I could simply say “ because I want to help people and I am interested in biology” but that would make this a lousy blog post (plus this answer, you can always get in the classic ISC interview book ), so let me elaborate on the real reason.
This tale starts almost 2 decades ago. When I was born my grandmother decided to take me under her wing as her “most ambitious project”. She swore on my diapers to make me a really kind hearted soul, with empathy and love for all. She took on this project with great zeal, most probably because her previous such endeavours with my father and uncles had failed miserably (Thank God, for blogger anonymity!) All I can remember about the first 3 years of my life, is the great abundance of moral books and prayers around me. Every 10 minutes or so, she would ask a million dollar question to me “What are you going to become when you grow up?” and I, her well trained parrot would reply “ a good girl, nan.” So, that is why when the time came to take up a career, I was shell-struck. There in the real world was no such thing as being a good girl!
Where I come from, there are 3 classes of children and 1 class of well “those children”.
- The “mathematics” type 1- The most respected and admired lot. The moment they decide to dedicate their lives to finding the value of x, our entire society applauds. Since I am an anonymous blogger, you might never find out who I am, yet I did not create this blog to say that I was pretty bad at maths, I was good enough. The only problem was that I had far too many problems in life to solve, let alone solving problems for x , y or z.
- The “biology” type2- Okay, you did not take up maths, you do biology. The face saver subject for people, who weren’t among the chosen few who had what it took to study mathematics. Imagine, you are a world renowned surgeon and your father’s friend is on the surgical table in front of you, I bet the moment he looks at you he is going to say, “Hey, you are Mr.X’s son/daughter, the one who couldn’t do maths? Right”.
- The “economics” type3- These people could not even cram up names like “magnifera indica”, duramater and arachnoid membrane. They land even lower in the societal standing of students. Parents do introduce these kids to their guest, but only for a moment or so. The rest of the hospitality is showered upon the Engineers and the doctors.
- The last tier of the caste system. The humanities type. It is ironical that parents, at this point in their child’s life, do not want him/her to be associated with humanity. If you ever meet such a fellow from my country (especially a girl), give her a salute. She has seen enough in life . It takes courage to become a “humanitarian”.
This background information was necessary because when you choose a career, I think more than “peer” pressure what affected me was the “near” and “dear” pressure. So, yes, in part being a doctor was what worked both for me and my family.
Why medicine worked for my family?
a. I think they understand the importance of having a doctor in the family. Imagine if (by some miracle) I become a doctor, no more 911 calls, no more waiting lists and no more fee giving.
b. Well, I think they realize that it could have been worse. What if I insisted on becoming a lawyer? Who would want their own child to become a shark, plus what if I filed a legal suit against them the next time they call me a “good-for-nothing”.
c. My family brochure has professionals from all sectors of the society (except maybe an astronaut , but they knew I could not have been that, motion sickness you know), the one piece left in the jigsaw puzzle is that of a doctor. So it kind of fits (pun always intended).
- Studying in med school would keep me busy for a really long time, out of sight out of mind.
So, almost 2 years back when I finally thought “doctor, bingo!” I was miles away from the entire application process. Now halfway through the process, I sometimes ask myself if I would change my decision, if given another chance, considering that almost all uni’s have courses that pop up in clearing. But, strangely I don’t think that would happen. Because if there is anything that I have learnt from watching back-to-back episodes of “Grey’s Anatomy”, it is that when your application is in V-Fib (whatever the hell that is!) the only right thing to do would be to charge those paddles and give it a huge shock! Revive the application, as long as possible.
But on a more serious note, I think Medicine was the one thing that really seemed to fit. All through my work experience at local hospitals and GP clinics, I was really excited by the prospect of so much patient contact. I am interested in Gynaecology and have attended seminars and workshops on related topics, all this only re-enforced my interest in this field. Plus, if you meet me you will find out how incredibly boring I am and Medical journals could be the true friends I had been longing for.