Pre-meds: Comments from a reader
From a large university in Ohio, a student writes about "the lost souls" of pre-meds:
We students tend to be quiet, since we have to live with the pre-meds, but professors who can make better commentary have often given some advice to large lecture halls filled with pre-meds in hopes that some of it will sink in. My personal favorite provider of these talking-tos was my intro-chemistry professor, who once told the pre-meds mid-lecture that he'd overheard them saying how much they hate their majors and "if you hate what you're doing, it's a sign you shouldn't be doing it!" Well the pre-meds were dumbfounded! How dare the mere professor say what they should be doing!
When for our Organic Chemistry unit some of the students resorted to cheating, my professor turned all the students in right away, despite the protests. He then told my class that he would not let a cheat be in charge of saving lives down the line, and the pre-meds supported him enthusiastically. After all, they hadn't been the ones caught.
The greatest thing I feel for the pre-meds is pity. Too soon it becomes all too apparent that these kids, for all their thoroughness and regaled smarts, have never thought of what they wanted to do with their lives for a second. They just "want money" and heard they were "good at science," so why not be a doctor? These are the kids who end up drinking in excessive amounts because they hate who they have become but lack the clarity to see a way out.
My personal worst experience with this happened at orientation, where a pre-med heard how I have plans to become an astronomer someday. "Oh, that was my thing a few years ago!" she said, and talked my ear off for a good while about how much she loved the subject. "Then why did you quit?" I asked, wondering what particular catastrophe had stopped this girl from pursuing her dream and passion. "I grew up," she replied, in the most dull and matter-of-fact voice I have ever heard, complete with eyes that lost the spark they'd had mere moments before.
That girl haunts me to this day. Sometimes I still want to go up to a pre-med and shake her a bit to snap her out of it. "Don't you see what's become of you?" I want to scream. "Don't you see that a life without a purpose or passion behind it is meaningless?" But she would most likely just blink a few times, then melt back into the crowd, leaving me to brood over lost souls.