Call the Wambulance! We have a pre-med allergy!

excellent kappi in the ATL.jpg A slightly Anonymous Tipster operating via the chimney which is our News tab gifted me with a robust cup of breakfast-reading which perked me right up.

How’s that for two utterly unrelated metaphors? Huh? Yeeeah, boyee.

Now you are surely not asking, “what got you all twitchy and agitated, Anna?”, but I am going to gift you with an answer anyway! I’m hyper thanks to the latest advice column from Cary Tennis, which is published at Salon.

Today’s edition of Cary-wisdom is inspired by a letter writer (LW) who can be neatly summed up by the title of the column:

I don’t want to be a doctor!

Fair enough, LW. A good number of us did or didn’t, but I want to know more about you, even as part of me groans, knowing I will regret it and get all uber-bitch on your ass by the end of this.

Aug. 28, 2007 | Dear Cary,
I am 20 years old, go to a state university, and am severely confused on what I want to do in life.
When I was little, I wanted to be an “artist.” With the beret, paintbrushes and canvas. Then, I moved on. Sure, I loved art, and enjoyed it, and was good at it, but I realized I wasn’t exceptionally creative in that sense. So I wanted to be a journalist. That idea left as soon as it entered my mind in high school. Then, toward the lag end of high school, I got interested in becoming a doctor. It wasn’t out of some desire I had to cure the world or make lots of money. It was because of my parents.
My parents and my family are from the Indian subcontinent and are Muslim. In their minds, the best thing to be is a professional. Especially a doctor. My father always tells me that I should be a doctor to help people and to be independent. My dad works away from home and flies back to my family every three to four weeks. It’s a hard life for him, because he misses out on our lives. It’s important to him that I become independent and have the ability to work wherever I want to. So, in high school, I took some medical classes. I enjoyed them; they weren’t my favorite classes, but they were, I suppose, “all right.”
When I started applying for university, for my possible majors, I would alternate between political science and English. My mother would ask me to write “pre-medicine” next to the others. Therefore, when I got accepted, I was put into the pre-professional advising. I never truly desired to become a doctor. The only reason I wanted to become one was to help people. To fix them. So I kept going. I took biology, chemistry, bioethics.
Then, my sophomore year, last year, I fell apart. I took physics and organic chemistry. I was doing terribly in both. I made a 48 on my first exam in physics and a 63 in organic. I had to decide whether or not to drop physics. I eventually did, and I was so disappointed in myself. You see, I did well in high school. I took many Advanced Placement classes, made A’s, and was an excellent student. And I got burnt out. I just couldn’t force myself to work. I tried, but it wasn’t enough. I didn’t care enough. So I eventually made a C in organic.
It was during this semester that I would get these sort of panic attacks. I would just cry and cry when thinking about how badly I was doing in life, in organic, in everything. This is what really scared me the most. I always prided myself on not stressing out, not freaking out, and doing well in what I was studying for. But here was a class that just broke me down into tears. I couldn’t study when I was like that.
Then, the spring semester began. I took the second part of organic. Struggled through it and was averaging a C in the class. Then I fell apart again. I made a 48 on my last test, which dropped me to a D. I had to make an amazing grade on the final. I didn’t start studying for the final until the night before because I had basically given up. I failed the class with an F. In all my other classes that semester, I made A’s and B’s.

So now I don’t know what to do. I’m signed up for organic again this semester, with the same professor I failed with. I’m already freaking out about it. I don’t want to have those panic attacks again, but I can feel my heart rate getting faster just thinking about it and typing it out. I don’t think I want to be a doctor anymore. But I don’t know what else I can do. I’m majoring in English, and I enjoy writing, reading, and analyzing, but what could I do? I know I’m good at it. I’m thinking about public policy, law school, etc. Sometimes I blame my parents for, in a way, forcing me to do pre-med. It prevented me from pursuing architecture, for example. Or anything else. I know I shouldn’t blame them, but it seems so convenient.
I want to do so much with my life. I don’t want to regret anything. I want to study abroad and travel and do the Peace Corps and help people. But I need to make a decision.
What should I do, Cary? I trust your advice. I read your column and your advice is always sound. If you could help me, I would be so grateful.
Typical Confused College Student

There is this phrase in Malayalam my Father used almost daily; I wish I could recall it, so I could butcher its spelling right now. It was something to the effect of, I’ll break your bones and GIVE you something to cry about, you little twerp. Or similar. But let’s allow the sensitive Amreekan (whom I’m a huge fan of, normally, btw) to have his say, since it IS his column we are disgusting discussing.

