Archive for April, 2012


Last week I was at a public health conference and ran into the director of the county health department in my hometown. Who also happens to by my mother’s cousin.

We talked for a while and one of the final things she said to me was “Whatever you end up doing, don’t forget where you came from and how much we need people like you there.” (she is not the only person who has said this to me).Which immediately made me feel guilty. I am interested in psychiatry and honestly there is no way my hometown could support a full-time psychiatrist. If I go into family medicine/psychiatry (as I am thinking of doing) then I could theoretically work there. But I’m not sure I want to.

So I feel guilty for a while. And then I get kind of pissed. Because who is she to tell me where I need to work? Why, because I went in to a field that could work in a rural area, do people feel the constant need to remind me that I should work there? If I had gone into something like design no one would ever have said these things to me. Even though, had I become a designer, I could have had a small design studio for wedding invitations or whatever there, or even just made donations to the local library or school.

Where I ultimately decide to live and work has to be a decision I make for myself without an overlay of guilt from community members. If I move to a small rural town because someone guilt-tripped me I will be forever resentful and not feel like I am truly giving my best to a community. To me this is a personal decision akin to having children or getting married. Not many people would tell you that you should have children to honor your family’s name. But telling you that working in a rural area to honor where you came from is okay?

Clearly this issue upsets me. And honestly, I’m not sure any person who has said this to me means it in this way. However, it still bothers me.

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