To become a doctor was my childhood dream. I was fascinated to see doctors giving injections to patients.
God has allowed me to fulfill my dream. As time move slowly in its own pace I graduated as a doctor in June 2014.
And that brought more responsibilities to me.
First, let me share my story.
I hail from Balasore district, Odisha, Eastern India. My father works in Life Insurance Corporation of India and my mother is a house wife. I was born in Nabarangpur district of Odisha.
As my father’s job was transferrable we lived in many places. I did my schooling in places such as De Paul School, Berhampur; Sacred Heart School, Rayagada; Deepti convent School, Jaipur; Redwood English Medium School, Nabarangpur and finally I completed my matriculation at St. Xavier High School, Cuttack.
As I completed my tenth, my father was transferred to Eluru, Andhra Pradesh, where I joined for the intermediate course. Iit was difficult for me to study in another state as teachers there preferred to explain the lectures in Telugu language, the local language. Most students were from Telugu medium. I struggled a few weeks to learn Telugu and managed. I passed my intermediate exam in 2009.
After my 12th exam I prepared for state medical exam of Andhra Pradesh, Engineering, Agriculture and Medical Common Entrance Test (EAMCET). Although I got a seat in the non-local quota system, I wasn’t eligible for it since I did not belong to that state residency.
I hadn’t even appeared for Odisha state medical entrance (Odisha Joint Entrance Examination or OJEE or Pre Medical Test or PMT). Then I decided to take coaching classes for one year and appear for OJEE, but at that time one of the consultancy services from Andhra Pradesh sent a message to my father which was about sending Indian student abroad for studies.
When knew about it, I decided to go abroad and study because for me wasting a one year was unthinkable. It was a great opportunity to see the world and to gain wonderful experiences. So I moved to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan and joined the International University of Kyrgyzstan, International School of Medicine.
I joined there in November 2009. It is a cold country. The day I reached the temperature was minus 8 degree centigrade. The language for communication as Russian (no one knows English except your teachers and seniors). It seemed to me like a complete alien world. But the teachers were too supportive in classes and even they taught us (international students) how to survive there. We were taught Russian language; it was included as a language subject in our syllabus. The medical subjects were in English and the teachers spoke in English and in Russian. We were provided Indian hostel which had Indian boarding system. So we always got Indian food there.
After graduation I came back home (India) and now I wish to practice in India. During my journey to be a doctor, I learned many things. To be a good doctor you need to have three qualities:
1. A good observer: to see and diagnose a patient, by physical examination and by patient’s expression.
2. A good listener: to listen and diagnose by what a patient wants to say.
3. A brilliant speaker: you should have excellent counseling words by which a patient feels healthy just by listening to you.
This profession wants a student to have lot of patience because it is difficult to remember all the diseases and symptoms and treatment but once you are known to all these, you can defeat every disease.
Indian medical system of education is completely different from what is abroad. There, regular tests are conducted orally i.e. viva each day and all these were graded and each grade is added to your final grades. Even the finals too were different: you get just one question from a subject which you have to answer instantly. Even you get marks for each attendance and when a class is missed five marks are deducted from your final marks. It was a complete new pattern for me.
India students struggle to get a medical seat but they don’t get it because in India the government restricted the number of seats. Private college are too expensive. Many go abroad because it is cheaper, and you get a chance to gain different experience.
I believe a doctor’s profession is all about serving and giving. Odisha is a backward state and I have seen many rural people die because of ignorance and lack of good quality treatment.
People in Odisha need to be taught about health and diseases. I have met many visually impaired people, who were victims of uperstitions and blind faiths. They prefer sorcery to modern medicine. Doctors should take the responsibilities to approach such cases and teach them.
In rural areas government has provided doctors and even the missionaries have opened charity houses for the poor but still people die because of lack of knowledge prevents them from going to a doctor.
I think the problem lies in the mentality of people, even in urban areas. They ignore the symptoms. In rural areas we can find patients coming to hospital only on stretcher when they are in the severest condition. I want to practice whatever I was taught and give my best to the needy, as in Bible it says serve the needy. As Jesus came to serve not to be served, I too want to serve rather than being served.
A doctor has to be up-to-date with the latest information regarding diseases and treatment. We have to always keep reading. Now after my MBBS I want to do my masters in surgery and later do fellowship in Oncology (cancer). I wish to travel to more countries any gain more and more experience and knowledge.
For all these things my parents supported me a lot especially my father. He always boosted me with his motivating words, always encouraged me to pursue my dreams.
My mother being a housewife always guided me in spiritual way, she always kept teaching me about the powers of Christ, miracles of prayer. My parents never stopped me from anything just because I am a girl. Instead, they support me.
Another person who has a great influence in my life is Christ. During my five years of journey, Christ always watched over me. I am his special child.
(The author is a Catholic and presently lives in Bhubaneswar, Odisha)