Taxes final on my birthday. Oh, Professor Weiss, why you gotta play me like that?
Anyway, in light of being done with finals and trying to make sure that I’m not just wishing my time away, I want to highlight my gratitude for someone on this month’s post: my wife. There are many reasons I’m proud of my wife, but this week I want to highlight one in particular: she was accepted to medical school last week.
My wife’s been at this for a while, and it’s a feat of endurance that I know I couldn’t have done. The congratulations are well-deserved, but seeing the sausage get made wasn’t always pretty (like the time she stayed up 36 hours straight between finals and softball). As Miki Agrawal, an incredibly impressive entrepreneur remarked on Freakonomics the other day:
We should also remember it takes people a long time to do this. It takes ten years to be an overnight success.
Meanwhile, my attempt to be pre-med was short-lived and well, pathetic. The first week of chemistry I stubbed my toe so badly it bled. Thinking this was a sign, I ditched pre-med. Clearly, when it came to seeing blood I wasn’t going to cut it as a doctor.
Anyway, back to the important part: my wife’s achievement. The whole process reminds me of a scene from the documentary Mitt (which, regardless of your political affiliation is a fascinating behind the scenes look on the people behind the posters). At one point, Mitt Romney is discussing his success at the most recent debate. When people ask him what he does, he says the first thing he does is write “Dad” at the top of his page. Doing so reminds him that his Dad was “the real deal”. A Mexican immigrant born to poverty, Mitt Romney’s father clawed his way to being Governor of Michigan, without the trappings of luxury that Mitt himself had growing up.
My wife was the first person in her family to go to college. She was born into a working class family and attended Kansas public schools her whole life. Since then she has graduated from Yale with honors, started a family, and is now on her way to becoming a doctor. Her family is incredible, kind, and supportive (and the best in-laws a young MBA could ask for), but they couldn’t help her in her quest for higher education. They don’t know the contours of an MCAT or late nights drinking coffee and studying until they pass out. My wife certainly had help, but I am so impressed at her ability to pursue her dreams doggedly until she achieved them, regardless of expectation.
In this era of social media culture, where we’re constantly trying to match or beat our friend’s perfect photo and charmed life, we should remember where people came from and, in my view, celebrate the long-struggling heroes who achieved more than what even they believed they were worth.