Ask the Thresher
Dear Athena and Ares,
My best friend has gone med school crazy. He hates all his science classes that he's taking to meet the requirements and is constantly pissed because he's not getting the grades he wants. How do I tell him to chill out and consider other careers?
Dear Worried Friend,
Your job as a friend is, first and foremost, to be supportive of your friend. If this means listening to your friend complain about classes, pre-med requirements and grades then that's what you have to do. That being said, there are other ways, besides listening, that you can be supportive of your friend. If he is not happy with his grades, help him study or help him find resources that can provide academic help (like academic fellows, professor office hours, etc.). Chances are, if his grades improve, his outlook on science classes in general will improve.
While improved grades could definitely help your friend's opinion about science classes in general, he might just dislike his science classes and pre-med requirements.
If that's the case, then he might want to consider a different career. If he does, the best thing you can do is to openly talk to him about it and try not to force any of your personal opinions on him; his future career is his decision, not yours, and you should be supportive of whatever he wants to work towards. Some students hate initial pre-med requirements, like basic chemistry, but really enjoy medical careers later in life, so it is important that you consider this option as well. Ultimately, the best thing you can do is offer your honest opinion while remaining supportive as your friend makes this difficult life decision.
"Why has my friend gone crazy?" is not the first question you should be asking. This is Rice University: everybody is insane — if someone around seems like they have their head on their shoulders, a Catch-22 applies. Anyone who can be sane at Rice must be crazy. However, med-school crazy is certainly one of the most obnoxious varieties of neuroses on campus, so I do understand your concern. While I make it a policy never to have friends, I do have certain people I tolerate, and a few of them are pre-meds. I find it droll that those who panic mid-semester and drop a class because they may get an A- will be the ones in charge of saving our lives in a few years.
Like a malignant tumor, the only way to cure the pre-med sickness is to destroy the unnatural invaders in the patient's body, in this case his dreams for medical school. You must force your friend to do so poorly in school that becoming a doctor will be impossible. Now if this column were written 20 years ago I would have had to develop some complicated sabotage, but luckily modern medicine has developed a cure, Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. For $60 you can completely replace your friend's motivation to study with one to save the Nordic people of Skyrim from dragons. With over 300 hours of gameplay his chances of becoming a doctor or having any life at all will become zero. Congratulate yourself on being a true friend.
"Ask the Thresher" is an advice column written twice a month, authored by two Thresher editorial staff members. Readers can email their letters to AskTheThresher@gmail.com or submit their questions through formspring at AskTheThresher.
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