Author Topic: Quit med school  (Read 45759 times)

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #50 on: October 17, 2013, 06:02:22 PM »
Thanks KimPossible (nice nickname btw),

I'll try your technique. Do you mind telling me which specialisation you chose and what makes you want to quit? Do you think the image I have of a doctor's life is accurate (very hard work, not enough time for a personal life) or do you think I've emphasised the negative and that I haven't given enough weight to the positive?

Good luck to you and I hope you reach FIRE very soon!

KimPossible

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #51 on: October 17, 2013, 09:21:50 PM »
I'm a physiatrist (specialist in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation).  I actually like several aspects of my specialty, but there are enough negatives that I'd rather not be practicing.  I used to be pretty passionate about working with people with disabilities, but it's kind of been beaten out of me :-/   As far as specialties go, it's not a bad one, but unfortunately it limits my options.  Although I'm more interested in the practice of physiatry than internal medicine, I wish I had trained in internal medicine so that I would have more options.  For example, in the town in which I live, I'm pretty much limited to my current job.  If I were an internist, I could be a hospitalist or start an independent outpatient practice, or I could be a locums physician pretty much anywhere.  The locums opportunities are limited for my specialty (many countries don't even recognize it as a specialty).

The main reason I want to quit is that I'm tired of the crap that goes along with practicing--I know every job comes with annoyances, but the stakes are high in medicine.  The changes that are coming are also concerning for me.  Like most physicians, I'm ok with being the "buck stops here" person.  I'm ok with that responsibility--but I need to have the ability to practice the way I see fit.  I'm seeing a trend toward hospitals and regulatory agencies wanting us to still accept the responsibility, but also to dictate the way we practice.  I don't think that's acceptable.

I actually don't mind the hours, and in general, I still have time for my family, but I'm in a fairly unique situation (practicing in a fairly small, geographically compact city), so I don't spend much time commuting.  As I have both in- and out-patient practices, I can often flex parts of my day so that I can deal with issues that arise with my kids.  I have friends who are much less flexible, so I know I'm lucky--and that flexibility isn't exactly common in medicine.

With regard to whether you're making the right decision, I think you know that you have.  If you don't really want to be a physician, you shouldn't.  You only get one life, and if being a physician is going to make you miserable, you shouldn't do it.  I know that all jobs have negative aspects (and I don't think you're over-glamorizing other jobs--and I don't think you're being spoiled or unrealistic), but most jobs don't involve making life and death decisions on a fairly regular basis, with the responsibility of those decisions lying squarely on your shoulders.  You shouldn't take on that kind of life unless you want to--and it isn't fair for someone else to tell you that you should.

Again, hang in there.  It really is going to get better.  :)  Keep us updated on how things are going.

zarfus

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #52 on: October 18, 2013, 06:09:00 AM »
Dear Zarfus, I'm sorry to hear that, do you still use medication? I hope you're doing better now and that you somehow found a way to be happy.

No longer using meds, they seemed to help me get on the right path after making some bad decisions, and I'm looking at life through completely different eyes now.  I do know people who have gone off, then back on (sometimes multiple times), but I don't anticipate it for me.

And finding people who went through a similar experience is essential to me, because I'm genuinely terrified of making the wrong decision and ruining my life.

I understand how hard it is to make a decision like this, especially when it feels like everybody that should be supporting you, isn't.  Break it down into smaller goals, then it might seem less terrifying.  Rather than doing this: quitting med school then finding a job or finding the monies for a new college degree or possibly using current B.S. to find something fulfilling that your parents would support you on as well as you feeling better and then finding a way to leverage these new skills/jobs to live a mustachian lifestyle.  This seems like a monumental 'task' that could take years. or the rest of your life.  Break it down:
1) Should you quit med school.  What is in your best interest.
2) Based on number 1, then what?

This shouldn't be frightening.  This is your life! Make it exciting and fulfilling.  If you do something that you think will work out best for you...and it doesnt...so what?  Find something new!

lhamo

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #53 on: October 18, 2013, 06:47:21 PM »
I'm sorry but I'm still really confused about where you are in terms of degrees/career.  You say you have a BSc already, and that that plus your clinical follow up is how you become a doctor in your country, but your post is about "quitting med school."    What exactly are you proposing to quit?  Are you currently in a degree program?  Or in residency?  I know you are trying to keep this somewhat anonymous, but it is really hard to give good advice if we don't understand what stage of the process you are in. 

Are your parents immigrants by any chance?  I ask because the dynamic you describe is one that often comes up in immigrant families (especially Asian ones).  The parents get fixated on a particular career as a symbol of success for the whole family and decide come hell or high water the child is going to be a doctor/lawyer/investment banker/engineer, etc.  But that isn't always a good fit for the child.  And it is often harder for children in certain cultures to assert their independence/have a clean break from the parents.  Concepts of respect, deference to elders, filial piety, etc. tend to be much more ingrained in both parents and children, and that dramatically affects the dynamic in ways that people outside that cultural framework have a hard time understanding.  I'm married to an Asian man with a large extended family in which he is the oldest (and only male) child, and while his family has been unusually open-minded and tolerant of his choices I see some of the baggage on a regular basis, which is partly why I bring this up.

I'm sorry you aren't getting the feedback you want about careers in public health and epidemiology.  I would encourage you to explore both options.  Since you want to help people, perhaps you could take a break from your current situation and apply your training to date in a public health setting in your country or in another part of the world.  Is is possible to take a leave from where you are in your current program?  That would be one option that might not feel so final, and then you could get a sense of whether the public health setting is a better fit for you personality and career wise. 

