I Feel Like I Shouldn't Even Try Anymore and I Wish I Would Stop Wanting To

I really want to be a doctor but at this point I feel it’s not going to happen. I feel so terrible for complaining about it, too, given my reasoning. I have my dream schools and I really want to do a post-bacc program in order to get in (I am a mental health counselor who wants to be a psychiatrist, so I am non-traditional). However, I don’t even know where to start at applying. My husband wants me to do my post-bacc work at a community college. This would be a great idea and I’d be all for it, but my dream schools probably won’t take community college work as seriously. I absolutely hate that policy, but I like the schools so I’d have to put up with it.
And this is where the part where I say I feel bad comes in: I’m fully expecting people to say “If you want to be a doctor, you’ll make it happen no matter what school you go to”. And that’s true to some extent, but so, so many of the schools that I feel would be a good fit for me (that’s right, it’s not just about the prestige) have this policy and it’s horrifying to me. I feel like there is no point in even trying because the entire system is just so elitist. And I feel even worse because I’m thinking that if the people who made this policy could see this, they would just laugh sadistically because dissuading someone like me is exactly what they wanted to do. See, they wouldn’t know, but I’m autistic and even though my interpersonal skills are good enough for me to be a mental health counselor that people find helpful, they still probably will never, ever see me as human, and the fact that I would not be able to get into a medical school because of some weird classist policy would be a great way of weeding me out if nothing else would weed me out; it’s subtle enough so that they don’t have to reject me more outright.
I don’t think anyone even uses these forums anymore, but if anyone has had anything similar happen, I would like to hear from you. I don’t have access to any pre-health advisors because where I went to grad school, they were only for undergraduate students, and I graduated with my Master’s last spring. Other services cost money. I’m in my mid-twenties, and I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor for a few years now, but I feel I’m just going to be miserable if I can’t get in in a place where I fit in and enjoy going. And I don’t know what else I could do because I’m incredibly anxious about the fact that my grandmother died young-ish from something I’m worried may be genetic. I want to make a huge impact and I don’t think I can do that in my field, but I worry that I’m going to die before I even get to do anything. Thus, I feel like there is just no hope for me and I’m doomed to feel unfulfilled for life. Everything is just ridiculous and I want to stop caring and find a new direction in life that I find even more fulfilling so I can just make a huge impact there, but at the same time I don’t want to move on for some reason. I don’t have anyone supportive I can talk to this about and I feel all of my efforts are useless.

Hey Stephanie,

There’s a lot to unpack here and I have a lot of questions. Before I ask them, I want to let you know that I am also non-traditional, in my third decade, autistic, and starting medical school at one of my “dream schools” (not using quotes to be snotty, just copying your phrasing) in the summer.

First, I want to know why you don’t think becoming a doctor is going to happen?
Second, how do you know your dream schools won’t take a community college post-bacc? I did the majority of my pre-req’s at my local community college. Do you need a post-bacc?
Third, if you feel your dream schools are elitist, why are they your dream schools? I think it would be helpful to know why you chose them and how you know about your comfort there. (Did you talk to students like you? Did you visit the campus before? Talked to faculty?)
Fourth, why do you think adcoms won’t see you as human?
Fifth, why do you feel you can only make a huge impact as a doctor? Being a mental health counselor makes a huge impact on every person you’re helping, doesn’t it?
Sixth, I understand your anxiety about your grandmother. Not because anyone in my family died particularly young, but because I almost died particularly young. Turns out I do have a gene mutation. You might ease a lot of that anxiety seeing a geneticist.
Seventh, you feel like you won’t be fulfilled unless you become a doctor but you also want to try to find something else even more fulfilling? Do you just feel that way because of your concerns about the post-bacc? Honestly, if you feel there might be something else out there even more fulfilling, I think you should find it. If you’ve watched Dr. Gray’s stuff on YouTube, you’ll remember how much med school, residency, and the career itself can be incredibly brutal.

I know you probably wrote this out to rant and get things off your chest, but my first impression from your statements here is that you may not have done all of your homework on this. (First impressions can always be wrong.) If you want to clarify anything here, please do, but if this was just a rant-session (totally valid) then that’s cool, too. I wish you all the best on your adventures!

I usually don’t reply to posts but I feel compelled to respond. I am a 22 year old masters student doing an SMP in hopes to go to medical school. I am also in the process of getting tested for ADHD. So I understand how hard it is to be a non traditional student wanting to pursue medicine with a disability. Just simply based on this post, you seem like a kind, compassionate, and caring person who would become an amazing doctor. Nowadays so many doctors can be cold and callous and only have the medical skills when it comes to studying. I understand how it is hard to spend money on postbacc courses and wanting to pursue high ranked schools. My dream schools are in the top 20. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with shooting high for a top ranked medical school. My SMP is in a top 20 medical school and there is a clear difference in curriculum, opportunities, and networks when compared to a school that’s lowered rank. I do want to point out one thing in your post. You said your husband wants you to take community college courses. Why is that? What do YOU want to do? Your husband isn’t the one who’s trying to go to medical school. I understand you guys share the financial burden (Note: I am not married) but this situation will be affecting you the most. So you should try to figure out which path to take in terms of post bacc classes. Also since you said you’re a mental health counsenslor, maybe you can save some money for classes/tuition? Or take out a loan, if you decide to take post bacc courses not at a community college? I’d highly suggest emailing the schools you’re interested in and ask them if they would take community college courses. Also based on the tone of this post, you seem pretty bummed out by your current situation. I completely understand. However, it’s really hard to pursue a big goal (like a postbacc/applying to med school/attending med school) with a pessimistic perspective. Contantly saying that you’re doomed and have no hope will ultimately feed that narrative more and make it harder for you to pursue medicine. Maybe therapy, practicing some sort of faith, or surrounding yourself with supportive friends can help you get out of this mindset. It’s really really hard but I can tell from this post you are more than capable of pursuing what you want in life. I hope everything works out for you :slight_smile:

Like kgmartin said, a lot to unpack, but I want to go back to the first paragraph where you said that your husband wants you to do your post-bacc at a CC - this seems like an easier problem to solve than tilting at the windmills of the “elitist system”. Don’t do your post-bacc at a CC. Do it at the school where you know it will be accepted by the medical schools you want to apply for.

I don’t know why your husband want you to go to a CC (I am doing my AS in biology degree at a CC right now and will finish at University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2022) but don’t. If it is money, then take one class at a time (or whatever you can afford). If there is some other reason, then ask him to explain his reasons, be empathetic, listen, and then tell him no, because it is your life, your dream, and you are going to make it happen.

Don’t give up! I think you are waay over analyzing this.

Start off at CC see how it goes. You are so young and life is going to happen. Along the way do some of the things you must to get into med school

Good luck