Well, Back in My Day… Med School circa 2017

Med School circa 2017

By Dr. Anjali Mediboina, Batch of 2017

My journey in medicine began with NEET. Ours was the first batch to have NEET for all categories of seats, and to have counselling on a national level. When I think about my NEET experience, the first thing that comes to mind is entering the checking room and being stunned at the sight of a teacher cutting off the sleeves of another girl’s dress! I also remember noticing that there were boys wearing full sleeved collar button-down shirts, and yet none of them had their sleeves cut off…

Anyway, I was finally enrolled in a management seat at ASRAM, Eluru in Andhra Pradesh. First year came with the thrill of wearing our aprons and stethoscopes, marvelling at the site of the cadavers in the dissection halls, trying (and failing) to count the RBC under the microscope in the physiology lab and having a blast (well, I was, anyway) in the biochemistry labs. I remember using apps to visualise the anatomy of the human body and watching YouTube videos for mnemonics with my friends.

Second year was a year and a half long, so you can imagine how well we must’ve studied (not). We had four subjects – Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology and Forensic Medicine.

The most memorable thing about this year would be that the COVID-19 pandemic began right around our exams time. I remember finishing our last practical exam and getting notice that literally the very next day, the country would be going into lockdown. I’m honestly thankful that we were able to finish our exams on time, unlike some other states.

Third year, I think we had 2 weeks of offline classes (in between 2nd year theory and practicals) and the rest were online. We went back to college 1 month before our finals. Again, on the day of our last practical, the 2nd COVID-19 lockdown was announced.

During the lockdown I gave my post graduation plan a thought. I always thought I’d write NEET, settle in India, but my parents pointed out that, being a US citizen (I was born in the States, brought up in India), I might have a better chance at USMLE than NEET. And thus began my scramble to get my CV sorted out.

I joined AMSA, became very involved with the organisation, started writing for Lexicon, and started learning more about research. I was selected for a research grant in my state at the ending of my third year.

Then final year rolled around. The first three months were online, giving me more time to pursue the extracurriculars I had going on. And then, our college reopened. I still remember the first two months of the (offline) final year being HELL for me! I had all these projects I took on, our semester exams looming, the research project and of course, that was the month my phone decided to give up on me.

But, I survived (albeit with a lot of stress and tears), and I passed! Officially became Dr. Anjali. And then, the actual part of MBBS began- my internship. Juggling duties, friends and the guilt of not studying… I also took a break to do my clinical experience in the USA.

One thing I noticed about the people in my year, is that with the NEET/NEXT uncertainty looming, a lot of people have been looking into pursuing PG abroad- not just USA, but UK, too. There’s also a lot more information and competition about all the options, and how to prepare for them, as well.

I also see doctors becoming more tech-savvy. Most hospitals in India now have their own apps for seeing patient reports, making everyone’s (and by everyone, I mean interns) lives easier. Patients are also just as tech savvy, with doctors trying to be more careful in the way they deal with and speak to patients.

Things in the medical field and education are changing every day, and I’m just glad I at least have my degree. We’ll have to see how the younger ones fare…

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