So fall is almost over, and with winter knocking at your door, you should be really worrying about your career right now if you are in your 12th grade. And if medicine is one of your choices, well you should really ask yourself whether it is your only choice or whether you can opt for the other choices in your bag , because trust me, you’ll be saving a lot of good years of your youth if you go for the latter.
I do not intend to sound discouraging, but here’s the thing. Honestly enough , the subjects and topics one is tested on in medical entrance examinations has nothing to do with deciding if he or she is capable of being a dedicated doctor (though I believe they do test your patient and endurance, if not anything else). If you don’t like medicine, be it the study or the practice, it’s no use cracking a competitive exam to get into a med school.
I’ll give you instances why:
- One really needs to give in a lot of effort to get into a good government aided med school, give in the 110% of their ability to crack an entrance simultaneously with the 10+2 board exams.
- Out of the ones who aren’t able to do the above, half of them take up some other science courses in deemed institutions while the other half prepare for taking the entrances next year. Out of this batch, the same pattern follows year after year.
- Now among the ones who do get into med school, they either like it or they don’t. If they don’t, they either leave the M.B.B.S. course (having wasted a year or more) and join the course where they belong.
- Others who decide to stay on the boat they want to jump off from, well; they just stay where they were.
Neither do I want to sound demeaning or commanding, nor do I want to discourage all the budding doctors out there. The truth is buddy, having spent a year in this course, having taken one MBBS professional exam (which is like a board exam at the end of each year) and most importantly, having asked myself whether I love what I’m studying and whether this is where I belong and nowhere else, do I feel a little eligible to write this post.
Let’s take this thing on a more positive note from here, shall we? Before that, I’d like you to know what your course is going to look like if being a doctor is your target :
- The M.B.B.S. course (i.e., the undergraduate course) is divided into nine semesters consisting of:
|Anatomy, Physiology ,Biochemistry||1st , 2nd (1st ‘year’)|
|Pathology, Pharmacology, Microbiology, Forensic Medicine||3rd, 4th, 5th (2nd ‘year’)|
|Ophthalmology, ENT, Community Medicine||6th, 7th (3rd ‘year’ )|
|Medicine, Surgery, Gynaecology & Obstetrics, Paediatrics||8th, 9th (final ‘year’)|
- There will be semester exams at the end of each semester conducted by your respective colleges (just like the half yearly and annual exams conducted in school) and an MBBS professional exam at the end of each ‘year’ (just like class 10 board exams). There will of course be many other exams conducted in the form of short internal assessment exams.
- At the end of the ninth semester, a Final MBBS professional exam will be conducted which will mark the completion of your MBBS course (just like the class 12 boards mark the completion of your higher secondary education).
- After your graduation, you have to complete a year of internship. (That makes it 4.5 + 1= 5.5 years till now before you actually get a job)
- You also have to take an MBBS exit exam sooner or later (this has been in the news for quite some time, though has not been made official as yet [comment dated: November, 2015] ) so that you can be allowed to practise as a doctor. This exit exam will be a common exam acting as an entrance to your post-graduation course. Now here’s the thing. Just like the medical UG entrance, for PG entrance you have to take the NEET-PG Entrance Exam, which is going to be the common exam for PG aspirants in all of India. This is not the only similarity. Just like NEET-UG will decide which college you get to join based on how high your rank is, the NEET-PG rank gets to decide not only your institution, but also your course. In simple words,it decides whether your rank is high enough to let you study an intricate subject like Cardiology or whether it deserves basics like Biochemistry.
- Depending on your course, it might take 4 to 6 years more to get your MD degree or a diploma.
So, by now almost 12 years have passed since you left school (taking into account that you have cracked both your UG entrance and PG entrance exam in a single attempt each). By now all your non-medical friends have a job, but you don’t because patients don’t prefer doctors without their MDs and diplomas.
Now talking about life in med school. It’s busy. It’s gruelling. It can be either fascinating or gross. It can be frustrating, irritating maddening, sickening, and tiring.
But you need to go on. Only if you have realised that you are about to learn the magic trick behind saving a life.
You cannot nauseate on seeing a cadaver cut open. In fact, you might have to literally press your body against a cadaver’s liver to get a better view of the artery supplying the spleen, feel it with your bare hand to differentiate it from the splenic vein, trace its course to see where the artery arises from and look for the structures that are supposed to be in relation with it.
You cannot be afraid of blood. You will need lots of it (especially in physiology, not much in pathology) preferably from your own body, with the pulp of your finger preferably being pierced by yourself.
You have to look at stool samples for bacteria, urine samples for abnormality.
You have to look at patients, talk to them, understand them, listen to their story and the sounds of their insides patiently just so that you can find out the cause of the disease they are suffering from.
You have to be warm but serious, apologetic but strict, kind but ruthless, punctual but patient, energetic but calm, confident but selfless, and lastly, a doctor as well as a human being.
A life full of oxymorons.
I hope I have been to provide you with an insight to a life you are perhaps looking forward to. Our country is in a dire need of good and qualified doctors. Best wishes and good luck to you if you want to be one of them.
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