Hello, I am new here, but I have been reading this place for the past few months. I couldn't find the proper forum to put this in, so I hope it's the right one!
Okay, that was my introduction. Now for my problem.
Hello, I am a 3rd year student at a Canadian university (in Ontario). I am 20 years old. I am currently studying human biology. But as I inch closer to the end of my undergraduate years, I am increasingly become more and more anxious about my future. I am in my pre-quarter-life crisis stage, with the full crisis just around the corner of my diploma.
I wanted to go to med school for quite a long time, but it was mainly due to my parents coaxing (i.e. brainwashing) me into the idea of it. "Sure" I thought, "I can pull it off." But the past few years, I've grown up a little, you can say. I've realized some things, and have become more aware. I'm starting to feel like this is something that I can't deal with. Why?
The not so obvious reasons-
1. I go to what is considered to be one of the toughest academic institutions in Canada (I got in by mistake, honestly! At least that's what I keep telling myself...). And people slave away to try and get good marks. My GPA is nowhere near med school calibre. There are quite a few reasons behind that, mainly because I work part time and I usually pick subjects I end up hating (not the content, mostly the profs, work load and grading scheme), but I don't have the luxury to drop courses at will because I do not have enough money.
2. The other
stresses around med school... Reference letters, MCAT tests, lab experience, etc... I am behind on all of that because of reason no. 1 above. When your life revolves around doing bunch of unpleasant (but not horrible, or annoying, just not great either) things, enjoying life becomes a rarity.
- An interjection -
I do NOT want to be seen as some sort of whiny college student, as that is not what I am. I enjoy learning and becoming a more enlightened person. But when a lot of pressure is put on me to work towards something I am not, A) in an advantageous position to be accepted to, and B) wary, even frightened of it, I might be a session away from a free Xanax refill (I'm kidding, I am really ANTI pills! You will see more below).
So that is the summary of the stressful life of a basic student. And I am sure med school does not get any better. Here are my reasons for being cautious about med school.
1. I volunteer at a hospital, and I see a lot of people whenever I go. And depending where I go, it can get very depressing... Especially in treatment clinics, where patients could be going for the past 20 years to get shots and check-ups and the like. And the systemization in a hospital... The workers have no feeling, they can not risk it. I have yet to have a cordial conversation with a doctor who is not a fresh-faced resident. Many nurses have no facial expression when I talk to them. A lot of the receptionists will talk very nicely with me. I think the pharmacists are the ones with the least human interaction, but let's not go there... The point is, do I really want to work in an environment like that? Day in, day out, looking at linoleum floors and pale walls... The sound of beeps and boops and the very brief exchanges between staff about how things are going in the workplace. I too, would turn into an unhappy machine.
2. I don't know what they've told you about us, but our health system is terrible... In smaller communities with lots of funding (which is common) everything is perfect. But in the large, intercity hospitals, waiting rooms can be a nightmare. Line-ups, overbookings, lack of funding, you name it, it's there. The motto of our system is, "if we don't know what's wrong with you, try again next year!" because booking for anything, even an MRI, will take forever unless you have some sort of priority. But I wonder what happened to the term healthcare
... As in, being healthy, and not being in category [X]. Maybe for emergencies, the efficiency is less controversial than diagnostics. In this country, diagnostics are a joke. You aren't considered to be "unhealthy" until "911" has to be dialed. What happened to prevention? Keep this in mind, it will come back later in this post...
3. Drugs! I don't know about you, but pharmaceuticals are a scary thing. Not because I am ignorant about it, but the opposite! I have learnt about it and I can tell you that it is not as sophisticated as you may think. Diseases are broken down into chemical reactions, and drug candidates are found which either inhibit or propagate a desired result. This sounds great, on the molecular level... But when you get to the human level, that's where you get all of the nasty side effects! Of course, risk analysis is done to determine which candidate makes it into the market, once it's past testing and moves on into clinical trials, but the bottom line is, a bunch of numbers and human opinion and motivation is what determines what is "safe" to put into our bodies. I'm not going to knock the history of pharmaceutics, it has been essential in understanding the human body and health. But...
