Of the various forms of social media, LinkedIn feels like the most useful to me. I can spend a lot of minutes there just scrolling through peoples’ profiles. For those not familiar with it, it’s a sort of platform for CVs and resumes (I don’t quite know what the difference is). I love going through peoples CVs and seeing the marvelous work they are doing. Being a student doctor, I mostly view profiles of doctors. It gives me a sneak peek of how my future looks like, and the options I have.
Out of this peculiar habit, I’ve made a couple of friends in the medical world. One of them is this upcoming surgeon from a major hospital in Kenya. We talk quite often about our profession. I have endless questions of what lies ahead. Is it as good as we tend to think? Which specialty takes the least years? Which hospital should I choose for my internship? When will I know what I want to specialize in? Well, you get the hung of it don’t you?
Recently as I was sharing my elective experience with him, he decided to give me “social ” advice.
“Make sure that by the time you start your residency program, you’re married” he said. Residency is synonymous to masters’ program. Now, where did that come from?
He went on to explain. Asked if I had heard of the curse of the female ‘A’-student. I hadn’t, but with some deductive reasoning I was sure I could figure it out. I’m an ‘A’-student after all (not blowing horns, just stating facts). He told me of his female classmates in medical school. They had been bright girls so absorbed in studies that they didn’t have time for socialization.
Those that did, had some sort of pride, shunned away all the potential suitors. Ten years down the line, they were successful doctors. However, the infamous biological clock was now ticking. They now wanted to settle down; get married and get babies. The only problem is that there was no one to marry them now. All their age mates taken. The boys they turned down in college nowhere to be found.
Desperation kicked in; they’d settle for anyone at this point. To hell with the check list for Mr. Right (yes, we all have a checklist). They got into matrimonial agreements with any Kamau, Langat or Wafula that was ready and willing to. They didn’t have the luxury of time to keep being choosy.
“My dear, don’t let this be your fate. Give that boy in your class a chance” I couldn’t help but laugh at this point. Main reason, I couldn’t imagine of any potential suitor in the said class.
This however got me really thinking. There really is a curse on the female ‘A’-student.
You are brought up knowing that you have to excel. “Be better than the boys”
You excel in high school and enroll in your dream course. In most cases, said course is thought to be male dominated. That alone (not adding your aggressiveness) keeps the men at bay. They feel intimidated by your career. As a result, most don’t take the step of faith to approach you. Of those that do, your long checklist comes to play and you find a basis of eliminating them.
After all, you’re still young. “The good ones are yet to come along”, you console yourself. The years keep running by and soon you’re attending baby showers and weddings of your high school classmates.
Your mother starts asking questions, “Have you got someone?”
Funny how society turns on you yeah? One minute they are pushing you to ‘smash the glass ceilings’ and achieve greatness through undivided attention to studies. Next minute they are expecting an invitation to your dowry ceremony and subsequently your wedding. When a great chunk of your youth goes to school, just when were you to date?
At this point the pressure is building up. You desperately got to find “the one”.
Your female role models aren’t much encouragement at this point. Most have successful careers but no family.
You are left with a big question in mind “Can a girl have it all? Career and family?