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31 January 2009 @ 10:40 am
advancing through her star-trimmed crowd  
Whiny post of whiningness. Own it.

I figure, I figure, I figure.

The intern salary currently stands at 33,000 euro. With overtime, that usually goes up to between 60,000 (minimum) and 100,000 (maximum). This is always assuming that the HSE doesn't cut overtime due to the recession, which would SUCK MAJOR BALLS because interns would still have to work overtime with no pay. (If you need to admit patients/chase up blood results/do charting, you have to do it, because the consultant will ask you the next day 'Did you admit this patient?' and you can't actually say 'No I left her in the waiting room because she came in at 5:01, she's still there in a pool of her own blood, BOOYAH.') Let's hope for the minute that this does not happen, that the government aren't really the unfair fools I think they are - did you ever hear of any other civil servant working 100 hours a week and only getting paid for 40 of them? Teachers? Nurses? Those dudes who play with red tape? I DIDN'T THINK SO. Anyway. Assume I can bust my ass and earn 100,000 grand the first year. That's 50,000 after tax. So I could maybe split that and live on 25,000 in my intern year and take a year out afterwards and live on the other 25,000. I worked out with my mom that rent = 7000, running a car = 5000 (although if I lived in the city, I wouldn't really need to use a car that much; I walk everywhere now and I'm used to it), groceries = 5000 (again, I could cut this down if I continue in my current trend of not actually buying meat). I'm guessing I'd need 20,000 a year for essentials, which leaves me 5000 for, like, broadband and stuff. Not much? But it's doable. I hope.

Then I could take the next year out and just write, or do nothing. Because, you guys, I am SO VERY TIRED. I was lying in bed this morning trying to figure out when was the last time I had a holiday where it was legit to do nothing - to not catch up on study, write essays, prepare for exams, go over stuff - and it was the summer of my third year of HIGH SCHOOL. Granted, in every holiday there's days and always weeks where I do nothing in the above list, but guilt is in and of itself tiring. I think I'm perilously close to burn out. I'm tired all the damn time, and it's not just mental exhaustion any more, it's physical. I can't keep my eyes open in lectures and tutorials, I have no engagement in the clinical stuff, I come home and fall asleep for two hours. Actual sleep, the horrible hot black kind where you wake up afterwards and know you have to get up and do things instead of going back to sleep. I was always fond of napping, but it was dozing as opposed to actual sleep, and it wasn't every fucking day. I'm worried.

So that's one plan. But from where I'm standing, that's two and a half more years of this. I could just ride out till May 2010 and get my degree, but - WHAT THE FUCK WOULD I DO WITH IT? Everyone says a medical degree is fantastic, one of the best you can get. LIES. What do you do with it if you're not going to practise medicine - if you're not even going to register as a doctor? Seriously? I'm sick of hearing 'join an insurance company'. I'm sure they want someone with experience and also, I think my soul would die.

If I'd stuck to my tiny, plastic guns at the start and done scriptwriting/English/graphic design/fine art, I would be FINISHED NOW. I'd be looking for a job or in one, but it would be OVER. The reason I never pursued those paths was that I believed I wouldn't get a job. And it's true - none of those leads to a recession-proof job like doctorin'. But on the other hand, I could stand to have a little faith in myself. I'm smart, willing, hard-working and responsible. Maybe those are somewhat recession-proof traits, idek. When I talked to my course supervisor about dropping out back in October, she said I'd get a job anywhere. Maybe she was just being nice. Maybe she was right. I wish I'd had the self-belief then that I have now, too late.

I DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOOOOOOOOOO. I know what I should do, which is: go upstairs, finish reading Critical Care Medicine, finish my integrated case report with references, start revising urology, prepare psychiatry essays for the exam, and write the thingy on HIQA. Bigger picture? NO FUCKING CLUE.
Current Mood: anxiousawful
Current Music: 1979 // smashing pumpkins
Neeryneery on January 31st, 2009 11:31 am (UTC)
Is there any way, any way at all, that you can get some sort of vacation? Just four weeks where you actually have to do nothing, with no responsibilities, and most importantly, no guilt? I've been where you are now, that point where I tried to remember the last time I had guilt-free time off and it was YEARS AGO HOLY SHIT, and I was just so exhausted and sick of EVERYTHING, hating myself and hating med school and hating my family, and I just really didn't know how I could possibly do this anymore... and then I finally managed to get in a vacation, two months of totally guilt-free time off, and it pretty much saved me from a nervous breakdown. Afterwards, I was actually able to remember why I'm doing this, and glad to be doing it.

