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What should I do with my life? At a crossroads

  1. Dec 13, 2012 #1


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    I graduated college with an EE degree (and lots of chemistry) back in 2008. I went into a PhD program for a year and was somewhat successful in my research and good enough in my classes. However, I had a nervous breakdown that forced me to leave. I looked for a job to no avail and went back to the same grad school with no funding and I took out additional loans. Well, I ended up getting severely depressed and I ended up dropping out. When I dropped out I had a long string my short term jobs and the most recent one I was fired from because I didn't "show enough initiative".

    Now I am unemployed and I am unhappy with doing engineering for the rest of my life. I considered becoming a hs teacher but the amount of things required to get a teaching credential turns me off considering the abysmal pay.

    Now I would like to become a medical doctor. All I need to take is 2 bio classes with labs and the MCAT (and shadowing/volunteering). However, my parents are against the idea because I would need to take out ~200K in loans and since I have screwed up so many times before they are afraid I will ended up dropping out of med school.

    Should I just follow my instincts and try getting into med school or should I continue looking for a job as an engineer even though it doesn't make me happy?


  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2012 #2


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    Also, I am not exactly a spring chicken. I am 27
  4. Dec 14, 2012 #3


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    My question is this: Why do you think being a doctor will make you happier? I've found that many doctors had an interest of being a doctor for quite some time, and it's that interest that encourages people to take classes they hate, and debt that will break them if they fail. If it's just an idea that 'popped' into your head, then I advise you volunteer at a hospital to see if you enjoy talking to patients. If you find that you don't get some sort of 'hight' from this experience, you're probably not aiming for the correct goal.
  5. Dec 14, 2012 #4
    you are getting into huge debt and it sounds like university isnn't the right environment for you at the moment.
  6. Dec 14, 2012 #5
    Echo MarneMath and streeters. This university thing is working out really bad for you. Adding on another $200k and 4-10 years to it isn't the wise plan.
  7. Dec 14, 2012 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    You dont have to work as an engineer. Look at your skills again or get a mentor somewhere (aunt, uncle, friend, friends mother / father, complete stranger...) to help you assess your skills. Maybe software engineering, maybe retail... Try something totally different.

    if you really like medical, why not take some courses while you work at the local community college for radiologist, or PA or even nursing and see what fits.

    Don't let your depression, make you anxious and depress you further.
    You're not a spring chicken, I'm a spring chicken. You still have time to
  8. Dec 27, 2012 #7
    If you're considering med school only because of the course requirements, it probably isn't best to get into the profession without further foresight. As jedishrfu suggested, look into your skills and try to seek employment. Best of luck.
  9. Dec 27, 2012 #8
    I checked out your recent activity on the forum, and I understand you're considering a wide range of jobs. Just please make sure you do something you enjoy. When you asked I'd it's better to teach high school physics out math due to your degree, I'm sure what matters more is that you enjoy what you teach and working with young minds.
  10. Dec 27, 2012 #9
    Look, after working at the same place for nearly 27 years, let me say this loud and clear:


    You will find joys, satisfaction, failures, mistakes, stupidity, slothfulness, respect, and lots of dumb luck. It is life. We can't promise you perfection. You have to make it for yourself. There are days of drudgery. There are exhilarating highs of accomplishment. There are times when I know they don't respect my abilities and there are times when I feel I have more respect than I deserve.

    It's not all sweetness and light. Sometimes home is the refuge from work. Sometimes work is the refuge from home. This is why it is good to maintain a hobby. This is why it is good to have a pet. This is why it is good to eventually settle down and start a family.

    You are focused on one goal and one idea and then you find dissatisfaction when it turns out that it's not what you thought. Wander around some. Smell the flowers. Make friends outside your profession and try different things.

    I have had depression when I found that things weren't what I thought. And then I picked up the pieces, and decided what I really wanted to do. And consider what I thought I wanted to do when I was your age: I really wanted to design communications spacecraft. But then the cold war ended, literally half of my class at Hopkins evaporated in search of work (many were on scholarships from defense contractors) and I took a careful look at where I was working. There were virtually no aerospace jobs to be found.

    I was working on terrestrial telecommunications gear for a large water and sewer utility. I had lots of cool toys. I had a decent budget to work with. I had meaningful work. And so what if it doesn't fly at thousands of miles per hour? With my spare time and money I earned a pilot's license. I continued to play with computers, and ham radio. I tried photography, brewing beer, shooting sports, and all sorts of different things.

    Life gets better. It really does. Education is important, but most of all, living an interesting life is important. Stop studying everything and try using what you know. It doesn't have to be in the work-place, it can be volunteering in a scouting organization, 4H, local religious institutions, even a prison, a museum, an airport, or an animal shelter.

    When you realize what you like and what you don't, you'll know what, if anything, you want to study. And it doesn't have to be for work. It can be for fun too.

    Good Luck!
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