One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a foreign medical student is, why did you decide to come to India for medical school? Couldn’t you have just done it in America?
Studying medicine abroad was a decision I made solely by myself, which my parents luckily supported. I was actually ready to be a freshman at SLU, and had my roommates picked out and everything! I had also attended the freshman orientation with my dad and stayed overnight on campus more than once. Everything was finalized, and we decided I would visit India that summer before freshman year to see family before I presumably would get too busy to visit again.
I had known about the education system in India, how you basically join your graduate school of choice (whether it be medicine, engineering, etc) directly after your high school. When I saw one of my friends in India go through picking her graduate school and deciding to study Biotechnology, it just hit me. I could be studying medicine as soon as next year, instead of having to go through 4 years of loans and undergraduate college before medical school in America! I realized there were several financial advantages, I could reconnect with my family, get closer to my culture, be exposed to the healthcare system in a different country, and the language wasn’t a problem because I had somehow picked it up throughout my childhood. The advantages weighed over the disadvantages, and after I opened up to my parents, they completely supported me! I prepared for the entrance exam and got into a medical school in the same city where my relatives were. I still remember feeling like the first day of medical school was a dream, because I so easily could have been starting my freshman year of college in the US.
Do I regret my decision of moving to India to study medicine?
The answer to that is a hard no. I think studying medicine in India was one of the best decisions I could’ve made in my entire life! I am the person I am today because of the experiences that shaped me in India. It’s definitely not been rainbows and sunshine: my health suffered a LOT especially in the initial years, the homesickness and loneliness were real, there was plenty of judgement by my peers and professors, the culture shock was insane, and so on. However, I met some of the most amazing people during medical school and learned to be independent. I truly believe that the experiences and interactions I’ve had with patients while being exposed to the healthcare system in India is going to make me a better and well-rounded doctor. Studying in India has also helped me realize both the importance of and my passion for global health, health disparities, and access to care.
Moving to India and starting school in a place where I didn’t know anyone really scared me. My brain was scattered, but I knew I wanted to excel and had high hopes for myself. I remember back in high school I would see pictures of pretty planners and journals and save them on my phone, not really sure of why I was attracted to it. During the first week of medical school, I was drawn back to those pictures and discovered an entire wholesome community on Instagram about bullet journaling. If you don’t know what a bullet journal is, it’s basically a planner, diary, tracker, and written meditation all streamlined into furthering your productivity and discipline. It’s very personalized, and each bullet journal is different. I was quite scared to start mine and definitely failed to keep up with it in the beginning. However, now I can’t live without it! It keeps me and my scattered brain on track, helps me stay aware of my habits, and constantly keeps me motivated! While I’m not a great artist, I do enjoy being creative, so bullet journaling helps me incorporate that creativity in my spreads. There were days when the only thing that kept me studying was being able to tick a checkbox or mark my study tracker.
After consistently keeping up with my bullet journal and seeing other Instagram pages do the same, I became inspired to start my own page. Sharing my journal got many people interested in my background and what I did as a student, and I began to share bits of my life with my followers! It’s now just such a great community, everyone is so nice and supportive of each other, and I have met some of the most amazing people and learned so much from others through my page!
I get asked a lot about where I study, and why I don’t show my face, etc. I choose to keep that private for several reasons. I do plan to apply to residency programs in the US for my future studies, which is an incredibly competitive process. Some program directors may see my page as a positive aspect of my application, but I think there would be some who would approach it with negativity and judgement. The term “influencer” nowadays is associated with a lot of negative connotations, and I’d like to be as professional as possible going forward. I’d also like to think that the reason people follow me is for my content, the motivation I give others to work harder and achieve their goals, and the inspiration to stay disciplined and keep moving forward.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and gained some insight into studying medicine abroad and bullet journaling! If you have any questions please feel free to send me a dm on Instagram!