Also, since you are in Europe is it possible that you could seek training in a different specialization that interests you in another country through the Erasmus program or other similar EU-oriented programs?  Just because a specialty is not currently offered in your country doesn't mean it is cut off to you.  If you can identify one where there are training opportunities and a shortage of practitioners in another EU country, that might be a good direction to go -- and maybe eventually you can be the one to bring that specialty into the system in your country.  That would be a way of helping people while also pursuing something that better suits you.

I hope you can get to a point where you are emotionally more stable and able to make the right choice for you.  I'm not saying that quitting med school (or whatever you are doing now) is not the right choice, but it does sound a bit reactionary.  It is also not clear to me how much of your anxiety/unhappiness is related to the realities of your current situation versus the way you are imagining your future.  Try to focus on the present and what is, rather than some imagined horrible future that may or may not await you.  It is hard to juggle work and family life in any career.  You also might want to put a bit of effort into finding physicians in your country who are happy with their choice.  Maybe they don't exist, but I doubt that.  It does sound like you have gotten a pretty one-sided view of the profession, and it is all negative.  Maybe that is legitimate -- here in China, for example, the profession is sorely underpaid in comparison to other countries (though that is made up for in some cases by under-the-table bribes for better treatment -- not something most ethical people are going to be thrilled about, obviously!)

Good luck making your decision.  Hope you find a path that works for you.

Liquid

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #54 on: October 18, 2013, 08:33:13 PM »
I signed up just to reply to this question.

Do not listen to all these people telling you that you are depressed, you are thinking rationally.

You do not love medicine, and your aversion to its soul-killing education style and lack of creative thought will only grow. Many of your classmates are thinking the same thing, or will be soon, but will not have your courage.

I would have loved a face punch when I was in your shoes.

If I were you I would RUN not walk away from medicine.

abhe8

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #55 on: October 19, 2013, 08:46:33 AM »
hugs op!!!! its tough, but hang in there. depression is whats driving you right now, so get it treated. meds, therapy, both, its not forever.

and then back to school and work as a physician and kids: i'm in my last year of residency and have 4 kids, 2 born in med school and 2 in residency. i took time off, we actually homeschool our oldest and my husband still works full time. you CAN do it. but it requires some special considerations and changes. for us, my husband works nights/weekends so we have very minimal childcare costs. we live close to school (previously) and now we can both bike to work. i chose a specialty with awesome hours, even residency is much better then most. (ie. i'm not a surgeon).

at this point, i'd fight to complete your education. there are other things you can do with your degree. epecially for women. part time work, job sharing and telemedicine are options that make work life balance much more, well, blanced :)

feel free to pm me with any specific questions. i will admit its been hard (but like all mustachians, i love hard work. really, i do.) but its worth it. i love my family, would not change it for the world. and in another year i'll have tons of awesome paying job options to build the stash (pay off the loans!) and enjoy working hours i want to.

j2p2

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #56 on: October 20, 2013, 12:53:56 PM »

Just to be clear, science as a career is not any better (I graduated from the very top schools, and worked in the world leading institutions), and the pay is much, much worse. The working conditions are intense and hugely competitive when your are in these labs, and many of your colleagues have zero social abilities and skills. If you want to get at the mechanisms, get the MD, as you will have many options to supplement your salary, while your do research or teach. This is in addition to getting a better salary for doing exactly the same job.

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #57 on: October 21, 2013, 05:51:12 AM »
Dear KimPossible, I appreciate you sharing. Most physicians I encounter are extremely proud of their MD and don't really acknowledge the downsides of their profession. In any case it's sort of social suicide if you confess to have doubts. I joined this forum partly because I wanted to hear about an MD's life experience anonymously. So this kind of information is invaluable to me.

Zarfus, I know it's stupid and irrational to be this afraid and still I am. Breaking it down sound like really good advice, maybe that'll take away my fear.

Ilhamo, I'm not an MD, I'll have to do 2 years of clinical rotations for that and I'm not looking foward to it to say the least. I'm not from an immigrant family, not in that sense. I am however from a working class family, meaning that I'll be the first one in my family to receive this sort of education and the family dynamic you described is very similar to mine.
There are programmes that offer epidemiology courses, right now I'm contemplating to become an epidemiologist without finishing my MD.

Liquid, that's actually amazing, I didn't know my posts had such a powerful effect on people. Or are you in a similar situation? 

j2p2, I'm sure a science career is hard work, I'm not idealising other careers outside of the medical world. I really want to emphasise  this as I think many of you believe this. I don't want to make my life sound like a cheap melodrama, but I've been slapped with reality too many times to be ignorant of anything.
I'm not opposed to hard work, certainly not, I just want to be able to appreciate my job, I don't want it to be a means to an end. And my salary is only important to me to the extent that I want to be financially independent (and live in a better neighboorhoud). I just want to be happy with my life.

tzxn3

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #58 on: October 22, 2013, 03:51:21 AM »
You're definitely not alone in feeling this way, Rory. I have friends who are medical students (in the UK) who are not particularly keen on their current path.

I would ignore American data on the employability of medical school graduates. It is not relevant to the situation in the UK, where I am pretty sure the employment rate has been not far away from 100% for many years. (EDIT: You seem to state otherwise, it might be a result of the difference between overall employment vs. employment as a doctor.)

Depression is tricky. It is often caused by circumstance rather than simply occurring randomly. However, from my experience, if you're depressed it can be very difficult to make sensible, quick decisions about how to best modify your circumstances to be more suitable.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2013, 04:28:57 PM by tzxn3 »

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #59 on: October 30, 2013, 02:21:18 PM »
On a final note, I would like to ask some advice. I'm kind of bad at making life changing decisions especially concerning my career. I get extremely anxious; heart palpitations, sweaty palms, nausea, sleeplessness, the works.

