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How tough is medical school?

How tough is medical school? I’ve been skeptic about going here, not just a price, but how difficult it is. Is it really that difficult? I’m up for any challenge, but I am not good with sleepless nights.

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Madison’s Answer

I think the word “tough” is person dependent. It also depends on tough in which ways. Med school can be tough academically, mentally, socially, time wise. All of these things are different for each person. You want to go in with appropriate expectations of how difficult the work and life balance/time will be and be prepared for that commitment prior to starting. Also letting those around you know ahead about your boundaries and time constraints can help to keep you surrounded by understanding and supportive community! from an academic perspective for some it is easy because you’re finally learning about it tangible information that will occur in real life patient care scenarios which makes it more engaging and you can actively see yourself getting closer to your goals. However, for MANY it is academically tough, and that is OK! It’s ok to struggle but be prepared to ask for help!!! Ask early, ask often. Work on finding good study skills and if you need to try a few methods to find what works for you personally that is totally ok! If you want to be a doctor you CAN be
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Jacob’s Answer

Medical school is undoubtedly challenging, both academically and emotionally. It's important to be aware of what you're getting into and to assess whether it aligns with your strengths and preferences. Here are some key points to consider:

1. **Academic Rigor:** Medical school demands a rigorous curriculum with a vast amount of information to absorb. You'll need strong study skills, discipline, and the ability to manage a heavy workload efficiently.

2. **Time Commitment:** Medical school often requires long hours of study and preparation. It can be demanding, which may impact your sleep schedule and personal life.

3. **Emotional Resilience:** Dealing with life-and-death situations, challenging patient cases, and the pressure to perform well can be emotionally taxing. It's essential to have coping strategies and a support system in place.

4. **Financial Investment:** Medical education can be expensive. Ensure you've considered the cost and have a plan to manage or repay student loans.

5. **Passion and Commitment:** A strong passion for medicine and a genuine desire to help others can be powerful motivators. If you're truly committed to the field, you may find the challenges more manageable.

6. **Work-Life Balance:** While medical school can be demanding, there is growing awareness of the importance of work-life balance in the medical profession. Many medical schools are focusing on wellness and mental health support for students.

7. **Career Goals:** Consider your long-term career goals within medicine. Some specialties may have more demanding training paths than others.

Ultimately, medical school is a significant commitment, and it's essential to weigh the pros and cons carefully. If you're concerned about sleepless nights, time management and self-care skills will be crucial. Additionally, you can explore support systems within the school, like tutoring, counseling, and study groups, to help you succeed academically while maintaining a balance.

It's also a good idea to talk to current medical students or professionals in the field to get a realistic view of what to expect. Remember that many physicians find the journey incredibly rewarding despite the challenges. If you're passionate about medicine and willing to work hard, you can overcome the difficulties and achieve your goals.
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Gregory’s Answer

James -

Your question is an excellent one and I think many students considering a career in medicine wonder about how tough it is. I think everyone has a different experience with it as well. In my case, I thought it was pretty tough, first in terms of the academic load and then the 3rd year clinical rotations were very consuming. The 4th year wasn't as tough because we had more electives and were not tied to the hospital all the time. But, remember this - I went to medical school in the dark ages, e.g. 1979-1983, and things have reportedly changed a lot since then, especially in terms of staying overnight in the hospital and working all day after being on duty the night before, which was what 3rd & 4th year students, interns, and residents did in those days.

That said, the big cut in the ranks still takes place at the medical school admission process. Once you are accepted to medical school, everyone is focused on seeing you succeed, not weeding you out, as is the process leading up to medical school admission. The competition takes place in college where grades and demonstration of being well rounded is what counts to getting in the door to medical school.

Most people would tell you that if being a doctor is important enough to you, and you want to do it for the right reasons, you will be willing to tough out the work and figure out the funding (there are a lot of opportunities for you to go to medical school and not pay much if at all, so long as you are willing to work for the military, national health service corps, indian health service, or in a rural community in a state with a rural scholarship program once you finish training).

Being a doctor does require that you be prepared to handle emergencies and sometimes have nights with no sleep. It is a requirement that goes with the job, although the same can be said about parenting if you plan someday to be one of those. We all learn to manage without sleep and schedule our days, as much as possible, so that when there are tough nights, we aren't scheduled to do a 6-hour open heart surgery the next day, for example, or in my case, when I had night on-call duties, I would do paperwork the following afternoon since as a psychiatrist, my patients would quickly sense if I was tired and not tuned in to them emotionally, and it wasn't fair to them for sure.

That's a long answer to your question and I hope some of this is helpful. You sound as if you have ambitions and are thinking ahead to your future, which are find attributes. I am sure you will figure out whether you wish to pursue the medicine route or not. Good Luck!
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Scott’s Answer

Good morning James. To be honest, medical school is a grind but by the time you have made it into medical school, you will know that you have the ability to make it through as it has already been a tough path to get accepted. If you are not very motivated, that may make it more difficult. Though it is a grind that is not to say there is no fun. There is plenty but the rigorous studies clearly come first. At times it can be intense but you are going through it with other people, people who will turn out to be lifelong friends. I do not know where you are in terms of school or what type of student you are but if medicine is really something that calls to you, don't let the fear of a lot of hard work dissuade you. Good luck!
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