This article is edited and compiled by Vaibhavi Kodnani.
The Checkup Magazine reached out to doctors and medical students and asked all of them one question, “What is your take from 2021 in terms of your professional life?”. They summarised their observations, experiences, and learnings from their medical professional and student life. It is always good to reflect on life. But, it’s even better to share our experiences with others so that each one can learn a thing or two from each other before walking into the New Year 2022.
1. Dr Nikhita Gune
Dr Nikhita Gune is a pediatric dentist at NH SRCC Children’s Hospital and a consultant at various private clinics across Mumbai.
Dr Nikhita Gune
As a young health professional, 2021 was the year that taught me the importance of ‘active waiting’. The subsequent lockdowns meant that clinical practice ebbed in certain months and thrived in others. I began using my free time to brush on auxiliary skills in healthcare such as planning and executing research projects. At the same time, I found time to explore passion hobbies such as reading, participating in some art workshops etc. No matter which field you are in, there will be times you will be constrained from moving in the direction you want; at such times, I have learnt to be patient without frittering away my time.
2. Dr Yentl Gamiet
Dr Yentl Gamiet is a paediatric surgeon from South Africa.
Dr Yentl Gamiet (rightmost)
I write this in bed with Omicron.
One’s first year as a specialist in an academic institution can be unnerving. When you know that there is a sliver of paper that separates you from the people you are supposed to be leading, it brings the imposter syndrome to the fore.
2021 was a year of skills growth – where the trainees brought me sustenance and support while I healed from the battlefield of surgical training. 2021 was a year where I was intentionally mentored and moulded, and the result is invaluable levels of confidence and trust.
3. Dr Nisheeta Patnaik
Dr Nisheeta Patnaik is an MBBS and M.S. in Ophthalmology from AIIMS. She is a Clinical Fellow at the Department of Paediatric Ophthalmology and Adult Strabismus in Aravind Eye Institute, Madurai.
Dr Nisheeta Patnaik
Twenty twenty-one – the year of endurance. The year of the Ox had a hurricane of changes. Moving to a high volume institute in a place deeply enriched in its culture and language made me realise I had more fortitude than I could have ever imagined.
I want to think I developed a sense of calm in the storm – a trait my mentors have inspired me over the years. 2021, as difficult as it has been, will go down as the year of my exponential professional growth.
4. Dr Mrunal Ajane
Dr Mrunal Ajane is a consultant Ayurveda Physician from Nagpur, India.
Dr Mrunal Ajane
As the year is about to end, here are some of my learnings and observations from 2021!
- My mentor taught me an important lesson this year. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; its function is to flow without obstruction. So when we post anything on social media, we are like a conductor and whatever we post radiates our energy. Decide how you want your presence on social media – positive or negative.
- Upgrade and change yourself in every phase of life because change is the only constant.
- Accept every challenge. Do not say no, and do not hesitate to take risks. The bigger the risks, the bigger the outcome.
- Get out of your comfort zone. Until and unless you do that, your growth will remain restricted to some extent.
- Listen to everyone but in the end, make your own decisions wisely. You can ask yourself the 5-Wh questions to get some direction.
- It’s not about who wants you, but it is about who respects and values you!
- Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas: Learn to work in a team, and you will achieve your biggest goals.
- If you want to last long, find your interests and work along with that direction.
- You can achieve anything; believe in yourself and dream big!
- Overcome your phobias.
- Never stop learning.
- Adopt the Ayurveda lifestyle and live your life happily.
5. Dr Roomy Singla
Vaidya Roomy Singla is an Ayurvedic doctor from Haryana.
I am sharing some of my experiences from 2021 with the hope to help medical students. 2021, however difficult it may have been, will play a crucial role in my life as I graduate and enter the real world. After this transition, I understood that college life and work-life are different phases in our life. In college, everything is dream-like, and we await to get our degree in hand and add the prefix Dr to our names. After years of enjoyment and entertainment along with our studies, suddenly working full-time without time to relax becomes tough to balance. Our large group of friends in college diminish into just a few. It tells us that nothing is constant. Having a good relationship with your seniors can prove helpful later on.
Apart from this, I also learnt:
- Read religious books daily.
- Read Sushruta Samhita every day.
- Follow the basic principles of Ayurved in your life before suggesting them to your patients.
- Listen to everyone’s views, whether young or old.
- Utilise every single second.
- Make a timetable to manage your work.
- Proper diet and sleep are most important.
- Hard work and smart work – both are necessary.
- Believe in yourself, don’t bother about people who put you down.
Lastly, do not wait to finish your studies to think about your goals. Start working on your targets on the day you think about them. Do constant hard work and never lose hope.