Dear Confused College Student,

We interupt this post to raise a point of clarification: I’ve numbered the paragraphs below , so they’re easier to refer back to and pillage, no need to thank me, it’s just the kind of blogger I am.

1.) Your parents are sitting on the floor in the living room, playing with a doctor doll. The doctor doll wears a nice white lab coat. The doctor doll is good-looking and rich. The doctor doll has a whole doctor household complete with doctor grandchildren and doctor spouse, and the doctor is in a Lexus driving down the street waving to admirers. Your parents have some play money and they have piled it up next to the doctor. The pile of money is nearly as tall as the doctor.
2.) Your parents would be very upset if someone were to take the rich doctor doll away. So you must use the tactic of redirection. You must show your parents something that is just as interesting to them.
3.) You must wave a shiny lawyer in their faces. You must say, “Look, parents! Shiny, famous lawyer! Rich, famous, shiny lawyer! CNN consultant fees!”
4.) In this way, you can induce them to turn their attention from the rich doctor doll to the rich lawyer doll, without feeling that they have lost a precious dream. If all goes well, they will forget about the doctor and will soon be back on the living room floor, assembling a rich lawyer family, complete with lawyer spouse, successful lawyer children and a big expensive lawyer house filled with money to the ceiling.
5.) You would think that you could just talk to parents. But they aren’t like that. You can’t talk to them. You have to treat them like children.
6.) You, on the other hand, are fairly adult. You know what you need to do. You just have to clear some space for yourself to do it.
7.) While you’re at it, in case you are feeling alone, take a look at this article on Sound Vision. It addresses your situation almost precisely: “The child wants to be an artist; his parents want him to go to med-school and become a doctor. The child wants to be a political scientist; his parents want him to be an engineer. This clash seems to be especially prevalent in immigrant Muslim families.”
8.) And it makes one particularly encouraging observation that might be persuasive to your parents: “Muslim leaders have long complained about the lack of Muslims pursuing careers in the media.”
9.) Law is a difficult career, and it may not be exactly what you wish to pursue for your entire life. But I think you have a good shot at it and should give it a try. It can be a springboard to many other occupations, journalism and writing principally among them.
10.) Your parents are right about one thing. They know, as countless other immigrants have known, that though American society is an open place, it is not a kind, safe place. It is a place where you have to make your own way. You have to establish status for yourself. If not, you will be trampled. That’s the way it is here. So they are right to push you to acquire a profession that will afford you some protection from the vicissitudes of capitalism and individualism.
11.) Sure, you will have to change some of your educational arrangements. But you would have to do that anyway. You flunked organic!
12.) Don’t worry. It’s probably the best course you’ve ever flunked.
13.) Law is excellent training for a writer. Look at Salon’s Tim Grieve, for instance, and Glenn Greenwald. They are both lawyers. They are also powerful writers working as journalists.
14.) So drink some coffee and cancel the pre-med studies.
15.) Throw yourself into what you love best. Make yourself happy. Excel. Immerse yourself in it. Go toward what you love. Work. Graduate. Stay healthy.
16.) Keep telling your parents you’re going to law school.
17.) Then join the Peace Corps.
18.) After the Peace Corps, you’ll know what to do.

Oh, my. What struck me first about all this was how– for lack of a better word– unoriginal the dilemma is…a LOT of us have been exactly where LW is, which partially explains my sarcasm-infused title. Anyway, what follows are my thoughts on specific points Cary made (see why I numbered things?).

…….

Re: no. 3 Anyone else sick of people substituting law school for med school, as if the two are super similar? No? Just me? Meh.

As for the “famous” and “CNN consultant”-bit, I thought there was a glut of lawyers, who are often an ambitious, deliciously ruthless bunch (I speak fondly because like every other quondam debate dork, I almost went, you know), who will annihilate this sniveling child as if they were an amuse bouche.

…….

Re: no. 5 You can’t treat your parents like children. Not if they’re desi. Well, you can, if you enjoy the sensation of a Bata chappal as it glides upside your head, but that’s all you. Seriously though, I know I’m officially ancient because I’m indignantly offended on behalf of this kid’s parents. You know what’s awesome about being 32, though? I DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

…….

