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Feb 24, 2009

Welcome Back to School

Today, I was forced to face the reality of my situation.

Until today, I still called the class I started medical school with “my class”, referred to its members as “my classmates”, and 2010 as “the year that I graduate”. It was as though I was just taking a freakishly long weekend, with special arrangements from the school, and would re-join the class at some later point, suffering no delay or consequence. Logically, I knew that at some point I would have to adjust my speech and thinking. I don’t regret taking the year off, but it is hard to update those structural life details in your brain, so I just haven’t yet.

Today, however, I took a little break from my AWESOME and FULFILLING job to go to the third year scheduling meeting. I came back ready to quit the entire field and go fold jeans at the Gap. I think that the Admissions Committee is really slacking when it comes to allowing good, respectful people into school to become doctors. Perhaps there should be some sort of personality profile done on competitive applicants in order to keep out these complete wackos. I feel like people who plan to and are being trained to become doctors should be able to interact with another human being without being condescending or offensive, especially when it comes to a sensitive topic.

At one point, we were asked to complete a form. I work a few floors up from where this meeting took place, and so left my bag (and the approximately 258 pens it currently holds) in the office. Thus, I was going to have to borrow a pen. I looked around, hoping someone would notice that I wasn’t holding a pen and throw me a bone. No such luck. I leaned over to the girl sitting a few seats away and asked if she had a spare pencil. She raised an eyebrow and did a quick mental assessment of me. I don’t know what she was assessing, but I seemed to come out about average. It looked unlikely that I would eat her pencil, but it was also apparently suspicious that I didn’t have one in the first place. As she handed me a pristine mechanical pencil, she said, “Maybe you should start bringing something to write with to class. It might help you pass so you don’t have to repeat the year.” I raised my eyebrow in return, took her pencil, and started chewing on the eraser.

Another fun moment was when a guy who did not even know my name turned to me and said, “So, did you fail or take a year off?” It took me a moment to realize that he was talking to me and that he had actually just asked me that question. When I recovered myself, I told him that I am on leave on account of growing, birthing, and caring for another human.

“A girl in my class had a baby and she didn’t take the whole year off. She didn’t even miss a single exam.”

That comment held several snubs all in one, none of which were lost on me. MY class, he had said. He had insinuated that I was less of a – what? Man? Woman? Hardcore, type A medical student? – because I had taken the year off. He looked at me with his lips pursed and arms crossed, waiting for my defense. I smiled and walked away. I felt that this was the safer thing to do, as my only other option was to jump onto his back and twist his head until it came off. As I left the room, I imagined the little “pop” it would make, like biting into a grape.

These are the people that will be doctors in a few years. These are examples of how they treat people they think are below them. I, for one, am glad that my appendix is already out and my baby is already born. Hopefully I will be able to avoid these people in the future. Days like today make me hope Patrick matches elsewhere.

7 Readers rock!:

Alykat said...

Ah! How sad/evil/awful! Those people suck, and obviously are not as cool as you. I am now also rooting for Patrick to mach elsewhere, hopefully somewhere close to me, so that I may get to baby-sit for the cuteness that is Colin! :)

Katie said...

OHMYGOSH those people are so horrible I can't even believe it! If you tell me who they are I'll put sugar in their gas tank. Or at least call the PCC on them. I am so sorry! :(

~Ashley said...

That is awful and inexcusable--obviously the ones you were dealing with are immature, insensitive, and have had no life experience at all. GRRRRRRRRR this makes me mad! What buttheads! I've actually heard some bad things about that class mostly to the effect that they have their heads stuck up their butts so far that they can't see anybody else around them except to size others up and try to compete with them...geeze, grr! I swear, I wouldn't blame you one bit if you told our (?Assistant) Dean of Student Affairs about it...they need a knot jerked in their tails!

Desire to show gratitude said...

I'm a regular lurker here, but I know what it's like to take time off for school to have a baby (I took time off of my MSW to have a baby). You will never, ever, EVER regret the time you took off to focus on your baby. You never get that time back. So what if you can say you never missed an exam; you got to wear your pajamas and cuddle with a sweet baby.

XE said...

Argh, ignore them, taking time off worked for you and your family and that's all that matters! The people you met yesterday were jerks, but I'm sure that they can't possibly be representative of the whole class -- there *have* to be some nice people that you can become friends with!! Fingers crossed for you :)

Long Family Chronicles said...

I can't believe those jerks!! Like to see them care for an infant with such love, affection, and dedication like you have!!! However, those type of people are the type of medical students/residents I had to deal with while I was on my clinical rotations. I was looked down upon b/c I was only going to be a "clinical pharmacist" and not a doctor -- but I could kick their butt when it came to treating disease states with the APPROPRIATE medications!! Of course, they were all mostly males!!

Tiff said...

Unbelievable.
I think I would've enjoyed the "pop" of the grapehead too...next time I say you take that action instead.