The whole process of it is frightening. It is not holistic. Solving a problem temporarily to induce other temporary problems sounds a bit strange to me. I understand the role of it in eliminating an infection or inflammation. But drugs for a chronic or debilitating disease is just so damn problematic to me. Like I said, it just isn't holistic. And don't get me started on painkillers and other neural-related drugs. It's really messy, but I can confirm your ideas about pharmaceuticals. And all those lawsuits, inefficiencies, blech. I'm going on like a broken record.
4. Not the life for me? I don't understand why everything has to be so competitive. Med school, any school, work, ESPECIALLY in hospitals and health care, everyone seems so hostile and territorial. I thought we live in a modern world where we try to enlighten each other? Why do we have to hide things about treating a sick person? I thought we are supposed to help each other out and not be moral/ethical/intellectual elitists about it? And then people complain about the lack of health care in the world. People are self-centered. Maybe I'm just the ignorant one.
< The only emoticon I will use in this entire post as I couldn't sum up this expression through words.
There is more I could say, but I think that sums up my sentiment towards health care. Yes, Imagine that, a science student with a disdain for the modern, scientific
method of medicine! But why do I discuss it if I seem to have such contempt for it? Well, because I feel that it is my, calling, at least, part of it is... There is more to this story...
I have been doing Yoga since I was 15. I love it. I love "Hindu" Philosophy. And no, I do not have a drop of Indian or South Asian in my blood. I am what some people may refer to as an "Indo-Phile." I love the culture, nearly everything about India. Yoga is a way of life for me. Unfortunately, I have not been very Yogic or enlightened lately, for reasons mentioned above. And, you know, it's really hard to attain enlightenment with mid-terms on my mind. I also have been very interested in Ayurveda... See? Now it all makes sense
Of course, you may know what my question is right away, and I encourage you to already formulate some answers. But I still have a bit more to say...
It was maybe a bit biased of me to come to a natural medicine forum to ask about a career in Ayurveda, but if I were to come to a premed forum about my above problem, I would get one of two answers:
"Don't worry, just go to school for another 10 years to improve your marks and get more experience."
"Give up now, Med school clearly isn't for you, you lazy oaf."
And if I were to even mention the possibility of going to a natural medicine school, I would be laughed out of the forums.
So I'll lay it on already: Would it be worth it to become an Ayurvedic doctor? It's not that I want to become an Ayurvedic doctor because I like Yoga. I feel like being a doctor is my calling... But I want to focus more on prevention and counseling in medicine, rather than intrusive and nitty-gritty things. I feel that the current health care system does not do enough to help health; health is too categorized and objectified. I originally wanted to become a MD, then a natmed doctor, just so I would have more "freedom" when practicing natmed. I want to bridge the gap between scientific understanding and natural medicine, and apply it. I am interested in being holistic. Only two countries in the world do extensive clinical research in natural medicine: India and China. Whenever that research is done here, it seems to be quite biased against it (wink, wink). Is it still worth it to become an MD first? I just feel that it would provide good background for natmed, you know? I would feel that people would take me more seriously. (Yes, that was a bit of a shallow statement).
Surgery is also an option too, but it is longer to learn and a bit off the opposite end of the spectrum of what I intend to do, (but I have been told that I have good hands, especially by a Veterinarian I volunteer for). Maybe that would be further down the road. But first things, first. I have to become a doctor, of some sort.
A lot of alt. med people are labeled as quacks, and I feel that this is unfair. I want to disprove that notion, but if I can't even get into medschool, I guess I'll just perpetuate that stereotype.
(okay, I promise, no more emoticons!)
I feel people should be comfortable with other kinds of medicine, the way that has been done for thousands of years, without any pills and the like. Am I getting to you guys?
I want a shred of confidence in that what I want to do could do good for others...
Sorry for the long post, but I had to get that off my chest. I had it simmering in me for a while and I had to get it out. So with that being said, what are your opinions? I'll post more of my story if it comes to me.
and, once again, thanks, and, Hello all!
(come on, that one was a given!)