Imagine the following scenario on the first day of class. You walk into a room full of new faces, which are filled with eager to make friends. You sit down at an empty desk, and smile at your neighbor. The professor has not arrived, so you swivel around and ask, “Have you taken another philosophy class before?” The conversation naturally drifts to your current academic year and your area of study. How would you introduce yourself?
In similar situations, I was inclined to present myself by revealing my major and my standing as a “premed.” However, I quickly realized that there are numerous stigmas about premeds on campus regarding competitive work ethic and overbearing attitudes. As a result, I decided to introduce myself as a student interested in Health Systems Management who is currently taking science courses. Surprisingly, I started to feel a shift of attitude. Many individuals were unaware that I was a student following the pre-med curriculum, since I never directly stated that I planned to pursue medicine. Fellow classmates consequently mentioned their negative feelings about students on the premed track. Such encounters made me hesitant if I should disclose information about my future goals. Why did I feel embarrassed about these stereotypes if they did not apply to myself? At that particular moment, I began to disassemble the social constructs of what it means to be a premedical student.