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Back to Blogging

After a long hiatus I am finally back to blogging. The last few months have been quite hectic. It’s been full of questions. Those of you who have been following me on twitter know that I have been on a leave of absence since sometime around March.

But before I went on a leave of absence, I had actually planned to withdraw. Here is an excerpt form a post I was working on:

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while. Well at least I’ve been thinking about it shortly after I came to my decision.

My decision: withdraw from medical school.

It’s a weird feeling. It’s also a bit scary. But I’ve concluded that medical school and me are not a good fit — at least not right now.

After writing that post I went to see my dean, fully intent on following through with my decision. At that point I had already skipped two midterm exams because of my decision. But an hour after I walked into my dean’s office, I left with a signature for a leave of absence.

He asked me why I wanted to quit.

My answers were simple. I had been struggling to stay focused and concentrate on what I needed to do. At the suggestion of another dean (we’ll call him Dr. A), I went to see someone who could serve as a coach to get me motivated. That was in November. By March he told me that if I couldn’t get myself focused by now it probably would not happen. Furthermore, he mentioned that maybe it just wasn’t a good fit. He also said that others in my position had benefited from withdrawing and then re-applying in a couple years if they still wanted to. If they got in again, they usually never had any issues staying focused.

A few days later, Dr. A said the same thing.

And so, I strolled into the office of Dr. B to ask for his signature for a withdrawal (Dr. A and Dr. B must both sign the slip). And as I wrote above, I walked away an hour later with a leave of absence.

The leave didn’t guarantee anything. Dr. B said that if I wanted to return I’d have to begin my second year over. I’d also have to go before the Academic Review Committee and make a case that I should be allowed to do so.

Well I saw the committee on Monday (2 days ago). A couple hours later Dr. A called me to let me know that they had decided to allow me back.

Looking back, I am glad that Dr. B stopped me from withdrawing. Between getting my leave and asking the committee for another chance I had to do quite a bit of questioning. I had to examine myself and figure out why I had a problem focusing, concentrating, and staying motivated.

It was never an issue of whether or not I wanted to be a doctor. The problem was the training part. I don’t like studying. I don’t like spending hours with textbooks in a cool, windowless library. But it is a necessary step to reach that goal.

I believe I now know what was wrong… More importantly, I am hopeful that I now have the tools to fix it… (I may write about it some other time… but not now…)

And so the countdown begins. I will have to start my second year over again right after Labor Day (September 8, I believe) and join the Class of 2012.

As far as residency goes, a committee member told me that it would be extremely hard (if not impossible) for me to get into certain residencies as I would have to explain all of this. (And I wonder how wise it is for me to detail these things on a public blog like this. After all, it isn’t exactly anonymous — at least not the way I have done it.) I would have have to do very well on Step 1.

As my journey once again continues, I will continue to write about it here (I no longer write for Medscape’s The Differential blog). I’ve taken a strange path — definitely not the typical medical school path. And maybe that will provide for some interesting perspectives. And in the end I hope to achieve what I set out to do when I applied to come here: tacking on that “MD” onto my name.

P.S.
No, I didn’t apply to medical school just to add a couple initials to the back of my name.

  • henry

    Good decision Jeffrey!!!

    Think of it this way…..
    Eight years from now, when you are sitting in your office looking back, your going to see that you indeed made the best decision.

    Helping people is truly the biggest service to mankind

    Good luck 😀

  • henry

    Good decision Jeffrey!!!

    Think of it this way…..
    Eight years from now, when you are sitting in your office looking back, your going to see that you indeed made the best decision.

    Helping people is truly the biggest service to mankind

    Good luck 😀

  • Welcome back! I didn’t realize that you had a twitter, so I’ve just been waiting for a blog post to pop up in my google reader.

    Anyhow, I think the leave of absence was a wise decision. It allowed you some time without jeopardizing your chance at graduating. I know how hard those first 2 years can be… but believe me as hard as 3rd and 4th year are, it gets better. I’m sure you have had extensive discussion about this with these deans, but the learning beyond 2nd year is so different. It’s much more practical and hands on learning. When you go and read, it’s usually because you saw a patient with a certain ailment and want to learn more about that disease, or the diagnostic workup or the treatment. It makes studying much more interesting and useful.

    Good luck this September and I look forward to more posts from you! It helps keep me grounded… I don’t want to forget what it was like to be a med student.

  • Welcome back! I didn’t realize that you had a twitter, so I’ve just been waiting for a blog post to pop up in my google reader.

    Anyhow, I think the leave of absence was a wise decision. It allowed you some time without jeopardizing your chance at graduating. I know how hard those first 2 years can be… but believe me as hard as 3rd and 4th year are, it gets better. I’m sure you have had extensive discussion about this with these deans, but the learning beyond 2nd year is so different. It’s much more practical and hands on learning. When you go and read, it’s usually because you saw a patient with a certain ailment and want to learn more about that disease, or the diagnostic workup or the treatment. It makes studying much more interesting and useful.

    Good luck this September and I look forward to more posts from you! It helps keep me grounded… I don’t want to forget what it was like to be a med student.

  • meeka

    I accidentally came across your blog and being a bit confused med student too I found myself in this post.

    I love the job but not the studying part. I haven’t consider dropping out seriously but it sometimes gets pretty hard to get motivated to hit the books.

    Well, per aspera ad astra, no? Wish us akk good luck with our studies 🙂

  • meeka

    I accidentally came across your blog and being a bit confused med student too I found myself in this post.

    I love the job but not the studying part. I haven’t consider dropping out seriously but it sometimes gets pretty hard to get motivated to hit the books.

    Well, per aspera ad astra, no? Wish us akk good luck with our studies 🙂

  • nik

    glad that ur back. =)

  • nik

    glad that ur back. =)

  • DoctaJay

    Glad to see you back man. Man it gets so much better once you get past 2nd year. I mean 3rd year has it sucky parts so far, but its far better than the hazing of 2nd year. I look forward to seeing u around campus.

  • DoctaJay

    Glad to see you back man. Man it gets so much better once you get past 2nd year. I mean 3rd year has it sucky parts so far, but its far better than the hazing of 2nd year. I look forward to seeing u around campus.

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