Conversation With a Crazy Girl

Earlier this week, I had an exchange with a classmate in the hall that I feel rather compelled to share. Details have been changed to protect everyone involved.

I was chatting with this girl – I’ll call her Spitfire – about medicine and why she wanted to go into the field:

Me: You work in a hospital somewhere?

SF: I hate hospitals.

Me: Oh really? Prefer clinic to in-patient?

SF: I hate sick people.

Me: Interesting. You do realize medicine tends to have a lot of both right?

SF: Not where I’m going. I’m only interested in neurosurgery.

Me: That’s a pretty competitive field, particularly for older students (she’ll be at least 40 when she applies for a residency).

SF: Not for me – I’m a minority, I can match into anything.

At this point I gave up – this girl had more juice than an NFL linebacker so there’s no way I wanted to poke any holes in her perfectly crafted view of reality. I hate to wish anything negative on a fellow applicant, but seriously, I really hope the admission committees can see through this kind of crap and that she’s never allowed to make medical decisions for anyone but herself.

Thoughts?

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9 Responses

  1. I feel your classmate is about to have a rude awakening. And I’m surprised she’s talking like that at her age.

    No where in life can you coast by your race and or sex without having to show your intellectual/academic/work ethic chops. Sure, you might get a second glance because schools like to increase diversity, but if you’re grades and other experience aren’t up to par … you don’t have a shot in hell.

    Now, I’m not in med school nor even in premed courses yet, but I do live in the real world and I’m aware of what med schools will look for in applicants. And your gender or ethnicity ain’t one of them.

    • I’d like to think you’re correct, but my faith in the ability of adcoms to screen people that are ill-suited for medicine is rather lacking. I have friends already in medical school tell me how many people in their class hate medicine and simply chose to become doctors because their parents wanted them to.

      I could be wrong though – the last couple of weeks have really made me pessimistic on my chances of getting into medical school. Sometimes it almost seems like adcoms say one thing but do another when it comes to the types of people they’re looking for. Of course, I could just be letting the process get to me – it does seem that a lot of effort goes into communicating a message of inferiority to every single med school applicant.

  2. So running the numbers here. If she will be 40 when she matches, that means she will be done with her residency in an additional 7 years. Since most neurosurgeons retire (citing decline in fine motor skills and memory) between 60-65. She is training for 11 years (of purely medical training) for an effective career of 13-18 years, tops.

    While it is the cultural norm to tell people to go broke chasing their dreams, her career calculus is very suspect. Not to mention that nureosurg has a reputation for being a brutal residency. I think crazy pretty much sums her up.

    P.S.
    In “What Color is your Parachute” Bolles points out that hiring managers in company’s rarely pick the optimum candidates. I would expect the odds for adcoms to be not much better. IMO.

    • There is an additional factor that may or may not be relevant – I have no idea, since I’ve not matched yet. She is about 4′ 11″. Tops. Now, as a practical consideration, if I were looking for a surgical resident, I would be forced to wonder about the impact on the rest of the surgical team of someone a foot shorter than everyone else. Do you lower the operating table and force everyone else to hunch? Do you get her a step stool?

      I admit, at first glance, that seems a little derogatory and possibly demeaning, but that’s not my intent.

      As far as how adcoms choose applicants…I’m at a loss. Sometimes, I feel like they must be throwing darts at a board. Making a decision to leave one career for medicine is a little bit scary when you start considering all the uncertainties to the equation.

      • As far as how adcoms choose applicants…I’m at a loss. Sometimes, I feel like they must be throwing darts at a board. Making a decision to leave one career for medicine is a little bit scary when you start considering all the uncertainties to the equation.

        I am solidly in your camp on the above.

      • Didn’t you just get accepted?

      • No, I am just getting started cleaning up the undergrad courses I need.

  3. Seriously. totally. funny. love it. She’s crazy, you got that right.

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