Re: no. 6 “Fairly adult” my callipygian rondure. This kid has been directed and pushed, their entire life, “guided” forcefully by parental decisions. That’s why LW can’t make an important choice—they don’t know how. Believe me, I speak from experience, after being raised by an over-protective Father who chose MY major for me, as well.

The one thing Cary SHOULD have told LW is to take a deep breath and prepare for some harsh-but-necessary emotional growing pains. Hie thee to the student counseling office, honeychile, because you gonna need it. It’s awful and challenging, but learning how to make your own choices MUST be done…long before you mindlessly traipse off to law school or whatever else. Take it from one who knows and has the scrapes and scars to prove it.

…….

Re: no. 7 “especially prevalent in immigrant MUSLIM families (emphasis mine)”?? As opposed to the obvious lack of clash in immigrant homes which religiously identify as Christian, Jewish, Sikh or Hindu? Come ON. This is not a Muslim thang. Mira, this is a BROWN thing. An IMMIGRANT thing. Really, a normal thing.

…….

Re: no. 8 I really don’t think the Muslim community needs more problems—LW can’t speak on behalf of themselves, let alone a massive world religion. One thing at a time. See: my response to number 6.

…….

Re: no. 9 STOP TELLING PEOPLE WHO DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO TO “GO TO LAW SCHOOL”. This is why every lawyer I know (and I know almost a hundred), with the whopping exception of four of my friends, HATES THEIR LIFE. The Law is not an easy-way out. Respect it, don’t use it when what you really need, is a year off to backpack around Turkey or Nepal or just chill, while you figure out what you think you want to do for the foreseeable future. Taking out loans which will later encircle your ankle like a golden chain, keeping you trapped inside corporate law will not make you any happier than flunking O-Chem, LW.

My most miserable friends are the ones who regret going to law school, who work at “big firms”, who wake up to find hair on their pillow, because it’s falling out, who have ulcers and budding substance abuse problems. I find the “Oh, well…if I can’t figure out what to do, I’ll just go to law school!”-attitude offensive, because I really love the law. One of my friends who is a medical resident said something to the effect of, “Be damned sure this is what you want to do, because it’s not worth the sacrifices unless it’s what you love.” Um, yeah. That goes for everything, because just about everything requires sacrifice, if you want to achieve success.

…….

Re: no. 10 Your parents are right about plenty of things, LW. I started to grok this around age 23. Don’t get it twisted— you, LW, and I, will NEVER know what manner of struggle our parents survived, as new immigrants to this foreign place. There was no internet to utilize as a resource for information, and if they came here in the late 60s, early 70s, there was no community to cushion their landing, either. My mother didn’t know that Oklahoma would get cold in the winter, so she didn’t have a proper coat. She shivered until she could save enough to afford one. My father, who was worried that everything had some meat byproduct in it, unless he cooked it, was a borderline manorexic.

Your parents suffered, too. It made them fierce and strong and it taught them ridiculously valuable lessons about life, which they are using to guide you because they love you more than anyone else will and want to see you thrive. I could never pick up at 21 and move to a totally different country, where I didn’t have a single family member and knew nothing about the local culture, and build a life for myself. I can’t do that at age 32. But my mother did it, when she was more than a decade younger than me. And I worship the ground she treads on, because of it. When I’m not swearing in two languages in her long-suffering, tolerant presence, that is. My point is, your parents, more often than not, unless they are advocating extreme things like forced marriage, are right.

…….

Re: no. 11 You know what I wish Cary had said at this point? What I wish the dean at the College of Letters and Sciences had said to me, when as a miserable Freshman, I said that I hated my major and wanted to transfer schools, but didn’t know what to do, since I was a sheltered, barely-18-year old. Here’s what the dean said:

“College is tough, but at least your parents are paying for it…you’ll be fine. Political Science can be fun! And much more useful than South Asian Studies, which you’d have to go to Berkeley for…”

Here’s what I wish he said:

“There are these amazing resources called pell grants and student loans—if you’re concerned about the financial implications of standing up to your parents, head to the financial aid office and see what your options are.”

If this kid is worried about getting cut off financially, there is no better country in which that could happen. Especially if you’re at a state school, which is cheaper than a private one.

…….

Re: no 13 (and now I have the Pixies in my head, :) …Law is excellent training for a lot of things, but as my embittered ivy-league JD/MBA ex-bf reminded me, ad nauseum, when he got home from work every morning at 1:30 am from his “big” Manhattan firm, for his five hours of restless sleep, IT IS NOT REQUIRED IN ORDER TO BECOME A WRITER.

