I was sitting at the bus stop, enjoying a beautiful spring afternoon, when I heard one side of a conversation behind me.
“No one will want to marry me when I’m in medical school, and how can I have kids while I’m in medical school?”
Really, I thought, doesn’t she watch Grey’s Anatomy? Med students and interns and residents get married and have kids and the world doesn’t come to an end.
“I can’t go to medical school.”
I couldn’t let that go by. Without thinking for more than a flash second I turned around and saw a young African-American woman in scrubs, wearing a headset, talking on the phone.
“Go to medical school,” I said. “You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not. Go to medical school.”
She gaped at me, and pulled out her ear-buds. “What?”
“Go to medical school! You’ll turn 40 whether you do or not.”
“Oh,” she said, and nodded slightly, and put her ear-buds back in.
Now I’ve done it, I thought. She must really think I’m a crack-pot. (Although I believe that people who carry on phone conversations in public invite a certain amount of audience participation.)
The bus came, and we got on. I sat down in the middle, and she went on to the back of the bus and carried on with her conversation, talking about the medical office where she worked, complaining about the doctor she works for, how one of her co-workers said she thought he discriminated against people but the woman on the bus told her, “No, he treats everybody bad.” She stopped talking about not going to med school, though. At least for the moment.
My stop came before hers, and I got up and headed for the back door. I expected her to glower at me for eavesdropping and butting into her conversation. Instead, she waved gaily at me and gave me a big grin.
Go to medical school. Be a better doctor and a better person than the jerk you work for. Show him how it’s done. Be true to yourself, and find someone who sees you shine and will be willing to figure out study schedules and childcare and parent with you. Go to medical school. We need you. You need you.
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