Does anyone have some useful tips to get me throught this process? How do you make your decision when faced with choices. I'm all over the place and I don't know whether I should follow my head or gut.

Thanx!

PeteD01

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #60 on: November 01, 2013, 12:09:06 PM »
OK - here is some advice:

You have made some cogent observations regarding SOME realities of a career in medicine - all your head talking there.
You obviously have the mental skills it takes to succeed in medicine - finding out what's wrong with the patient is kinda important.

Now you are dealing with the emotional consequences of your analysis and you feel trapped and you feel that you must get out.
But the thought of getting out makes you feel even worse and makes you feel even more trapped.

Now here is the good news: You are not trapped - you just feel that you are trapped and that is OK.

Now here is some other news: Not your parents nor anyone else got you to this point in your life - your own actions got you this far and you are doing quite well.

Here is more good news: You feel that others pushed you into the situation you are finding yourself in and that it will never end. To feel  that way is OK, but no matter how strongly you feel about it it doesn't make it more true.

The truth is that you got to this point in your life through your own efforts and that is a major accomplishment - regardless how you feel about it right now.

It is probably difficult for you to imagine that you could ever feel differently about things as you do now, but that is in fact inevitable. You will feel differently every moment of your existence and, because of that, I advise you not to make any decisions based on your "gut".

I am not saying that there is something wrong with the way you feel or that you should ignore your feelings. There is simply no way that feelings could be wrong or right - they simply are. And ignoring or making them go away doesn't work at all. All I want you to consider is that emotions do not point to and do not emanate from any reality beyond their being experienced at a particular moment in time.

"Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them" - Epictetus



Again, do not make any decision using your "gut" - you would only feel good about it for a few fleeting moments. In fact, decisions made based on emotions are generally attempts to avoid these same emotions or to create emotions of a different kind or force - definitely not a way to make life changing decisions (see: monkey brain, hedonic adaptation, etc.)

I wonder if you have access to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy where you live. I recommend that you learn a little bit about it and maybe find a provider.

You certainly have hit upon some major issues regarding the practice of medicine but you have also left out some of the good things. I am a physician and after twenty years in the field I find that the good things outweigh the bad by a large margin - but that's just how I feel about it right now :-)
But all that needs to be sorted out at a time when you are not pushed about by your emotions so much - again, it is perfectly fine to have the feelings you have (palpitations and all...) but it is not OK to be pushed around by them - or, for that matter, by anyone else...

Here is another quote from my favorite stoic philosopher Epictetus:

“First say to yourself what you would be;
and then do what you have to do.”



And one last one:

“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”  - Epictetus
« Last Edit: November 01, 2013, 12:11:28 PM by PeteD01 »

totoro

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #61 on: December 29, 2013, 11:59:30 AM »
On a final note, I would like to ask some advice. I'm kind of bad at making life changing decisions especially concerning my career. I get extremely anxious; heart palpitations, sweaty palms, nausea, sleeplessness, the works.

Does anyone have some useful tips to get me throught this process? How do you make your decision when faced with choices. I'm all over the place and I don't know whether I should follow my head or gut.

Thanx!

Rory, are you taking medication?  You have been diagnosed with clinical depression and this post also seems to indicate very high anxiety.  I wonder if a lot of what is going on is biochemical?  If you haven't tried the stress reduction plus medication route this might be a good thing to pursue...

mm1970

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #62 on: December 29, 2013, 07:07:17 PM »
Quote
I do think it's not okay for parents to try and force their children to fit a particular mold. A friend of mine was in the same boat--her parents wouldn't pay for college (university in the US) unless she did what's called pre-med (preparation for postgraduate medical school)--and guess what? She never went to college.

One of my classmates parents would only pay for an engineering degree.  He didn't want to be an engineer.  He was a Chemical engineering major like me, and was very good at it - #7 in our class (of 24).  When we were all nearing graduation and people asked him what he was doing next, he said "going to NYC to work on theater".

Now, I went to Carnegie Mellon.  We have a great theater program.  But his parents wouldn't pay for it.  So he took nearly all of his electives in performance (theater, music, poetry).  He won a free 5th year at CMU to study that exclusively.

21 years later, he's STILL not an engineer!

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #63 on: December 30, 2013, 12:56:58 AM »
On a final note, I would like to ask some advice. I'm kind of bad at making life changing decisions especially concerning my career. I get extremely anxious; heart palpitations, sweaty palms, nausea, sleeplessness, the works.

Does anyone have some useful tips to get me throught this process? How do you make your decision when faced with choices. I'm all over the place and I don't know whether I should follow my head or gut.

Thanx!

These symptoms could be anxiety or possibly related to some antidepressant meds. Along with meds you should do counselling/therapy. Your psychologist/counsellor/therapist should be able to help with unravelling what is going on here and help with strategies.

One thing you said about wanting to make the "right choice": keep in mind there might be many right choices. And you likely will have many different careers in your life. We are no longer in the mid 20th century when you only had one job all your life.  So you get to have more than one go at it if you need to.

I agree with those who have said take some time out and improve your mental state first.

