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MD/PhD Feeling Stuck

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5 years 8 months ago #90680 by SummerHat
I am an MD/PhD (biomedical) student feeling a bit scared and overwhelmed by my choice of education.

After my third year of medical school, I decided to take time off and do a PhD on a prestigious scholarship (This means that I have to pay for my first half of medical school). I'm halfway through my PhD (2 years in) and not expecting to finish for another 2 years. Initially, when I joined, I thought that this was what I wanted--I enjoyed research, wanted to integrate it into my career as a physician, and was looking forward to the diversion from my clinical activities. However, at 28 years old (and single), I have to admit that I'm now belatedly scared about how this choice is going to affect my potential for dating, let alone marriage and children. I've considered quitting (especially because I'm taking a financial hit to do this), but I would like to finish what I started, and I feel like it would become embarrassing and complicated to quit. Do I have a reason to be scared? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Any advice or perspective of persevering vs. quitting? Thank you!

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5 years 8 months ago #90681 by newmommdphd
Only stick with it if you love research and want to do it as part of your future career. That being said, quitting md/phd is viewed as a red flag by some residencies especially competitive fields. If you're thinking primary care it may not matter so much. The middle of the PhD is a hard time for many people and a common time people think about quitting. If you love research hang in there. Also you can date, get married and have children during md/phd training. I did all three during my training and my husband is an md/phd too. Why quit just for a theoretical dating life that may or may not happen after you quit? If that's your only reason I would stay the course. On the other hand, if you have found you hate research, get out now! 2 more years will just be miserable if that's the case. Feel free to PM me if you want to talk more privately. I'm an md/phd, a wife, a mom, and a resident now. It can be done.

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5 years 8 months ago #90682 by newmommdphd
Also if you quit now and start residency soon, that will be a dating killer. I was much more able to date in md/phd training than I would be now, as residency leaves little time for sleep and eating let alone dating.

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5 years 8 months ago #90683 by AmmaMD
Another MD/PhD / mom / wife here, and I totally second newmommdphd's points.

My PhD years are when I met my husband, got married... and would have had kids, except that I took a little longer with the meeting-my-husband part than I would have preferred. My first child was born just after 3rd year of med school instead. It was MUCH easier dating (and just in general, constructing a life I wanted to be living) during reserach years than med school years. Which is not to say that I didn't work a *lot* during research years - but I had control over it. 3rd year of med school through the first 1.5y of residency, not so much.

Ooops, late for a meeting, but will try to add more thoughts later - and definitely feel free to PM me!

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5 years 8 months ago #90684 by tr_
Can you say more about why you feel PhD training is incompatible with dating OP? I agree with the other posters that dating is generally more feasible during research years than during early residency, but is there something specific to your situation that makes them incompatible?

(I'm also an MD-PhD, now out of residency and doing postdoc/research fellowship. I met my husband during my PhD years and we got married/started a family in residency).

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5 years 8 months ago #90686 by PeggySue
I did quit MD/PhD after 1 year of research (then finished the MD). I realized that I didn't really love research as much as I had thought, and that I really did enjoy clinical medicine quite a bit. I'm in residency now and absolutely quitting was the best thing for me. No regrets at all (and only a little bit of guilt ;) ). Also I had no problems at all on the residency trail about quitting, and matched my #1. But, I'm in a non-competitive specialty.

However, I agree with those above that some theoretical hit to your social life isn't a good reason to quit. It's not like things well be easier as a clinical med student, resident, or fellow (actually, socially things will probably be harder).

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