Since the last time I logged on here, I got admission in medicine in Pakistan and I am now in my 3rd year.
Today I would just like to share the feelings I have experienced in the last 2 years.
Mostly the reason for coming to Pakistan instead of studying in UK was the ultimate desire to stay with my family when my dad (also a doctor) decided to work in his home country. At that time, although I was excited for the new experience, but also a little nervous. I had no idea the roller coaster ride the last 2 years were going to be! In the first month I stayed in a hostel and was exposed to the horrifying conditions the hostels are still in, in my country. That month was really tough. The idea of university accommodation is so different from UK that unless you see the lack of basic student facilities here, you don’t believe it. However, the greatest advantage of staying in a hostel is making countless friends for life, who are with you in your greatest moments through med school.
Lucky for me, I no longer had to stay in hostel after the first month and shifted to my home. The difficulty though was far from over. From the very small lecture hall with hard and broken benches instead of comfy sofa seats, the lecturer blabbering on for 6 hours with no breaks in btw, to the countless pointless and boring practicals in which we are still dictated to! Medicine is tough in Pakistan, but especially in our college. The complete lack of support from any teacher in case you encounter a problem and the constant wondering of how your problem will be solved instead of having the comfort of talking to a teacher and clarifying your doubts. In addition, our college is an all-girl’s college, which to me seems very pointless and makes the atmosphere lack the diversity it should have in order to become a well-rounded future doctor.
On the first day of hostel, there is no such thing as ‘mental toughness’ and everybody breaks down crying, while seniors who are now well-adjusted and happy comfort us with soft words of a bright future.
But with all the negative shades, I found plenty of golden opportunities. Some of these while abroad may come in the scope of ‘lack of ethics’ but give you as a student, an open opportunity for learning. I am talking about the plentiful bodies of humans (not necessarily donated) upon which we dissect throughout the year. When the dissection months are over, all the limbs are separated and preserved. Anyone can freely walk into Dissection Hall and ask a helper to get the limb out. Then there are the spotting days in which you have to identify the feature pinpointed on the limb in exactly a minute, with 10 spots in total. This is THE dreaded day second to the VIVA days in which students are freely questioned on the limbs and specimens. The day before any viva or spotting day, the Dissection Hall is crowded with all 50 shades of students; the ID experts, the wannabes, the hopeless that come in the hope of understanding a word or two from all the knowledgeable heads on the last day, speeding from table to table trying to atleast see what every specimen looks like.
You get the idea. It is a fantastic opportunity which even if available in UK schools might not be as freely available for students on any given time like it is in our college.
Pakistan is a different place, a different culture, but has its own wonderful and unique opportunities for those who seek. Above all, never have I seen in my whole life students as dedicated, hardworking and committed 24/7 to studying. Studying in Pakistan requires a mental rigour and while learning here, you as a student develop a ‘tough shell’ which is much needed for becoming a good doctor who can withstand the pressures of every day life.
Overall, I have found it a humbling experience so far and look forward to the new chapter of 3rd year that I am currently experiencing. There is a lot more I want to say, but thought of starting with a few things I had in mind about medicine in Pakistan for my first blogpost after ages.
Let me know what you think!