…….

Re: no 15 Yes. Do what you love. If you are passionate about something, you will give up jealous boyfriends, reading for pleasure and half of your social life for it, even when you don’t get paid. LW, once you find something which fulfills you to the point where you can’t imagine NOT doing it, you’ll be all right. College, where you can have a range of different experiences and the opportunity to sample so many classes, is an excellent place to start the process through which you uncover your bliss. :)

…….

Re: no 16 Sigh.

…….

Re: no 18 Maybe. Sometimes, that sort of experience/perspective-gathering/kick in the kundi is exactly what we need.

…….

What do you think (like I need to ask)?

272 thoughts on “Call the Wambulance! We have a pre-med allergy!

  1. ak, I think it’s because both in the academy and the economy there’s kind of an unacknowledged belief that math/science is harder and thus more respectable. It sounds like your dad just believes in old-school Marxian economic freedom ;)

    But back on the topic, I’m glad LW posted here. I do think that there are more options out there than we realize, and that we are actively discouraged from choosing what we love when what we love is “non-traditional” or seen as unstable. You have to define for yourself what you’re willing to risk. Your parents will not stop loving you because of your career path, although they may be hurt or not understand. I know that it’s also easy for me to say “be financially independent!” and that that is not always easy for everyone, especially when we’re supporting younger siblings, elderly parents, extended family, etc. How you define what you love and what you’re willing to accept/risk in return is important.

    That said, with respect to law, one of my best friends is finishing her last year in school. She originally entered as a social justice/public interest type, but soon realized that law is not really the avenue through which she wants to make change. That said, she’s living on loans and supporting both her (elderly) parents, both of whom work full-time with no health insurance and are below the poverty line. She finally realized that she’s not going to continue in law but may tough it out for a few years to put money aside for her parents and then devote herself full-time to art, which has always been her passion. You’ve just gotta work it out and think of what you want to do, but you shouldn’t be discouraged from doing what makes you happy just because it may be harder or more work to make it happen.

  2. You’ve just gotta work it out and think of what you want to do, but you shouldn’t be discouraged from doing what makes you happy just because it may be harder or more work to make it happen.

    which might entail doing that “what you want” on the side, given the conditions at hand. Hope you didn’t roll your eyes at her.

  3. I didn’t roll my eyes at her; I love her, and I know she’s stuck between a rock and hard place. I’m glad that she (eventually) figured out what she wanted to do and how to make it happen. I think she would’ve been happier had she been working for 3 years not taking out debt, which is why I tell folks not to go to grad school as a “default” option. :)

  4. Well, that’s good. nothing worse than someone rolling their eyes at someone else without understanding their sit.

  5. …the implication being of course, that if someone can’t do math or orgo, it is soon apparent because they get the answers wrong, but if someone can’t write that well, it’s harder to tell because there is no objective standard of what is “right” or good.

  6. “Also, many people think that they are good at writing, journalism, English what have you, and because of the nature of those fields and the somewhat more liberal mindset of people who teach and work in them, there is this belief that everyone should be molly-coddled and made to believe that they do in fact have talent and are “good” at English.”

    I completely understand that statement. I should have clarified when I claimed I was “good at English.” I enjoy my English classes. I love writing essays and examining novels and various texts. I enjoy grappling with issues and discovering new things in the texts I read in class, and then discussing them in a paper. I’ve never thought my writing was exceptionally great, but I think I am a decent writer of English papers.

    I’ve tried to write fiction and poetry. However, I’ve always deemed everything I have written as crap. I don’t think I’m mature enough, or have enough life experiences, or maybe, I am just a bad writer. I enjoy it, but I don’t have the misguided notion that I could become the next great American writer.

    And fathima, you may be getting an email from me. Thanks.

  7. …can I get some counseling too?

    What if I’m just a TOTAL BURNOUT? My brother basically called me a fuck-up yesterday (though he applied the label to himself too). I started out so well, doing so well in high school, etc. But my grades slipped second semester senior year (yeah I know, everyone’s does), freshman year was ok buuuut college grades actually count for my FUTURE, and now sophomore year is starting and I don’t want to be a total failure. Seriously, I’d rather do my eyeliner and have sex. Is this a late awakening or something?! (I was sort of the ‘good girl’ that everyone got compared to in high school). Or is my brain DETERIORATING?!