So if I were you, I would definitely try to figure out some way to get time off before you find yourself with full-blown burn-out syndrome. If you can't get any actual free time during the official holidays, can you maybe take a semester off, sleep for two months, and then work the remaining four months, in some sort of low-pressure, low-responsibility job?

The other thing - my best friend dropped out of med school to study script-writing instead, and while it seems like it was the right decision for her, because she was miserable here and she's pretty happy there, I cannot even imagine how scared I'd be if I were stuck with a job as insecure as that in the current economic climate. I mean, making a living as a freelance script-writer or graphic designer or things like that seems to be incredibly hard and a total crap shoot, as far as I can tell from watching friends do it, and right now, it's becoming harder and harder. I mean, maybe it would still be a dream job for someone who's got better nerves than I do, but personally, I worry and plan for the future all the time, and the lack of job security would drive me crazy even faster than all the pressure in med school. Right now, I really appreciate that I can sort of lean back and tell myself "No matter what happens, someone will always need highly-paid doctors" whenever everyone else is panicking about the recession.

And there are lots of things you can do with a medical degree apart from doctoring and insurance companies. You can go into research, you can teach, you can work for a pharmaceutical company and convince other doctors why new med X is totes awesome...

I don't know if any of this is helpful? But, like, it's what I tell myself whenever I get sick of it all and start thinking I should have just become an editor or a kindergarten teacher. *hugs*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ra india eyesscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:00 pm (UTC)
but personally, I worry and plan for the future all the time, and the lack of job security would drive me crazy even faster than all the pressure in med school.

ME TOO! Stupid as it sounds, that's an angle I never really considered before.

Meh, I go through these stages at least twice a term. Sometimes I rant, sometimes I don't. By now, though, I've realised that I never actually leave med school; I never throw up my study; and I end up working myself to the bone because of some unnamed fear, which probably could be named 'Learning things I'd want MY doctor to know', thanks to a recent lecture.

Sigh. Thanks for the pep-talk, though!
mrsquizzical: bandom mcr frankgerardhandsmrsquizzical on January 31st, 2009 11:36 am (UTC)

my advice is definitely to follow your heart and protect your mental/emotional health.

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ruthenia alba colour dances bluescoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
I've decided not to attend our next two week lecture block (BORING FROM 8AM TO 6PM) for that very reason. ♥
girl; obsessed: other - lj hugscomplications_g on January 31st, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Um, I really have no clue what to say...


Edited at 2009-01-31 01:36 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Scene girls: black tiarascoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
No worries! I just needed venting space. :D
inanis_suminanis_sum on January 31st, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC)
Good Luck. If you can't make it through medical school see if you can at least apply all those credits to some degree, because no matter what happens a degree in anything looks better than "medical school dropout" on your resume.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Scene girls: Jac omg i can't believe i hscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:02 pm (UTC)
Yeah, there is a 'medical science degree' option that I considered last term. But, well, I didn't take it then ... I won't now.
de_facto_female on January 31st, 2009 05:16 pm (UTC)
It really depends on whether you are having a bitchy horrible day/week or a year.

I really wish I had stuck to an arts degree looking back. But for some horrendous reasoning I went through with Law...went totally nuts in my final year and am left trying to finish the last two modules 2 years after all my mates graduated just so I have not wasted my loan money and 4 years of my life.

My reasoning is - get these two modules done, get the paper that sums up that section of my life. Get a stand by job then probs go back to night college or something to do something I love.

If you cannot stand it get out!! Life is too short to be unhappy with something that takes up so much of your time. If you can stand it until your through qualifying - then do.


Saz x
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Scene girls: mad girl in mad dressscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
If you cannot stand it get out!! Life is too short to be unhappy with something that takes up so much of your time. If you can stand it until your through qualifying - then do.

Although I'd love to act on the first piece of advice, I'm too realistic to do anything but give into the latter. But I knew that even when I was posting this. :D
No Apologiesaidenfire on January 31st, 2009 06:30 pm (UTC)
I think your plan sounds like a good one, and that taking some time off would do nothing but good for you. <3
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Scene girls: pink n aqua dressscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:04 pm (UTC)
Yeah ... I'm going to achieve it by skiving off, but I'll achieve it! :D
peripatetic extemporizations: Brendon hearthatoyona on January 31st, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
Idk what to tell you exactly, since I've felt stressed but not that stressed, I guess. When I was in high school there were some tough semesters, but since obviously I couldn't drop out, I just pared down my responsibilities and tasks to the most essential stuff, just to make it through.

