Motivation - waxing and waning

Does anyone else ever wake up in the morning and sometimes wonder to themselves if this is all worth it?
Work full-time, school full-time, wife, 2 kids, no sleep. It’s sometimes hard to find the motivation in the mornings. But then I go to school and find out I kicked butt on a calculus exam that I thought I bombed. Now I’m pumped. I feel I can make it another day and that maybe I can do this.
I never doubt that I want to be a doctor, I just sometimes doubt that I have the gumption to see this through to fruition. blink.gif

I ‘feel ya’ ballast…I am certain that we all have periods of self-doubt and that this phenomenon is not limited to pre-meds(although, someone once informed me about documented cases of “pre-med syndrome”). I am returning to school after 5 years to revive my pre-med swing and at first my motivation/pump meter registered 15 on a scale of 1-10 blink.gif However, just this past week after registering for 3 classes this fall {I too work full-time, have 2 kids, an ex-wife (this counts in the stress category as well)} as the reality of hiting the books draweth nigh, I have been battling self-doubt, negative thoughts like: your GPA sucks, you think you’ll ever get in? How are you going to balance it all? Your kids will hate you, oh yeah, don’t you remember that your GPA sucks!..well, after containing those emotions, listening to some motivational tunes, and tons of self-talk, I’ve steered this rollercoaster straight somewhat.
I think that when searching for the will to keep on keeping on, we have to remind ourselves to take it ONE TINY STEP at a time. We don’t have to be able to see the end, just know that if we continue to place one foot in front of the other that the END will arrive, along with that coveted acceptance letter. Is all of this worth it? I don’t know experientially, 'cause I ain’t there yet, but I know this: if Linda Wilson, Sue Mason, Mary Bois-Byrne, ParamedicRN, Tae, spacecadet, SPN, Kevin911, Kim Higgins, Sproule, Doctortobee, saralane, jeng, Joe Pegram, Jenn Stirgwolt, Brian Dunn, Jessica, and Maria can do this, THEN SO CAN WE!!!

Does anyone else ever wake up in the morning and sometimes wonder to themselves if this is all worth it?

All the time. There are times when it is more the memory of a time when I wanted to do this that keeps me going. It's all peaks and valleys with me.

I think it’s a universal phenomenon. It persists into med school, I’m sorry to say. But don’t be discouraged- it goes away (and comes back, and goes away again). I lost count of how many times I had the same conversation with different people throughout the year. We were all asking, “Why do I want to do this?” (I don’t suppose it is coincidental that these conversations came up during the periods of heavy exams, usually very late at night).
And then you get to do something that reminds you of why you’re doing this all. In my case it is usually doing something, anything, with real patients that revitalizes me. I remember exactly why I want to do this, and I realize that I am in the only place I would want to be. My classmates have told me the same thing.
Try not to get discouraged. You WILL get through, and it will be worth it. You will question your decision a thousand times I imagine (I still do), but the important thing is to hang in there and keeping plugging at it.

I’m a little low on the motivation scale myself right now but hopefully I can get my but in gear before the semester starts. Must crush all classes! Must get into medical school! Must stop talking like this cool.gif

It's ALL about raw determination! The best thing I found is not to let yourself entertain those thoughts. In the words of Yoda - There is no try…only do.


Thanks for the replies everyone. It was feeling kind of low and stressed this past week. I think you nailed it Epidoc. First summer session is coming to an end and I’ve been running on pretty much zero sleep.
Devan/blhyqwy (what does that mean anyway) - You’re right about one step at a time. Sometimes when I think about getting my BS, then medical school, then internship, then residency…it seems so far away and like sooo much to do, that I will never get there. I’m trying to focus on one semester at a time.
Calvin/Alyson -

There are times when it is more the memory of a time when I wanted to do this that keeps me going.

This is true for me as well. There are some things that I read, hear, see that bring my focus back to my goal, but sometimes when I’m caught in the grind of work and school, it’s easy to forget why I’m doing all of this.
Damon - Hulk smash. biggrin.gif
Wendy - Are you listening to little green men? smile.gif

Oh, yeah, I’ve been there, done that, and have that T-shirt. I haven’t worn it in a while because I couldn’t work up the motivation to wash it. wink.gif
Last night I actually had to use the kitchen timer to study for my chemistry exam: an hour of study, 10-minute Web break, repeat until brain is full. Otherwise I’d have hung around upstairs playing Freecell and planning to start studying any minute now. But it worked out in the end; I wound up prepared and I’m pretty sure I knocked the exam right out of the park. That feeling of having nailed (or even survived) a test is a motivation for me. The week before the test somehow saps me.
It all comes in cycles.

I have it now dude. I am enjoying my last free summer ever to the point that I want to be a professional golfer this week! LMAO Man I love golf, too bad I suck at it though.
Seriously, I had a lot of those same doubts when I got a C on a test or…even worse.
I had those doubts when I did well, but it had to be a subject I hated.

