Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The high schooler

A while ago, I came to work and one of the attendings Dr. Kenalog had a young man standing next to her. I initially thought was a new fellow or resident, but then decided he looked awfully young for that. I mean, I know residents all look really young, but this guy looked just a little too young.

Dr. Kenalog: "Dr. Fizzy, I'd like you to meet John, he's a high school student who's doing research in the neurology department."

Me: "Hi, John."

John: "Actually, it's Tom."

Me: "Oh. Hi, Tom."

Dr. Kenalog: "Right, so Tom is very enthusiastic. He's only 13 and he's already in 10th grade. Isn't that amazing? He skipped two grades. Which two grades did you skip?"

Tom: "Kindergarten and 5th grade."

Dr. Kenalog: "Also, he's never been to summer camp. He always works!"

Me: "Wow."

Dr. Kenalog: "Tom wants to be a neurologist, right?"

Tom: "Actually, I want to be a geriatric psychiatrist."

Me: "Gosh, that's awfully specific."

Tom: "Yeah."

Me: "You know, there's a really great geriatric psychiatrist who works here."

Tom: "Oh."

Me: "He might be able to talk to you about the field, if you're interested."

Tom: "Oh."

Dr. Kenalog: "Tom, I don't think we have any other patients right now. Do you want me to find you a computer to work on?"

Tom: "No, that's okay."

Me: "Do you have any questions you'd like to ask me? I recently finished training, so I could talk to you about getting into med school and how to prepare. Do you have questions?"

Tom: "No."

Me: "So I guess you're pretty confident about getting in, huh?"

Tom: "Yep."

Geez, I just wanted to smack the kid by the end. I mean, show a teensy bit of interest or enthusiasm or humility or SOMETHING. Dr. Kenalog and I were talking about him later... she thought he was way overconfident and I thought he was maybe a little shy. I've hypothesized that nobody who has skipped more than one grade can possibly be normal.

13 comments:

  1. He's likely been institutionalized by now.

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  2. Check this kid out. He started med. school at 12!

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-08-24-prodigy-school_x.htm

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  3. Poor kid. His parents are probably really pushy.

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  4. Skipping grades early on can lead to self-esteem problems and depression. It's a terrible thing to do to a kid, but not everyone has the money to put the kid where s/he'll be challenged.

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  5. My husband started college when he was 16 after skipping a few grades. He was, by his own admission, a bit of a jerk in college, but it wasn't intellectual arrogance as much as it was immature guy stuff.

    He's matured, but I still wouldn't call him normal. Fortunately, I wasn't looking for normal when I met him.

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  6. Someone who academically excels but has no personality and is arrogant? Med school admissions committees are gonna drool over his application.....

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  7. I feel like a med student ought to have more personality than your average computer programmer! I mean, this is one field where personality does kind of matter.

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  8. AlexG: Wow. I have to feel a little sorry for that kid. I know we supposedly go to school to learn, but I think socialization is a large part of it, and I feel like he missed out. (Ditto with my friend Tom here.)

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  9. If he answered "Yep" to your last question, then as someone who has worked with that age group before, I would say he is more arrogant than shy.

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  10. He's only 13 and meeting a new person out of his age group. Personally, I wouldn't think too much of it.

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  11. Good conversation...I like it very much

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  12. You are totally right...I skipped two grades and I've never been normal. :)

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