Medical school –> Cause of Depression?

By: Seval On

  Many factors can contribute to a student dropping out of medical school, whether it’s stress, financial concerns, or a lack of support and academic success. Throughout the years, studies have suggested that medical students experience high rates of mental illness such as anxiety or depression. When studying pre-med, many people consider that becoming a doctor takes a lot of time and dedication. People often talk about the challenging aspects of being a doctor so they’re well prepared to face those obstacles.

Students are expected to maintain good grades and constantly study, but do these expectations reflect the reality of medical school? In fact, yes they do; incoming freshmen are aware of how difficult medical school is but sometimes they underestimate their abilities. Before their freshman year, their minds consist of many expectations. Jessica Young was a medical student who graduated in 2019 from UConn’s honor program, and she gave advice to incoming freshmen and said, “You want to go into school open-minded and explore different things. You technically don’t need to know what you want to specialize in until the end of your third year.” Being open-minded and fearless to try new things is important in the medical field because their future jobs will consist of treating all patients with no judgment. People often fear that when they don’t meet these expectations, they stress out and suddenly quit because they feel their career advancement isn’t going as planned. 

        Subsequently, medical school students are at risk of mental health problems due to personal pressures, financial concerns, or lack of support. Colleges and programs acknowledged the importance of engaging in their students’ mental well-being and working with students to share their challenges with stress, anxiety, and depression. According to the report, 6 Ways Campuses Are Helping Students De-Stress, Michelle Baik, director of the Mind Matters program states that among many campuses, resources are available to help students navigate their responsibilities in the school or at work. For example, at California State University, videos were produced by the counselors at the Student Health Center. Topics they highlight include how to manage stress and how to deal with the fear of failure or lack of success. My sister, Selin, who’s currently studying for the MCAT stated, “Studying from morning to night every day has strongly impacted my mental health, which is why I see a therapist.” According to the Council of Faculty and Academic Societies, there are also resources to help all college students seeking help. This program is seen across some universities and provides phone numbers and foundations which address the needs of those who are suffering. Selin also expresses, “When I notice I’m overwhelming myself, I like to surround myself around my family or friends to distract my thoughts.”      Even though many students commit to medical school, the rate of dropping out is slowly increasing per year. As stated in, 45 Medical School Statistics Every Student Should Know, Maria Clark, Professor of the Health and Sciences department at the University of Nottingham says that the variation of people who fall out is between 7%-35% based on yearly graduation rates. Although the yearly rate isn’t as high as many expect it to be, many students worked extremely hard to be giving away their acceptance that quickly. Although many students decide to major in biology, it’s clear that some students conclude that they regret choosing a medical profession due to its addition of school years and work. Despite having the grades, giving all of your efforts and dedication to the school is one of the most difficult parts of becoming a doctor. Failure is part of the process of being in medical school, however many people quit there. Handling competition, time, and responsibility is a key factor in any medical career. Overcoming these obstacles demonstrates the path you wish to pursue in your life.   

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