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On a picturesque summer day a few months ago, a friend and I were walking along a New Jersey boardwalk when we ran into a group of older women who recently retired from nursing. Casual conversation over a beautifully staged beach wedding taking place that afternoon turned naturally into a discussion of our various professions. Upon hearing that my friend was in medical school, the women began shrieking with a level of delight and adoration that could only be matched by his own mother's overflowing pride. In his embarrassment, my friend quickly attempted to shift attention onto me by divulging that I was also in school to become a doctor—the kind that does science and research. Their faces immediately belied their bewilderment over why they should care about this different kind of doctor, and the blatant indifference on their comically over expressive faces was so jarring that I could not contain my own hysterical laughter.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2012