KATHMANDU, April 28: It’s definitely not easy being a medical student. Sleepless nights, stress, studying for several hours confined in one room, having no social life, and learning as you practice on the spot through internships; life of a medical student is not exactly as honky-dory as one would want their college life to be.
However, with much enthusiasm, several students apply for medical schools every year hoping to change and save the lives of many.
Republica caught up with four such medical students, Amrit Paudel, 24; Nilarun Choudhary, 24; Ishani De, 24; and Poonam Raut, 23; of Institute of Medicine (IOM) of Tribhuvan University to talk about their life.
How do you feel when you are confined into a room studying while others are having fun?
Ishani: Initially it is difficult but when I knew I was getting into and that I was going to touch a lot of people’s lives. It’s not that we don’t have much of a social life at all, we do have. Seeing pictures of my friends having fun and their status’ did affect me but now I think I haven’t changed my profile picture over a year and it doesn’t matter.
Amrit: It’s not like other subjects and you have to study a lot. You do feel left out while your friends are having fun but you have to set your mind that you are in this and you need to give up your social life but when we get some time out, we do have fun!
Nilarun: They’ve pretty much said everything (laughs), but yeah, I guess you do get used to it.
Poonam: You are there to study and it’s a decision you have made and like Ishani said, I did know this was coming my way.
What are your ideas of fun?
Amrit: We love to eat and sleep! I stay in the hostel and we live, eat and work with the same people and we party during our breaks, inside the premises.
Ishani: First thing I wanted to do after finishing our seven month long exam was to sleep and nothing else. And we can’t say that we want to go out of the city for a trek or something because we are sort of bound with the studies so we need to continue with that.
Nilarun: Besides that, we also go out for movies, parties, read books, sometimes.
What are the disadvantages of being a medical student?
Amrit: The biggest disadvantage is that you become a loner. You live alone, you study on your own and you become a little less social. Your family, then complain that you don’t call or receive their calls.
Ishani: And friends too. They complain that I’m never online and I just tell them that, whenever I’m free, I sleep or read a book, things that I love doing. But yeah, a lot of people complain.
Nilarun: Worst thing is that we don’t get to sleep much and it’s difficult to maintain a regular lifestyle and also, our relationships go haywire with partners, friends, and family.
Amrit: Also, one of the biggest disadvantages is that you’re already old when you graduate (laughs). But then you’re going to be a doctor, so that’s nice.
How do you cope with the pressure?
Amrit: We have seen some students using drugs (medicine) to cope up with the pressure and I think medical students are the largest consumer of alcohol, cigarette and drugs, which is really sad.
Nilarun: I’ve seen some people over dose too to cope up with the stress. Some faint during the exams because of anxiety. Also, when you’re young, you don’t know when to stop and you over dose on the medicines.
Poonam: I meditate to keep myself calm and cool and I think that’s the best way. Also, I think medical schools should have yoga or meditations centers and also counselors for students.
Ishani: But if visit a counselor, people and even your own peers will talk about it. It’s like a social taboo visiting a psychologist or a counselor, which is really sad.
How do you manage your budget?
Ishani: Kathmandu is an expensive city if you really look at it. We save during our exams and splurge it later.
Nilarun: Yeah, I think that’s pretty much it. And since you’re living off your parent’s money, you have no way out. Canteens are cheaper in the hostel but then we can’t save much.
Suggestions you would like to make to your University.
Nilarun: I think TU should have a proper academic calendar and actually follow it. The implementation is never according to the calendar. If we have that, it’s easier for the University and the students.
Poonam: All I can think of at the moment is that we should have counselors. That would be really helpful.