The problem with the Indian Medical Curriculum is that it is too intense, as it should be, no complaints there, but it offers no leeway to people who want to test out the waters in the fields like medical student research or public health or other associated streams not directly fed by the MBBS course curriculum.
Take for example, the dilemma of my friend, who is in the First Year of Medical School at a big and renowned hospital, about 1000 km away from my place. He writes to me asking for some motivating mantra because although he wants to do some student-level research, he is coming up against one obstacle after the other. Now this is just pathetic.
Another example is from my life. Me and another friend, a couple of years below me in the chronological order, were selected to attend the very prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Science Research summer scholarship which promised to place the handful of qualified students into big research institutes. Unfortunately for us, it required us to move away from the college for a period of 60 days. When I went to the Dean with my letter of acceptance, he LOLed out so hard as if I was making a bad joke. He let me off saying I could go if I wanted to, but if my attendance was below 75%, he would not let me take the final exams. Now since we do not have ANY summer or winter or for that matter any kind of vacation which is more than 15 continuous days (durga puja holidays), I could not risk it.
I now hear that JNCASR has closed doors for the MBBS students.
Anyways. Typically, a first year MBBS student joins medical school in August in India and is expected to take the First Professional MBBS exam sometime around May-June next year. So that is about 10 months’ time. Take out the first month because getting acclimatized to the razzmatazz of college life kind of gets you down (unless you are a gunner of the worst kind).Besides, since most of the med students come in to medical schools following the clearing of an intense entrance examination, for which they have to prepare for 2 or more years with intense integrity. So naturally, once one gets into college, a bit of a release phenomenon hits in, and the first couple of months often whoosh by without realizing.
So, effectively, the average first year medical student has about 8 months to take two semester exams, one end of the year professional biggie, attend AT LEAST 75% classes, most of which are rotten anyways, has to cross the hurdle called ANATOMY. And then, and only then, if they get a chance, they try their hands at medical student research.
So the first year problem statement is:
How to balance studies, social life and college pressure and then find some more time to dabble in medical student research?
I am going to wrack my brains and come up with some easy-to-implement strategies to balance the two in my next post, and in the meanwhile, if YOU know of any good ways to hit the balance, let me know in the comments or if you want it to be private between you, me (and the entire of Google), send me an email at: