NYer with a serious attack of FUD

So caveat I have lived in NYC for 8 years, I’m not sure if that qualifies me as a NYer but what the heck.

I have decided to start writing here because, frankly this is the only place where I keep reading people telling others to “go for it”.

I went to an ivy league university where I studied the archaeology of human bones. My GPA was 3.45… I ended up working a series of odd jobs, (including working as a standardized patient for medical students) until I ended up as a clinical research coordinator at an orthopedic hospital. I like bones, so it made sense. (Also, I needed a job). Anyways, I got to give patients exams, shadow doctors, observe surgeries. It was wonderful. Working at the hospital solidified my nebulous desire to become a doctor. I got to see diseases in live patients that I had previously observed in their bones. I was so excited about becoming a doctor.

Now I am in a postbac program and I am struggling. I keep questioning if I should be doing this. All this pressure to get straight As. I worry that because I am getting As and Bs I won’t get in anywhere and all this effort will have been for nothing. All this time studying… I keep trying to convince myself that I should do something else, but I don’t know what else I would want to do. I now have a research desk job where I review charts all day and never see patients. I keep trying to remind myself why I wanted to do this in the first place but it is becoming harder and harder. Does anyone have advice to help get me out of this slump?

Oh, and whenever I think of what kind of doctor I would want to be I am interested in orthopedic surgery. Often when I talk to surgeons they tell me that I will be too old and that I should be a PA if I want to have children… all in all its very discouraging

Alina said:

"Oh, and whenever I think of what kind of doctor I would want to be I am interested in orthopedic surgery. Often when I talk to surgeons they tell me that I will be too old and that I should be a PA if I want to have children… all in all its very discouraging "

Ya know, I’ve never really felt like all that much of a rebel, but that’s the sorta thing that really just pisses me off! I’m never been one to let ANYONE tell me what I can, can’t, should, or shouldn’t do with my life. Too much southern pride I guess!

If you want to do it, go for it! Yes, it’s very competitive. But so what? Not everyone with a 3.2 GPA and a 27 MCAT will get rejected. Not everyone with a 3.9 and 40 will get accepted. (There’s data to support this at www.aamc.org) Obviously, they prefer higher stats…but somebody gets in with lower!

Point being, give it your absolute best and let the chips fall where they may! I’ve got several friends who couldn’t get into a state side school, wound up going to the Caribbean. My personal opinion is that should be the last ditch effort, there’s just too many obstacles standing in your way as far as residency is concerned, etc. But, fortune favors the bold! If that were my only opportunity, I’d at least consider it! Not everyone who goes gets a residency…but then again…

Good luck to you! We’ve all had moments of F.U.D., that’s part of the journey. If you decide not to do it, make sure it’s because of your reasons, not theirs!

Alina -

It sounds like you are mired down in “all the studying” while being far from patients. That’s how I’ve felt most of my first 2 years of med school because it is primarily classroom work (and even MORE studying) and not a lot of clinical time - nothing like working as a nurse.

First of all, while striving for A’s in your post-bacc subjects is important, getting A’s and B’s will not preclude you getting accepted. All you can do is your best. Take advantage of any resources available - Graduate Teaching Assistants, office hours, finding out how other (successful) students are reviewing the material. Study in 15-20 minute blocks and get up and walk around a minute (I study at home and take “housekeeping” breaks to sweep, do dishes, etc. and then get back to it). Rinse. Repeat

If you study for comprehension and retention (not “what will be on the test” but “how well do I understand this” I think it will serve you better in grades and on MCAT’s.

As for your spirits, if there is any way to volunteer in a free clinic or other medical setting where you have an opportunity for patient content that can keep the fire alive as to why you are doing this. It’s hard, and it’s long, but ultimately can be very rewarding.


I completely understand your sentiment. Often I ask myself, who and why did I ever think of this. Then I remember that since age 9 I always stated I want to be a pediatrician. Don’t look at the here and now, and stop focusing on other people. If YOU know this is what YOU want, you have to remind yourself that it’s hard but it’s your choice. This is what you have to go through to meet your goal. Yrs later when you’ve met it, everyone will not be asking you your gpa and where you attended medical school. They will be asking you Dr, what are you doing to ensure good health for me?

Decide to focus on the good. Fantasize about life as an orthopedic surgeon. Daydream outloud. See yourself in the white coat. See yourself teaching patients and students. Hear the words. Smell the room. Really, really take this visual to that kind of level. Work on it everyday. Get to the point where you can enter this “state.” Get to the point where it becomes as real a memory for you as any real memory. Throw in there laughing with those doctors who warned you against ortho.

Your brain cannot tell the difference between a real memory and something vividly imagined. So get to the point where you vividly imagine talking about your time way back in postbacc when you were doubting yourself and how silly it all feels to you now that you’re a physician.

Now on another note, there is some truth to what the physicians are telling you. I wouldn’t want to have the lifestyle of an ortho surgeon but that’s just me. I did at one point but not no moe. EM for me!

I like that saying - fortune favors the bold! At least 3 of the schools I intend to apply to are in the top 10. I do not perseverate on my grades. Instead I focus on working hard and gaining an UNDERSTANDING of the material. My life story tells me that miracles happen every day. I was discussing this with another pre-med in my calculus course and told him about where I wanted to apply. He said “Pfft, Don’t you know how competitive those schools are?” I didn’t say it, but my immediate thought was “Pfft, Don’t you know I have a God in my life that performs miracles?” Argue for your limitations,and sure enough, they are yours. Reach for the stars and you will be put exactly where you are supposed to be. Personally, I am all excited about this journey…Are we there yet??

Hear, hear!!! Good for you, Vicki!!!


Alina, are you in a formal post-bac while working full-time? You may just be trying to do too much. Can you take fewer courses at once? Drinking from the firehose can drown a person, and it’s important to do well.

You’re not alone. Everyone gets these feelings now and then. Just see if there’s something you can do to maximize your performance (even if there’s a B here and there), and move ahead. Come to conference if you can; it’s a great treatment for FUD.