What To Do Next? Part -I

 

“The best time to plant a tree is always twenty years ago. If for some reason, you did not plant it then, the next best time to plant a tree is now”.

I had involuntarily shared my interest to become a doctor to Kitty. She was a replica of Anne Frank diary. Most people obtain habits from influences with human relationships; I made my influences limited to books and novels. I tried to be regular at it, but often had to apologize to Kitty when I exceed a week or two.

This winter break when I got the opportunity to flip through those pages again, I realized that at 16, I had decided what my next 20 years would be like. At 16, I was locked in the boundaries of Saudi Arabia. Inspirations were showered through the Indian system of knowledge and I thought I would attain the highest attainable degree in the world like most of my friends, who discussed and shared their higher level of thinking in the lunch hour.

Two years after I departed from Saudi Arabia to finish my junior school, I was lost. I was not sure what I wanted in life. My dreams were fading and I was drifting. My dreams were not nurtured and motivated to that level. Then by the grace of the Nepalese Government, we decided to move to Dhaka. “Med school is cheap in Dhaka”, is what they said. People around me motivated me after that, they helped me to map out my dreams and they enhanced it with “pride” and called it a “great respect for our family” if I decided to go to a med school.

Plans are meant to be thought, processed, assimilated, digested and beaten up until something new emerges. That’s called life. You can’t map out your life like a building block but, you should have the courage to dream big, no matter what people have to say to you. Dreaming is your right and no one should rob you of that.

Turning into a general physician was my goal and after nearly two decades of unknowingly what life direction I would go, I completed it. But even after completing one goal, I am hungry for more. Life right now seems so undirected. I need a goal and a new direction. Where would I go, what would I do?

I cannot limit myself to just a “general physician.” I want more! Most people decide to choose London or Canada for under graduation. But I choose Bangladesh with full cooperation and with hundred percent certainty that my life would be different, if I choose to stay in a third world country. I would turn out to be humble and I would stay ground to earth if I choose to feel the pain and suffering of the normal people. I still remember how I had to convince my parents that leaving me in Bangladesh would one day make them proud parents. “Let me suffer today” I said and later on, I can get all the happiness in the world. Plant your dream today, who knows ?,it, might come true. I don’t write to Kitty anymore but she played a very crucial role in my life.

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Overrated junior doctors!

There was no hesitation when I decided to do MBBS, nearly five and half years back. I just left what normal kids do during my age, giving SATs, applying colleges abroad but “No” I was so fixated to one and only goal to get a better GPA and proceed to a med school. Little did I know that life would change forever after finishing that degree! Professional wise, I am still a needle in haystack, a junior, a learner but yet the society gives it a highest accord available. Society overrates junior doctors!

No, I am not an almighty! If prescribing simple over the counter medicines makes me get the same status as of a god then I decline to get that decree. I am as normal as most people, at least, I try to show that I am normal. There are days when I am painstaking waiting for the clock to strike to two thirty and leave from work.

Education wise, I may have proved myself but the professionalism attached to being a doctor has still not gotten in my veins. Being a doctor is pretty similar to business men of any kind. The only difference is that businessmen would sell merchandise of any sort and doctors sell medicine and treatment to save lives.

Things like what it means to be a doctor aren’t taught in med school. Factors like how you treat patients are not taught in med school, which makes us come to the conclusion that the personality that you had or developed over the years becomes the highlight of your career. Since med school caters less to what most med students are like, those that have the objectively unsuitable personlaity do not get filtered in the process.

Personality is cumulative of what parents teach at home and how they confidently project it to the society. There were several days, when I struggled to be people friendly. It was not a smooth teenage hood, cracking out of the self made delusion of being the superior individual was the first step. The following steps involved, engaging with everyone in an event, including those people that you always thought were mean to you and the last is the art of pleasing people instantly.

So how did a people pleasing person have doubts about being perfect for the job?  Every day is an event, every minute is a gala event now-and-then there are moments, when I completely want to forget that I can be an instant charmer. It’s stressful as it is and communication is another factor which detaches me from making a connection.

Five and half years of med school has made us to excel at collecting information and storing  them in our memory but it fails to produce quality doctors. Med schools cannot make there student’s realize what it means to be “practicing”. The power to execute a decision, actual duty hours, and endless patients to please are not as easy as they show in television sitcoms.

Med school should filter student’s worth of the job of empathy and should introduce actual internship related job earlier than the course offers (for this, my organization Health Nepal Foundation, will be focusing in the upcoming years), otherwise countries will produce doctors with the highest record of burnout physicians!

