Like every ’90s kid, I too was nurtured with the thought of choosing a career which not only guarantees a ‘set’ life but also provides me with money to live lavishly. I think this was our parent’s idea of happiness. And being in a middle-class family, my options undoubtedly revolved around becoming an engineer, a doctor or cracking the IAS after becoming either one of the two.
I chose biology in +2 and got admission in AIIMS Patna just after my 12th for an MBBS course. I am now on the verge of finishing my undergrad studies. This whole time, I have realized one thing – nobody gives a shit about what they are achieving or what they have acquired in these 5 years. We have indulged ourselves so profoundly with the idea of getting more, that we have actually forgotten the attitude of appreciating ourselves, of taking a pause and understanding what we have achieved. We are so deep into this rat race of getting degrees that we all have forgotten the first reason why we joined this race.
For example, if I ask any of my batchmates why they want to become a doctor, I am sure that 99% of them don’t know or have an actual reason. Their answers will be somewhat like – “I don’t know, my parents told me,” or “My parents are doctors so I am a doctor,” or in my case, “I chose to become a doctor over becoming an engineer.” But I don’t think that should be the answer.
The idea of having a ‘set’ life has narrowed our minds to such an extent that we have stopped valuing the things that actually matter in our life i.e. our friends, our families, our passion, and our hobbies. And maybe that is one of the most important causes of depression and stress among students.
If I talk specifically about medical students, their stress is not just limited to getting admission. Our medical education system is so structured that even after studying rigorously for five and a half years, an MBBS degree does not suffice our need of getting a ‘set’ life. We are taught around 19 subjects in five years. When we get through that, we are jolted down by the pressure of doing post-graduation so much that we forget to ask important questions like ‘What did I gain in these five and a half years?’, ‘Is my degree just a piece of paper to get more degrees or does it actually carry any importance as a doctor?’, or ‘Does our medical education system deserve five and a half years of our lives to provide us with this degree?’ These are the questions that not only students but also the administration sitting on the top of our education system should think of.
It’s not that we hate studying MBBS or the idea of becoming a doctor. It’s just that our medical system has not focused on things which actually matter or makes this journey interesting.
Our medical education system is something that our education ministry needs to work on thoughtfully, to make an environment that is not only healthy for students but also at the same time self-sustaining, progressive and is open to a new world. Something that makes it quite interesting, something that one can actually look upon to follow as a passion and not merely a degree that fulfils one’s desire of a ‘set’ life.