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Dad Hates that Im in Med School!

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by Pegasus, May 21, 2001.

  1. Pegasus

    Pegasus Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    ....well, didnt like the fact that I went to college either(that is a whole other story).

    Here is the situation. I have debated posting for almost a month now, but I really need advice.

    Ok, first I live about 2 1/2 hours away from home. I am the first to go to college, let alone medical school. In college I was able to go home about once a month. Now it is impossible to get home but every few months.

    I have not been home since March spring break and every time I talk to my dad on the phone, he asks "so when are you coming home?" Even though I told him the week before that It would be after my finals in May.

    Most of my classmates never have this pressure from their family. For instance, during spring break my friends went to the beach, I went home for the full week.
    When I tell my dad that I have to study for an exam, he doesnt belive me. He even says to come home and study because he thinks Im spending the time with my boyfriend who lives about 45 mins away. This makes the situation worse b/c I AM studying and never get to see my boyfriend..and he totally refuses to believe me!!!

    In addition, my boyfriend is so understanding about med school, but I know he wishes he could see me more. I try to see him at least one night on the weekend, but not during exams. It has been 2 weeks now since we have seen eachother, and that was just for one day. My relationship with him is very important. We have been dating 4 years this summer!!

    So the current problem is that exams end Wed. I will go home from Wed till Sat, then from Sat till Monday with my Bfriend. This is because his birthday is on Sunday and mine was last week, and we are going to spend one night together and the other night his parents are taking us out.

    I planned a vacation for next weekend in Daytona. Finally a break. I have been in school for 2 years strait without a break, including the summer before med school and the two summers befor that. I mentioned this to my dad a long time ago but I know that when I tell him agian he will be mad that I am not spending the time at home since I never go home.

    He bought me a car last summer and uses this against me saying that the reason he bought it was so that I would come visit him. He bought tickets for us to go to a gospel concert at a church one weekend withought asking my schedule. It happened that I had 2 exams that monday. I of course didnt go home, and I passed the one exam by only 2 points. I told him this after he gave me such a guilt trip about it and he acted like it was no big deal.

    I have tried everything, and I need to know if I am in the wrong here? What can I do to make my dad understand that Medical School takes alot of studying and that I am working so hard as it is? I understand his view, he is alone (mom passed away 5 years ago) and I know he misses me, but I cannot sacrifice my grades for this? or should i?

    I know this is an odd situation. Many cannot belive that my dad and I fought throughout my whole undergrad years about me going to college (he said it was a waste of time and money).

    He says it is time for me to grow up and get out of school, get a job like everyone else my age (Of course that is only in the small red neck town that I am from where eveyone is married by 19, kids by 24...just turned 24 last week..and Yes, spent the whole day in the library studying for exams).

    I am asking for any advice here. I have one more exam on Wed, and this is all I can think about. It is really putting more stress on me, and i should be studying right now, not worried about this!
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  3. pcl

    pcl Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2001

    While I can't offer any suggestions, I certainly can understand the small-town pain. I grew up in a town of 500, and most people only moved a few miles to settle down... I am the only one of my girlfriends not married or engaged yet... most have a few kids... My mom asked me when I was going to settle down & have babies when I told her I was contemplating going to medical school. She can't comprehend finding satisfaction in work, she found it in raising a family and being a mom.

    I think since then, people she works with have helped her to see that it is a much better opportunity and that I am really blessed.

    Maybe your dad could come visit you and see what you are going through? Would being more exposed to your environment help him be more supportive?

    Good Luck!
  4. jayhawk premed

    jayhawk premed Member 7+ Year Member

    May 20, 2001

    I really feel for your situation. I would like to offer you a couple of tidbits if I may.

    Fathers have a very special relationship with their little girls. I am a father of two little girls myself, and I dread the day that they will one day venture out into the world on their own. Yet, I also embrace the realization that, ultimately, our job as parents is to raise our children to be happy, successful, and indepedendent adults. All you can do is hope that you have taught them well-- and then let them spread their wings.