Ha! I know what you mean futrfysician about the golf.
I thought of becoming a professional as well since I'm so good at it - it takes the professionals 18 holes to score what I score in only 9!

Hoo, doggies, am I wit’ ya!!
I am in week 3 of an 8-week intensive chemistry summer course. Exam every Friday, final for Chem I after 4 weeks, final for Chem II after another 4. Every day we learn 1-2 chapters.
I haven’t even had time to procrastinate, because between homework, readings, pre- and post-lab write-ups, every minute counts. Yes, I’m doing chemistry in my dreams.
I find it significant that I am able to wake up and be out the door by 7 AM (without drinking coffee!) every day to be early for class while I couldn’t get to my job before 10 AM if I tried. (And yes, I loved my job 90% of the time.)
Some days suck, and when I can’t get a concept I get frustrated. But then other days you learn an amazing new theory, and it’s so cool to see the pieces of an electron shell valence count come together. tongue.gif
I geeked out pretty quick these last three weeks! hee hee
Hang in there. The end result will be worth all of the efforts, and be much sweeter as a result.

Keep the little green men, you'll need them when you get to Orgo - just don't tell anyone he talks to you!
You don't have little green men?
Your time will come…

Hang in there Ballast…I just finished up my first semester of summer school Physics yesterday. Take it day by day, and before you know it, the prereqs will be in the books.

Hi Folks,
This is hard stuff to do and frought with plenty of uncertainty. Even at my level, I still have a fleeting fantasy of taking the easy road and applying to a couple of anesthesia programs, holding my nose and settling for a career that I don’t love anywhere near as much as surgery (five more years ahead after this one!). I could be done with anesthesia and making some serious money as an attending somewhere much sooner(three years) than doing this apprenticeship of honing my surgical skills and clinical judgement. I could be sitting next to an anesthesia machine instead of breaking my back, wearing lead sometimes, and sweating under the lights trying to get a procedure perfect. This stuff is tough but everytime I finish a case, finish an operative note dictation and speak with a family member, I know I have made the right decision. I just love this too much to give it up. Yes, my hours are very long (went almost 48 hours straight through with no sleep or rest on Thursday) but after doing two great cases on Friday, I was totally energized. This is the ultimate ride but it is very, very difficult to do well and I just can’t accept anything less than my very best. Hang in there, time passes so quickly and you look back and can’t believe how much you have accomplished.
Natalie rolleyes.gif

"We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard."

I love that quote! Adding it to my personal collection, which already includes the Yoda quote, BTW wink.gif
They come in handy when my well of enthusiasm runs low.

I think we all run into motivation problems while on this premed/med journey. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. I’m having the hardest time motivating myself this summer partially because I’m not taking any classes for my major lol.
Comparative religions was annoying because it was short (3.5 weeks) and the prof was boring. I finished it but ended up turning in my final project 2 hours late because I spent too much time on my biopsych class and actually slept like 5 hours the nite before it was due lol. I was at an “I don’t care” point with that class. Biopsych is hard because we don’t have any guidelines for taking tests other than we have 8 weeks to get it done and test sessions are at 8:45 in the morning and I’m sooo not a morning person lol.
I just keep remembering the ultimate goal – to get into medical school. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was probably 7 or 8. Between that and wanting to be the first person in my family to graduate college (my parents both went but didn’t graduate) I usually am able to get myself out of my motivation funks although I am a master procrastinator lol.
I think we all wonder at times why we are putting ourselves thru this. There are so many easier ways to make a living. I could be a retail manager so many times over it’s not even funny lol, but something drew us to this torture (and it is torture at times, but mostly better than “real” work) and we find the means to keep going. The nice thing about non-trads is that for the most part we truly have the passion for medicine. We aren’t just looking for money. So find what it is that brings you out of your funks – be it shadowing or volunteering or simply remembering the big picture – and hang onto it for dear life. You will get thru.
Good luck!
–Jessica, UCCS

He He He, tomorrow I start week 4 of a 7 week calc 1 class, almost done, almost Done! I’m hangin’ in there. I never had higher math in hs, I’m seeing this stuff for the first time. Me and my TI-86 are devoted to one another (ha ha), every time I get discouraged and feel this is just too much, when I’m back at work in the OR and see the surgeons working away with their loops and fiberoptic headlights on, I’m thinking “Yeah Baby, this is what I’m talking about!, this is for me (surgery), this is why I’m studying until 3am”.

Ah, I have no words of wisdeom, just comiseration.
You are not alone. But so many have gone before us and have done exactly what we hope to do. Some with better circumstances, and some with worse. Our stories will follow in the pantheon of OPM someday…
It's not that the interest waxes and wanes, it's our fear and excitement that does. The thing that scares us the most is that we will fail at what we attempt or not reach the opportunity to attempt it. Know this. That regardless of how it happens you will be what you are meant to be. If that is a physician, it will happen. If it's not, you'll have the peace to go along with it. Regardless of what it is, you will do it, and do it well.

After I posted about my motivation waxing and waning I hit a BIG wall. The campaign season is gearing up and road is calling…