This is an ‘advice’ piece I wrote for the students of Jubilee Mission Medical College, for their magazine:
When your Editor and my good friend Harsha Annie Mathew asked me to write something inspirational for young doctors and medical students I was flabbergasted. That is because I consider myself a young doctor. So the suggestion that I was an old geezer capable of giving serious advice came as a shock. That is probably because I seemed to have completed my training only yesterday. And I became proficient enough in my chosen specialty and confident that I can survive on my own merit only in the last few hours. I mean, that is what it feels like.
That is one big advantage to our profession. You are simply not allowed to grow old till you have completed your training. In our profession we can continue that thing well into our forties and fifties. You can jump the enclosure of the ladies hostel at two in the morning fortified with a generous dose of alcohol and try to meet your area of interest (or the men’s hostel if you are a girl). You can compose lewd and dirty songs in the tune of popular songs and sing them at the top of your voice, dancing through the night in front of the college library. You can try new and improved aerodynamic versions of paper arrows and use your favourite teacher for target practice. I have done all that (though in the last 12 or so years, only in my imagination- my wife wouldn’t let me. Neither would my daughters).
So though my scalp has a bald patch as big as four petri dishes put together, I consider myself one of the boys. And lately I have to use a reading glass for the fine print, I cant make out why. But the baldness was already there during my Med school days. Did you know that male medical students have six times the incidence of severe premature baldness than the general population? Female medical students look, on an average, 6 years older than a group of girls of comparable age, a Newzealand study has shown. It is the stress, I suppose.
But since I was asked, I will give you some advice.
- You should realise that there is a lot of money in this profession. Other people might say otherwise- don’t believe them. It is only that it is a terribly inefficient way of making money. If making money is your primary objective, do it in some other way. Don’t worry, you can start at 24. If you start now, you can easily learn how to make money in 10 years. If on the other hand you spend those 10 years learning how to do arthroscopic meniscus repair or telerobotic oropharyngeal surgery, you will learn only that, not how to make money.
- There is a lot of respect for this profession. Again many people will tell you that it is not there in this age and all that. It is not true. You will get a lot of respect, if you are respectable.
There is one more thing that I will tell you in the end.
I have written two books – The stethoscope and the scalpel, and
Blood, Sweat and… Cheers!
Both books are available in Amazon.in and other online sites. Please read them. You may find them interesting. Please give me your comments, abuses etc to [email protected].
Ah- and this is the one more thing I want to tell you. Didn’t I mention that male medical students are balder and the female ones look older? It is not true. I made that up. So, enjoy your courses and your life. 😉