    You are absolutley doing the right thing. You are educating yourself and pursuing your dreams; your father should be so proud of you for your commitment and determination. It sounds to me like you are a young lady that really has her head on straight-- so keep it that way.

    As much as you love your father, as I'm sure that you do, you have to realize that your father has some *issues* he is dealing with that are not your fault. I am assuming from your statement regarding the gospel concert that your father is a somewhat religious man. He may be scared to death for your safety and well-being in a world that is filled with sin and corruption. He may be dealing with other issues as well, such as fear of abandonment-- this fear may relate directly to the fact that you are a woman who has left him, made only worse by the fact that your mother passed a few years back.

    Although it is easy to empathize with your father's feelings, you must realize that these are his *issues*, not yours. You are not doing anything to cause him pain. To the contrary, you are doing what you think is the right thing to do-- values that were instilled in you by your parents.

    DO NOT sacrifice your education over this. It is a problem, and a very real problem-- however, a problem that has no bearing on your pursuit of becoming a physician. Here is what I would advise:

    1. Talk to your father. Tell him you love him. Tell him you'll always be there for him. Tell him that you're trying to make him proud.

    2. Seek some type of counseling-- for yourself and your father. If your father won't go and talk to someone with you, perhaps you can talk to a clergy member in your hometown about the situation and recruit him as a mediator of sorts. If you can't do that, then talk to a friend of your fathers about the situation and seek his/her assistance.

    Hang in there Pegasus. You can get through this. I wish you all the best and am happy to discuss this further if you so desire.
  5. PTjay

    PTjay Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2001
    west hartford, CT, USA
    i can empathize with your situation. although i haven't experienced exactly what you have my college years have been mildly similar to yours. i am an only child and my parents can't stand to have me away but they know that my college education is extremely important and are excited that i want to go on to medical school. i am also a resident assistant which means i can't go home all that much even though i live 20 minutes from school.

    anyway, every time i feel guilty that i don't see my family enough or haven't spoken with them on the phone i think about the future. some day i will be a doctor and hopefully i will be able to repay them for all they've done for me and spend time with them. i definitely plan on taking my parents away for vacations and such and anything else that i will be able to afford. now if you didn't continue with your education and just got a job like your father says, you'd never be able to even dream about doing something like that for him.

    you are in a tough situation no doubt. however, your father will always be there (he cares too much to really be mad at you). you have to take care of yourself first before you can take care of anyone else. good luck with your situation and i hope these thoughts help.


    it's not enough to be good if you have the ability to be better.
    it is not enough to be very good if you have the ability to be great.
  6. SimulD

    SimulD Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    Alexandria, VA
    I feel for you, Pegasus. That takes a lot of courage and determination to get to where you are at. To have your commitment and motives questioned by your father must be very trying. Keep at it, and try to get him to understand (easier said than done ...), and you'll come out stronger and an amazing physician.

    I forget how easy I have it sometimes - my parents would kill me if I didn't go to college and were cheering me on for medicine all the way through. If they weren't supporting me, I doubt I would have made it.

  7. electra

    electra SDN Moderator 7+ Year Member

    Apr 20, 2001
    hi pegasus,

    i feel badly for you, and hope that you will take all of the advice given as far as staying in school and following your dream. It is important for you to recognize that your parents are from a different time in history than you are, and that may make it difficult for them to accept both your desire to continue your schooling, and your degree once you complete it.

    hang in there,

    electra :)
  8. lilycat

    lilycat Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Aug 12, 2000
    Hey Pegasus, sorry you are going through this right now. School is stressful enough as it is, you don't really need this extra burden.

