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Tuesday, November 29, 2022


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a hidden story with message

Mah Rukh Ikram

Over 65,000 candidates and only 3500 seats – this scenario is of a race during which many met accidents but in the heart-stream of our own nation, these are our medical students!

With the passage of time the number of students appearing in the so called standard medical entrance exam, MDCAT has increased tremendously along with a dramatic increase of coaching academies and a flourishing business of many. Similar exams are conducted by all provinces of Pakistan to make the admissions purely on merit.

Strictness is of very high grade in all levels of this test. Ironically the beauty of this test is that along with making an admission process transparent, it is producing almost 25000 psychiatry patients every year. This approximation is made on the basis, that among the 65000 candidates attempting this test, almost 50% are those which are really serious about it while the other 50% includes those who have spent almost 18 years of their lives dreaming outwardly to become doctors and inwardly of becoming something else!

So far, among the left over 32500 students almost 3500 are qualified and the remaining poor souls either go for some other field dis-heartedly or may join some other businesses, and  among that lot of 32500, nearly 25000 students go on giving this agony another chance!

Why I have been so rude about writing this all?—the reason behind is my own aching experience of getting attempted this test for 3 times! Yes three times. That day, the tropical sun was shining over the huge crowd of candidates, it was a scene like something was really going to be distributed for free and all of us were standing in front of a huge hall door waiting for the door to be opened for us to enter the examination hall at 7:00 am, on the day of 27th August 2017.

The weather, I repeat, was real hot but the hotness of the weather was not more painful than the miserable state of the eyes of parents standing with their candidate students, the children too had a sense of complete enigma in their eyes, as they were really confused about what would be happening there inside. I was also standing there in between that gigantic crowd and was really relax and satisfied with the preparation I had done, and was enjoying all the dilemma around me, when all of a sudden that pretended royal door opened and the students rushed into that horrible building; like the water flows when some water filled balloon is pinched from some end and the water is splashed out from there.

As a matter of fact, I went along with the students, all of whom were saying good bye to their anxious parents with a hope to return successfully. Finally they made us sit and waiting for the papers to be distributed I looked around, all around me was a scene of despair and horror— an illuminatingly horrible sorrow, with a slight tinge of rare hopefulness in eyes of the students. I myself at that moment was really confused and a little terrified by the stolid looking invigilators and their inhuman behavior and all of the sudden I felt like something was really flowing inside my brain, maybe some sort of vein had been busted due to over pressurizing of my brain. They then distributed the papers and I, with all possible measures to control myself accumulated the required knowledge to make that exam a wonderful one, but due to the bad luck or maybe some other reason that paper was real tough for me.

This all was happening to me for the first time in life and may be with many of us attempting that paper, although I had been scoring good marks through-out my educational journey. Although the overall result was not well, that day was the first most painful day of my life when I got to have the most terrible result of mine.

That air, I had never breathed earlier, the steps of sorrow that I had never taken earlier, that wave of grief all along the corridor of my home and I was walking in through there with a great feel of guilt inside me. The result, the day, the grief was somehow past, but it left a great mark on my life that was totally unpredictable.

My family forced me to attempt it again the next year. My depression and a buried disease of some maverick sort got to grow in me. I resisted, but failed, ultimately that resistance started to propagate inside me like some auto-immune disease; destroying my own feelings and making me an insensible sort of person.

All the repeater sessions I attended were apparently energetic and ambitious, but in fact, at the end of every day I used to sit and cry, because there was a deep sense of opposition in me that I was going in an opposite direction as I was meant to go by Nature. That feel ultimately resulted in an unknowingly and unexpected defeat that I apparently forgot within 2 hours of continuous weeping but, in fact that was buried deep inside me somewhere.

I ultimately got to the place I was meant for, that was my life, my Dept. Of Microbiology and Molecular genetics, but still people even my own family ridicules me in their eyes because I may not be able to wear the white coat and be scientist instead; in fact teaching those doctors in white coat. This all ended up in a depressed me! A medicine dependent me!

Every victim of this pseudo-socio-educational torture may not be able to speak out his own story like me. In fact the real purpose of me to write this all was the cause that there is a sophisticated massacre being done with our youth. We need to educate the parents and tell them that they should not channelize their children erroneously; against their natural tendencies.

Second purpose of this article is simply to increase the awareness about this so called crystallizing examination trend in Pakistan in which parents are pouring their treasures along with their dearest children, that in turn is producing more than 25000 psychotic patients like me! Mostly 60% students who repeat every year usually face this problem and unknowingly become a victim of this and their own capabilities are diminished due to the defeat they face. It seems to me like they are running a lost race! That is, from the beginning, a complete defeat for 62 thousand candidates every year!

Parents should work hard for the development of their children on the lines drawn by Nature to make every individual a wonderful individual of this country. It is not a matter of embarrassment if your child wants to be a painter or a singer. Parents, the most dearly of all, should become the dearest of all in channelizing the talent of their children correctly!

The writer is student at Microbiology and Molecular Genetics Department, University of the Punjab, Lahore. She can be reached at: mahrukhikram74@gmail.com

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