Getting admitted to medical school was seen as the pinnacle of academic excellence in our society up until a few years ago. But with parents and guardians becoming aware of different and more lucrative fields too, now you don't get to see as much vehement opposition from them on opting for engineering or business administration instead. But let’s just forget about this new change for a while and go back to the romance with medicine era.
One of the most common reactions of acquaintances finding out about your getting into medical school: “Mashallah! At least he is on the right path now. No more hurdles from here onwards, Thank God! In five years he will surely be the most eligible bachelor around.”
To get that ‘Dr’ knighthood the duration can also be four years if you opted for dentistry, that is.
It is also believed that doctors strike it rich. You don’t just stumble upon a fortune by becoming a doctor. Your features also remain pretty normal. In most cases, you look just like you used to before this magnanimous triumph of yours of getting into medical school. If anything you may lose some grass from the head which can be frowned upon at best. So why the romance with the profession?
One who helps relieve pain or suffering is usually always looked up to with respect. People see doctors as doing God’s work by nursing people back to health. Hence the reverence. After all, what better way to serve God than to serve your fellowmen? With this image pasted in our heads becoming a doctor marks out as the noblest achievement in someone's life in this country. The white lab coats are seen as the garbs of angels.
Parents play a major role in this romance so much so that they torment their children, especially those who are clearly not cut for medicine any who can’t make it to a medical college. Medicine can be so boring and unattractive to a young mind that may see itself doing something daring or outright genius. So parents trying their best to push their children into medicine and the children rebelling is like a tug of war, which is quite common in this scenario.
Getting into medical school is actually the first step. Henceforth begins the long sleepless hours of study, the hefty tuition fees, etc. Medicine is not easy. We are studying about humans. This is one of the most archaic professions. Hence it is only logical that the written content on the subject would be most meticulous. More crushing than the content is the sheer volume of it. The problem at hand as a consequence is mostly not concerned with how to learn but with how to keep it in the cranium. After all the brain with all its extraordinary qualities can also take only so much.
Relentless study hours coupled with little or no sleep makes you look like a barbarian during exam season. Medical jargon is extraordinary, you come across terms that are very difficult to pronounce as well as remember. Learning by heart becomes the only option sometimes. This is where the O and A Level students fall behind and the Matric system ones excel.
The general impression among the masses is that doctors earn enough to afford a rather lavish lifestyle. Well that’s not true either. House job trainees after five years of MBBS, get a mere Rs20,000 a month. That's lower than a contemporary appointed lecturer’s starting pay, which is well over Rs25,000.
One of the reasons why our younger doctors are so bent on going abroad are the lucrative pay cheques they hope to get there.
Still medicine in many ways is a pretty steady field. There aren’t any major hiccups. There is no apprehension of a deal not going well or building design not quite up to the standards or recession in money value, all of which can give you a stroke in other professions. Here all you have to do is to treat the ill the best you can. If they survive, you get a badge on your collar, if they don’t, well, you can always say “It was God’s wish. Maybe his time was up.”You would be never be broke in this profession. It’s one of the few professions which allows you to practice even after your retirement, whereas an accountant or a business administrator’s fortunes do ebb and flow a bit after the age of 60.
The writer is a medical student.