Life and learning at Dr. Chandramma Dayananda Sagar Institute of Medical Education and Research
Name: Vishal KR (MedBound handle :@Vishal KR)
Birth Place: Bangalore, India
Educational Qualification: MBBS from Dr. Chandramma Dayananda Sagar Institute of Medical Education and Research (CDSIMER), Bangalore, India (Admission batch:2020)
Languages you speak or write: English, Tamil, Hindi and Kannada
Let us get some insights into Vishal KR's journey, experiences, and success with Priya Bairagi from MedBound Times.
Hello Vishal, welcome to MedBound Times. Please give a brief introduction about yourself to our readers.
Vishal KR: I'm Vishal, currently in my third year of MBBS at Dr. Chandramma Dayananda Sagar Institute of Medical Education and Research (CDSIMER) in Bangalore. This marks my initial foray into the field of journalism, where I'm acquiring knowledge about crafting news wires and familiarizing myself with other essential materials needed for journalism. Concurrently, I am deeply involved in research, with one paper already published. I am presently engrossed in several case series projects and am actively participating in a conference. Moreover, I have taken up the role of a program coordinator, aiding individuals in composing books on diverse medical literature topics.
Why did you choose MBBS?
Vishal KR: I opted for MBBS because becoming a doctor has been my aspiration since childhood. Being the first in my family to pursue a medical career allows me to provide my family members with a better understanding of diseases and the available treatment options in the market.
What do you learn from this profession or what is the best part of your profession?
Vishal KR: The most rewarding aspect of my profession is the ability to connect with a diverse range of people. Regardless of gender differences, individuals from all walks of life approach me with their trust, sharing their symptoms and concerns. I make every effort to provide them with advice, counseling, and accurate guidance to the best of my abilities.
Tell us something about the campus.
Vishal KR: CDSIMER has held university status for a considerable duration. However, it was in 2018 that it initiated the establishment of a medical institute. I belong to the inaugural batch of CDSIMER College and joined in 2020. Situated on an expansive 140-acre campus with 1,000 beds, the institute sees a daily influx of over 800 patients spanning various departments. Treatment options are rendered free of charge, including medications for a nominal fee. Diagnostic investigations are also conducted at a nominal cost. Surgical procedures and admissions are also conducted without any charges. In terms of academics, the professors they have recruited are of the highest caliber. Many of them have completed their fellowships and attained advanced degrees abroad, bringing a wealth of experience to their respective fields.
What about the practicals?
Vishal KR: Certainly, practical sessions are an integral part of our curriculum. These clinical sessions extend for three hours each day, offering us invaluable hands-on experience. During this time, we are instructed in various skills such as wound dressing, suturing techniques, and proficient history-taking. This enables us to formulate provisional diagnoses and gain insights into different drugs and their mechanisms of action. Moreover, we acquire the knowledge needed to manage patients in emergency scenarios.
The institution actively encourages us to engage in research projects. Whenever we encounter an intriguing case, we compile detailed case reports. We are also instructed on how to approach patients effectively. As each patient presents a unique medical history, the approach differs – whether for pediatric patients, those with diabetes, hypertension, or other conditions. Our instructors guide us through these distinct approaches and provide immediate feedback. This approach ensures that we rectify errors in real-time, preventing the repetition of mistakes during the final practical exams.
Back in 12th grade, my struggles were mostly centered around physics and chemistry. I had difficulty comprehending concepts such as titration and circuits, and my performance in those subjects wasn't strong. On the flip side, when it comes to the hospital environment and clinical practices, I find myself much more comfortable and proficient.
What challenges you encounter during your preparation for NEET?
Vishal KR: The main obstacle I faced was the outbreak of COVID-19. This period coincided with my preparation for the NEET exam. It proved to be both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, the exam was postponed twice, affording me ample time to focus on studying. However, the downside was that by the time it was finally held on September 14th, I had become extremely burned out and frustrated due to the prolonged and repetitive studying.
My performance in mock exams didn't match my expectations, which further dampened my motivation. Despite these challenges, I managed to successfully navigate through NEET. As you mentioned, the competition for NEET is currently fierce, with high cutoffs. Securing a seat in a government college feels like a significant accomplishment considering the intense competition and the hurdles I faced during preparation.
Based on my experiences and observations, individuals tend to excel in biology due to its higher scoring potential. The variation in marks typically arises from the subjects of physics and chemistry. In my perspective, those studying medicine might not possess the same level of physics proficiency as individuals preparing for engineering exams. Consequently, among the top 100 or 200 students, those who perform exceptionally well in both JEE and NEET tend to possess strong physics knowledge. This knowledge plays a crucial role in determining their scores and overall All India ranking.
Moving down the rankings, students may have managed to perform well in biology but might not have demonstrated the same level of excellence in physics. Therefore, my view is that to excel in these exams, individuals should prioritize building a robust foundation in biology and aim to achieve high scores in that subject. While achieving a strong score in physics and chemistry is important, a reasonable performance can still yield a favorable outcome.
What important lessons and strategies did you learn while navigating the challenges of medical college?
Vishal KR: One of the key lessons I've acquired during my time in medical college is to adjust my academic expectations. While I used to consistently achieve high grades, often in the 90s or even securing centums in school, I've come to realize that attaining scores in the range of 50s or 60s during the initial phases of college is perfectly acceptable. Given that I'm the first in my family pursuing a medical career, I lacked someone to offer this perspective.
When I barely passed by a narrow margin, I went through a period of significant distress. However, my professors reassured me that this experience is common in every college. They advised me that as time progresses, I should aim for incremental improvements in my scores, and that the high marks like those achieved in the 12th grade might not be as attainable in medical college.
To navigate this challenging environment, I focused on surviving and honed the skill of identifying essential content in the extensive medical textbooks. Recognizing that covering every single line is impractical, I adopted the art of learning what truly matters. This involved filtering out extraneous information and concentrating on topics highlighted in question banks and previous question papers that professors had emphasized during lectures.
In addition to academic strategies, I also learned the art of networking with peers who shared similar goals. I discovered how to interact effectively with them and delved into extracurricular pursuits such as cultural activities and presenting papers at conferences. Engaging with like-minded individuals and exchanging ideas became a crucial part of my college experience, helping me grow beyond the confines of academics.
These insights and skills are some of the valuable lessons I've gained during my journey through medical college.
Stay tuned for the second part of this interview!