Talking with uninformed friends and relatives about medical school

mazarine

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Because I'm in the midst of the application process, the fact that I'm currently applying comes up a lot in conversation with relatives and non-premed friends. They are frequently curious about how I'm doing, but it's hard to update them without (a) going into a long description of what primaries and secondaries are and (b) answering questions that by now feel ridiculous to me, like "I haven't heard of the school you have an interview with, why did you apply there?" or "you're so smart, why aren't you applying to [insert well-known medical school here]?!"

How do I satisfy people's curiosity without being rude or dismissive? I don't want to say something like "it's too complicated, you wouldn't understand" or end up being snappy and irritated because they hold misconceptions about the application process that are difficult to correct.

I'm hoping I don't sound like a douche asking this question, and if it's been answered before, please direct me to where it has. Thanks!
 

22031 Alum

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"Applying to medical school is a long process. Right now I am still submitting applications/waiting for interviews/going on interviews/waiting to hear back after interviews/accepted!!/on the waitlist."

"I applied to [school you haven't heard of] because their med school appeals to me for [reasons]."

"I didn't apply to [well-known school] because I didn't want to go there/I am not a good match for the school/[reasons]."
 

Goro

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Now you know how DO applicants feel!

Be that as it may, just be patient and use it as a teaching moment. You'll be doing that a LOT when you're a doctor, for example, when a patient comes in with a 20 page printout on some obscure disease, and convinced that they have said disease.

Because I'm in the midst of the application process, the fact that I'm currently applying comes up a lot in conversation with relatives and non-premed friends. They are frequently curious about how I'm doing, but it's hard to update them without (a) going into a long description of what primaries and secondaries are and (b) answering questions that by now feel ridiculous to me, like "I haven't heard of the school you have an interview with, why did you apply there?" or "you're so smart, why aren't you applying to [insert well-known medical school here]?!"

How do I satisfy people's curiosity without being rude or dismissive? I don't want to say something like "it's too complicated, you wouldn't understand" or end up being snappy and irritated because they hold misconceptions about the application process that are difficult to correct.

I'm hoping I don't sound like a douche asking this question, and if it's been answered before, please direct me to where it has. Thanks!
 
Aug 17, 2015
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Tell them that it is a long process. Lots of work required with lots more waiting. No shortcuts.
 

NotWayneBrady

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Now you know how DO applicants feel!

Be that as it may, just be patient and use it as a teaching moment. You'll be doing that a LOT when you're a doctor, for example, when a patient comes in with a 20 page printout on some obscure disease, and convinced that they have said disease.
"Ah, I see you went to Google SOM."
 

sovereign0

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I honestly tell as few people as possible that I am applying to med school. When asked about my plans for my future, I just say I'd like to eventually go into the healthcare profession and right now I'm just chillin and getting experience. I have nothing to gain by telling them, and they have nothing to gain by knowing. :shrug:
 

Easonred57

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Now you know how DO applicants feel!

Be that as it may, just be patient and use it as a teaching moment. You'll be doing that a LOT when you're a doctor, for example, when a patient comes in with a 20 page printout on some obscure disease, and convinced that they have said disease.
"A DO? Do you want to be an eye doctor?"
 
Jun 26, 2014
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Frankly, I am starting to be sorry I told anyone my plans to apply! I'm so sick of repeating that my application is in and I am now waiting for verification and II. People just do not understand how long and drawn out this process is. I know they mean well, but unless I say "I got in!" then I feel like I am not saying what they are fishing to hear. Just ready to hit the fast forward button on things and know what will happen.
 
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mazarine

mazarine

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Frankly, I am starting to be sorry I told anyone my plans to apply! I'm so sick of repeating that my application is in and I am now waiting for verification and II. People just do not understand how long and drawn out this process is. I know they mean well, but unless I say "I got in!" then I feel like I am not saying what they are fishing to hear. Just ready to hit the fast forward button on things and know what will happen.
Yeah, I feel you there. Every other day my mom asks me "any news?" and I'm like "I would tell you if I had any..."

But thanks everyone for the advice. I guess everything about this process is an exercise in patience, even talking to relatives about it, haha.
 
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Lawper

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"Applying to medical school is a long process. Right now I am still submitting applications/waiting for interviews/going on interviews/waiting to hear back after interviews/accepted!!/on the waitlist."

"I applied to [school you haven't heard of] because their med school appeals to me for [reasons]."

"I didn't apply to [well-known school] because I didn't want to go there/I am not a good match for the school/[reasons]."
Now you know how DO applicants feel!

Be that as it may, just be patient and use it as a teaching moment. You'll be doing that a LOT when you're a doctor, for example, when a patient comes in with a 20 page printout on some obscure disease, and convinced that they have said disease.
These are great advice sure. Maybe it's just me but i don't inform my friends (all of whom are not premed) that i'm going to medical school until i get an acceptance in hand. Sure they probably wouldn't find the result surprising, but i like to keep it a mystery, as well as having to avoid dealing with additional pressure from the premed friends they do know.
 