Relationships and screw ups

I have been unfair to the people who  have actually enjoyed reading my blog posts over the years. I have this great equilibrium between the amount of extra reading that I do (non-medical) and the amount of blog posts that I write. This blog post comes after I finished reading a book by Erich Segal entitled “Doctors “.
“Doctors are wounded healers” says the book. The story is gripping and you can identify to the characters of the book. I particularly noticed that the book projects doctors to eventually have a screwed love life or a broken family relationship. Maybe the writer could not have started the book if he had only projected about the normal life. But then again, makes me ponder, are we normal?
What makes a successful doctor? Is it the lady behind the man or was it the damn fortune that he was destined to have? What about Female doctors, who should be held for their success? The man behind her (I meant husband or boyfriend) or the fact that she is cold blooded or there is no success for female doctors at all?
Look at the proportions of hypes that men get all the time. Even today, men are considered far better than women for doctors! Why is that? Is it because the female race has to subsequently bow down to the realities to life, like having baby, taking the home responsibilities and well, what not that comes with commitment.
It’s difficult, to actually see this happen. I disagree to bow down to subtle realities as far as I can. I mean, it almost took me ages to finish a degree, will take another decade to be well know (if people find me equivalent to the male counter parts) but I will never settle for comments like please avoid a duty because you are a female.
It’s not only a crime to be ambitious; it also makes you an outcast in this field. And deciding to settle for the least of it is the toughest thing that one has to do. Each and every character of Erich Segal’s book reminds you of the fact that life is going to be bumpy either ways, so get prepared for both and move on with your life and keep reminding yourselves that life is never going to be normal for us!

Screwed Up Kid.

I don’t know how to exactly describe what a screwed up kid means. Different people have different perspectives of what screwed up means. I have been an observer all my life, when we had social gatherings at the embassy; I used to listen to seniors conversing about other people’s kids.

It’s been more than a two decades, growing up in different parts of the world, I have seen many people complain about how screwed others kids were. When a kid grows up listening to all the mistakes that normal kids do, you don’t feel like repeating their mistakes again. Listening to those conversation about how a person should be helped me shaped my attitude as an adult.

I was a normal brat. It all changed when I had a heated conversation, about how I did not develop a “down to earth” attitude. I lost debating, it was somewhere in Saudi Arabia.Sometimes I wonder, I would be someone else if I had that attitude with me. People either love the fact that I don’t have an attitude problem or they try to take advantage of the fact that I don’t. Either ways, I thank my parents and the then H.E to Saudi Arabia for teaching me, what down to earth meant.

English is not my first language; it still sucks that I can’t read my own “Matri Bhasa” as quickly as the rest . My parents never cared about what language we used to communicate at home. I always preferred to speak in Nepali and only when I had to prove a point to someone I used English. Most parents encourage their children to talk in English; broken Nepali will be the new language of Nepal soon. Who wants to give up their hereditary like that?

There is a gap. I don’t know how many diplomatic kids feel the same way as I did. I did not study in an American School. But I always felt left out. Studying outside Nepal and growing up in an Embassy was already a big thing for me, but studying in an American School was more like getting an iPhone, which seemed lucrative but I didn’t dare to ask. There were groups in social gatherings, a) those that used Nepli Bhasa b) those that used Broken Nepali c) those that used their English accent only.

But at the end of the day, I can’t classify screwing up. Some of you even thing, I am screwed up,But hey! I worked my way to the ground and I would prefer to stay here. I choose to be a nerd obsessed with my studies that I gave up “friends”. I never let peer pressure affect me, that’s another reason why I stayed focused all throughout.

Give your kid examples. Teach them “Nepali Bhasa”, no matter where you go, it’s their right to know their parents language. I can’t say much about how to raise kids but I am pretty sure my parents did a wonderful job raising me and my brother. Thank you dad and mom, I am never going to be a screwed up kid that they always talked about. They are wonderful parents.

Pressure For Teenagers : Good or Bad?

It was a bright sunny day. While I was basking in the sun, my cousin solved his SLC (School Leaving Certificate) mock papers. He was meticulously solving it for the past few hours. The SLC exams are due in the next few months. SLC is a board examination carried out by the government of Nepal on a yearly basis for students who are completing their tenth grade. It’s also called the Iron Gate that one has to cross, in ones educational life. It’s a very tough exam and it is also known to be prestigious by many.

Students who are giving the SLC examinations are under immense pressure. Pressure created during SLC are of two types, the self induced pressure and the parental pressure.  The self induced pressure or the self satisfactory pressure is the drive that one creates for themselves. It’s a self driven motive to work for something.

Parental pressure is an external pressure that parents create for children. It revolves around the actions of parents, which include a positive approach and a negative approach. Positive approaches include, actively engaging in the child’s studies, counseling them for a subject, sharing their own experiences about the exam. Learning the child’s weakness for a particular subject and helping them plan a routine accordingly. Some parents bring changes in lifestyle like disconnecting the cables and internet before the exams.

