Dear Auntie,
I hope you are doing well. I am a student who has just passed her intermediate level with A+ grade.  My parents want me to do MBBS, but I really don’t want to be a doctor.

I want to make my mark in the field of genetics. I have had a number of direct conversations with my parents regarding my interest, but they don’t agree. They are continuously forcing me. I literally cry a lot of times because neither do my parents give their permission to let me do what I want, nor can I make up my mind about MBBS. My intermediate marks are not satisfactory for MBBS so they are forcing me to improve my FSc grades. instead of moving ahead. I have been a topper throughout my school life.

 Sometimes I feel embarrassed that I am not a good daughter but, believe me, it is out of my control. I am tired of requesting them. Perhaps I am not moving forward this year and I will appear in the entrance test next year. But I am not sure if I would ever be satisfied with my field. I can’t see people dying or suffering from illnesses. Help me!
Highly Depressed

Dear Highly Depressed,
This is a very difficult situation to be in and it can be a tough fight for any child, no matter what. However, before advising your parents, I would advise you to explore why you are saying no to the medical field. You can only fight this fight if you are absolutely convinced that you don’t want to be a doctor. And you are a good daughter because you are thinking about your parents and not simply discarding their opinion.

‘My parents are forcing me to study medicine’

To all the parents out there: please love your child for who he or she is and not some idea of who you think he or she ought to be. You have the responsibility to support your child in becoming the best version of him or herself even if you don’t always understand their chosen field. A few years ago, no one would have understood becoming a Youtuber, but now it has become a very lucrative profession for many people. If your child is truly inclined towards another subject, it is always a gift that, if pursued, can take your child to heights of achievement in his or her field. And even if your child doesn’t become successful in the material sense, general happiness and contentment are definitely more important. Imagine owning things and not being happy.

Have you ever asked you parents why they want you to be a doctor? Is it because you are from a family of doctors? Is it because your parents think that there is a lot of prestige attached to the profession? In which case, a lot of other professions, including academics and geneticists, also have a lot of respect. Or do your parents think the profession is financially lucrative?

And if the sight of doctors who make a lot of money excites your parents, you might want to draw their attention to the fact that successful doctors work gruelling hours to make the money happen. They are literally doing the work that you would be required to do in two very taxing jobs.  And to work that hard at anything you have to love it at least 75 percent of the time.

So if it is just about making money, there are plenty of other fields out there where you can be well compensated financially.

If after all this your parents are still not convinced, you might want to explore the fairly new field of medical genetics as an option, go to medical school and work towards that. Or worst comes to worst, go complete medical school and then do what you want. Plenty of doctors who did medicine to please the parents are doing that. However, it is not something Auntie would recommend because, if you attend a government institution, you will be wasting public money by doing that.
Good luck convincing the parents!

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Published in Dawn, EOS, November 22nd, 2020