When you know what you want to move towards, figure out some steps. For example you say you are interested in literature. There is such a thing now as Medical Humanities, which as a medico puts you on a higher footing than arts graduates trying to get into the field. One big area is medicine and literature.  There are a number of medicos I know of who are successful fiction authors: some practice half time and write part-time, some have left medicine to write. Or, if you like writing a job with lots of academic content might be useful.

amyable

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #64 on: December 30, 2013, 07:13:17 AM »
I dropped out of law school after a semester and became a middle school English teacher.  It was one of the best decisions I've ever made.  I love my job, and whereas in law school, I was somewhere in the middle as far as motivation and intelligent, at my current job, I'm regarded as one of the most hardworking and insightful teachers.  It's much easier to be motivated when you really care about something.

I felt immense guilt when I dropped out, but thankfully, I was on full scholarship for the first year, so other than books, etc., it didn't cost me too much. 

One huge piece of advice from someone who has been there:  after you drop out (if you do), make sure you have some way to fill your day for the first few weeks.  When I dropped out, I did it in early November, and I didn't end up finding a job until early December.  It was extremely emotionally overwhelming to go from working on law school stuff for 12 hours a day to sitting around my apartment alone, looking for jobs. 

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #65 on: January 07, 2014, 03:09:10 PM »
First of all; Happy new year everyone!

Okay I've been trying to write this post for 7 days in a row now - this should give you an insight into how difficult I find it to organise my thoughts- but I'm determined to get it done this time.

Totoro, I'm not sure what you mean by biochemical. But I am suffering from anxiety unfortunately and I'm in treatment for that for quite some time now and I'm not sure I see any results.

Ideally, I would want some free time to sort out my mental state as most of you suggested, but as I said my family isn't very supportive and I worked out that I wouldn't be able to support myself for a very long time unless I stayed in school. And also like amyable said the thought of sitting around with nothing to do scared me, because dropping out makes me feel immensely guilty and the agitation I would feel on top of that by doing nothing would probably kill me.

Currently I'm pursuing a programme in epidemiology while still being able to stay in med school, but I can't say it really works out and this part is difficult to explain. I feel guilty for not doing medicine, this has always been the case. While still trying to get my BSc in Medicine I would try to escape from it, but also I would feel immensely guilty for every second I spent not doing my homework. I would feel like I was stuck in a cage, but trying to get out of it would make physically ill with fear and worry and uncertainty. I thought I would feel better  after I'd found an alternative programme, but that's unfortunately not the case. I still feel very guilty and I feel like I'm less than the students around me who are very eager to get their MD. You see, I think I know I wouldn't be a happy working as a doctor, but now I'm not so sure with these feelings I have right now I will be happy without becomng an MD.

lhamo

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #66 on: January 08, 2014, 01:09:01 AM »
Have you tried making adjustments to your diet as a way of addressing your anxiety?  I have hypoglycemic tendencies and can track my psychological issues pretty closely to my dietary habits -- sugar and carbs literally make me crazy.   Isn't easy to deal with years of negative habits, but am hoping 2014 will be the year I get my diet finally under control and at the same time get healthier psychologically.  I'm reading an interesting book now called The Mood Cure -- resonated with me because I had very good results when I experimented with 5-HTP earlier in the fall.  Might be worth looking at, especially considering how miserable you sound.

Hang in there.  I know it is hard.

totoro

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #67 on: January 09, 2014, 10:01:55 AM »
I had a run-in with high anxiety three years ago.  It was no fun - like being a hostage to fear.  Mine was related to hormone changes.  I went on a low dose of anti-anxiety meds for 12 months and it stopped it.  It made me realize that my condition was almost entirely biochemical because the meds stopped it in its tracks - immediately. Had I not gone to the doctor, I believe it would have escalated and no amount of willpower would have helped.  Because of that experience, I am quite convinced that medication is sometimes the answer.

When I read your posts I get a strong feeling that the responses you have to your circumstances demonstrate higher anxiety/depression than would be average, even if this career is not for you.  I feel the suffering and I really hope that you reach out for more support anywhere you can get it.  It will be okay, just keep taking steps to any helpful resources out there. Your school probably has some?

As far as not being able to support yourself if you stopped for a bit, have you really thought about all options that might be available to you?  I don't know your circumstances and I'm in Canada, but here you could stop out for medical reasons and, if necessary, go on social assistance short-term.  Or just get a job, any job.

AllChoptUp

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #68 on: January 09, 2014, 12:05:03 PM »
Becoming a physician has been a goal of yours, invented and reinforced by your parents, for nearly your entire life.  Of course the concept of quitting or changing it makes you have anxiety attacks!

This may sound harsh, but you are not far from the mental state of a brainwashed cult member or prisoner of war (no disrespect to POWs, it's just an analogy).  Any time you have had a thought out of line (alternate careers) you were threatened with emotional and physical abandonment.  This is how compliance is created.

You are doing really well by considering other avenues (epidemiology, for example), it takes courage to face our deepest fears.  Be proud of yourself and keep flexing that independence!  It will get easier with every step you take on your own initiative.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2014, 01:48:41 PM by AllChoptUp »

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #69 on: January 09, 2014, 05:43:43 PM »
I'm taking a break from an allnighter to reply to your posts and to destress a bit.

It may sound a bit odd, but posting my story on this forum really lessens my anxiety a bit. Just to get it out helps, I guess and the replies so far have been non-judgemental, thankfully.

Earlier on I said I wasn't from an immigrant family, I have to confess that's only half true; my father side isn't but my mother's side is and her entire circle of friends is from an immigrant background. And they definitely wouldn't understand me if I said med school is making me unhappy. I didn't want a culture/race debate going on, so that's why I didn't say it at first.

