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Jan 14, 2008


Medical school is HARD.

Yes. Yes, it is. Med school is hard. You heard it here first.

But it's not hard in the way that I thought it would be. It's not even hard the way I thought is WAS last year. Obviously, it is hard to remember lots of stuff. That is a challenge, people, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. But that's not what makes med school so difficult.

Part of the real challenge is the pace:volume ratio. This is an exceedingly nerdy way to describe a problem, but that's part of why you like me. If the numerator were smaller (meaning, if the pace were slower), the volume would not be such an issue because there would be time to learn everything. If the denominator were smaller (if there was less to learn) then we could blow through it because there wasn't that much to get through. However, neither of these are the case. So we are forced to get through an ungodly amount of material in a crazy short time. It doesn't take a genius to be a medical student. Just someone who is willing devote every second of their life to it.

Which brings me to the other, bigger reason that med school is hard. IT MAKES YOU CRAZY. There is so much pressure on med students at all times that it cannot help but permeate the rest of the student's life. (Do you like the third person voice here?) There is no way to have these challenges in your life and NOT lose your mind every once in a while. Med school is hard because it takes everything in your life and de-prioritizes it. You believe, and you must believe, that everything else comes second to school. Family, friends, house, pets, hygiene, exercise, eating. Nothing can have as much attention as school. This is HARD. And it SUCKS. For everyone.

Med school is hard. It's not going to get any easier, either. Not for me and not for those to come. Because life in medicine is even harder. In med school, you give up your life for school and then barely get by in school. You get depressed and angry, but you get over it. In medicine, you give up your life for your patients, who drink and overeat and do stupid things and then die.

Why am I doing this again?

(Apologies for this grumpy and depressing post. I am having an exceptionally bad day, which involved falling on my rear on the ice in the parking lot, nearly setting the house on fire by microwaving my coffee cup, which then melted on my shirt, having my speaker not show for a lunch meeting I've been organizing for months, and, last but not least, barely scraping by on the Pharm test. A nap is definitely in order, followed by a tasty alcoholic beverage. Cheerier post tomorrow - promise.)

5 Readers rock!:

Xavier Emmanuelle said...

Oh dear!!!! Sounds like a non-fun day. Enjoy your nap, and may things look rosier tomorrow :)

Alykat said...

But some of them listen and take their meds and go on to have many years of happiness and productivity as a parent, grandparent, friend, caregiver, athlete, professional… millions of things that would never be possible without the doctor who saved their life!

And that, my friend, is why I think you are doing this! 
And why I believe that you CAN do this!

Love you much!

dahmane said...

Oh, Katie, it does sound like a very bad day....and med skool must be full of them...not to mention the okay days, wherein you are s t i l l devoting every second to the task at hand. i thought your post excellent and no apologies were necessary. see, no wonder i admire medical students sooo very much. much better days to you, m'dear, tracy
ps sorry about the speaker...what a huge dissapointment.

dahmane said...

Hi again Katie,
i just saw your post over on "Off White Coat" and had to tell you that i too am "trapped" by the "Sweeney Todd" soundtrack!! too funny...i've been singing "It's priest..." and "Nothing's Going to Harm You" for days now...
play on
love, tracy ;-)

Chenoa said...

just found your blog - glad to hear med students everywhere feel this way.