Remember this quote, “Take that risk in your life; if you win, you can lead; if you lose, you can guide.”
6. Dr Kadiyala Tapasvi
Dr Kadiyala Tapasvi is an MBBS graduate from Dr Pinnamaneni Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Foundation, awaiting his PG Counselling.
Dr Kadiyala Tapasvi
Lightheaded and nauseous with tight straps burrowing into the skin, making it even harder to breathe. The beauty of the situation is a scared, breathless, helpless doctor consoling a patient about a similar state he is facing. The world around me was nothing like I had ever seen before. It was like a war against a powerful and unknown enemy with no ammunition. The plight of the situation was nothing less than a massacre, but still, there was hope, and that gave us great weapons to win the war, and we succeeded to a great extent.
But still, the enemies are around. We should be careful and prevent the war itself!
7. Anusha Prabhu
Anusha Prabhu is a final year MBBS student from MGM Medical College, Navi Mumbai.
Anusha Prabhu (centre)
For the longest time, I believed that you could only feel inspired from eyeing the future we manifest in our dreams, which in my case, would be seeing myself as a doctor.
But when 2021 presented a whirlwind of professional and emotional challenges, I kept going back to the past for comfort. I got reminded of the children we once were, with weapons of love and hope, ready to change the world.
They say one mustn’t dwell too much in the past, for it might someday derail you. But little do they know how inspiring our past times have the power to be. Unknowingly, 2021 taught me to rekindle the lost hope, turn it into a driving force and thus make my roots – my strength and guiding light.
8. Shreya Dave
Shreya Dave is a final year MBBS student from Vedantaa Institute of Medical Sciences, Dahanu.
In the second half of 2021, everything felt back to normal at the med school, as we could experience clinics again after almost a whole year of lockdown. This year I learnt patients heal with compassion and the assuring words of the doctor. There were incidents where I saw the placebo effect work so well on the patients – it was remarkable. After 2020, this year made me value every experience and have gratitude. I learnt to be out there with the people and for the people.
9. Praneet Gill
Praneet Gill is a final year MBBS from Government Medical College, Patiala
With the arrival of 2021, we entered the Final Year, probably the toughest of all four years of MBBS. Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 was majorly spent at home, and we had little to no clinical exposure during our Final Year.
So, 2021 was our only shot at getting some UG clinical exposure, and we did. We shuffled in different departments, and the daily clinical duties and OT posting made the studies more enjoyable. Now we were applying our theoretical knowledge in practice while we took patients’ history and attempted to diagnose. At most times, we knew the diagnosis beforehand.
At first, taking a patient history and physical examination seemed like any other task. Also, because we knew the diagnosis, it used to be very biased. I would go through all the points written in the book without reaching any conclusion.
But eventually, it started to feel more like art, and we learnt many things that no theory class could ever teach us. In a gist, we learnt how to interact with patients, win their trust, make them feel comfortable and at ease physically and mentally, and examine them with the appropriate techniques.
And above all, it taught us how a doctor is more than just a person prescribing medications to the patient. The year is about to end in another 3-4 days. To sum up, it has been a very positive experience.
Now, getting through the profs’ exams and sailing through the internship into the next phase of life is all that is left.
10. Aachal Sontakke
Aachal Sontakke is a third-year student from Shree Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Nagpur.
Here’s what I learnt in 2021:
- We have to learn to live with COVID-19, i.e. upgrade ourselves just as it does.
- Keep yourself and your family health insured because you never know when you may need it. Life is uncertain.
- Invest money from the earliest age possible, when the older you will thank yourself for developing that practice.
- Take advantage of globalisation and get along with the growing technology to find your place in this competitive world.
- The most important thing I learnt is to have foresight. What do you wish to pursue after your studies?; Where do you see yourself?; What is your idea of success? Can today change that visualisation for tomorrow? Definitely! So, work for tomorrow! Keep yourself ready for that one day so that you don’t end up asking yourself, “What now?”.
- Make quarterly goals, yearly targets and achieve them. There’s no simpler mantra than this to be successful!
11. Minal Dange
Minal Dange is a third-year MBBS student from Seth G.S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
The second wave of covid was the scariest time ever with all the deaths around, young children becoming orphans – it changed everyone’s life forever.
I am grateful that my family was healthy, and we were together. Amidst all this, we had our second-year MBBS offline exams. The rising cases, the deaths, the fear of getting infected while staying in the hostel, and the fear that a year will go to waste if I fail the university exams. All of this and the constant delay of the decision about exams and the lockdown made everyone anxious, uneasy and stressed out.
