorns and lollipops also has a lot of unicorn poop and those cheap, nasty lollipops they give out at fairs.
 

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chinaski

Regular Member
As per Ben, I think it's good for MSO to periodically have these discussions. A lot of potential med applicants do the fingers-in-the-ears 'nanananacanthearyou' thing whenever someone brings up the less-than-awesome aspects of medicine. So I think it's good to have an open discussion about how the land of unicorns and lollipops also has a lot of unicorn poop and those cheap, nasty lollipops they give out at fairs.
...Though interesting to note that many of the replies to the OP have been urging them to keep at it. ;)
 

frootloop

House Surgeon
Moderator
...Though interesting to note that many of the replies to the OP have been urging them to keep at it. ;)
Normally, I'd protest that said advice isn't that unreasonable (I even started to when typing this reply, haha). One week of the first year of medical school doesn't exactly give one a realistic picture of what being a doctor is like, yada yada yada. For most people just getting nervous or feeling out of their depth in their first week, it's probably reasonable advice.

But in this case, it seems odd that the OP applied for medical school in the first place. Someone who hates human biology, illness, long working hours, small talk, etc should probably seriously consider whether it's worth pushing on in a profession based on those things.
 

chinaski

Regular Member
But in this case, it seems odd that the OP applied for medical school in the first place. Someone who hates human biology, illness, long working hours, small talk, etc should probably seriously consider whether it's worth pushing on in a profession based on those things.
Yeah, that was my point. Certainly, leaving any course isn't something that should be done in haste and without considerable thought, but conversely, medicine isn't an easy thing to fall in love with (and stay in love with) if you don't have an abiding interest at the very least - particularly if you can realistically envisage yourself happier in other pursuits.
 

shinwell

Lurker
I wish I was wiser when I was 18.
I wish I had more self awareness to know that medicine was a bad fit for me.
I wish I'd never gotten this damn medicine offer.

I have no interest in human biology. I had no interest in biology at all in school. I loved maths. I liked chemistry. But never biology. Maths was my one true love. I could do maths for hours without it seeming like a chore. But every minute I spend on physiology, ROTE memorising every minor detail, feels like a fucking eternity. I am a learner of ideas, ways to solve problems. I despise ROTE learning names and processes.

I have no interest in working with patients. The thought of dealing with illness and death everyday makes me sick. I don't want to work long hours every week. I don't want to dedicate my life to this job. If I'm completely honest to myself, I only chose this career because I wanted a stable and well paid job. But whats the point if you're too tired/miserable to enjoy your wealth?

I just want to make money. I just want to run a business. I want to work in business or finance. Perhaps actuary, where I could utilise maths, my one love. I'm not cut out to be someone special, who could dedicate their life to medicine. I'm just a regular human being. And I hate medicine.
Hello OP. I just want to say im completely 100% understand your past situation you have written here (well i didnt hate Biology that much tho). I just wonder if what had happened for the last 2 years? Can you give me some advice as what you think your past self should do? Thank you a lot
 

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Hi there, I'm currently in my first year at Otago Uni doing the first year health sci course. My original intentions were to study medicine and I'd say I'm in a really good place to receive a med offer but I'm in EXACTLY the same situation as Formula16 was back in 2017. I haven't really enjoyed the content this year (starting to hate HUBS) and the life as a doctor no longer appeals to me. The only factors keeping me in now are the stability and money that come with being a doctor. I have always been more into my calc/physics/chem as opposed to biology and here I am strongly considering a switch to a different degree, such as engineering. Formula16, if you are reading this, how did things turn out for you? Are you still studying medicine? Has it grown on you or have you changed? If anyone else is reading, I'd love to hear what you have to say on this particular matter. It's a very tough and important decision for me and I just wanna make sure I get it right.
 

LMG!

Moderator
Staff Member of the Year 2019
Hi there, I'm currently in my first year at Otago Uni doing the first year health sci course. My original intentions were to study medicine and I'd say I'm in a really good place to receive a med offer but I'm in EXACTLY the same situation as Formula16 was back in 2017. I haven't really enjoyed the content this year (starting to hate HUBS) and the life as a doctor no longer appeals to me. The only factors keeping me in now are the stability and money that come with being a doctor. I have always been more into my calc/physics/chem as opposed to biology and here I am strongly considering a switch to a different degree, such as engineering. Formula16, if you are reading this, how did things turn out for you? Are you still studying medicine? Has it grown on you or have you changed? If anyone else is reading, I'd love to hear what you have to say on this particular matter. It's a very tough and important decision for me and I just wanna make sure I get it right.
"I have always been more into my calc/physics/chem" While being aware of your general subject interests is very useful and can help guide 'where to next', Medicine isn't a 'subject' at uni, it's a career path. Have you looked into the career paths that would focus more heavily on calc/physics/chem? You've talked about engineering, but only in an off-handed kind of way. Have you investigated career opportunities in engineering? What type of engineering in particular? Have you spoken to any engineers and do you have an idea of the working conditions, job security, day to day realities?

Likewise, I'd recommend doing to the same for Medicine. Do you know any doctors you can speak to in person?

The stability and money that appeal to you with regard to Medicine can most definitely be achieved in other career paths. Something as related to Medicine as Dentistry, for example, with, arguably, a straighter career progression and more friendly work-life balance. But there are careers outside of health that can achieve this, too.

Also, let me reassure you that it's actually not 'do or die' and you don't have to 'get it right'. You can start Medicine, decide it's not for you, and move onto something completely left of field and still feel accomplished (see: Cathay), or you can have a different career and move into medicine in your 30s and still have made the 'right' choices along the way (like I feel I have). While it may complicate things (though not always in a negative way!), you are never locked into a career or university study program and once you give yourself the freedom to recognise this and accept that you'll never have all the answers prior to decision making, it gives you more flexibility to try.
 

Mana

there are no stupid questions, only people
Administrator
An old thread, but I would like to add this with the benefit of the retrospectoscope - I enjoy work as a doctor way more than I enjoyed medical school as a student, and some of this is owing to the university system and student lifestyle, which becomes more absent when you start working/finish training.

If medicine isn't for you, it is obviously better to know this as early as possible, but if your issues are more with the constant stream of assessments and usefulness of content of the course (I was constantly asking myself in medical school "how is this going to be relevant to me as a clinician" and a very large proportion of the time the answer was "it won't be") note that every university course has similar shortcomings to some extent.

If you can see past the university-based shortcomings and medicine still isn't for you then definitely start looking elsewhere.
 

Benjamin

ICU Reg (JCU)
Emeritus Staff
I don't really have anything other than the following advice -- there are plenty of people on the forum who disliked medical school but like working as a doctor and vice versa, it's difficult to tell which one you're going to be and you will very likely change your opinion a number of times throughout the university degree and throughout training / work. If you are having doubts you should explore them as much as you can and make an informed decision when you feel ready to / are sure - in the meantime continuing in your university degree is probably not going to significantly detriment you / could probably be useful if you decide to pivot out of pursuing medicine though I'm not across the specifics of transferring out of HSFY into other degrees.
 
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