Negative approaches include subjecting one to immense cruelty like beating and mishandling of children just for grades. People do not understand, subjecting one to such level, will not only create a void in the Childs mind, it will also result in depression as they age. Any kind of violence is absolutely contra- indicatory to a developing mind especially when they are in their teens.

Children or more appropriately teenagers who fall within this age group of 14-19 years face pressure. They usually experience pressure before the SLC test examinations and during the later part of their age when they compete for different entrance examinations. Parental pressure seems to be more common in families, where individual excellence is credited by the grades that one obtains. Healthy motivation involving a reward at the end of the exam. Learning what they want and offering them to buy that after the exams has shown to create zeal for studies.

I always respect  and admire people who have self driven motivation to achieve in life without any external pressure.  Students need both self driven and external pressure.  Have you seen the water flow in the river? It flows because both external and internal force pushes it forward to the pond. Parents need to understand that!

What is the Meaning of Struggle?

It’s my childhood.  Most of the time I spent it with family, maybe way too much , they occasionally shared how life was not easy for them , how grandparents made that move from one place to another for better luck and future. Skipping meals and teaching children, studying restlessly in the American Cultural Centre and developing peptic ulcer disease, were the peaks of the stories.

What gives me the right, to enjoy all the good things in life like,good home and security, when I have not done anything significant to obtain it till now?  Should I blame the circumstances, the chromosomes that brought me to a cozy living? Just to satisfy my theory should I ask my parents to leave in the gutter so that I could rise from there?

I was an Infant then, merely able to walk. I did not have a chance, to run away from home, to become someone, who made it in the world just on her own.  In today’s modern and much globalised world one gets scrutinized for different reasons, I am stuck in this world where people think that I get everything that one finds it difficult to obtain.

I don’t know if the majority of the people feel the same way as I do. Just giving an instance of Bill Gate’s children, they get everything reasonable that they desire just because their father is a billionaire.  Are they making their life on their own? They might after getting an expensive degree from a renowned college but prior to that they will get scrutinized for how they get things done at a quicker rate.

Yes, I did get everything but I am not proud of the fact that I accepted it without any hindrance. I could say no, runway and make money on my own. “What’s the use of all our sacrifices if my children can’t gain from them?” a typical reply every time when one tries to bring this topic.

I live with a scrutiny, but I have been hungry for struggle. Maybe after this degree, people can actually see how much struggle one wants to do. Those stories from childhood anchors me to the ground.I will always remember the fact that I come from a middle class family from a small locality in Bouddha , Mahankal who knows exactly what the meaning of struggle is!

Should Doctors Ask Their Children To Be Doctors?

There is a general predisposition for children who have doctors as their parents to be doctors. So why does this happen? 

Children mimic their parents from early childhood.  As they see their parents put their blood and sweat into their work they gradually get accustomed to the daily medical life.  What is a medical life?  

Medical life is not much of an extra-ordinary life; it’s a normal life that a med and future doctor lives. A life, which involves periodic night duties and endless clinical hour time. It requires grading examination every now and then. This life is an endless hurdle of examinations and re examinations. It’s likely that one cannot make much time for child care.

 When both parents are reputed doctors in their own fields, there is likely chance that their children may experience attention deficit problems. Do you give enough time to your children?  People who develop their childhood under such circumstances can comprehend their lifestyle in a similar manner since they have been accustomed to it since early childhood, that’s why they decide to get into med school but there are exceptions.  

A surgeon’s child seems to know more details about a particular topic because he viewed that  procedure when he was just 10 years old and still does when he is with his father. Do doctor’s children have better clinical eye? Early exposure of books and med terms in the house will definitely help them edge further in this field. But eventually it’s the practice and practical work that makes a doctor reputed rather than the hereditary genes.

 Question of asking your child to be a doctor is a very unusual question, because at first it’s about what the child wants and not what we want.  Many meds want their children to be doctors. When asked why they would present that option to them, some said that they wanted their children to face to same experiences and difficulties that they felt over the years and will do in the future.

At first, a child’s first right is education, what he/she chooses is their option. What we can do is explain the details of the struggle that one has to do from med school to the actual job work. The path is very long and tedious; one needs to make many sacrifices. If a child understands the implications of this profession then it’s their choice.

I see why parents who are doctors force their children to be doctors, it’s partly because they want their dynasties to grow. It’s a profession of immense pride and hard work, the respect that you earn over the years makes it even more attractive and it does make the subject more lucrative from a child’s point of view.

What would you do?