To anyone who has ever dropped out, or to anyone who wants to reply, I want to ask you something. For the past couple of months I've been doing research about whether the medical profession is the right choice for me; like making pro-con lists, doing career and personality tests (I'm an INFP), talking to counsellors, thinking. And I'm leaning towards that it might not be the best choice for me to continue, but everytime I hear stories about great things happening to people in med school and seeing new and fresh med students I panic. I wonder whether I've overlooked something, whether med school isn't so hard as it seems, whether I should push myself harder.
Have any of you had such feelings and how did you deal with it? 

lhamo

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #70 on: January 09, 2014, 09:06:16 PM »
I can't answer your immediate question above.  But there is another one I have heard that I really like as a way of figuring out what path to take:

"What would you do if you were not afraid?"

Then do that.

OK, I know it isn't that simple.   If it were me, the answer would be sell our expensive apartment, quit our jobs, move somewhere cheaper and do something completely different/unexpected/fun for the next 5-10 years or maybe the rest of our lives.  But I'm not quite ready to make that dramatic change -- yet.  The process of asking and thinking through the question helps bring clarity and focus, though.  And the foundations of a plan that can be implemented, sooner or later, once the ambiguity of my current situation resolves one way or another.


happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #71 on: January 10, 2014, 04:33:37 AM »


Quote
"What would you do if you were not afraid?"

Lhamo, thats a great question. I've also heard that one should think about what one enjoyed when you were a small child...things you were attracted to and good at, but may have been discarded as "not practical."

OP, sounds like you are in a tough spot. You get anxious about continuing, but panic about stopping. A friend of mine is a psychologist and has a cup he offers his clients with "damned if I do, damned if I don't" written on it.

I can't offer practical advice about epidemiology, but it seems to me your general idea  is a good one : ie to segue down an alley you think you can tolerate, that looks enough like medicine to keep everyone happy. It sounds like leaving completely is too anxiety provoking, so maybe proceed with epi, if you can manage it. ( does psychiatry appeal? thinking of an INFP) At some point you will be able to learn to displease your family, maybe it will take a few more years before you can do this. It would also be helpful I think, if you can "defy" them once you have a job and an income and are more independent.

I'm a physician,, age 55 now, and have to confess to a long term ambivalence  about my profession that I've more or less stifled for a variety of reasons. Looking back I wish I had had the courage to change direction when I was 20 something. But I was too afraid and didn't really have an idea of what else I wanted to do....Unlike you however, although the work was a slog at uni,  and yes lots of  repetitive lists of stuff to learn, it wasn't until I graduated that I really realised I might not be in the right place.

The thing is, Rory, you are on a mustachian board. Mustachianism shows you how to be happy with not much income. If I'd known then what I know now I would have had one of two responses:

1. stayed a physician, worked my butt off and reached FIRE  (like Kimpossible is aiming at)
2. changed track and chosen something I enjoyed, knowing that  I could be happy without a high income.

I'm  going around in circles a bit, but what I'm getting at, what if you did epi (or something that seems tolerable) for the next 5-10 years? Graduate, get a job, maintain a high savings rate working towards FI, and work on becoming independent/ improving your mental state.

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #72 on: January 10, 2014, 05:03:50 AM »
Caveat:  I know culture plays a role in these things and how people respond, so this may not be relevant, but here is my story of defiance...

I always did exactly what my parents expected of me growing up.  I never went through a teenaged rebellious stage, and continued to seek their approval well into adulthood.  It got to the point where I felt guilty when I was doing something I knew they wouldn't approve of (dating and assorted other related activities, if you know what I mean), EVEN IF I DIDN'T THINK THEY WERE WRONG.  Their voices followed me everywhere.

After I got married, this continued.  If I had a decision to make, and one would make my parents happy and the other my spouse happy, I would make the one that would make my parents happy.  It was not until I was 33 years old that I defied them for the first time, and even then, it wasn't for myself, if was for my child.  I had no choice, because it was for my child and I had to put him first.

My parents didn't approve of how I was raising my child (attachment parenting), and we had a major blowout when they thought he was being disrespectful (which he was, he was two) and I interceded when they wanted to spank him.  They banished him from their lives for a summer.  I was 8 months pregnant at the time and wasn't sure if they would even come see the new baby, because my mother said she wouldn't come to my house if my two-year-old was there and if I brought him to their house, she would leave and my father would discipline him as he saw fit.  There was no way I was kicking my two-year-old out so my mom could visit, nor was I going to let my father discipline him, so we didn't visit them.

This was an extremely painful period for me--I had spent my entire life avoiding this very thing, and yet it had happened anyway.  I could hardly sleep, kept playing conversations over and over again in my head.  But then I started to realize how wonderful it was to be a little family unit and to only have to worry about me, my husband, and my children.  It was so liberating!!

My parents and I very slowly found our way back together, but it was in a new way, and honestly, quite a wonderful way.  Our relationship now is better than I ever thought it could be, and that's because I left the relationship as a child and re-entered it as an adult.  Looking back, I am so grateful for this experience, and only wish I'd had the guts to defy my parents as a teenager or young adult.  There is a purpose for that rebellion, and it's a good one.

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #73 on: January 10, 2014, 05:06:23 AM »
Hi Rory,

Difficult position that you are in. If you don't like it after 4 years of studying, I doubt that you will ever like it. I guess you already know, but I just want to point out that there are a lot of other options with you're medical degree than becoming a physician. You could work in consultancy, as a company doctor, into research etc. However, you could also consider doing a pre-master and than another master like biomedical sciences, etc.

If you didn't like any of the subjects of your medical education so far, please stop. Different people like different things. The fact that your fellow students like it, does not mean you should too. You are old enough to stand up to your parents. If necessary take out a loan to support yourself. Maybe not the best forum to suggest this, but this forum is also about happiness, and it's better to work in a profession you like a bit longer than it is to work a bit shorter in a profession you dislike.

