please... a little advice/encouragement

  1. Girls... I’m really sorry, this is going to be a long post... but I hope *somebody* reads this and helps me out because I’m completely at the breaking point and I’m desperate to hear encouraging words out of anyone, if even only one soul...

    I’m trying to make a HUGE career change and just from the get-go, I know this is going to be one long, messy, painful upheaval. I posted about this a bit in other threads, but I was hoping I could hear some words of encouragement/support from other tPFers who have done this.

    I’m miserable where I am. I’m enrolled in an 8-year dual-degree MD/PhD program and every other year, I reach a breaking point where I’d rather be homeless and starving than continue what I’m doing. There are days I just hide in my bed and sleep all day because I dread walking into the lab. Last year, after another breakdown, I found out that another scientist had quit his postdoc and started a job in patent law, and that his company was sponsoring him to study law with a part-time program. I subsequently learned that a lot of lawyers never see the inside of a courtroom, and that most of them spend a lot of time researching, analyzing, negotiating with people, and writing. I love writing, although not creative/journalistic writing, and had always thought that if there were a way to use words/writing to help people in constructive ways, that would be my ideal job. I took career tests and “judge/lawyer” showed up, along with “counselor/psychologist” and “journalist/creative writer.” But I know I don’t want to be a psychologist, and though I love writing, I want it to be a means to an end, not the end itself.

    I started researching law schools and law careers, and took a diagnostic LSAT – and scored 170 out of 180 on the first try! I was so thrilled/relieved about the LSAT score because I thought finally that law school might be a possibility. More importantly, I started feeling like maybe there WAS a niche for me – a career – something I could do and still be happy. But there’s no one else who can be happy with me, except possibly my boyfriend, who sees how miserable I am every day. The scientists in my lab think I’m betraying them. My MD/PhD director says that when future employers see that I quit the program, they’ll think I have no tenacity. I’m still trying to figure out who I can ask recommendations from, since all the academic figures in my past are strongly pro-science and pro-medicine, and are adamant that I finish. My parents and grandparents have been pushing medicine since high school, and they’ll kill me if they find out I’m applying to law school. My friends tell me that I have no idea what I have and I’m throwing everything away.

    I feel really stuck. I hate where I am and can see where I want to be, but I feel like it’s completely impossible. I’m terrified of staying, because it’s been a long, slow death. But I don’t know where to go from here.:crybaby:

    Please... if anyone has any advice or personal stories to share, please help.
     
  2. i totally understand how you might feel. it is hard when your loved ones don't have the full support of what you wanna do although they mean well for you in their own way.
    i hope you go through with what you love to do. if it's that miserable, i don't think it's worth risking your whole life.
    i hope the best for you!:heart:
     
  3. This is a hard one....

    Of course, if you dont remotely like what you are doing, you do need to take some time and fiquere out if this is truely what you want...

    But, there must have been a reason why you started in this direction, so you need to also look into this as well...

    The best way to know what you like, is to try it. Maybe you can intern in a law firm and see what field of law you would like or if the day to day work is to your liking....

    It must be really hard for you, but keep your spirits up and take some action toward your feeling by checking possiblities out and thinking things through....
     
  4. How long do you have to finish your MD program?
    If you have been feeling this way a long time, even for years, it may be time for a career change. You do have a sensible plan B that makes sense with your abilities. Just don't do it because you are unhappy with the program or co-workers but love medicine. Then I would finish and then make the change if you still want to.
    Ultimately it's your life and being miserable for years and years to come just to have a perfect CV can't be worth it, can it?
    I went through a hard period with my PhD which I finished this year and I'm glad I stuck with it. Although I went to law school before the PhD in Law and I know it's right for me. I also love writing, I could even imagine doing only that.
    I would analyze what YOU really want in the long run and if you want it for the right reasons and then make a change if it's the right thing for you in the long run.
    Good luck, I know it's hard.
     
  5. i'm definitely thinking of waiting a year to apply, and first working as a paralegal or some other legal setting first before i commit... either way, it requires leaving my current program, which is what everyone's so upset about...
     
  6. Nobody likes to cause others to be upset, but to be very frank, these people who are upset are not the ones who will be living your life ten, twenty, thirty years into the future.

    Just as they made the choices that were right for them, only you can make the choice that is right for you!
     
  7. I totally agree with Shimma. You need to make the decisions that are right for YOU, not for others in your life. The fact that you say you'd rather be homeless than do what you're doing speaks volumes. Sit down and make a plan that maps out the next year or so, so you feel stable. Make sure that you have enough money put aside for any "down time" that you might have. If you think things through, you will be more comfortable and you won't second guess yourself. Good luck and please keep us posted!
     
  8. Hang in there.

    As for your MD/PHd director, he's wrong. Your future employers will be interested to see that you have a medical/science background but their first concern will be your law school grades. As for your academic figures, if you have to, guilt them into giving you good recommendations. It's your life and they need to respect your decision, no matter what they think. And they should give you recommendations based on your abilities, not what they think you should be doing with your future.

