Brown != Medicine

Its bugged me how many times I’ve received the “oh you’re in medical school because you’re supposed to be” sentiment over the past year.

Walking past the TV while my mom is watching her favorite Indian serials is a horrible reminder of the extent to which the “brown culture” has decided to promote becoming a physician. There are so many commercials advertising medical schools abroad which require no admissions test (MCAT), promise “mainland training”, lower tuition, good teachers, etc. Now I wouldn’t have a problem with this except for the fact that you never see any other profession being advertised. No longer is medicine a choice of career – it’s almost an expectation portrayed by the media. If you’re not a doctor (or engineer at that), you’re not worth anything. You’re a philosophy major? You write? Or God forbid, you’re an artist? You might as well not exist.

People are going to extraordinary lengths just to get their medical licenses, and honestly, I can’t imagine a lot of them as physicians in the first place (a humble opinion as a non-physician myself). Being forced to follow any career goal by the media or your parents is a bad idea. After all, a real career is one which is more of a hobby than a job. In the case of medicine, not only will you hinder your own life but that of your patients and colleagues. It’s also not a profession you should try out with the intention of dropping out, yet a disproportionately large number of brown people do. I’m doing medicine because that’s what every respectable, brown male should do, right? I’ll try it, and if I don’t like it, there’s always option B, C, or D… though you may be frowned upon for not becoming a doctor.

Give me a freakin’ break!! This career is far too demanding to do off a whim. A lot of brown society is under the false assumption that medicine is a fixed life of prosperity and prestige. After all, how many people are ridiculed for being physicians? Yet they conveniently forget the arduous journey between college and becoming licensed in a specialty.

So for the brown people who don’t want to do medicine, while you may be going against the stereotype, don’t think you’re being a rebel. Do what you do best. Whether it’s medicine, journalism, business, engineering… whatever! But please don’t have the audacity to label those who have chosen this path, not because of the stereotype, parental pressures, or the media but because it genuinely is their life’s passion, as “conformists” without actually knowing what this career entails.

This post is a bit choppy, but I feel better now. 🙂

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3 Comments
  1. Oscar says

    Haha! Will do, bud! 😀

  2. Oscar says

    Very funny! I know lots of old physicians at the TMC that NEVER even took the MCAT!

    You bring up a great point. I was surprised to learn how much pressure Asian and South Asian parents put on their children to pursue a Ph.D in the sciences or an MD or, as you say, engineering (maybe law?). I was like, “Are you kidding me?”

    It seems many students don’t have a say on what they truly want to be! That’s preposterous in my book. Even former classmates from HBU would tell me that their parents would “kill them” if they didn’t pass the MCAT, whereas I would tell them I would simply become a writer or an artist if I did bad on it!

    By the way, a main reason for me to go to med school is to have your respect! I’m even saying that in my future interviews. 🙂

    1. Rishi says

      Oh come on. My friends don’t need to go to medical school to have my respect, lol. Do what you do best!