Good luck on your decision!

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #74 on: January 10, 2014, 05:33:34 AM »
Gray Matter, this is an excellent story. I too delayed defying my parents until well into adulthood.  For some I think its not until we are securely independent, or there is a higher priority that we can risk their disapproval.  I've always thought its probably better to do it as a teenager and get it over with LOL but I was a chicken.

As you say you've forged a new relationship that involves their respect of you as an adult.  Mostly I think this is what happens and is as it should be.  I've heard of situations where  the parents/family are unfortunately unyielding and the estrangement continues...however as you said once you are independent/ have your own little family unit as you say you can manage quite well. 

Simple Abundant Living

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #75 on: January 10, 2014, 06:48:22 AM »
Rory,

Here's another thought for you.  If you are going to continue school, why not pursue psychology/psychiatry?  It may give you insights into your anxiety, depression, and the parent-child relationship.  Once you've got a handle on your own mental/emotional health, your empathy could be a great help to patients.  Just a thought...

jrhampt

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #76 on: January 10, 2014, 08:54:09 AM »
I think epidemiology is a good choice.  I work for an insurance company, and we have a ton of epidemiologists here in research/analytics types of positions.  It's a good career that pays reasonably well.

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #77 on: January 13, 2014, 02:05:15 AM »
Hey Gray Matter, I think you should be very proud of yourself! For some of us it´s just not that easy to defy our parents, but you still did it no matter what age you were when you managed to do so. You should also be proud of yourself for being able to forgive them, that shows your strength of character. I´m happy for you that you found peace and happiness with your family at present.

It´s funny that you mention family, because recently I´ve thought of a new motivation for myself. Instead of thinking about this family I have, I try to think of my (hypothetical) future family. I try to imagine that it would make them proud if I stood up for myself and in spite of all succeeded in creating a content life. I hope that thinking about this and about what I would do if I weren´t afraid will help in organising my thoughts and figuring out my priorities.

As for INFP and medicine. I have the greatest respect for psychiatrists, as I´ve seen them work and I think they´re the bravest people I´ve ever seen. Still, I don´t think Psychiatry is for me, because the patients intimidate me. I mean no disrespect, but I always feel uneasy around psychiatric patients.

Happy, thank you for sharing your story. If you wouldn´t mind I´d really like to know what you don´t like about practicing medicine (what is your specialisation) and how you knew you weren´t in the right place. You can PM me if you feel like you´d be compromising.

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #78 on: January 13, 2014, 05:39:57 AM »
OP to answer your question: I like medicine in an academic sense, as in: I like the subject. Some of uni was very tedious, but as I progressed and knew more, I enjoyed understanding how the human body worked, pathophysiology and ways of ameliorating or reversing disease. I also enjoy helping people and using the practice of medicine to do this.  To be fair though, I am more an academic than a healer.

What I didn't like was once I graduated  from university ( quite an academic course with not much practical), our system of internship/residency meant I had to "learn by doing"  on real people no less, with very little support. I am essentially a "book learner" and this was absolutely terrifying to me. Later in my career I learnt about Kolb and learning styles and realised why I hated it so much.

As I progressed through the ranks, this became less of an issue. However I realised I didn't relate very well to my peers who were, by and large, ambitious overachieving status seeking elitists who "played the game" to get to the top, not worrying who they swept out of the way. Working long hours in a fairly abnormal environment meant I didn't relate well to others either due to a sense of dissociation. I would sometimes blink in wonderment that there was a world of people out there doing all sorts of stuff, whilst I was dealing in sick bodies.  When I had time off, when it was time to go back, it was excruciating to lose contact with the world again. I was touted to be a world expert in my field at a young age, but after a few years couldn't stand the pressure and took a menial job doing medical examinations for a couple of years, then was headhunted back to my specialisation.

I was still toying with getting out, when I had kids, and this was the perfect opportunity to work part-time. Part-time work made all the difference by reducing the all consuming nature of the job, and providing time to "normalise"  on my days off.  When I became a single parent I remained part-time, grateful I could earn a good wage, and still see my kids.  At that point I was just grateful (and exhausted) and gave up any ideas of re-training.

With passing decades our health system has changed a lot, and currently it is very difficult to practice in a satisfying manner due to intrusions and limitations on the system. I still work part-time. These days its very much the systemic issues that irk me..... and hence I still want out.  I have my own little side alley I have been working on and I hope to start to go up it soon. However I need to spend most of my work time in clinical medicine in order to earn my current high wage: a couple more targets to meet then I hope to shift directions. (or maybe just retire altogether)

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #79 on: January 13, 2014, 12:37:54 PM »

As for INFP and medicine. I have the greatest respect for psychiatrists, as I´ve seen them work and I think they´re the bravest people I´ve ever seen. Still, I don´t think Psychiatry is for me, because the patients intimidate me. I mean no disrespect, but I always feel uneasy around psychiatric patients.


I find this quote very interesting.  I would think that psychiatric patients look and sound a lot like you.

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #80 on: January 13, 2014, 03:35:09 PM »


I find this quote very interesting.  I would think that psychiatric patients look and sound a lot like you.

Maybe that´s why..

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #81 on: January 13, 2014, 05:28:00 PM »
Not sure how it works in your country, but here there's 2 main sorts of psychiatry practice. Public practice which sees the more socially challenging types of patients. Private practice on the other hand is full of people with higher socioeconomic status with mood disorders.

