How to Deal With Mildly Controlling Family Members Trying to Dictate Your Pre-Med/Med Experience

I am a non-traditional student who has yet to complete the prerequisite courses. For reference, I earned a B.S. in psychology from UIUC and am now receiving an M.A. in mental health counseling from NYU. I already have a dream school because I thought it would help motivate me (Georgetown because its mission statement fits with what I do), though I have always kept my options open because you never know. It took me so long to even realize that I was the type of person that was able to succeed in medical school and while I like to plan ahead, I understand that there is only so much of that that can be done. Fortunately, my father-in-law (with whom I live during this pandemic) and my fiance have been really supportive of my dreams. Unfortunately, it has some caveats and conditions. I will sum it up:

  • My fiance alternates between being really confident in what I can do and being less confident about me. He says he thinks I’m really smart, but then he told me that I should take community college courses because any other class is too competitive. I resent the implication of this and I resent it more considering many medical schools-especially many of my dream schools- implicitly endorse it when they look down on community college courses. I have told him this a few times but he does not listen and I am worried that it will impact whether or not I can get into my dream schools.

  • I mentioned that I want to either be a psychiatrist or a neurologist (though again, I’m open). He seems to only mention the neurologist specialty even though he knows I feel stronger about being a psychiatrist. I suspect it is because he saw the average salary of each specialty and neurology’s was slightly higher.

  • His father likes to talk about school advising and keeps telling me what to do, including forgetting about my dream school and love for health policy and advocacy. He acts as if he is more of an expert than he is, explaining things that are either misconceptions or are correct but are things that I already know from this podcast (to which I have attempted to redirect him). He means well, but his talks stress me out because he overwhelms me about how well I have to do in order to get into medical school. It irritates me because I feel like people are going to say “would you rather be prepared or not?” as if I am actively avoiding conversations about how hard I have to work. In actuality, I already know because of the competitiveness of pre-med that kept me away for so long. Whenever he lays out how he believes my DIY-post bacc work should go (even agreeing with my fiance’s point about community colleges), I think he will eventually get his way even when we don’t agree because he is just that kind of person.

  • Finally, whenever he has these conversations, my fiance chimes in and then my brother-in-law also chimes in and then the topic veers wildly off topic and there is a lot of cross talk. They don’t know (because it makes my fiance uncomfortable to mention) but I am autistic and all of that cross talk and raising of voices is sensory overload for me. My passion for patient care, accessibility, and general disability advocacy is part of what led me down my career path, and I hope to be able to bring it to medicine. However, I check out of these conversations due to my over-stimulation as well as the fact that as much as I try to cut in, the conversation veers so far off track that I am not even a part of it anymore (despite the fact that this is my career we’re talking about). I wonder if my opinion is even valued because I have suggested things when I am able and then the conversation is continued/repeated later as if I never said anything.

I try to keep the balance by taking whatever good comes out of these conversations while standing by what I believe and knowing that what’s true is true and what’s false is false regardless of what others say, but it is not so easy and I am afraid that I will have to do it their way for one reason or another. I am afraid that the solution of “just don’t care what they say” isn’t enough. I am open to advice or talking points. I am also open to hearing that I am in the wrong.

Thank you in advance for the help.

EDIT: I think I’ll clarify some of the specific things that are being said that make me nervous to think about (albeit aware). They are on the “You have to earn all A’s or they’ll reject you” train which may or may not be true. I know intellectually that it isn’t always, but sometimes I feel like it is because of how selective some schools are, especially for someone like me. I think part of my fears involve my pride because I don’t understand the mild condescension and imposing of high expectations and fear on me in such a way that it seems to communicate that I’m not capable of imposing terribly high standards and fear upon myself. I fear all this pressure will scare me off.
They also ask family members of theirs who have been primed to go to medical school all their lives, whereas I am first generation and my parents didn’t go to college anywhere for several generations. These people don’t know that about me since I’m not involved in the conversation so they give advice that assumes I have more resources than I do. It is hard enough thinking about the MCAT and how that will probably get me excluded from a number of things (I hope they come up with a better system by the time I apply).