In your case though. I mean, do you want to be a doctor? If you do, it might be worth the wait and the work. But if you don't, then maybe it's time to reassess and think of some other options? You have careers that you were interested in; maybe before you officially drop out of this program, you could look into what getting a job in them would be like?

Idk. Ily, and if you want internet hugs/love, you know where to find me. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ra sariscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:05 pm (UTC)
I just pared down my responsibilities and tasks to the most essential stuff, just to make it through.

That's exactly what I had to do, and why I had such a shitty time before I faced up to it. Basically, no writing till June. That's gonna suck, but I bet you understand why better than my mom (but June isn't far away! like HELL).

I don't know if I want to be a doctor, but I reeeeeeeeally don't want to be a college dropout, so.

peripatetic extemporizationshatoyona on February 2nd, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
:((( I will miss your writing! But I think that's probably a good option right now. Man, if I still wrote anything EVER I would not be able to stop until June I think. Fortunately for me, I have had writer's block for the past like, year.

That makes sense!

uminohikariuminohikari on January 31st, 2009 10:04 pm (UTC)
Do you have to work a full year? Like, can you take a semester off?
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ra pink carp of luckscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
No, we don't really have semesterisation here? But I'm taking a few weeks off between exams and summer research, thank god.
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ruthenia alba colour dances bluescoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
I guess there's no good option, is there? D:
daybreaqdaybreaq on February 1st, 2009 04:32 am (UTC)
I know at least part of you probably doesn't want to hear this, but DON'T QUIT! You've invested too much time already and if you quit now, you'll at least always wonder what if you hadn't. Plus, and you probably won't believe this possible at this point, but you may actually end up actually liking the practice of medicine some day. My point is even though I know you are doing things physicians do and you are around physicians all the time and you see how they roll, you don't really know what it will be like when you are no longer a student AND you actually have your feet under you and feel an adequate degree of comfort in what you are doing. Because school and actual practice: not the same thing. And internship and residency don't count either.

Somewhere in my last two years of dental school, I felt majorly stressed. There were times I felt I was becoming seriously neurotic. I felt trapped and I pretty much convinced myself I HATED everything about dentistry. What kept me in was the general feeling of already having invested too much time, not being wanting to be a quitter, and not really having any idea of what else I could do. What also helped was the fact that we do have to invest quite a bit of our own money for our education in the US which is generally considered a bad thing but I do think not wanting to "throw away few hundred thousand dollars" ultimately saved my future. Still I had in the back of my mind, a "five year plan." I'd practice dentistry five years to make the money spent on the education and then, if I still hated it, I'd do something else. As you can imagine, there was still a "trapped" feeling. I was thinking it was still an eight year committment if I did a residency and it depressed me at times but I was young and just focused on getting through the next stage. I have to tell you, getting that degree gave me the hugest sense of accomplishment even while the "five year plan" was in effect.

I did a residency which was much better mostly because I was focusing on a field I prefered and also because I happened to be in a fun and interesting city. I also think I was developing more emotional maturity. I do believe we are still undergoing a lot of development through our twenties. It's more subtle; but things just become easier to deal with in general in just a span of a few years. Still there were enough stresses and insecurity kept the "five year plan" fully in effect.

My first year of practice was my most difficult but still much, much better than school ever was. And then something surprising happened. Somewhere towards the end of that first year, I started to get truly comfortable and confident. And then, one day I realized I actually LOVED what I was doing. Back in school, when I convinced myself I hated it, I thought it might be possibly I could one day be "ok" with dentistry; but loving it, nah, never in a million years. That's why I'm so big on students not quitting an area of study that they did choose once upon a time and field that did compliment their skills or they likely never would have been accepted in the first place. At one point, you thought medicine was right for you and your professors and advisors thought so too. So maybe just maybe you all were right in the first place. You do need to give it a chance.

