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I'm getting discouraged...Keep feeling like I can't do it

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11 years 4 months ago #7632 by tmom
So I'm in the beginning of my third year now, and I continuously feel upset about spending so much time at the hospital, or studying or working on assignments, and not as much time as I would like to spend with my daughter (19 3/4 months). I usually feel ok about things when I am out early enough to spend 1.5 hrs with her before she goes to bed, but I start feeling really sad on the nights that I don't get home in time to see her before she goes to bed (like when I'm on call, or whatever). In addition to the stresses of having to arrange for a babysitter (usually my mom who lives 1hr+ away or my hubby's mom who lives 45-55 min away) to pick her up from daycare. When I am on call and don't get to see my daughter til the next day, I start feeling like my priorities are not straight and I would rather be home with her, and how am I going to make it through the rest of med school...and how am I going to ever possibly manage residency?! Right now I feel like I don't know if I will practice medicine in the future (bc of the whole thing with having to get thru residency) but I told myself that I am definately planning on finishing med school, no matter how hard, bc that way my options will still be open if I do decide to practice. Almost every day I worry alot about whether I should do residency (which I know is not something I have to really think about til next year)...but I just get so upset when I have to stay on call and miss seeing my daughter that evening (especially when there are no patients for me to see, which makes me feel like its really a waste of time for me being on call). I'm sorry if it just sounds like I'm complaining, I guess I wanted to see if anyone else feels this way. Another factor is that my husband and I would like to try for a 2nd baby to be born preferably in the second half of fourth yr...but I worry how I will manage residency and on-calls with two kids that I miss so much...plus the whole breast-feeding/pumping thing all over again (which was hugely stressful with my daughter, bc she was not a good feeder). Anyone have words of wisdom, or words of encouragement for me? to at least get me through the rest of med school clerkships, (and maybe residency)?

Oh, another thing is that I took my first shelf exam and am really worried because I didn't get to finish (well I bubbled in teh rest of the ones that I didn't get to), and now I'm so worried for all of the rest of the shelf exams (I always have felt like I needed more time on the standardized exams), I guess I just feel like I'm worried about a bunch of things combined.

If anyone actually read this whole thing, thank you so much for bearing with me! I really really appreciate it.

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11 years 4 months ago #7633 by CosmoC
tmom, I feel for you, I really do. I think we all struggle w/ these issues at one time (or all the time) in our career. All I can really say is that if you are this miserable now, you will be completely clinically depressed during residency depending on your specialty. I have done both pathology and family practice- I didn't complete my pathology residency but to me that was a much more tolerable schedule than any other specialty. I know I'm supposed to say keep going, it's worth it- I just don't know how practical that advice is.

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11 years 4 months ago #7634 by MelloYellow
tmom, I can't completely relate because I don't have kids yet...but I can tell you I hated third year at first because it left so little time for anything else. The beginning of third year is the worst; its scary, long hours and completely different from anything you've ever done. Call sucks, especially when there is nothing going on. At my school some residents would let us leave by midnite if nothing was coming in (ie all the beds were full or the ER was relatively empty). That was nice.

It gets better because you get more efficient, but it still sucks to not be able to have any control over your own life. 4th year is better. I just started my pathology residency and while its not easy, people treat you with so much more respect which makes a world of difference! And you have real responsibility to patients. I would say give third year a little more time. One thing that helped me get through some tough times in 3rd year (surgery...) was re-reading my personal statement...it helped me remember why I was there and what my goals were.

Good luck!

Mel

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11 years 4 months ago #7635 by Baby Einstein
Sorry can't write much (in a hurry) but I was pretty miserable at first too. I'm 10 weeks into it now and so much better. I'm faster, more effective, better at managing my time so that, when I'm home, I'm HOME. It gets better. Hang in there.

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11 years 4 months ago #7636 by mamabear
tmom -- I'm not in med school (yet!) but I am a mom to a 2 year old and expecting #2. It sounds like you're really conflicted because you want what we all want -- to be a great mom AND to have your dream career. When you think about the positives in what you have accomplished already just by getting into med school, does it still have meaning and purpose now that you are missing your little one? I like the advice of re-reading your personal statement. Are you still the same person now as you were then? Does your statement still ring true?

Having come from an entirely different professional field (film) and now discovering AFTER having my baby that I hear my call to medicine (corny as that sounds) I am of the belief that any profession worth doing well has some expectation that we sacrifice our quality of life outside of work to do well. I am also of the belief that as women who are coming more and more into our own with equal opportunity and internalizing that we are equally valuable and important contributors to all aspects of society, it is our time to assert our needs as whole people - as professionals who are also dedicated mothers (or however else we devote ourselves to worthwhile pursuits that don't make us money). Asserting what we need has to come from believing it is our right to lead balanced lives --with our significant others as well as within our work environments. If our partners truly took on 50% of child-rearing responsibilities, I bet the working world and it's demands would change overnight. As it stands, we must assert ourselves in two arenas at once -- work and home.

Leaving medicine doesn't necessarily fix your conflict unless it is medicine specifically that you are having issue with. Think creatively about how to resolve your priority problem. I know you mentioned you already decelerated, but is it an option to take a break or otherwise slow things down now until your little one is even a year older? Age 3 developmentally is a big milestone which is why preschools start at that age. Could this be a possible short-term solution for you?

Coming from a place where I want to be in your shoes (accepted in a med program) and knowing what it takes to get there, I want to encourage your career goals. OTOH, I have taken the better part of these last two years off to be a SAHM and wouldn't have changed it for the world. In fact, with #2 on the way, I feel I have to defer my dream to be a doctor a bit, but I have clarity that it's not when for me, but how I get there that matters. In other words, my priority will remain putting my family overall first. I can already see how challengng it will be, but I hope I make some good waves in the process or at least find the path of least resistance with programs and people who will support my needs. I encourage you to do the same.

Best of luck!

"To see a world in a grain of sand,<br />And a heaven in a wild flower,<br />Hold infinity in the palm of your hand,<br />And eternity in an hour." - William Blake

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11 years 4 months ago #7637 by nonny2
tmom, I do feel the same way. I was so overwhealmed that I am taking this year off. Some residencies are not so bad. I am looking at an ER program that averages 50 hours a week for the intern year! What? Almost normal hours? Anyway, that is what is making me go on, I have decided that I will be happy in many different feilds so I am only going to consider ones that will give me more time at home like psych, ER and some family practice. Check out FRIEDA, it tells you average hours for each program. My husband is in his obgyn intern year and I will NEVER do a program like his!! If nothing else, at least finish your MD, you can always teach college. Why do they make it so impossible to pursue medicine while remaining balanced and healthy??

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