“You Should Go Into Medicine”

As an undergraduate student I interned in a microbiology lab and this advice was given to many co-op students by the head of the lab, a kindly middle-aged researcher.  They were so proud sharing what they had been told, that they should be doctors.  A number took the advice and are now in residency or practicing.

Later, working in the same department I decided to ask about the advice he had given numerous times.  “Because they aren’t smart enough to do research,” was his reply.  He went on to explain the job stability and opportunities of a medical career, but I was struck by the contrast between his motivation and the reactions of the students. In this case what is usually considered a compliment was in fact an insult.

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