If you're not attracted to psych, don't give it another thought. INFPs are also analytic types so epidemiology fits fine.

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #82 on: January 21, 2014, 05:02:32 PM »
Hey thanks for that,

As for Psych, I'm not entirely sure but I don't think there's no such thing as a private psychiatric practice here.

And again, I don't mean to offend anyone, I just don't think I would do well in Psych.

Daleth

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #83 on: January 21, 2014, 06:29:31 PM »
It´s funny that you mention family, because recently I´ve thought of a new motivation for myself. Instead of thinking about this family I have, I try to think of my (hypothetical) future family. I try to imagine that it would make them proud if I stood up for myself and in spite of all succeeded in creating a content life. I hope that thinking about this and about what I would do if I weren´t afraid will help in organising my thoughts and figuring out my priorities.

That is a FANTASTIC perspective. How illuminating!

As for INFP and medicine. I have the greatest respect for psychiatrists, as I´ve seen them work and I think they´re the bravest people I´ve ever seen. Still, I don´t think Psychiatry is for me, because the patients intimidate me. I mean no disrespect, but I always feel uneasy around psychiatric patients.

You don't have to be with psychiatric patients, though... you could go into research, or into counseling "regular" patients (ones with life troubles or mild/moderate depression, as opposed to psychosis or paranoid schizophrenia or what have you).

I was just reading the other day about a field of study in which psychology researchers are studying happiness, as opposed to studying illness. The point being, obviously, to come up with therapies that help people develop happiness, instead of just decreasing the intensity of their sadness or apathy. I would imagine there are also more specifically medical approaches to that, e.g. people studying the neuropsychiatry of happiness. Would that interest you?

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #84 on: January 22, 2014, 04:16:22 AM »
Hey RoryCK

Since you asked about med school, here's my 2 cents again...

Unlike "happy," I hated med school (hierarchy, rote learning, close mindedness, extreme structure, overachieving and competitive environment, plus my memory is not the best...) but absolutely loved the practical aspects and patient interactions. What I'm saying is, you may hate med school but end up enjoying the actual work. Maybe. But it seems like you are thinking otherwise, based on self analysis and counseling.

Another observation about med school - my little sister is one of those successful, cheerful, bleeding heart, "joins every campus organisation" students. She is thriving and has stars in her eyes about the profession. I clashed horribly with the culture of my institution and had poor grades, very few friends and eventually developed a bad attitude. The point is, nobody can tell you that you "should" be having a glorious time when you know for yourself that it's just not the case. Sometimes your school or degree is just not a good fit for your personality.

If you decide that it's a sunk cost, I'd say get out. You can always go back if you realsie that you've made a mistake.

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #85 on: January 22, 2014, 06:57:39 AM »
Hi Rory, just wanted to share a few things with you.  I can identify with everything that you are feeling and I have been there too.  I am also an INFP and it took me a while to realize that I am just wired really differently from other people.  For me, listening to my gut has always paid off....it is when I try to over-think something or do something to please other people, that I run into a problem.  I have to really believe in something to make a commitment of giving up my life to do it.
 I fumbled around for a long time trying to live up to my parent's expectations...only to realize that they kept raising the bar and I would never, ever reach it.  I ended up rebelling in my teens and self medicating with alcohol and other substances.  It took me a LONG time to find myself, get the help, and then figure out what I wanted to do with my life.  You see, we only get this one time around this amazing world....how sad to live it trying to please someone else!
Don't worry about other people...worry about yourself.  I don't make the money I used to in the corporate world...but I got to semi-retire in my 30's doing something I love doing.  I make 1/3 of what I used to make, but I am absolutely thrilled to wake up every morning living the life I dreamt about.  It can be done :)

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #86 on: January 25, 2014, 04:54:51 PM »
Hey Citrine,

Thank you for sharing. Unlike you I always knew I was very different from other people, but again unlike you I'm still not at peace with it. I'm kind of envious how you can always trust your instinct, because I absolutely can't. Mostly because my gut feeling is so intertwined with fear, but also because I don't really know what it's saying. I have a very difficult time figuring out what I want and making choices and I'm at this stage of my life where one choice is very defining, so that puts me under a lot of pressure. And that again makes it hard being very different from other people, as it seems that everyone is collectively going in one direction and I'm inclined in going the other direction.

Sorry, I don't mean to turn this forum into an outlet for semi depressive rants. But what I'm saying is that even though I'm in a bad place right know, I'm hoping someday I can wake up to a life a really love as well.

lhamo

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #87 on: January 26, 2014, 01:16:33 AM »
My sister just told me about an author I hadn't heard of, Brene Brown -- looks like several of her titles might be really useful reading for you.  About overcoming imposter syndrome and having the courage to live the life you want to live, not the one other people tell you you should live.  Here are the links on Amazon to the Kindle editions (softcover also available):

http://www.amazon.com/Thought-Was-Just-but-isnt-ebook/dp/B000SEHDGM/ref=sr_1_sc_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1390724014&sr=8-3-spell&keywords=brenerown

http://www.amazon.com/Gifts-Imperfection-Think-Supposed-Embrace-ebook/dp/B00BS03LL6/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1390724014&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=brenerown

http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Greatly-Courage-Vulnerable-Transforms-ebook/dp/B00APRW2WC/ref=sr_1_sc_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1390724014&sr=8-2-spell&keywords=brenerown


earlybird

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #88 on: January 26, 2014, 10:18:57 AM »
Hi Rory. You've gotten a lot of good advice already here so not sure how much I can add to the discussion. Do you enjoy working with animals? Perhaps you could become a veterinarian which might utilize your current degree. In any case, I hope you find what you're searching for.

