Minorities in Medicine

Time after time, when the big question of what you want to do with your life comes up, most ethnic kids cringe at the coerced answer of doctor. To be more specific, I thought I wanted to be a doctor from the ages of eight to seventeen when I finally realized that chemistry just wasn’t for me. Why is that the case, where young children dictate the whole course of their lives through their parent’s pressure?

It took me years before I actually realized what it took to become a doctor. There’s this saying about ethnic parents, and it goes along the lines of “helping people should be the second after making a lot of money” as the reasons to pursue this career. I love people and it seemed like I would enjoy helping them find their pathway to recovery. Yet, it wasn’t until I took a step back that I realized law was my true passion.

Now more than ever, we see a radical movement among minorities to make a shift out of the scope of medicine. Personally, there has always been this stigmatization that the only way to financially support yourself is to become a doctor (and if you’re female, marry one). Nowadays, there's a remarkable number of people wanting to become doctors, making the process even more difficult.

One example of parent pressure is my friend, Sarah. Although, her parents may seem 100 percent supportive of what she does now as an adult, throughout the majority of her life she always had the path of medicine set in stone for her. It was only until she realized her passion for animals, that she took a detour only to be met with several roadblocks. Her mother was clear that practicing animal sciences would not ensure a wealthy future. Thus, crushing her dreams and leaving her clueless as to what would make her happy but also provide for her future. Now I’m no parent, but I have seen first-hand how integral our parents’ approval is onto our decisions. I have never quite understood parental expectations—there’s a thin line between wanting your child’s happiness and living out your own expectations of what happiness means to yourself.

In my introduction to youth development course, we discuss quality of life. There’s no solid definition of what a good quality of life means. There is a false association of being a doctor and being rich. The underlying truth is that under that lab coat, there’s an overwhelming amount of student debt from medical school loans. Not to mention, the weight on your shoulders from the extraneous hours of studying for the MCAT combined with the low pay for resident physicians.

Being a doctor isn’t as glamorous as "Grey’s Anatomy" paints it out to be. There isn’t a need for a McDreamy but a need for minorities to diversify their career portfolios. For example, there is a shocking low level of Asian individuals in Public Administration or Service. Not to mention, the white privilege hierarchy found in most job structures. Minorities have to work extra hard to find their niche in the different industries. Yet, it beats out having to study a default escape hatch that’ll eventually plague the rest of your life.

In this new generation, I hope the wave of diversity spills over into the job sector. It’s a much needed push to the right direction, not from your parents but from yourselves.