As the end of the quarter creeps closer and closer, the pressure to do well and finish the quarter strong increases. We all may have different motives that encourage us to do the best we possibly can on our upcoming exams, but a common one within our community is the pressure from our beloved parents.
When I started to mingle with individuals within the Muslim Student Association (MSA) at UCLA, the most common thing I would hear whenever I asked people what they were studying was a STEM subject followed by the words “I am pre-med.”
To be honest, I was not really surprised by the amount of times “pre-med” was uttered by members of the MSA because of a running joke I heard growing up in an Arab household, which consistently hinted at young children becoming doctors or engineers. While it may only be a joke in some households, it seems to be a reality after meeting so many pre-med Muslim students from families that immigrated to the United States.
Parents seem to want the best for their children, which includes a high paying, respectable, and stable job. A physician checks all of these boxes. Despite the boxes being checked, these standards may only be hurting students in our community.
The overpowering guilt and pressure from parents ultimately prompts students to force themselves to balance chemical equations and understand cellular respiration like the back of their hands when they would much rather study the current impacts of imperialism or start a fashion empire. This constant pressure in our households could be hindering the future activists, revolutionaries, Van Goghs, and J.K. Rowlings of our community from making a true impact in the world using what they are truly passionate about. In fact, they may be able to impact society to a greater degree by pursuing their interests and talents rather than simply pursuing the career path their parents want them to. However, this pressure from our parents is not easy to shake off.
While this pressure is not simple to neglect, it will only hurt our society in the long run. As students want to please their parents and decide to become doctors just because their parents want them to, their personal lack of passion for the field of medicine will show. This lack of passion and interest will most likely result in burnt-out doctors that dislike their job and consequently not provide proper care to patients. While this job may still be able to provide financial security, this selfish idea will only hurt society if the individual does not genuinely care about providing optimal health care.
To prevent the destruction of our healthcare system, we must break past the pressure barrier parents in our community have imposed. It is going to take a lot of effort and may jeopardize stable relationships, but I think it will ultimately lead to happier lives and the overall improvement of our society.