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #89 on: January 26, 2014, 03:05:33 PM »
Quote
I'm kind of envious how you can always trust your instinct, because I absolutely can't.

Its that INF thing. Your instinct/intuition is a powerful gift. The F can make you want to take others feelings into account. One task is to figure whether you are responding to others, vs your own instinct. Trust me, that small quiet voice is there, but it takes practice to recognise it if you are used to always pleasing others. Its not easy but worthwhile. When I was in my 20s I looked inside and didn't know who was there. I was so used to living my life according to what others wanted. Looking back I probably got depressed too, but wasn't diagnosed.

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #90 on: January 30, 2014, 05:01:09 AM »
Thank you everyone,

For sharing your advice and experiences with me. Hopefully I'll be able to update you in the near future that I've found my way and everything is going well. I'll be working hard towards a solution, I really hope that it's true that you get to have more than one go in making the right choice as "happy" said.
Wish me luck!

P.S.: If there are still people who want to share their story, please do, I will be keeping an eye on this forum ;)

RoryCK

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #91 on: March 27, 2014, 04:29:30 PM »
Hello mustachians,

It has been 2 months since my last post and about 5 months since my first post. The last time I was here you were so kind with your insightful posts and I think I need it again.

First of all I need to explain what I'm doing and this might be hard to follow since the system here is different than it is in the States. Right now I'm in a position where I can do my masters in Epidemiology while still staying in Medschool, this seemed like a perfect solution at the time: so I could catch up on all the stuff in med school I didn't have fully memorised, while doing some research I actually like.

But my mind can't seemed to rest. Someone in here said that my mindset has been that one of a POW, I can't remember who said that, but I hereby agree.

This next sentence I have to be very careful in phrasing, because I'm never sure of what I want and what I'm feeling;
I can see now that being a physician isn't the place I want to be in 10 years from now. But If I didn't finish my medical education I would feel lacking.

Maybe this to an American audience is also very hard to understand. From an European standpoint you're all very individualistic and I mean that in the best way possible.
For example in Europe everybody either wants to go to medschool, or lawschool or do a business major. And that's fine, it's perfect for the people who want to go there. But very rarely do we hear anything else.
When I hear about American students picking their majors like journalism or public relations or creative writing or physics, it's so much more versatile. And so my guess is that not many of you are looking for a companion who takes the same road in university, because you're used to everybody doing something different.
Unfortunately, it isn't like that for me; I'm always looking for a companion, but everyone around me is daed set on medicine and becoming a physician. And that makes me feel unsure, insecure and like I'm always on the verge of making the wrong decision...

happy

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #92 on: March 27, 2014, 05:11:21 PM »
Hi Rory, thanks for checking in, its always nice to hear updates.
I'm not surprised you've hedged your bets, since leaving medicine was causing you great anxiety, and this seems like a good compromise.

I recently came across this podcast http://financialmentor.com/podcast/follow-your-passion/11640?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Financialmentorcom+%28FinancialMentor.Com%29

which I thought was very good. Its about why the popular notion of pick your passion and do that as your job, isn't good advice. The premise is that enjoying your job is more about  obtaining various characteristics in your work: competency, autonomy, connection with people, creativity, impact, control and a sense of mission.  Its more about picking something you are interested in, making a commitment, getting good at it ( which involves hard work, you don't necessarily get enjoyment out of this phase) and then trying to trade your expertise to get  those characteristics in your job.

A bit hard to summarise the hour long podcast, but I thought it might be useful for you, because it de-emphasises the idea there is a perfect job that we are passionate about, just find that and do it.

Quote
Right now I'm in a position where I can do my masters in Epidemiology while still staying in Medschool, this seemed like a perfect solution at the time: so I could catch up on all the stuff in med school I didn't have fully memorised, while doing some research I actually like.

If I were to apply these concepts to you current situation it would go something like this.

Finish med degree if you can suck it up and just get it done. Someone in epi with med degree will be better off both knowledge and status wise than someone without. (I don't necessarily agree the med degree makes you better at epi, but its just the way the world works). Do epi simultaneously if that is possible.

Decide epi is your interest and make a commitment to go for that. Work hard at it and get as good as you can at it. Once you have built a reputation, deliberately start to trade this for the passion traits that appeal to you: e.g. do you have a sense of mission to developing nations..you could specialise in epidemiology of health or disease in those countries,  do you value autonomy..maybe you could work at home,  etc etc

phred

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #93 on: March 27, 2014, 07:14:49 PM »
I haven't noticed any mention of what you wanted to be when you grew up????????

Anyway, you are right, with its strict protocols and potential for lawsuits, medicine at the practice level has little room for creativity.  Can you swing a gap year and use it to intern or volunteer in a public health department just to experience how things really are over there.?

Since you are female (?) taking fish oil capsules 3X a week may help with the down in the dumps

El Gringo

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #94 on: March 27, 2014, 09:01:27 PM »
I read this relevant article the other day on Man vs. Debt: Julian’s Success Story: How Going $42,000 in Debt was the Greatest Decision I’ve Ever Made (http://manvsdebt.com/reader-stories-julian/)

warbirds

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #95 on: March 28, 2014, 09:35:44 AM »
The absolute last thing any logical patient wants is a Physician that does not want to be a physician.

Get out- if not for your self, for the future patients you may disservice.

phred

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Re: Quit med school
« Reply #96 on: March 28, 2014, 12:22:33 PM »
What I overlooked is that this is a very old post.  Rory may no longer even be here.  Anyway, in some countries - Great Britain is one such - the medical degree is a bachelor's degree.