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ac62994

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My parents won't know I've changed my track to Pre-Med until my test prep come in the mail lol :whoa:
 
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themoonman2

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I avoid the topic as much as possible unless I'm venting. Seeing eyes glaze over while explaining the process, i.e. primary vs secondary vs interviews and normal timeline, just got too frustrating lol.
 

Glazedonutlove

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just say supplementary rather than secondary since they might be familiar with that from undergrad apps
 

Cotterpin

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Every time I tell someone I'm applying, the first question is, "Which school?" And I have to say, "Like twenty different schools. Anyone that might take me." And then they go, "So you're starting next month?" And I say, "No, this is for 2016. It takes a year to apply." And they say, ":eek::eek::eek:"
 

22031 Alum

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I remember being very frustrated that every time I saw family they'd ask me, "Where are you heading next year?" as if that was all they cared about. I eventually realized that they were just super excited and proud of me (most of my family didn't go to college) but didn't know enough about the process to ask more nuanced questions. That helped me be patient as I gave the same answer over and over "I won't know for sure until May, but thanks for asking!"
 

HybridEarth

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I keep it to "just wrote about a hundred essays to show schools a little more about me. The acceptance rate is around 2% or less per school on average, so hopefully I can land a spot." Once you throw numbers to them, they'll understand (hopefully)
 

oOKawaiiOo

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In my life, I dont tell people anything! My best friends/girlfriends dont know what my majors are, what I do for a living, or what I'm going for.

I always tell them......I'm a janitor. People reply,"Oh." That's the end of it! No questions, no nonsense!

I dont have time to explain 100000x to everyone what my dreams are. They will criticize you and ask the same questions everyone does. Its annoying. I dont have time for that BS. I rather show them a "janitor" can have big dreams :nod:
 

futuremdforme

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The best thing to do is to say that it is a long and complicated process, and how are they doing? It's just too complicated to explain to anyone who isn't involved in the field. I learned this after explaining the US system to my Canadian friends and the Canadian system to my US friends. (Hint: They're very different!)
 

The_Bird

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My mom thinks I should "start as a nurse's assistant and work my way up to doctor" -____-


She started from the bottom coming from a super sexist background where her going to college was very discouraged even though she got her degree, so she has that kind of perspective.

People are curious but they also have their own lives and jobs to worry about, much less time to educate themselves on the med school prep processes. I wouldn't know the first thing about becoming a pilot and might say something stupid like, "When do you take your pilot driving test?" It's not my field of interest, so why should I know anything about it?

Be patient. Lots of people care enough about you to try and keep up with your work even if they don't have much clue as to what you're doing aside from that you want to be a doctor one day.
 
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Feb 20, 2013
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"What do you want to be when you grow up?"
"Where are you going to college?"
"What's your major?"
"Where are you going for medical school?"
"What speciality are you going into?"
"Where are you going for residency?"
"What fellowship are you doing?"
"What hospital are you working at?"
"Where are your kids going for college?"
"Where are you going for retirement?"
"Where are you getting buried?"
Then the questioning stops.

Maybe that janitor guy above has the right idea...
 
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FutureOncologist

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Try having grand parents ask for actual medical advice when you're just a premed.

Then try again when you're actually in medical school, doing clinical rotations.
 
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Goro

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ALL of your relatives will be doing that very soon!

Try having grand parents ask for actual medical advice when you're just a premed.

Then try again when you're actually in medical school, doing clinical rotations.
 

cantankerous

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I would not say anything about applying until you actually get in, but that's just me.
 

The_Bird

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Try having grand parents ask for actual medical advice when you're just a premed.

Then try again when you're actually in medical school, doing clinical rotations.
Every time I visit my grandparents, my grandma asks if I plan on majoring in psychology ... I graduate with a BS in psych in December.
 
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My dad was surprised when I told him I had to wear a suit to interviews, he obviously doesn't get their importance haha.
 
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mazarine

mazarine

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My dad was surprised when I told him I had to wear a suit to interviews, he obviously doesn't get their importance haha.
Yeah, my parents are still under the impression that I could just get away with a blazer, shirt, and some dress pants. I had to convince them that yes, I do need a proper matching suit.
 
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Svenson

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"you're so smart, why aren't you applying to [insert well-known medical school here]?!"
I know the feeling. My parents (no medical background) still feel I can get into any medical school I want, just because of my high GPA, despite many conversations about why that is not the case.
 

NotWayneBrady

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I know the feeling. My parents (no medical background) still feel I can get into any medical school I want, just because of my high GPA, despite many conversations about why that is not the case.
I feel this on so many levels. Parents are crazy.
 
May 4, 2015
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Yeah, I feel you there. Every other day my mom asks me "any news?" and I'm like "I would tell you if I had any..."

But thanks everyone for the advice. I guess everything about this process is an exercise in patience, even talking to relatives about it, haha.
haha I can't wait to begin mine but when I wait for a job offer, my mom always acts excited with every call that comes. She even has handed me the phone thinking it was one of the employers and low and behold it was the mortgage companies..............if I don't tell her that I'm waiting for a call, she usually cuts the phone before the person has the time to speak (lol moms with technology) :D