  8. And am I the only one who has internalized the ‘Asian/desi overachiever’ stereotype? I went to a really really competitive high school with lots of azns where being Asian came to essentially mean getting good grades. And it’s a very snobby/cruel environment. Even though I see examples of Asian/desi kids all around me who are not the stereotypical premed overachiever types (and now the premed overachievers who are also amazing people types, damn them), it’s still really hard to disconnect myself from this idea that I ‘have’ to do something because I’m brown. Sigh, I guess it’s also partly my family’s socioeconomic circle. I’m trying to de-brainwash? myself, but it’s hard!

  9. buuuut college grades actually count for my FUTURE, and now sophomore year is starting and I don’t want to be a total failure. Seriously, I’d rather do my eyeliner and have sex. Is this a late awakening or something?! (I was sort of the ‘good girl’ that everyone got compared to in high school). Or is my brain DETERIORATING?!

    Only if you see grad school, med/law, i-banking or the CIA in your future. If none of these futures seem appetizing, go for the physical gratification! Try to at least graduate in 4 years, therefore not aggravating the ‘rents with yet ANOTHER year’s tuition (if not on scholarship), and then get a job in Insurance, where no-one was a true academic all-star in college.

    There’s also pole-dancing, pool cleaning and professional poker-playing–but again, not necessary if you find a somewhat professional industry that takes kindly to erudite-sounding dithering and bullshitting.

  10. thanks murali for the advice. I think, though, I am so brainwashed by my parents (aka, that’s just how they raised me) that I’m gonna aim somewhat higher after all… it sucks in the short-term, but not the long-term.

  11. I mean, I’m also pretty full of myself (I think I’m pretty damn smart, if lazy) and would probably feel my brain rotting even more in a strip club.

  12. Ugh. I sound like an idiot. So everyone just keep in mind that I am exaggerating and trying to be humorous.

  13. nala, i was in your exact situation – over-achiever in high school, AP everything (dad started calling me anti-social) and then i hit college and started to flail a bit. i let it go for the first year and the got my first-ever C and then re-grouped. i just started working harder, as well as a bit smarter. it’s also good to know your limits – i.e. if a class is not required and you fear a bad effect on your GPA – drop it asap. also, focus on the extra-curriculars – esp. leadership positions, if you find a few clubs, volunteer positions etc that you like, go for them, and try to stick with at least one or two of those until you finish college – good for the stress levels, and it also happens to look good on the resume :)

    and don’t listen to muralimannered – i’ve completed three degrees after college (incl. 2 in law) so you can have your eyeliner, sex and good GPA simultanously! seriously, don’t stress about what’s happened – just look at your classes strategically and how to change things in the future. e-mail me if you need any tips – it took me a while how to get back into study mode, but thinking though it logically really helped get me interested in classes again, which is really what boosted my GPA…

  14. and don’t listen to muralimannered – i’ve completed three degrees after college (incl. 2 in law) so you can have your eyeliner, sex and good GPA simultanously! seriously, don’t stress about what’s happened – just look at your classes strategically and how to change things in the future. e-mail me if you need any tips – it took me a while how to get back into study mode, but thinking though it logically really helped get me interested in classes again, which is really what boosted my GPA…

    yes because i’ve made such a mess of my life so far, that I do whatever I please, talk however I wish at work and get to debate the finer points of chinese-mfg sex-toy product liability vs. the merits of premises and liqour liability for a 100+ chain strip clubs. It’s really bad–I mean I never had to piss in a cup and that’s the true mark of real jobbo–you know you’ve made it when your employer can’t trust you with illicit drugs!

    but…what the hell do I know. I’m not a lawyer, doctor or scientist. I didn’t collect post-grad degrees by the bushel and I don’t have ulcers, panic attacks or take Klonopin so I can sleep without grinding my teeth. Oh well, I guess i’m missing out on so much.

  15. MM, dude – i was totally kidding! since you (jokingly, i thought) advised her that her GPA wouldn’t take her to the specific paths you had mentioned, i wanted to reassure her (also somewhat jokingly) that it was still possible to initially be lax and move onto those paths, in case the poor girl actually intends on following any of the said career options.

    i don’t know anything about you, MM, so i do not (nor did i) make any assumptions about you or anybody else. and i am the last person to judge anybody based on their education, career, or lifestyle. nor do i put much stock into my academic history – i am the first one to make fun of it, and that’s the truth. apparently, i should stop making humorous comments on SM, since even the exclamation point at the end of that sentence didn’t clue you into my kidding. clearly, you didn’t read that comment as i intended it.

