Monday, April 21, 2008

The problem with pre-med

Those who know me know that I like to complain about students in other majors. A lot. It's largely justification for picking the major that I did, and a bit of arrogance and snobbery on my part. I fully own my jerkliness in this regard.

In part due to this, this article on Wired magazine's blog recently caught my eye (Top 5 reasons to dislike pre-med students). The author states that he is trying to stir up a discussion, so I won't come down too hard on him for his sweeping generalizations.

A lot of his statements ring true to a lot of my feelings about lots of other students (see here, and here), but picking on pre-med students in particular just plays to the stereotype. There are students like this in all majors, and there are also many students studying pre-med that don't ascribe to this particular philosophy. That being said, there is probably a higher proportion in pre-medical, but I contest that you see the same thing in pre-law, pharmacy, pre-veterinary, teaching-oriented programs, many business and marketing degrees, and other technical or professional programs where good grades means getting a good job following graduation.

Our current system is broken, and really could use a reworking. In many programs, especially those mentioned above, the undergraduate degree is a means to an end and not the enrichment of knowledge that it was created to be. It does serve as a good meter of your persistence, tenacity, and adaptability, which is valuable from a potential employer's point of view. However, it seems more and more that a degree really doesn't say much about what you actually learned. The title of the degree no longer means that the student actually has passion for their subject; sometimes it's just what looks best on their resume. This is really frustrating to any student (read: me) who values knowledge and works hard to educate themselves.

Ah well. I just have to hope that someday what goes around comes around, and those that don't care to learn will see it come back to bite them. Failing that, voodoo dolls are always a cheap backup plan.

So for now I'll sit and whine. Grade 3 taught me that whining makes me feel like a bigger person, so that's what I'll do. However, I will continue to do my best; its the only way I know, and so far has not let me down. I will be honest and demonstrate integrity, I will strive to uphold the tenets of acadaemia.

After all, someone's gotta do it, and I guess I've just volunteered myself. :S

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