Before I began, I needed to ask myself a few questions first. Would my answers be any different if I had not become a psychiatrist? Would my advice be ones I could follow or could not follow myself in college? Then I realized that perhaps it would not be difficult if I leave you with the right questions by the end of this short well-intentioned piece.
- “Why did you enter medical school?”
I vividly remember this as the first question in the first class of my MBBS course. The professor listened patiently as the entire class took turns to answer, while I began to have a deeply personal conversation with myself. I remember one of my friends, replying that he entered medical college wanting to be rich. I thought to myself that he was very stupid to say that (as I always thought that there are better professions to pick other than medicine if one wanted to make money alone). However, later in life, I realized that he was certain how much of that money he wanted to make and he is happier than many of the other classmates who couldn’t figure out why they were there in the first place. Medicine as a profession offers a lot of wonderful things life has to offer. But you need to be clear about it yourself, in the first place.
Most of the times, it is neither about the journey nor the destination but whom you travel with, that makes all the difference. Remember the number of times, you enjoyed a flop movie just because of the good company you had. Friends literally can make/save/drown you and to have good friends, you should learn to be one as well. Friendships can work the other way as well and needs thoughtful discretion.
The same seniors who come to rag you and leave nightmares most often become your well-wishers and elder siblings. Remember, experience counts. As they have seen things a little earlier than you, you can count on some good wisdom. Just remember to ask – anything – from books to life equations.
College is also an amazing time to bring back that creative freedom that gets suppressed during the gruelling pre-medical test preparation time. From experience, dropping extra-curricular for the sake of study alone does not do any good. People who participated in extra-curricular were usually the ones more active, creative, used their study time more effectively and graduated college with a more well-rounded personality.
Also, dropping/ skipping interests just because their friend circle isn’t into it is not a good idea. Remember, you can have multiple friend circles and keep your interests (academics, research, sports, art etc.) alive at the same time.
If you have discovered your interests, whatever they may be, a medical college is a good time to start. You are young, energetic and think you own the world. Look at Lexicon, passionately started in medical school and today, we finished post-graduation and before we realized is more than 6 years old and running. Well, do enjoy your parties as your body can take it but a little bit of discipline will make a huge difference in the long term!
Dr Raviteja Innamuri
Consultant Psychiatrist, CMC Vellore