[This is a guest post]
“I am an internal medicine intern who started my residency 4 months ago. I realize that this post may sound like the grumbling of a new intern who is overwhelmed by the terrible tribulations of residency, and perhaps it is just that, but I can’t stop thinking about the idea of quitting. I graduated from an Ivy league college and have always strived to accomplish great things with my career and join the ranks of prestigious professionals who have a long list of accomplishments too long to fit in their 5 page CV. I yearned for that career recognition, and that was what ultimately drove me to go to medical school.
But it medical school, things changed. My clinical years were terrible for the perfectionist me. I’d measure my self worth by the amount of positive feedbacks I’d get, and would deprecate myself for the smallest things that I did wrong. I’ve never been the most articulate person previous to this, so as you can imagine, round presentations and calling consultants were certainly not my forte, which contributed to more self blame. But I gritted my teeth and toughed it out, telling myself that once I’m an attending, things will change. I didn’t find any specialty that I absolutely loved, so in the end, I opted for Internal Medicine by default, partly because it gave me more time to decide, and partly because I was couples matching with my boyfriend (who is now my fiance).
And now here we are, a few months into my residency, and I found myself desperately having second thoughts about my career choice. I liken the field of medicine to gambling - once you’re losing, it becomes so hard to cut your losses and go, so you keep sitting at the table hoping to win back your losses. First it was college, that you’ve already taken organic chemistry class so you might as well continue….then it’s because you don’t want to waste your MCAT score…then it’s because of medical school tuition, you’ve already paid and studied so hard, why not walk away with an MD degree? and now, I realize that an MD without residency is useless…as I so frustratingly found ZERO jobs on monsters.com or craigslist (it seems so sad that I’m even looking on these websites in the first place). And now in residency, the gambler mentality is telling me to stay, because I’ve come “this far already”, why not complete your training? and then there’s fellowship, etc. etc. etc.
My desire to quit isn’t really motivated by family matters. My fiance and I have a very healthy and happy relationship (*knock on wood*) in residency, and I don’t think I want to have any children in the near future. I don’t know if I want to quit so badly because I just don’t find fulfillment in the medical career, or because I feel so inadequate right now and am terrified that I’m going to be a terrible resident, or I just have too high of an expectation from what a great career should be, or that I’m so terrified of failing. And I don’t know how I’ll ever discern the true reason, and I don’t know what else I could do if I weren’t going to be a doctor. The idea of finances or creative ventures such as writing doesn’t appeal to me very much, and what I truly love doing is traveling abroad, but I guess I can’t exactly make a living out of that…
Basically, for those of you who were kind and patient enough to read this far in my ridiculous rambling, I’m just very confused and would LOVE to hear any advice or comments that you may have…seriously, ANY advice would be so greatly appreciated!!!”