  16. ak,

    and don’t listen to muralimannered – i’ve completed three degrees after college (incl. 2 in law) so you can have your eyeliner, sex and good GPA simultanously! seriously, don’t stress about what’s happened – just look at your classes strategically and how to change things in the future. e-mail me if you need any tips – it took me a while how to get back into study mode, but thinking though it logically really helped get me interested in classes again, which is really what boosted my GPA…

    basically in the same situation as nala, studying the prope desi track of science(though biology isn’t regarded very highly by most desis and I get the question all the time whether I’m going to be a doctor) and I’m in several clubs/fraternities and did some activities as well, but it’s really a killing to juggle studies, clubs and hobbies. Although in my country grades are not regarded that highly they are elsewhere in the world and I always was an overachiever(the ‘good girl’ everyone got compared to during highschool). I’m even considering seeing a study counselor…

    PS could someone please explain the concepts of freshman/senior/sophomore? I’m not American so I don’t quite get it…

  17. PS could someone please explain the concepts of freshman/senior/sophomore? I’m not American so I don’t quite get it…

    On the way to earning a Bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree in four years, freshmen = 1st year in college (mostly called school in the US) in India sophomore = 2nd junior = 3rd senior = 4th and final

    There’s a similar concept in high schools too, but I’ll let an ABD explain that.

  18. I really enjoyed reading through all the posts. Anna, nice work.

    I had no idea about what I wanted to do for years. I was good at Math and I loved it so I wound up with a Masters degree in Statistics and Math. But I was so afraid of computers (had some pathological fear of technology which I have only recently conquered) so I ended up working in an art gallery for a while (which I enjoyed). Then I worked for a TV company because I wanted to earn some money to go back to college and get a teaching degree. Then I volunteered at a special education school and realised I loved my work,so I switched to working in special education. It’s taken me so long to figure out what I want to do. My parents always said, “Do what makes you happy” to any of my career/life questions…I appreciate their lack of pushyness but I do feel they were so laid-back that I couldn’t look to them for any direction. My mom says parents can never win!

  19. LW, I deeply sympathize with your situation. I got into one of those fancy 7 year guaranteed med school programs, only to turn my back on it and go to school out of state (because I think even 17 year old me recognized that I needed space to grow, space that was far away from my parents.)

    I tried to be a good premed, but I wound up failing my science classes. For someone who had excelled at science, this was unusual. Later on, I recognized that I did it subconsciously to show my parents that I wasn’t cut out for it. In retrospect, it wasn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done, because it hurt my GPA. But it was effective. When I went home and told my parents that I was done with pre-med, I felt so much lighter. So they actually naturally thought I would be pre-law, and I acquiesced because you don’t have a set courseload for pre-law. (I don’t think Cary’s advice is necessarily much different than what I did, except that he did write it in a patronizing fashion.)

    Years later, I still leave the option open, but in my heart of hearts, I’m pretty sure I would be miserable as a lawyer. It’s just that the path to financial success and personal misery on that road is shorter – 3 years of training versus 7+ for med school. My friends who are residents, who did it because they were too afraid to stand up to their parents and do what they really wanted to, they work 80 hours a week. Medicine is a long slow haul, and you have to really want it. Same with law, as Anna said. And life is too short to be living for someone else’s benefit, even if they guilt trip you by saying that they gave you life. You really don’t want to be 33 and living someone else’s life.

    I’m happy and successful because I followed my own path, and I am proud that whatever mistakes I made are mine. But one of the greatest decisions I ever made was not going to medical school. Cut your GPA losses here, and switch to doing things that make you happy and keep you interested. I’m sure your GPA will improve, and this will probably make your parents happy as well. Plus, you are going to have a hard time getting into better law schools with increasing numbers of D’s and F’s.

    The other thing to keep in mind is that the ability to write well stretches across professions and will get you a lot farther in most fields than the ability to dissect human tissue. You shouldn’t be having panic attacks over this issue. I think you know what you need to do, and you just feel conflicted about hurting your parents. But your parents are, as Anna pointed out, highly resourceful people who had to overcome great obstacles to come here. They will be able to get over your choice in time, and even come to tell you that they are proud of you. Mine did.

    Good luck, LW. I think you have a bright future ahead.

  20. switch to doing things that make you happy and keep you interested.

    This is fine as long as you’re willing to accept the possible financial trade-off. Of course, some people make a lot of money doing what they love, which is the best of both worlds.