Having doubts about studying medicine, and how to deal with it!

I am halfway through this 6 year degree- woah. And I am having a bit uncertainty as to where to go from here, especially as pretty much all my school friends are graduating now and starting real life. Questions have popped up like what do I want to do for a BSc project, what shall I do for money in 5th and 6th year, what speciality am I thinking that I eventually want to train in and ultimately…is medicine for me still?

People have doubts in life, and it really is not uncommon to have doubts about whether medicine is the right career path for you (especially when you are racking up a huge debt for it).

I thought by now that I would be like “any other adult” and know where I was going and what I wanted to do…but I really don’t. And I am sure most other 21 year olds feel the same, and probably most adults. Don’t get me wrong I have a few ideas in mind and some strong interests, but I have no clue which way I am going to go, if I am honest, in my career.

Someone once told me that people paint a perfect picture of their life- especially on facebook. But what I didn’t realise, until this someone spelled it out for me, was how people also paint this fantastic picture about their careers too. People have their highs and lows in their careers- they have their doubts and their rejections but they also have job promotions and internship offers. But how often do people shout about the disappointments and the uncertainty? Never, obviously.

In medical student world, it is rare you come across a medic that knows exactly what path they want to go down and how. But what is now becoming even more common is seeing medics thinking about moving careers post-graduation. Of course there’s a whole bunch of personal and general factors that play into this and it would be wrong to generalise and blame soley one or two things here (cough junior contract cough). For me, it is really a question of motivation. I am just really questioning whether this is what I want to wake up and spend my days doing, and I think this uncertainty and this thinking is only a good thing.

So what have I done to help myself? Well I have tried lots of internships in different companies, I am currently working in Unilever and loving it! I also am looking at the way I face big decisions, I think I stress way too much about my future…probably because I am from a family home of planners. But I need to just slow down and take every decision as it comes and stop stressing about the big scary things like should I stay as a doctor or not. If I could give anyone some advice that is going through the same uncertainty as myself I would say what I was told by someone once to…keep your options open!

To be honest it is quite a positive thing, thinking things through fully is a really exciting thing. As the Imperial Medicine Careers Website says: “When making a decision about your future career at 18, you are not always guaranteed to have made the correct one for you.” This is so true. Honestly how can you know what you want to do at 18 with not much career experience apart from your 2 mandatory weeks at your local work experience company?

I have no clue what I am going to do in life, maybe I will be a GP and own a practice? Maybe I will work in a cool health tech company building robots that save lives? Maybe I will be a consultant cardiologist working in rural India….?? Maybe I will leave and decide to start my own company somewhere. Who knows?!?

Purpose of this blog post was to make people aware, whether you are thinking of coming to Imperial to do medicine or are studying medicine already (or even any other degree) that it is completely natural to have doubts. Just make sure that you don’t do what I did/do and get overly stressed about the doubts. Think them through and then make small decisions that make you happy and ultimately you will do what’s best for you. I am really happy with all the career decisions I have made to this point and am proud and humbled for the experiences I have had so far…let’s just all hope that this continues!!

We have all been there with uncertainty about what to do next. And we will all probably keep having doubts.

#middleagedcrisisat21 #Pensionplease #halfwaythere #goodluckeveryone

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