    Good luck!
     

  9. I agree! If you finish your law degree, potential employees are not going to care if you finished your MD/PHd; they'll probably be impressed that you stuck it out as long as you did. (Now if you quit medicine, quit law, and go for a MBA, you might get some questions...) It sounds as if you were pressured into going into medicine? If you don't love it, don't do it. If you do love it, perhaps you can do something else related to the field that doesn't require such pressure.
     
  10. MD is quite challenging nowadays esp. with low reimbursements and lawsuits... YOU REALLY HAVE TO LOVE IT! A few of hubby's collegue left a very successful medical practice to pursue law. FOLLOW WHAT YOUR HEART DESIRES!!
     
  11. i say do what your heart wants! it sounds like medicine is not for you and you don't want to live your whole life pleasing others. i believe as long as you don't quit law halfway, potential employers won't care. but make sure that law is what you REALLY want. it's always scary to make a career change, but for your own happiness, you have to make some sacrifices. good luck!
     
  12. Well said!
     
  13. Congrats on the awesome LSAT score! My boyfriend was in a PhD program for 4 years when he finally had enough. He took a leave of absence for 2 semesters while he tested the job market. This allowed him to save his spot in the program. His advisor saw how miserable he was in the program so she was very supportive of him. He really hated the first job he took, but in the end decided that going back to school was not for him. He had a period of unemployment before landing his current job. It's still not ideally what he'd like to do, but he's still gaining valuable experience.

    Given how miserable you are and have been in the past, I would hope and think that your advisers would be a little more sympathetic instead of judgemental! I think taking a temporary leave and working in a legal environment would be a great way for you to test the change, if it's an option. I also think that even though your parents have goals for you, their primary concern and goal is for you to be happy and probably successful. If living out their goals for you isn't making you happy, hopefully they will see how happy you are when you pursue your own goals. I think most employers understand what is involved with pursuing a PhD and will not think negatively if you quit the program. It is more common than you think. Just my two cents. Good luck
     
  14. hey! i tottally understand how frustrated you are and how it seems to just never end but i hope you REALLY consider what you are about to "throw away" because law school is NOT, i repeate NOT fun! i just started law school 2 weeks ago and im already going CRAZY! and its not that i dont know how to write...because i was a journalist for bassically my entire life (well okay my first published article was at 12)

    But a law students life is just bland and BORING...i mean sure Torts is some sort of fun...but just getting past the legal jargon is EXHAUSTING and no amount of interest makes it easier. Im sure your current education path is the same way but you are at an advantage point because you already knw the lingo...does that make sense?

    I am by NO MEANS trying to discourage you from pursuing law because it is a WONDERFUL thing to do, but i just want to make sure u know that it is NOT an easy way out and it is NOT a good choice (skill wise) just because a test said you could...does that make sense?

    In the end i just hope youre happy and in my thoughts you started your program for a reason...did you love it then? why? anyway to channel that? (maybe with some chanel ;) hehe jk)
     


  15. i think the point here, for me, is this: i absolutely don't want to be a doctor, but i think i may actually enjoy being a lawyer. i knew i didn't want to be a doctor before i started med school - i actually took time off before med school to work in publishing, thinking i might make it as a writer. but everyone and their mother thinks they're a writer, and i'm not jk rowling. so i applied to med school thinking (with much, much encouragement from parents and family) that at least, as an MD, i would have a steady job. even if i didn't practice as an MD, i could work in consulting, healthcare insurance, whatever. i limited my med school applications to the ones that required the least amount of work - my MD/PhD application was a check mark and a brief paragraph. if an application really pressed me to explain my enthusiasm for medicine, i tossed it out the window, because i knew i would be lying.

    and the thing is - i'm sure law school is really hard, really boring work, but so is med school, and so is grad school. but law school is 3 years, while i've been doing med/grad school for the last 5 and still don't know when i'll finish. i don't want to be a doctor, so all my hard, boring work for the past 5 years gets me nowhere near where i want to be. but from what i've researched/seen/heard from lawyer friends and other sources about lawyering, it sounds like something i would really enjoy for the next 20-odd years. 3 years of grunt work is really short if it qualifies you for what you want to do for the rest of your life.

    thank you to all of you for posting - and for just being here for me. thank you for letting me sound off and just say what's on my heart, without fear of being judged or ridiculed. i've always felt stuck between a rock and a hard place - really wanting to be accepted by everybody, but really wishing i could be myself at the same time. i've started putting together my applications and taken more practice lsats, and as i do so i'm starting to feel more myself than i have in years. it's still a huge jump, and i have a lot of explaining to do on my law school apps, but this time around i'll be able to be honest about why i want to apply.

    i just hope my parents don't disown me. :push: