How I came to US of A?

I moved to US 4.5 years ago on a visa to do masters degree in environmental safety and health management, (kind of unrelated to medicine). The motivation to do master’s, to be frank, is to get a visa to enter US, and then take my medical licensing exams eventually. My parents, from their experience of trying to move to US and failing, thought that getting a visa is the hardest part. So, when I told them about the route, (masters,) a couple of seniors at my school are taking to go to US they thought it’s the best way. It seemed like a perfect plan. I could get the visa and get a masters degree while I am studying for my medical license exams. That was until I came here and realized that it’s really tough to do masters and study for my test at the same time.

Initially, the plan was not to concentrate too much on the masters. In my first semester I had disaster management. I was so intrigued by the American disaster preparedness, (which does not exist in India,) that I wanted to know more and more. I enjoyed the subject I was reading and got completely sucked up into the whirlpool of masters. Accounting and environmental law were like comfort foods for me. My professors were so amazed by my competence, especially because I am a doctor and did not have any environmental background.  They told me I could be anything I want. I surprised myself because the last time I had math was in 10th grade.  It was like I was born with the knowledge of accounting. Something like this happened with me when I was in medical school too with pharmacology, surgery, and obstetrics, but then I thought that was because I was born in to it. Growing up there was a lot of medical discussions at home.   All this really stimulated my nucleus accumbens, (that’s the addiction center,) in the brain and got me addicted to doing masters. My addiction with the courses, having professors that encouraged me, and not having a proper time schedule for my license exams  pushed my medical career to the back seat.

My parents were happy that I was doing great with my masters, but they were worried about my medical career. They asked me several times if I was considering seriously changing careers and my answer was always a “no”. They were not able to understand why I was doing what I was doing if I did not want to pursue it seriously.  The answer to that is I think I felt my master’s courses as an excuse to avoid the reality. Like I said before I wanted to be a surgeon but the truth is it’s very difficult for non- US citizens to get into surgery residency. In my case that’s where my heart is, I could not see myself as a physician. I was depressed that I might never realize my dream.    There were times when I got really frustrated. I was studying accounting or environmental regulations on one hand and cell biology or human physiology on the other. At times I caught myself studying the same line “cell is a bi layered structure” like ten times. My brain was lost coping with two different worlds. I thought I lost the fight even before entering the battlefield. (Info. on what I have to do to become a doctor in US will be in one of my next posts). So, I postponed my medical license test till I was finished with my masters.

In retrospect, I think it was a big mistake for me to ever get into a master’s program, but I will not deny there is definitely some good that came out of it. I met my “D” only because my school is in his town. I got to know a lot about America even before I met “D”.  Compared to my peers, I have a good grip on English and an easier time dealing with American patients. This helped me with one of my medical license test where I have to interact with patients. So we never know why something happens in our life.

-R.

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