Feeling discouraged from being a doctor may be one of the most difficult hurdles as a premed. You may feel unmotivated or wanting to give up and change career paths at times. I certainly have had these feelings so I understand and know what it takes to persevere. Many things can cause these feelings but luckily they have simple solutions that can be applied easily.
External pressures are common and they come in many forms and in varying degrees. You may feel pressured by your family or society to amount to something great or to be able to offer financial support. Many cultures place an emphasis on these two criteria and it places a big weight on your shoulders. Of course you want to amount to something great and give back to your family and you will, in due time. Remind your family of this by letting them know that a career as a physician takes time and dedication. Let them know the anticipated amount of years for certain milestones such as graduation and expected entrance into medical school. The more knowledgeable they are, the more understanding they will be. Additionally, being knowledgeable about your chosen career also says a lot about your dedication to being successful. You can also show them that you’re staying on top of all things necessary to become a physician. Volunteer, study, shadow a doctor, or network with other pre-meds. This way, they can literally see that you are doing all the right things and that you’re serious about becoming a doctor.
Internal pressures are a bit more challenging to tackle because you may need to change your attitude about certain things. Nonetheless, it is possible to do so. You may feel at a disadvantage because of your age, sex, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or academic status. You may also begin to think about the amount of years needed to become a doctor and you may not always feel patient enough to keep going. “Do I really want to spend another X amount of years in school?”, “Do I really want to retake this class to get a better grade?”, “Can I really do this?”, “Do I really want to wait this long to live out my dream?” The answer is yes; yes, you do because it will all be worthwhile in the end. This is the basic principle of delayed gratification. Ultimately, you will be a very happy person and you will make your family proud once you complete your goals. Not to mention the benefits and prestige that comes from being a physician. Just think about all of the doctors in the U.S today, and how they were in your shoes at some point in time. The dream is certainly achievable and if they can do it, then so can you. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t achieve something, not even yourself.
It’s Normal to Feel This Way
I think it’s safe to say that a career as a physician is worthwhile and we all know that nothing worth having comes easy. Feeling discouraged every once in a while is normal and it’s easy to tackle once you recognize and understand where these feelings are coming from. If you feel discouraged or unmotivated very often, then perhaps you can find solace by speaking to an advisor or by joining a network of pre-med students. This way you will see that you are not alone and that your feelings are normal.