Medicine in Pakistan

Hello there!

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!

2 thoughts on “Medicine in Pakistan

  1. wow that’s certainly interesting – my parents are from Pakistan too so I’ve been brought up that way so I can definitely say it’s an exciting culture! But I agree, in terms of education, the facilities are really lacking. When I visited Pakistan this year, I visited my cousin’s college/sixth form and found that all the lessons were lacking excitement, they were boring and tedious lectures in one room. There were no class activities or group discussions, and the teacher didn’t bother going around asking the girls to make sure they were ok and understood it all. Does your university also follow a similar traditional approach? I think Pakistan needs to open a bit more, introduce new and interesting ways to learn – and know that life isn’t all about studying! Over here in the UK, there’s societies and clubs to get involved in, but I find over there all they do is study which can be quite stressful mentally…though I agree Pakistanis are very hard working, resulting in a (well, almost) successful workforce! So do you regret not studying in the UK, or are glad you went there?

    • I am really very sorry for the late reply. Our 3rd year classes have just started today. The academic year starts differently in Pakistan. Nice to know you are also from here. Definitely you are right about the facilities and the lack of energy and vigour in the classroom. While I was in UK I used to be genuinely excited for some classes, although my list of complaints was still long. 🙂 Although here I lacked that excitement in 1st 2 years, but now I am in 3rd year and starting clinical side, I feel this aspect changing due to the nature of medical field (since you start interaction with patients).

      We do have our share of activities and events as well as societies, but they are not as diverse as the societies in UK although you could start one if you wanted to. I think all the other things I found to be ok in Pakistan, except for the fact that if a student encounters a problem of any kind, then the teachers are not fully equipped to deal with the student or the problem. But if you are ok in studies and in other areas, then life here gets better with time. Generally, I have found it a humbling experience and a great learning opportunity which I personally think I am better as a person having taken this opportunity. Everyone has their journey and seperate recipe of success and my stay in Pakistan will contribute to mine because I have learnt a lot.

      The only tragic thing is that such hard workers but almost all the cream of the students go abroad. I recently read an article stating Pakistan supplies 33% IMGs to US. I am not saying that one should not go abroad but due to the lack of facilities in Pakistan, many never come back while the common people here are in desperate need of good doctors

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