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Impending doom: thinking about the future

Do you know what you want to do?

  • By: Shafak Toufeeq
  • Published: 04 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1136/sbmj.e1649
  • Cite this as: Student BMJ 2012;20:e1649

“Do you know what you’re going to specialise in?” is a question I’m asked by most patients with whom I build a rapport. I evade it with the usual, “Well, we only need to make that decision after graduating.” The same matter arises between student friends at any medical school, especially as a conversation filler.

In these situations we despair at our indecision. No one expects any sort of coherent answer. We are too familiar with the more immediate concern of getting through medical school, towards which the discussion inevitably gravitates. It is a revealing reflection of our subconscious: at the back of our minds the future bears down on us, gradually filling us with anxiety as we approach the end of medical school.

Most of this anxiety will undoubtedly be overshadowed by eagerness to start contributing to the healthcare system. But we will also be aware of the challenges

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