Sunday, 10 June 2012

Olive branch

Currently listening to: Sea of Heartbreak - Johnny Cash

I generally have a very good relationship with my parents. This wasn't always the case. Until the age of 18 I didn't really feel that close to them. Of course, I always loved them and they me but it wasn't a great relationship. This was mostly because I used to get in trouble a lot at school (why and whether or not it was justified is a whole other story) which didn't really impress them. But after moving schools at 16 (had a great time at my new school) and eventually moving out at 18 to QMUL, my parents and I gave eachother the necessary space for a proper grown--up relationship to develop. As such, our relationship nowadays is great and I can talk to them about nearly anything.

However, all through uni as our relationship was improving and maturing, there was one subject which was always guaranteed to cause an argument...and that was my desire to do medicine. I, of course, was set on medicine since childhood, had been denied it at 18 and embarked on my biomed degree with "med school" as my only plan for after graduation. My parents weren't happy with this. They considered it a waste for me to do one degree then chuck it all in and do something else. They were convinced that I'd be too old if I qualified as a doctor at 25 or more. That medicine was too stressful, demanding and emotionally draining for me anyway. That I wouldn't be able to afford it. That it was just too damn competitive and I would be one of the unlucky many not to get a place. Ignoring my constant reminders about how I hated the lab, they would repeatedly tell me about how I would do better at a career in biomedical research anyway.

Needless to say, I largely tried to avoid the subject of post-degree options with them throughout my BSc, especially since during years 1 and 2 when my grades didn't seem good enough for medicine anyway, as I didn't want to constantly be reminded about how I was indulging a pipe dream and how I could do great with a 2:2 and a masters followed by a PhD (I was given this particular piece of advice a lot). I'm fairly certain they would tell me this stuff out of a desire to not see me get upset about not getting into medicine and because they wanted me to feel more confident in my other abilities rather than get hung up on medicine. They're certainly not spiteful or discouraging, so because of the fact that they were doing it out of love, I didn't really feel angry at them, just slightly weary everytime the subject was brought up.

However, fortunately, this time last year I got a 2:1 for my degree, and then two months later did well in my UKCAT. Last summer, my parents realised that I was good enough to apply to medical school, and maybe even get a place. So they began taking an interest in my med school choices, giving me advice, and even better, listening to me and trusting me when I would tell them that I'd done my research and it doesn't matter if I qualify at 26, that there would be loans available, and that I would be able to handle the course. It was really great to see them taking an interest and not stubbornly continuing to tell me I should do a PhD.

So, credit where it's due, this past year they've been very helpful and supportive indeed and were really happy when I got my offer in March. They still do occasionally tell me that I must be mad for wanting to go into a career which can be very depressing/exhausting at times, but again, I think that's said out of concern rather than actually thinking that I'm not going to be good enough for it. And to top it all off, they got me a stethoscope as a "well done on getting in" present:

I had originally planned to buy my own stethoscope at the start of term (had heard discounts would be available)...but it was really nice of them to surprise me like that, and I suppose, it's an olive branch of sorts. Hopefully no more arguments, it's a bit too late now anyway because with less than three months before I begin my MB ChB, I'm super-excited and can't wait to get started!

Hope you're all doing great and everyone's exams/results have gone well!


  1. Ah, the typical present from parents :), haha my parents bought me a stethoscope for Christmas during my 1st year too! (didnt't really get to do much with it till clinical years, but it was nice to just have ^^).

    Really excited for you grumpy! Can't wait to read your tales of medical school... only 3 months left... i hope you're making use of the "holiday" before it all kicks off!

  2. Ah that's so lovely! I'm glad things are going well with your parents now - nice of them to buy you a lovely gift! Looking forward to hearing your tales of medical school also!

  3. Aww thats so nice of your parents!

    Can't believe its three weeks until we start though. It is moving so quickly :o

  4. So nice!! I completely understand about the 'arguments' with the parents about medicine, I get them a lot... but as you said, they don't really mean it as a bad thing it's just that they don't want us to be upset.

    So happy you are going to med school in three months!! Hope you start getting everything ready! :D

  5. Heylo, wondered what you were up to since the fated pneumo :) reading this, it's something to see you managed to overcome what even your parents advised you to do. Totally empathise, very similar well-meaning discouragement by a litany of authoritative people back when I was equally denied med at 18. It's great to prove people wrong.
    Bless your parents for the present :)

  6. dude, i hear the 4 year course is quite tough. if you have some spare time...i would recommend finding out what your syllabus is for the first year and do some 'light' reading beforehand

  7. Brilliant news - well on your way :)

  8. Cheers for the comments everyone! Yep exciting times ahead, the days seem to be passing by very quickly, September seems so close now.

  9. three months until we start* (just re-read my post!)