Hello, I'm a 3rd year med student whom some of you may remember posted a thread about my surprising discovery that I loved psychiatry, after being gung-ho for OB/GYN for most of my med school career. There are things I love about both fields, and I have not yet made a final decision, but I was completely unprepared for the backlash from my family and friends regarding my interest for psychiatry. I don't want to retype what I wrote in the previous thread, but the Cliff-Notes version is that I made my mom cry, and she said angry things like "they're not even real doctors!" My 12 year old little brother thought becoming a psychiatrist meant I was going to drop out of medical school and get a Ph.D instead. My girlfriend's mom commented, "don't they just sit and talk all day? I really liked the idea of you being an OB/GYN!" The general gist is that laypeople in my life all think it's a waste to have exerted so much effort to get into, and get through medical school "just" to become a psychiatrist. Even my friend who's applying to medical school right now (though supportive), admitted to me that he did not know the details of how a psychiatrist is different from a psychologist. My question to attendings/residents is this. How do you deal with this? Does it bug you at all, when you're all alone late at night, that 90% of America thinks you have a Ph.D and just talk to patients on a couch? Does it/has it ever bothered you that, having spent the same 4 years in medical school as your peers, they never have to justify the value of what they do, or have to prove that they are "real" doctors? I know the cliched adage is to do what you love, and to not care about what other people think. But that's easier said than done, isn't it? We're social creatures, of course we care what others think, especially our loved ones. My girlfriend claims she'll support me no matter what field I want to go into, but she keeps pointing out positives of OB/GYN, and negatives of psychiatry, and it's clear that she's trying to nudge me towards OB/GYN. OB/GYN doesn't get a ton of respect within the medical field either (certainly not the kind of respect that dermatologists or cardiothoracic surgeons get), but they are apparently well-loved and well-thought of out in the community. Not so with psychiatry. Why is it that out of all the fields of medicine, psychiatry is the odd black sheep in terms of prestige and respect? True, Family Medicine suffers from lack of respect, but it is mostly from within the medical community, from peers. The lay community does not confuse a FM doctor with a nurse practitioner, and does not question that FM doctor is a "real" medical doctor. It is so petty, I know. However, part of me feels that having worked so hard, don't I deserve a little respect? And don't I deserve to let my mom be proud of her son and brag to all her Chinese relatives? Another part of me thinks I need to start getting angry, angry at other people having so many opinions about how I should live my life and what is or is not prestigious. And yet another part of me thinks I should just go into family medicine where I can do a little bit of OB/GYN, a little bit of psych, and still be considered a "real" doctor. I still have a lot of thinking to do.