Don’t Premed-splain to Me

By Colleen Dabrowski

I am inherently skeptical about the medical field. It is built upon a racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic foundation and continues those trends through today. Studies show that only those who have physician parents, family members or close family friends pursue medical degrees. I’m sure that your mom is a good doctor, but that doesn’t change the fact that the medical system is seriously messed up! These arguments drive me up the wall; just because your mom isn’t racist or homophobic doesn’t mean the medical system as a whole is not. It’s frustrating that pre-med kids will fight me over things that are fact. I don’t understand how these kids will defend the medical field tooth and nail without seeming to understand the sociology and history of it.

To be able to pursue a career as a medical professional is a privilege in and of itself. Medicine, though things are changing, has almost always been a boys’ club for the rich and white. Being a dick about being pre-med is based in elitism, and I don’t want any part of it. We go to the same school, take almost all the same classes and do almost all the same work, and yet because I am not interested in participating in a field that mistreats women, people of color and queer folks, it’s not uncommon to be treated like I’m stupid. I don’t know how to make it clearer: the medical field is not the gold standard. Perhaps the worst part is that it’s not just students. Professors and advisors, people who are supposed to encourage my educational progress, are the most frustrating. I’ve had professors completely go cold mid-conversation when they find out that I’m not pre-med. Sometimes they even ignore me in class, showing clear reluctance to answer my questions because they consider me to be less intelligent than the other students. It’s incredibly frustrating. Undoubtedly, if I wasn’t such a stubborn and spiteful person, the crap I put up with would have made me reconsider my career goals or worse, drop out.

Pre-med-splaining is real, y’all. I am a public health minor and have almost certainly spent more time studying the ins and outs of the spread of disease than any first or second year pre-med kid. And yet, in a friendly discussion about the current flu outbreak, two pre-med kids had the gall to try and explain the effectiveness of the vaccine and the best strategies to avoid getting sick. When I tried to say that yes, I know these things, after all I have spent many a lecture talking about the flu, they simply wouldn’t have it. Of course, I couldn’t know these things, because I’m not going to be a doctor.

We’re all cool as hell, doing amazing things! Us STEM majors need to band together and support each other through the struggles of research and the pain of lab reports. Miss Drew with that elitism crap!

Colleen is a junior Biology major with a double minor in Public Health and Comparative Religion.

Graphic courtesy of David Giacomini

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