Saying that that medical school is rigorous is an understatement. One of my biggest concerns when starting school was how my parents would react. Being the only child (a rainbow baby on top of that), living hundreds of miles away on my own and recently engaged, only makes my parents want to tighten their grip to keep me as “close” to them as possible.
If you have ever seen Ali Wong’s Netflix special, Baby Cobra, or Hasan Minaj’s Homecoming King, they give an amazingly funny view of intense refugee parenting. My parent’s strict Confucionist parenting style has left me crippled with anxiety and guilt whenever I even get a feeling that I may be doing something that displeases them.
Initially, I thought my parents would want me to call them every day at the same time, like they did when I was in college. Seriously.
Instead, they loosened their grip and I only call once a week. The conversations are not very profound. I limit what I share because instead of listening and being interested in what is going on in my life, I get lectured about school and life. Please tell me more…I know I’m an almost 30 year old student drowning in medical facts, please, tell me everything that I’ve learned is wrong because something on the internet told you otherwise.
Initially, I thought since they would be retired by the time I was mid-way through school, they would want to pop up and surprise me with weekend trips or week long trips.
Instead, we are on track to see each other about twice a year just because things have been so crazy.
This morning my mom texted me wanting to visit. My anxiety was triggered. Big time. The school year is wrapping up and we have a test(s) every week, standardized patients, and board prep through June. There really isn’t a good time to have family time. I’m sure my parents would be fine just hanging out for a week while I go about my usual schedule, but I would feel guilty that they traveled all this way for us to stay at home most of the time. They miss me, I miss them, but there isn’t a good time. I felt SO MUCH GUILT.
Fortunately, I have been seeing the counselor at school who has been helping me work through all the anxiety I have around my disappointing my parents and getting frustrated with them. For anyone thinking about getting into the medical field or anyone with parents like mine, I recommend finding a professional to talk to. Therapy and mental health were always a taboo in my family. It wasn’t that they didn’t think it was important, they just didn’t understand it so it scared them. Talking to a counselor every week has helped tremendously. I’m far from being comfortable disappointing my parents, but I’m taking baby steps to finding a way to free myself from their emotional control.
For all the Asian kids/young adults out there, things eventually get better. It is going to be a roller coaster of emotions, but it does get better.