    As for how to best deal with it, definitely don't compromise your education -- you've come so far already, it would be a shame not to give it your best now. To me it sounds like you've tried really hard to explain to your dad how challenging med school is, and he's just not getting it (which is not that surprising, since it sounds like he comes from a very different mentality). I'm wondering if another angle would work -- maybe part of the problem is that your dad feels unimportant in your life. What if you approached him from the direction of "Dad, this is so difficult, sometimes I'm scared I can't make it through this. I really need your support, need you on my side," etc. Maybe if you make your dad feel more vital to your success, and more necessary in your life, he won't bug you as much about coming home. Also, try to figure out practical solutions to the time demands -- how often do you talk to your dad on the phone? Can you manage to talk to him maybe 15 min. each day, again to make him feel important to you. Also, maybe on this break, or when you start classes again, you can sit down at home with your dad and your class schedule, and mark down on his calendar one or two weekends that you could definitely come home -- that way there is no misunderstanding between you and him.

    As far as having to spend your breaks at home, I totally sympathize -- my parents are divorced, and every holiday and break since high school, I've had to spend rotating between my mom's home in Northern CA, my sister's home in Southern CA, and my dad's home in Oklahoma. Sometimes, I get really, really frustrated b/c all I want to do is go away on a trip with all my friends. However, I always end up spending the time with family instead -- for me the benefit of maintaining family harmony outweighs my frustration at times. As far as your boyfriend is concerned, maybe you can bring him on some of your trips home.

    Also, do you have a relative or family friend who is sympathetic to your situation (ie, understands the importance of your education)? Maybe they can help your father understand your position better.

    Good luck.
  9. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001
    After reading all the comments posted I see no other suggestions I maybe able to add.... at the moment....

    I do want to say that people like you come a dime a dozen and you should be proud of it.... I am, after reading your story.

    My father has gone through a transition that was hard to comprehend. I say, your understanding of the situation is what makes a big difference.... and I can only hope that he'll do a 180 someday about the situation. Don't let this situation ruin your concentration, you owe this to yourself and how hard you've work to get this far in life.

    With that said, I can offer a prayer to you in your endeavor....
  10. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic! Staff Member Administrator Physician Faculty Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 15+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2000
    hSDN Member

    Although my situation is not exactly the same as yours, there are similarities. The lack of support from one of my parents is one of the main reasons why we are not close. I was expected to obtain a 4 year university degree (there were no arguments about that) but further education was NOT encouraged. As I've said here several times before, I've been told numerous times that I'm "educating myself out of the marriage market".

    It would not be unusual, IMHO, for a man without higher education to be intimidated by a woman with one. The reasons for your father's behavior are likely complex but I wouldn't be suprised if he felt that, not only are you depriving yourself of what is supposed to be (in some people's mind) a woman's destiny and route for true happiness (ie, having a family) but that by becoming so much more educated than he that you will be distancing yourself from him and his world. He may fear that you will no longer have anything in common with him, that you may not be able or want to have conversations with someone who is less intelligent (the general public seems to believe that anyone with a college education, especially those with advanced degrees, are smarter. WE know its the difference between ignorance and information and the result of hard work and interests.) than yourself.

    I could be way off base, but thought my experiences - that some men our fathers age (and even some our age) are not comfortable with educated women, even in their daughters.

    jayhawk premed has given some excellent advice which cannot be improved on IMHO.

    Best of luck to you and remember we are here for ya!
  11. Annette

    Annette gainfully employed Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Aug 24, 1999
    The Land of Lincoln
    Pegasus, I've had similar experiences. It isn't easy, but it is worth it. You would being doing a diservice to your parents and yourself if you didn't do all you could to follow your dreams. Gently reminding your dad of this might help.

    One way of calming things down is to get post cards from the post office prestamped. They are relatively inexpensive. In the minute or two between classes, you can scribble "thinking of you" and send it off. (Also works w. boyfriends!) Your Dad gets the reassurance that he hasn't lost you, you feel more comfortable because he is happier and haven't lost the time or delt with the dread of a phone conversation.

    Also, dealing with your father's loneliness could help in the long run. Are there clubs you can suggest he join? Any places offering dance classes?

