“i gave it my body and mind but i have kept my soul.” phil jackson
med school is not the end game. md is not the end game. changing the health of communities is the end game. providing for my family is the end game. a fulfilling career is the end game. the pre-med mentality is bringing me down. i’m competing to get a’s in classes that in all practicality in no way prepare me to be an excellent physician. i’m competing against students who admit to getting disability status so that they get longer to take their tests. i’m competing against students who pop pills to focus, who have little to no responsibility outside of the classroom, who have very limited life experiences.
medical schools proclaim to want well rounded individuals in their schools. they need to know you can succeed academically, but are equally concerned with the other aspects of professional development. students know the truth. you are classified according to scores and not just scores that display your academic competence, but scores that rank you next to each other. the rat race of ranking continues at the detriment of souls and healthcare.
on my way home, i briefly listened to an npr interview with the husband/wife duo that wrote the songs to the movie frozen. (disclaimer: i haven’t seen the movie.) the writers sound charming, gracious, intelligent, etc. during the 15 or so minutes i was listening, the conversation was largely focused on the progress this movie makes. apparently it is about two female roles and their relationship together. as quoted in the interview, less than 1% of hollywood movies pass this criteria. additionally, this movie has active roles for the females. there is no prince that comes in and saves them because they are beautiful.
the interviewer asked if the writers’ own daughters had gone through a ‘princess phase.’ they had, and in fact had over 50 dresses to play with but she emphasizes that they can be the snow white princess doctor that saves african orphans.
this is my problem with white feminism. the traditional story line that puts men in the active role, the role of saving does not feel right. we all know women have power and agency and we can save ourselves, save each other, IF saving is needed at all. how is it then missed that this exact false storyline plays out over and over with a different population requiring saving.
we can’t claim that we are progressive and/or feminist and replace men with white women saving the helpless other.
i am lucky enough to have a mentor relationship with a doctor who is in her mid-60s, still working and is happy. i asked her why. the response was something like:
i have really had several careers. i was a nurse. a student in medical training. i worked in the cath lab. i taught. i worked in a clinic. i went back to the hospital. now i am in telemedicine. if you are humble enough to always be learning, always asking questions, you can mold your career to your interests and life circumstances. it’s hard to get burned out when you are starting exciting new adventures. i also don’t have anything toxic in my life: relationships/debt/health/etc.
sometimes i hate myself. like the kind of hatred that clouds over everything with, “you are a failure. again. you can’t even do the simplest of things right. you won’t make it.” i distract and logic my way out. it is a waste of life to focus on how bad i suck and the only guaranteed way i will always suck. i try to focus on improving the very thing that i am failing at and not the fact that i am losing the fight. tonight it is organic chemistry and tonight the darkness is loud.
as increasingly parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children according to the CDC’s recommendations, i have heard more and more complaints by others–some parents themselves, some not. the chief complaint being that not vaccinating one child puts other children at risk. it puts adults at risk. some of these individuals go so far as to say parents should be forced to fully vaccinate their children or face additional fines/punishments.
while i may not agree with that sentiment, i think the conversation is healthy. i just hope it is extended to other parts of society. such as education. when we remove our children from public schools and place them in exclusive, prestigious, incredibly expensive private schools are we not only thinking of our own child? is the child who does not get the boost private education can provide now at increased risk? do these decisions not affect society as it undermines the public school system?
herd immunity is an important concept and does not only relate to infectious diseases.
i recently had a conversation with a few men about food stamps and other welfare programs. the last statement of the conversation went something like: “i could add more but i’m not going to. as a single male with no dependents i get raped by the government.” we’ll ignore the disrespectfulness of comparing rape to him paying his taxes, although it certainly fits a pattern of male ignorance i experience.
but i think the statement is very telling. congress by far is a male majority. men are less likely to end up as single parents. men are paid more on the dollar than their female counterparts. men do not get pregnant. men make up larger percentages of the top of the workforce. men care for elderly parents less often than their sisters. it is easy to see why a young man would be less interested in paying taxes if he perceives large amounts of them to be going to caring for the basic needs of others–there’s seemingly nothing in it for him now and never will be.
the burden of caregiving is often on women. perhaps this is why congress doesn’t give a shit if children are going hungry–>weakened immune system–>sick more often–>more school days missed–>reduced chance of graduating–>job options severely limited–>minimum wage–>cycle of poverty continued. we need to encourage our girls to care about politics so that we are represented well. this is not to say that all women share the same perspective but to say that as women we all possess a unique perspective many men will never understand. it is crucial this perspective exists in places of power.
**and on a side note, we should be teaching our boys the importance of caring for others. my son was born on medicaid and food assistance. it is this type of infrastructure that helped create a healthy foundation upon which he can become successful. if i never tell him, he could be totally unaware as an adult and make ignorant statements about paying for other people to be lazy.