Government Medical College Chandigarh Old Students Association






Charanjeet Singh ('99)

Pathology Resident, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

(Posted 03/09)

After living through the years of BDC, HM and PSM, we all live through the phase of “what next?” I was no exception to the rule and for me the major decision was between, “go with the flow” or “halt and decide”. The decision between India and abroad is secondary to one’s academic or other aspirations.


If you read this, don’t intend to find a blue print of an algorithm for a dummy. If you read this, intend to step-up the mushkil from “kya karein” to “kaise karein!” And finally, if you still decide to read this, do not intend to “just live” through BDC, HM and PSM make sure you seek answers your dilemmas through those years.


Step 1: Live through with an OPEN mind

Passing an exam is of course the priority! The basic science years, for the better part, are meant to lay the foundation for the clinical years that give the feel of grandiosity and the “warmth of white coat” which made you take up medicine.


The first two years give you a handy exposure of what basic sciences are about and can help you decide if one of those areas can be the foundation to construct your future on. There are “NO” good branches of medicine and there are “NO” bad branches either. All he branches make the tree of medicine complete. Decide the branch that you can nestle. Love the choices made by you, don’t let yourself love the choices that get made for you.


Step 2: Make an informed decision

Walking the ramp is not everything that the models do, the world of glamour asks for more. The moolah and the fame that certain branches offer may not be everything that satisfies your thirst.


While you deal with the clinical years and more so with the internship, try not to be bed mates with your books alone. Give “thinking” a due share of your comforter. Scores aren’t everything after all and you still will end up cramming the night before the exam and scoring the same!! Get up; see the life in the hospital and the requirements of the life from being an “internist” or a “surgeon” or a “gynecologist”. And trust me; the best way you can do this is by being in the department, talking to the patients and your seniors. Make no mistake, you will learn and remember more from your patients than you can from your books.


It’s better to hear criticism from some one if you decided to take up “Anatomy” for your future, than letting your inner self criticize you for taking up “Radiology”, if it was never meant for you! Once you know what's good for you, give your best shot to execute your decision.


Step 3: Take your time (but don’t waste it!)

If at the end of your internship, you still are undecided about what you want to do, give yourself a break. Don’t make decisions in haste. Don’t hesitate from a sabbatical. You are the best judge of your circumstances and limitations and you only can best decide the timeline for yourself. Don’t get perturbed by people moving ahead of you; work hard, for in due course you will find your niche.


Step 4: India or Abroad

Yet another dilemma, and yet another potential reason to get advices and invite criticism. For once, if someone criticizes you for leaving “your” country for a comfortable life or money; ignore them even if that is your reason. Just a fact to counter their arguments: Most of us leave our “villages” and small cities to come to Chandigarh and study, and most of us would have gone to AIIMS, New Delhi had we gotten a chance. It’s human to “wish for more”. And, if someone thinks that you can do the best for your abbey only by being there, let the person live the myth.


But here I also would leave a rider: Do not base your decision to leave your country for the reason of money and comfort alone! At a certain stage you will earn enough by being in India. Moreover, it will take you less time to settle here than it will take you if you decide to move to another country to further your education. And if you were born with a silver spoon, and had maids at your disposal to pick and do your dishes, India might be the place for you. To live happily whether in India or outside, keep a pragmatic vision of what you yearn to achieve by being in the intended position and place.


Some parameters that you may weigh your choices on are quality of life, money, family or academics. It’s again your decision to prioritize and equate the parameters as per your aspirations.


Step 5: Get Set, Go….

Once you have decided on the place and the branch of your choice, try and decide on a back-up option as well. As meticulous we may be in planning, the results of the execution may not always be favorable. Set up your priorities, talk to the people who have achieved what you intend to, and set small term goals for yourself.


At this step again, it would be advisable to be practical. You can achieve only a certain thing in a certain time. Focus on the entrance exam here. Do not kill yourself by trying to read big books and gain knowledge. You could do the aforementioned in your medical school years, but the need of the step is to escalate to your choice with minimum of fuss and maximum output. There are texts and materials which cater to and aim specifically at certain exams, use them!! If you think you will be guilty by not reading the entire text and still scoring well in exam, you probably need to see a psycho-analyst or do your MBBS again to read the entire text.


Be a firm believer of the fact that all you have is “one life” and to make it matter, the easiest and the best way is to follow your heart. This may sound like an evangelical preaching but what’s the harm in following it, if it can work for you!


Have a good time making the best choice for yourselves!




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