Tuesday, September 1, 2009

being helpful

I'm a helpful person. I like to help. Call me and I'll help you.

So at work I'm happy to help our students. But every once in a while I get phone calls from people outside our school who have silly questions and my instinct is to just tell them this is an advising line for our own students and they need to call someone else.

For example: A lady just called me asking for advice on writing personal statements for residency applications. I quickly concluded that 1) she is not one of our students. With a little prying I found out that 2) she isn't a medical student at all, rather 3) she is the mother of a med student who is attending some med school on the East Coast. Sigh. Helicopter parents. What is up with all these parents trying to figure out their kids' lives? I mean, come on--Your kid is applying for RESIDENCY. That means within a year he will be a licensed doctor. It's time he lived his life on his own. It's embarrassing that you're making these calls for him.

Heck, my parents didn't need to help me apply for college--back when I was 17. I think your kid can handle residency applications now that he's a doctor.

So I asked the typical questions: Has your son checked with his own advisor at his own institution? Have you looked at the advice given on the residency application web site? Has your son asked faculty at his own institution what they think? WHY IN THE WORLD ARE YOU CALLING ME??

But then I took a deep breath and came to the conclusion that it really wouldn't be that difficult for me to be nice. So I sat back in my chair (literally) and started telling her some of the advice I normally give our students. I reassured her of what she already knew, gave her some new insight, and she left the conversation very appreciative.

Now how hard was that? I took less than 5 minutes out of my boring afternoon to calm a woman's nerves. She was grateful and I felt smart. Win, win.


Courtney said...

I'm not exactly sure what "helicopter" mom actually means, but I don't want to be a helicopter wife so I should probably have Brent call you since he has a few questions I'm sure you would LOVE to answer. Also, you didn't need to tell me about your blog, I've been blog-stalking you for a few months now! Haha.

mj said...

I'm making a mental note to call you for advice when Leah is applying for residency. :)

And I did the same thing when I worked at BYU. I solely worked with students who got below a 2.0 GPA, but I answered university-wide questions ALL DAY LONG. Most people were very appreciative and, like you, it made me feel smart. hehehe.

Jenni said...

Thank you, Pam.

Ashley said...

You are so nice. I would have dumped her as quick as I could.