    Good luck with this. It will probably take a long time, but hang in there.
  12. star23

    star23 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2001
    I really feel for you pegasus. I know it is easy for me to say from a distance, but I think that you need to make sure you are taking care of yourself and going things for yourself such as taking a vacation. I am sure you dad and boyfriend are both good-intentioned, but don't forget it is your life. Your boyfriend sounds like he might be a little controlling as does your father (that may NOT be the case at all...I am just commenting on what I read between the lines). I would definitely seek counseling to deal with these possibly controlling relationships. You might not think they are becuause sometimes it is hard to see when you are in the middle of it.
  13. algernon

    algernon Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 22, 2001
    Woodridge, IL

    A lot of the things I would like to say have already been mentioned, but we do share a somewhat similar situation. Although I am originally from NJ, I am starting med school this fall in Chicago. My father past away while I was in college so now my mom is all by herself. She (and the rest of my family) are supportive of my educational goals, but I am constantly getting grief and guilt because I'm moving so far away. Fortunately, I have been living with my gf for about a year and she will be moving to IL with me. (My mother is also very religious so you can imagine how she feels about THAT - but that's another story all together...)

    So, while my mom and aging grandparents are pleased that I have chosen such a noble profession, I seem to be getting more crap about the location rather than praise for actually getting accepted! BTW...I had no intention of going to a school close to home JUST to appease my family. I chose the school I'm attending because I liked it best, plain and simple.

    I guess what I am trying to say is this little piece of advice (and this goes for any med student): THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS NOT EXPERIENCED MED SCHOOL TO HAVE ANY UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT IS LIKE. This explains why your dad wants you home from school, why he doesn't want you to continue school, and why there is no excuse good enough to change his mind.

    You really can't fault him - he loves you (I'm assuming) and its probably killing him that he can't have the same access to you that he once had. Or, perhaps he just wants you to fill a "role" that exists in his mind. In either case, it really comes down to the fact that he can't relate to what you're going through (ie, you are doing this for YOUR reasons).

    In the same vein, my family will probably ALWAYS complain that I don't visit enough or that I've "strayed" from my devout Catholic upbringing by moving in with my girlfriend. I know they love me and care about me, they just have no clue. They don't understand how hard I work (or how hard I will be working once school starts!)

    My point is only this...Do what you have to do for you. Your dad will either understand, or he wont. But I doubt you could ever live your life the other way, get to about age 60, and look back on things saying, "You know...that whole med school thing was such a bad idea. I'm so glad I abandoned my education, lived next-door to my father and had kids as soon as I could."

    Sorry so long-winded. Just my 2 cents.
  14. Dreamer

    Dreamer Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Apr 12, 2001

    I did not have such problem with my parents, because the only choice I had was what college to go. So I really can't say anything about your relationship with your dad. As to your boyfriend, I know few people including myself, who got married while in the Med. School and I found the relationship works well even without marriage but only if you spouse/boyfriend REALLY loves you and understand what you are dealing with. If that is the case you will be fine, if not you will see. Do not forget that during residency you will not see him a whole lot. Anyway, you WILL make it.
    Good luck.
  15. lmthoms1

    lmthoms1 Member 7+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    I understand your situation. I'm going through the same thing with my family. What I had to learn was just to put them aside and focus on myself. It's sad but true there are some parents and family out there that would give anything if they could see their child one day walk across that stage earning a MD/DO :D instead of incarcerated or sleeping all day at their parent's home wasting their life away :oops:.......that's the way I view it. have you tried telling your father how much stress he's putting you under......well it didn't work from me because it's my whole family on my back but it just might work for you. I'll just end this by saying don't let it discourage you. Me myself i'd rather deal with their bickering and whispering for another 10 years than to spend the rest of my life bickering to myself about why I listened to them and didn't pursue my career. ;)
  16. sparkle

