Are You Still Pre-Med?
Updated: Aug 2
Yes, I’m still Premed. I’m sick of people who look at me in a pitying way and offer me some crap about needing to “find myself” when I tell them that I haven’t given up. They drone on about the path they took to choosing their shishi majors. They talk about tough it was, how stressed out they were, but how now they’re nourished all the time even though their four-day week of classes is sooooo hard. As if books were real nourishment. As if they took classes that literally required all-nighters to get an A. As if they busted their asses in my Soul Cycle class five days a week and actually earned the right to “treat themselves” to hot yoga and avocado toast with friends on Friday afternoons while I’m stuck in Orgo Lab.
My peers claim to be sympathetic toward me but it’s embarrassingly obvious from the expressions on their faces that my ability to make a decision and carry it out induces in them feelings of being directionless failures. Were they to confess their insecurities to me, I suppose it would be nice to say something about college being an opportunity to experience personal growth and open one’s mind. But I fantasize about telling them that they are right to think of themselves as not good enough. They think that they don’t have to worry how they’re spending their time in the present because someday the universe is going to let them know what they should be doing. The arrogance is pathetic—are they that important that they can’t waste a moment of their time on something they’re not 100% emotionally invested in? Can’t they stop trying to have fun all the time and think of ways to make themselves useful for once?
Illustration by Kristine Dunn
It kills me, the things they whine about. “Ugh, I have to memorize 50 slides for my Art History I midterm.” Seriously? Do they know how lucky they are to get to take classes that aim at understanding the human condition and cultivating an appreciation for the experience of life? They’re complaining about having to look at goddamn pictures? It kills me. I’d love to learn about how to enjoy art if I could find the time. Right now I could stare at something until my eyes bleed and literally have no emotional response at all. I have no ability to appreciate anything that doesn’t pertain to my professional ambitions, nor do I know how to relax.
If I sound bitter about my lifestyle, it’s only because the sacrifice I’ve made hasn’t received the respect it deserves. Most people predicate their choices on what will bring them the most happiness or fulfillment, but if everyone did that shit wouldn’t get done. That’s where people like me come in. I’m willing to be miserable because someday I’m going to make loads of money and save lives, but for now you will let me complain about my workload, constantly, because I derive pleasure from you being forced to listen to me talk and concede that nobody suffers more than I do. Masochism is my level. I suggest you get on it.
By Nikhil Dominic
The shadow of that great beast Automation hangs over us all, a specter who with one swing of a Silicon Valley-designed Chinese-built scythe disenfranchises thousands of newly-belligerent white men in the Rust Belt. And it won’t stop with the factory workers. Soon the scourge will start mowing down even those farther up the ranks of our meritocracy, and no job that can conceivably be done by a machine will be safe.
As we hurtle ever forward into the inevitable, unfeeling embrace of the technological singularity I don’t know what kind of naïve sucker would spend several years and tens of thousands of dollars to join the service industry. I’m not going to cling to the outmoded vision of the “good job” handed down to me by my parents; that job won’t exist soon enough, and both of us know it, so unlike you, I’m going to take the long-term view to maximizing my lifetime hedonic potential. And let’s cut the bullshit: the only time either of us cared about saving the children was when we wrote our application essays.
Now I’m in Principles with Gulati and taking Data Structures next fall, and I have never felt so alive. This isn’t just a strategic decision. It was the tenth hour of studying for the Organic Chemistry midterm when I finally realized that 1. Fuck Organic Chemistry and 2. Financial markets and web development are my Real Goddamn Passions, and yes, studying them just so happens to put me on track for a highly lucrative career in finànce or tech.
Picture our lives post-graduation: while you spend your late nights washing bodily fluids out of your unflattering scrubs while training to become a real doctor, I’ll be out there living the best years of my glorious youth having written the code that makes you obsolete (or, at least, funding the person who does). Hell, picture our lives right now: my work today is to go ham on the cheese spread at the next Faculty House info session, while you Seamless Opai Thai for the second time since breakfast because you’re still working on the same problem set. Then I’ll go get drinks with some friends, because I have some. Do you even know that there are places you can get drinks besides 1020? Maybe I’ll show you…when you’re done with the MCAT.
Illustration by Kristine Dunn
And again, fuck Orgo. No, it wasn’t too hard; it’s just irrelevant knowledge in the face of imminent post-scarcity. Learn your silly formulae, your pathetic little anachronisms; the only substitution reaction I care about is the one that converts Friday afternoon recitations into avocado toast brunch. No, I haven’t taken Advanced Programming yet, but I’m sure it’ll be fine – there are hundreds of lazy CS fucks here.
At the end of the day, here’s the truth: short-term, I’m GPA-flexible while your whole life-plan disintegrates at the first A-. Long-term, slicing up unfortunate souls to poke at their internal organs will never sate your bloodlust as well as abusing shady regulatory practices to game financial systems (assuming for a second that the organs aren’t already being poked by robots). Give up all that received wisdom which led you to pre-med and receive it from me instead: indulge the money-grubbing bastard you really are and join us. In the words of Yeezy, “wouldn’t you rather be designing the AI-enhanced carbon fiber dick than swallowing it?”