Do you ever get scared?

Everywhere I turn, I read that for many, many years medical school will be the only thing I think, breathe, talk and think about. For the most part, I am okay with this. But sometimes I get panicky. I mean, I have a family. I worry that my husband and I will grow apart. I worry that my kids will be mad that I’m not around. I just… worry. I know medicine is the path for me, and I will love what I do. But there is always this part of me that sits around wondering if I’m making a big mistake undertaking this with a family to think about.

Anyone else feel these insecurities?

My biggest fear is regarding what will happen if I’m not accepted. I’ve spent so many years, and so much energy, devoted to single-mindedly pursuing medical school. It makes me wonder what would happen if I got to the “now what?” at the end of the road after not being accepted. For now I don’t have a plan B, per se. Hopefully things will go my way so I won’t have to go to one. I sure am working hard to try and make it a reality!

I totally know what you’re saying though. I have a family myself and feel bad already about missing time with them. The baby I’m carrying right now will be the first baby of mine to be in daycare. I feel guilt over it already, and she hasn’t even been born yet.

Yep, I have fears as well. I don’t have a family (or a SO), but I get scared that this road will take so much of my time that I’ll never have a chance to actually meet someone and have a family at a decent age. I’m 32 now, and (if all goes well) won’t matriculate until 35 or 36, which to me means my time is dwindling (holy ticking biological clock, Batman!).

I know people say “there are pairings in med school all the time” (which I counter with most of the class = 10+ years younger than me or my age + married already) or “it’ll happen eventually,” but that doesn’t stop the thoughts from creeping into my head.

I’m still firm with this though; it’s taken me a decade to finally start this jig up and I’m certainly not going to quit now.

I think that’s the great aspect about being “pre”. It’s practice for the real deal. My DH and I are managing three small toddlers, jobs and school. I look forward to having three kids who are a little older and only school. I can’t worry about the possibility of failure. I can only focus on the possibility of success.

What if you don’t go to medical school? Will that ensure you meet that special someone? Nothing is certain. We all have those moments, but, try to not focus on them. They are not your friends. lol

My biggest fear in life has always been failure. Ironically, I was essentially a total failure prior to removing my head from my ass, growing up & getting after it. Even though I am precisely what I set out to be, I still tilt at windmills and fear failing. It frustrates the shit outta my wife for me to fear failure at this stage in my personal & professional lives, esp when I have accomplished what I set out to do. She is a wonderful woman who keeps me grounded and in touch with reality. Without her council, I would probably already be sucked up into the meat grinder of endless drive towards nebulous goals.

I, too, have shared these same thoughts. I think you are very wise to do so and would be kidding yourself if you didn’t. I have spent the past month reading, listening, and watching many different stories from medical students, interns, and physicians.

There is a common thread in most of them—medicine can be selfish. You are not getting into medicine because it is easy. You are not getting into medicine to just be an okay physician. It is a grueling, humbling, and scary journey where you give it your all to try to convince yourself that you are worthy and qualified to handle the lives and treatments of others. I, for one, am scared silly.

But, while you must make self-sacrifice, this should never be at the detriment of your own humanity. Family is important to you. There is no reason that you cannot find a harmonious balance between medicine and family life. Sure it will be tough at times, but in the end, it will all have been worth it. For as many horror stories about how devastating medical school or medicine was to a relationship, there are equally as many that weathered them out just fine. You just have to figure out what works best for you and your family; talking about and sharing feelings usually seems to be a good starting point for this kind of thing.

For me and my family, we are going to approach medical school as a family effort. Rather than looking at it as just me going to medicine, we are all making the leap into it–together. This, at least now, makes it feel as though I am not distancing myself from my family. Whether it will eventually start to feel as if I am dragging them with me remains to be seen!

My guess is that your family will turn into a fountain of encouragement and support rather than a pit of distraction and missed duty. Good luck and hang in there.

I’m 31, don’t have a family to take care of, and occasionally scared to death. I’m planning on applying in 2011 after finishing o-chem & taking the MCAT. If I get accepted, it’ll mean walking away from a pretty good life and a really good job; on the other hand it’ll mean doing something that I’ve wanted to do most of my life. The whole deal reminds me of (and I take inspiration from) the song Stand My Ground by Within Temptation, when it says “This might just be the ending of the life I’ve held so dear, but I won’t run, there’s no turning back from here.” The lyric just seems to fit what so many of us are doing so well.

Rule 10: The FUD factor: Fear Uncertainty, and Doubt

FUD kills off more premeds than any real exam, application, or other hurdle they face. While from a technical aspect I help more people with organization and project management of this undertaking, but it is the FUD that I coach and counsel most people on. People always seem to being caught up in how hard med school, residency, and being a doctor can is and FUD themselves from focusing their time, energy and resouces to get into medical school in the first place.

My “zen view” on this that until the letter the acceptance is in your hand, this is a hypothetical exercise. Until then no nearly absolute committed decision is needed. While doing postbacc, taking MCATs, filling applications are hard, time consuming, and costly, they are nothing compared to the years in training and the debt that will be incurred. Trying to get into medical school costs almost nothing in comparison. Just a little time and a little money with almost no risk. Remember you are not in medical school now. If you do pre-reqs, take the MCATS, apply, and get rejected, you will still not be in medical school, no worse off then when you started. You will have spent a little time and little money in trying. You may decide to give it up, you may decide family life is too impacted, you may just hate O-Chem. But if you stick it out for the 2 or 3 prep years, doesn’t that show a commitment to yourself.

This is why i encourage most people to realize that if you want this, it almost costs nothing to try.