Walking Around Like A Med Student Zombie…

23 10 2010

Warning: This post has nothing to do with Halloween…

This is probably going to sound bad, but I’m going to say it anyway.

I’m bored…of school…

It’s probably not great to hear a doctor-in-training complaining about his lack of motivation in med school, but it’s true.

Just to clarify, there are some really bright moments when I am reminded of why I dived into this profession, such as when I get to hear the stories of physicians who have been working for 20+ years, or when I got to explore firsthand the intensity of a psychiatry emergency room and meet a patient who has persecutory delusions.

During those rare moments (they are truly few and far between in first year), I get so excited, and I cannot wait until I get into hospitals and clinics and get to interact with patients and hear their stories on a daily basis.

But until then, the truth of the matter is that we have to get through a lot of lectures on physiology, anatomy, pharmacology, cell biology, histology, embryology, and so on.  There are some hands-on labs and small group sessions with the intention of spicing things up and making lessons more relevant, and from my experience thus far, McGill plans the course extremely well and makes every effort to engage us in learning, but I still find a lack of motivation to study (despite some fantastic and passionate professors).

The truth is I feel guilty for being this way, because I feel like I am almost letting my future patients down, but the other side of me has listened to so many senior students, residents, and physicians tell me that a lot of what we learn in the first year and a half will not be used in actual practice, and what we do need to know, we’ll learn again in practice and in residency anyway.

So I’m feeling this way, not only because I’ve learned some of the material before, not only because the material is not always taught in the most engaging way, but most importantly, because I feel that what I’m learning now has no direct relevance to my future practice as a physician.  If it has no real relevance, isn’t this entire exercise another hoop-jumping spectacle?

I understand that the Basis of Medicine (BoM) is exactly that – trying to teach us the basics of medicine so that we have a fundamental grasp of the different bodily systems and how they work in isolation and synchronously in entire human beings.  I guess part of my frustration is that I had a lot of these types of classes in my undergrad years, and I kept telling myself that all of this will become much more stimulating and practical when I get to med school, and so I kind of set myself up for disappointment.  I just sometimes feel that it was a lot of hoop-jumping to get into medical school, and now it feels like even more hoop-jumping to become real doctors.

I was really looking forward to medical school because I was excited to get to take classes that I cannot wait to go to every day.

I think I’m just overly idealistic and impatient, but it doesn’t change how I feel right now.  For so long, getting into med school (and later, specifically so that I can become a psychiatrist and have those conversations that can help change lives) – that drove and directed me.  Now that I’m in, I still want to become a doctor, but the journey seems long and tedious, and the material we’re learning seems far removed from actual practice of medicine.

Until I get there, I need to find a new drive, a new motivation to keep me interested, a constant reminder for why I need to keep my head in the game and focus.

I need to find a new purpose.

“Purpose…it’s that little flame that lights a fire under your ass.”
— Princeton (Avenue Q)

Am I alone in feeling this way?  Or have you also felt, at some point, like you lost focus in something you’re supposed to be passionate about?  What did you do to get back on the horse?

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6 responses

25 10 2010
Judy

Avenue Q! ❤

You're certainly not alone in feeling this way! I bet most of your classmates can relate.

I know this is superficial, but one way I "get back on the horse" is to think of the paycheck at the end of the grad school tunnel. It's not about the money, per se, but the additional freedom it'll provide me and the options I can then provide for my loved ones.

Another superficial way I motivate myself is to keep in mind the goal and ambition of gaining a little fame in my field one day, and the only way I'll get there is to stick with the daily grind.

And one more! I tell myself the grass is always on the greener on the other side, so when you're a full-fledged doctor, you just may be wishing you were back in med school, so why not enjoy it a little more now?

Best of luck with the rest of the semester!

25 10 2010
June

Thanks, Judy – I especially like your last suggestion, because you’re right, I may never get to learn material in this way again after my four years here, so I really could miss having these kinds of lectures and labs down the road.

And I LOVE that you love Avenue Q – I think it’s in some tough competition for the position of being my favourite musical!

Thanks again for your insight!!

25 10 2010
Eastwood

These days, I’ve been trying to get back onto the horse, myself. (Or, I wonder if it’s the proverbial zebra.)

All I can say is: we have nothing to lose by giving our very best!

28 10 2010
Eastwood

(Sorry, just realised that I made a horrible typo in my previous comment i.e. loose. Would you mind fixing it when you have a second? 😛 Btw, I’m impressed by how you’re still able to get involved and pursue your passion outside of the classroom!)

28 10 2010
June

Done! And thanks, good sir! =)

We can work on getting back on track together!

6 11 2010
Marketa

Don’t worry about it, many people (including me) feel the same way!! Sometimes it’s just so boring… The thing that motivates me tho is that all the older med students keep saying that it only gets better in school and life in general as you go on… it’s more interesting, more clinical, more intense, more emotional, more challenging,… more alive and fun 🙂
So don’t be discouraged, it can only get better from now on!!

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