But now, after things are stabilising, our life as medical students has started again. There is a setback in learning clinical skills due to lockdown and online learning. Even though I felt I had a lot of time to read at home, only theoretical knowledge is not helpful. But I figured there are a few things by which one can bring clinics at home – reading books, internet research, and presentations to get a visual understanding. Watching online videos also helps to learn the procedure. Watching animated videos helps in a better understanding of the subject.
At first, I used to doubt myself. There is so much to study; how will I finish the entire portion? But slowly, I accepted the fact that there is an ocean of syllabus in the medical field. So instead of constantly thinking about how I will do it and wasting time, I have decided to accept it and get to it.
Another learning is that eating healthy food, fruits, vegetables, and moderate exercise every day is necessary. Never compromise on these. Sleep well so that your body and mind function properly. And most importantly, as much as you take care of your physical health, take care of your mental health as well. Stop, relax, take your break.
Let’s hope that the new year brings a healthy and happy life for all!
12. Sankalp Bhandari
Sankalp Bhandari is a third-year MBBS student from Government Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh
When I read the topic, it seemed easy at a glance. But when I gave it more thought, I understood it was not that easy. We will step into the new year in a matter of a few days, and I have come to realize that the pandemic is simply a reminder for us that life is too short to hold grudges. Secondly, it is not wise to only be busy in your professional life and give less value to your personal life. In my journey as a medical student, I have seen a lot of people losing their loved ones to this pandemic, and at the same time, a lot of people coming closer to their loved ones. But the most important thing I learnt was that as medical professionals, we are always under a lot of pressure. Even though I am serving people or studying to become skilled enough to do that, still I need to take care of my mental health. After witnessing the current scenario of NEET PG Counseling and the way doctors are being treated by the government, it seems that even if you are a great professional and an asset to your Nation, there can be times when you are not respected and taken for granted.
Anyhow, this also made me realize that the world might be against you, but you still have to be kind and dedicated to your work and stand against atrocities fearlessly. No amount of wrong should ever make you give up your empathy and dedication as a Healthcare worker. It’s my take from the great saying – “With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.”
Being a doctor gives us a lot of power, and in any situation, it remains our responsibility to serve people, but we need to fight for our rights when needed. So, the only thing I’d say that I’ve learned from all this is to be Myself and be dedicated to my work, no matter what happens in my personal or professional life. Also, another takeaway is that I need to look after my health before anyone else. 2021 has been one roller coaster year both personally and professionally for me.
13. Yash Kamat
Yash Kamat is a third-year MBBS student from Seth G.S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
2020-21 has been one continuous year for most people, considering the lockdowns and the accompanying panic. All the uncertainty and chaos outside reinforced the concept of planning and organizing within. I learnt scheduling and time management for my roles and responsibilities, be it for studies, work or even “me time”. I’ve found it helpful to have a schedule and daily goals to make life productive and streamlined. To anyone looking for a fresh start in 2022, I would recommend ‘Make Time’ – a short book of tips and tricks to get away from the rush of the modern lifestyle and slow down and orient towards achieving your milestones! I wish everyone a happy 2022!
14. Keerthana Chunduru
Keerthana Chunduru is a second-year MBBS student from Andhra Medical College, Visakhapatnam.
2021, the year of firsts and new challenges. My first university exams, first postings, first patient interactions and whatnot. It is a year of mixed emotions, both academically and personally. The level of excitement I felt while wearing the stethoscope for the first time was unmatched. The year will always remain special due to the memories and experiences that I will carry for the rest of my life.
This year made me reflect on many aspects that immensely changed my perceptions of many things. It just gave a make-over to my thought process and showed that even the tiniest things have a crucial effect on us.
And I would finally say that this journey had inspired me to be better and do better so that tomorrow’s me never regrets today’s me!
15. Akanksha Yadav
Akanksha Yadav is a first-year MBBS student from Seth G.S Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai.
The first year in medical school was somewhat like a trailer of the forthcoming years. It brought along some fun and gloomy days, wherein I strived to get past the passing marks.
Entering into the dissection hall is every aspiring medical student’s fantasy, and so was mine. Almost every day had its jaw-dropping moments. From pricking fingers to draping white coats and stethoscopes to being a part of the exciting college events to meeting the talented crowd to stressing out and preparing for exams, I would say it was one hell of a journey.
All in all, I can say that we have to go with the flow and try not to stress out on things that are not under our control. Every person we cross our path with will come with their own set of unique abilities, dreams and talents that can teach us many things. So, we should try making the best out of the people around us and grow together towards a better future!
It’s A Wrap!
The Checkup Magazine wishes everyone a Happy New Year! Thank you to all those who participated in this community post!
We learnt a lot and hope everyone reading this post has something to take back!
TheCheckup would like to thank Vaibhavi Kodnani for curating and compiling this wonderful community post!
Featured Image credit: Vaibhavi Kodnani