    sparkle Junior Member

    May 10, 2001
    My parents were not from educated backgrounds. My father expected my older brother to go to college. It had to be one of the big two in Michigan and my father was prepared to pay. My brother dropped out. Eight years later I was ready to go to college. My parents hadn't prepared any financial savings to send me. After all, I was a girl and I wasn't that smart. I found a couple of scholarships that paid my way. But then I was always "at school." "No one is at school that many hours in the day," they said. To make a long story short, because my parents did not understand what an education was about, they passed away always assuming the worst. Do I wish they could have understood and been more supportive? Yes. But with all my years of education and trying to help them understand, I never succeeded. Accept where your father is coming from. Be honest with him and don't allow yourself to feel guilty because he cannot comprehend what you are doing in life. You've made a great choice and you are an adult. Love your father, respect yourself. :)
  17. EUROdocMOM

    EUROdocMOM Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    May 23, 2001
    Kansas City
    I'm not yet in med school, but can relate to parental guilt! I live an ocean away from my mom & dad plus I get the added guilt of keeping them from seeing their grand kids!
    Just keep on truckin'! Go with your dreams and what is best for you. They will eventually accept it.
  18. Pegasus

    Pegasus Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Sep 4, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    WOW, I cant tell all of you how much your comments have meant these past few weeks!!

    I just got back from a few days with my dad and explained to him my summer situation, and that while I will be home more this summer than during first year, that I will also be spending time with my friends in between because I felt as if I worked hard and deserve the time to have some fun.

    He acted like he understood, but really didnt say anything. But that is Much better than getting upset and me and making me feel guilty! I promised him that I would be back home in 2 weeks to spend the full weekend and go to church with him on Sunday morning. That made him so happy!

    I just hope that I am not getting myself into a deeper situation by going home alot this summer, then come the fall, my schedule will be hard again, and I will spend little time at home, and it will then be harder for him to adjust back after seeing me so much this summer!

    I guess I can only do what I can do and we will see what happens in the fall. I am saving all the comments on this forum though. They really lifted me up when all I could think about was trying to please everyone!

    Thanks again for all of your encouraging comments! :)

    As for me and my boyfriend...we are heading to Daytona tomorrow for the weekend!!! My first time there!! :cool:
  19. Popoy

    Popoy SDN Super Moderator 10+ Year Member

    Apr 22, 2001

    Glad things worked out.... What else can you do, but do what you can and just keep pushing forward. Enjoy Daytona!!!

    Popoy :cool:
  20. Jeff05

    Jeff05 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 30, 2001
    It must be incredibly difficult to go though something as tangible as m.s. without support from those closest to you. This, however, is on the topic (a minor one, but you mentioned it) of your boyfriend. The tone of this isn't of condescention, but of concern. I think one of the most important aspects of life is balance (nothing groundbreaking) - and it sounds like you are too involved in academics (sure, it's med. school - but, there should be limits). Your boyfriend's understanding is wonderful, but understanding something doesn't mean being happy about it...I've seen people leave b/g-friends they love and understand because they are just not happy. But, primarily it's not about your boyfriend, it's about you. Find some time for yourself - live a "full" life during medical school (granted, i'm starting in the fall - but, i've spoken to several that have ample time for themselves and are above average). I'm working under the premise that you do want to have a life during and after medical school. If you would like to be superdoc, then I digress.

    About your dad...I'm just guessing, but maybe (definitely) he wants grandkids and to see his daughter. True, he should be understanding, but, again, it's about balance (I swear to G-d i'm not preaching, just sharing opinions). If you're cutting the people your love out of your life to be a doctor, make sure that its the desired effect. Because, frankly, medschool is neither a licence nor an excuse to ignore those close to you. "They" will understand, but to a point...
    in my "uneducated" opinion, it's not the academics that make medical school so rigorous - it's the balancing of numerous aspects of one's life, while performing academically. I might be wrong.

    Okey dokey.

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