You have worked like a dog through your undergraduate years, medical school, residency and perhaps fellowship to reach your professional apex as a working physician. Finally you get your first check, and it has more zeroes at the end than any document you’ve seen short of your student debt statement.
One friend from your study group who has the same crushing student debt that you do cashes her first check to finance the latest model BMW. Another friend celebrates his engagement to long-term shmoopy by taking out a gargantuan loan to buy a dream castle in the suburbs. There’s a huge yard, room for a pool, and so many bedrooms for presumed future children that your friend may never use a condom again.
A recent New Yorker article summarized the three stages of the American immigrant experience:
I found this a concise way of capturing the internal tensions we all struggle with to some degree: on the one hand, we seek financial security, and making our parents proud is for many a personal or cultural imperative. Yet the idea of a life spent in the passionate pursuit of ideas, forging new relationships, expanding different skill sets and creating new art is also inherently appealing.