My Quarter-Life Crisis

16 05 2013

Hello again!  So much has happened in the past couple of months, but most of it has kept me quite busy to the point that I prioritized sleep over writing.  What can I say, I value sleep.

In that time, I have completed my emergency medicine clerkship, passed another semester of graduate coursework, took a weeklong vacation to visit friends out of town, have been working on a number of small side projects both academic and personal, began my last semester of classes ever, and had a small career crisis.

Career crisis indeed, because about 2/3 of the way through my EM clerkship, I was hit with the idea that I really could be happy as an emergency physician.  Hit is not really the right word, steamrollered really fits better.  I always thought it would be something I liked, but I was so swept up in the negative things I heard about EM from members of almost every other medical specialty that I convinced myself not to keep that option open.  I also had the dilemma of being so invested in pediatrics for the last year that I didn’t want to give all of that work—research into residencies, investment into pediatric volunteerism, not to mention having told everyone I met for the past year that I was going to be a pediatrician—to be flushed.

While that particular issue has not entirely resolve, one of my classmates assures me that this is supposed to get worse before it gets better.  Apparently for me, the doubts are coming in waves, because I was in the clear a couple of weeks ago and now still feel somewhat conflicted.  I know that this sort of career decision issue is more common than not among medical students, why should I be exempt from it?  Logically, this was bound to happen, but just because logic dictates a statistical likelihood does not mean that I have to like it.

The scariest aspect of this whole “quarter-life crisis” is that pediatrics and emergency medicine are very different specialties, and this dilemma points out that perhaps I am not as certain about where I want to end up in life as I had originally thought.  Everything will work out eventually, right?  So the tentative plan is to do some shadowing in Pediatric EM and see whether I should consider that as a valid career option, continue to pursue a residency in pediatrics, and investigate the dual certification programs (all 3 of them, 6 spots total nationwide.  Long-shot doesn’t even begin to cover it). The good news is that if you all stick around for another year, all of this will be resolved.

It’s nice to know that there’s an end in sight.

I thought you’d enjoy these cartoon diagrams of how to choose a specialty.  Both are entertaining–what can I say, I can still have a sense of humor about this.  Take a minute to enjoy:

specialties2

Specialty

Speaking of the light at the end of the tunnel, medical school graduation season is upon us.  It’s indescribably strange to think that very soon, all of my classmates—the ones I studied and partied with, rejoiced and complained with, struggled and succeeded with—will be gone.  Well, almost all of them; a handful will still graduate with me in a year for various reasons.  It’s a bizarre thought that is difficult to put into words.

I will post soon with a few more interesting stories about clinical encounters—you still like those, right?  I know, anecdotes and random funnies are much more of a draw than my own conflicted sort-of-4th-year medical student musings if you are not a family member or close friend.

Next time.

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One response

6 06 2013
Jace

No matter what speciality you choose, know that the people who love and care for you will be proud of you.

As for the quarter life crisis, I had that when I was 25 and 26! Like your classmate said, it does get worse before it gets better, but when it does get better you feel so sure of yourself and the direction that you’re heading in that all the previous drama doesn’t matter at all.

So, what do you think?

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