1. Should we be selfish and soak up every moment of these five odd years of med-school? Why embracing your selfish college years is a good thing?

Five years ago I entered college. After so many years, I was finally on my own and had to make my own decisions. Life was now at the stage where I was being told- “these are gonna be the best five years of your life”. Sounds familiar, right? I am hit with nostalgia every time I think the picnic of my life is going to be over soon.

College is the only time in our lives centred around what we want, what we love and what we choose to do. Since childhood, we carry a huge baggage of expectations from so many people around us, which distract us from our thoughts, ideologies and wishes. One thing you learn as soon as your freshman year starts is that you are constantly going to be pulled in a million different directions. Between classes, practicals, Netflix nights, night outs with the squad, unfinished projects, birthdays and whatnot, it’s hard not to be overwhelmed with the endless number of options that open up to you with your new-found freedom. Remembering to eat healthy once in a while and that eating pizza every other day might not be a wise decision. The truth is, we are all still young and trying to figure everything out. And as a college senior after so many years, I can attest that I am still trying to strike the perfect balance. So the solution to breezing through these mad five years- BE SELFISH!!

A few years ago, in a very interesting and deep conversation with my friend, I heard her say that she likes to ‘give’ and making others happy makes her happy. I never forgot that conversation since it exposed a very fascinating insight. A lot of people want to give but the problem is they don’t have anything of value to offer. To attempt to make others happy, you must have already found that happiness for yourself. It’s like going to a gym and getting trained by someone who is out of shape. No one but you is going to take care of your needs and your dreams. If you are truly happy and take care of your own needs, you can be more selfless to others around you. Its what I call being selflessly selfish

If you’ve had a horrible week and just the thought of going out on Saturday night makes you want to be stuck to your bed, don’t go. Missing that one hang out to take a mental breather is going to do good to both you and your friends, who wouldn’t want to be around a person who is killing their vibe while they party, right. Just get them to fill you in with all the spicy details! Be selfish with even the smallest of decisions. Have always wanted to join a new club, or acquire some new skill/hobby? Want to focus on furthering your education, do it!  For five years, we are given the chance to find ourselves among thousands of others doing the same. We pay crazy prices to study the stuff we find fascinating with the end goal of using it for probably the next 40 years. So if we want to make the best use of it, we have every right to.  Want to move out of your comfort zone? Don’t let anyone make you uncomfortable for doing it. Acquire new experiences, allow yourself to love someone you may not marry, travel, have great conversations over beer..thrive on FOMO but don’t let it take over your life. And at the end of the day, treat people the way you want to be treated.

So yeah, once we walk down from that stage on graduation into real life, we are going to be bombarded with work, responsibilities and truckload of other stressors. We have our 30s/40s/whatever old wrinkly age to start putting the needs of our husband or child or parents ahead of us.  So why not just make these four-five years all about us, let others teach us, inspire us, change us but not let anyone make us. Just get drunk on some self-love and do you.

Dr Mannat Kaur Bhatia

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