I'm now going on 13 years in private practice and while there are still stressful moments and ultimately it is still WORK, it is more rewarding that I ever imagined it would be back when I was in school and I really can't imagine doing anything else. I still do really love and have great pride in my chosen career.

every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Bands PATD: bden and spence squintyscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:19 pm (UTC)
What kept me in was the general feeling of already having invested too much time, not being wanting to be a quitter, and not really having any idea of what else I could do.

Those are definitely the same three reasons I'm sticking with med time and time again. And, while I don't have to take any personal loans to do so, there's always the guilt of using my parents' money to no purpose, and how I would support myself if I dropped out now.

I just like to have a moment or two to rant occasionally, and also to believe what I'm saying. The fact is that my lj is littered with posts like these, and nearly four years later, here I am...
and that was the beginning of fairiesnyx_nox on February 1st, 2009 10:20 pm (UTC)
I can't exactly relate, because I'm at the opposite end of the whole college journey, having sleepless nights over how I'm never going to get a job with an English degree am I mad etc, but I do know what burn-out is like, since my health just clapped out completely last year (leading to my current status as a slacker :P).

So if you really feel like you're heading that way, then I think absolutely take time out if it's feasible in any way, it's more important to keep your head screwed on and your body actually functioning, than to be "responsible" or whatever else. You can always go back right? And you'll probably be way more productive and able to cope with all the shit that gets thrown at you once you've rested up and sorted out what you want. I can only speak from my experience and a few other friends that either dropped out of courses or took time out, but I definitely thought the break was a godsend.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ra umbrella circlescoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:08 pm (UTC)
'Time out' for me really means getting my head around studying properly, as opposed to doing things I like - going to the gym and debates; and writing. I had to institute a writing ban. I did it last year and it wasn't as painful as this year. I think it gets more painful every year because I lose a little more each year, but. In the end, I've gotta get a paid job. WAH.
vickyduckyvickyducky on February 2nd, 2009 09:43 am (UTC)
Is there any possibility at all that you could take a sabbatical? Arrange with the university that instead of returning in September 2009 you take a year out (lay it on thick about your mental health issues possibly?) and then come back September 2010 and start that year (your 5th?) as if you'd just been off for the summer like everyone else. Of course you'd have to stick it out until the summer and it delays finishing forever by yet another year and I've no idea what you'd live on money wise but it might be something to consider.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Quotey: princesses save themselvesscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:16 pm (UTC)
It was an option I discussed with my tutor earlier in the year and, well. It came down to the fact that I want to graduate with my class if I graduate at all! I can think of nothing more disheartening than having to watch them intern while I'm still in final med, ugh.

Still, I'm gonna take some breaks where I can get 'em. It'll help.
spark_of_chaosspark_of_chaos on February 2nd, 2009 12:53 pm (UTC)
I began nodding and saying yeah about halfway the third sentence. :/ Half my friends have begun writing their graduation projects. And have found themselves assistant jobs at places they want to continue at when they finish uni. I keep having things to do that I cannot possibly postpone and telling myself I'll go to that dance/language class/excursion/lazing about in the summer, but then it's summer practice/the next exams session or yet another crazy assistant prof who thinks we breathe to study his discipline. And we sorta do.

Basically, each med student feels at some point like they've written that post themselves. Hell, today is the first day of my one week break between the winter exam session and the summer semester and I caught myself thinking maybe I should probably go over some Internal Medicine stuff. I kinda wanted to shoot myself, lol.

Fun thing is, interns here don't even get close to such fantastical salaries. So bottom line - you are going to spend a hell of a lot of your life being up to your eyes in work. If you think you can make it, take that year off. Or at least a semester. Two months in the summer. Anything, really, that will provide a clean switch off for a time. It will be just what the doctor ordered. :sends good vibes:

Are you not getting registered? :curious:
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: bandsscoradh on February 2nd, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
For sure, every time I mention feeling like this the other person is like ME TOO. It makes you wonder how people ever get to be doctors!

I was wondering if I would even be able to face interning after a year and a half more of this. Plus, if they don't pay overtime, it won't be fucking worth it omg. But my mom says I worry too much about things way in the future. And we can always go on strike...
spark_of_chaosspark_of_chaos on February 3rd, 2009 01:14 pm (UTC)
It must be the season, though, that's making it worse - I just read Lizard's crisis post...

how people ever get to be doctors!

Heh, you know how - a train full of books, more sleepless nights than's your due, more white coat ironing than any person really needs and not to forget, a War and Peace of soul searching, angsting and omg-what-did-i-do-to-myself!?!