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  • Gazala Hitawala

5 Lessons to Learn From a Third Year Medical Student

Medical student, artist and a philanthropist – Radhika Kotak is a third-year medical student from India who runs the page . A page that she started to avoid procrastination and keep herself on track. Apart from her love for creating mandala designs, Radhika loves to work for philanthropy and is ardent about the importance of mental health. Doesn’t it sound BIG, coming from a third-year medical student? I remember myself in the third year of medical school, I was too afraid to even talk about my dreams with the fear of getting mocked. Now here I am, looking at a third-year medical student who is so unapologetically herself and owning it like a boss. I am sure there are many more medical students who are similar to either one of us. No matter whichever club you are a part of, this is for all of you who have crazy big dreams and wish to change the world. You have got this.

Here are 5 lessons extracted from a third-year medical student’s life (Radhika Kotak) that you can implement right now:

1. Consistency is the key, but do not be harsh on yourself

Well, nobody can deny that the quarantine got hard on each one of us, there were a lot of uncomfortable changes that we had to deal with; during this time Radhika decided to take a leap by starting her medical page on Instagram. Everyone was using social media a lot during the lockdown, so why not utilise it to share the thoughts that the introverted heart was carrying for a long time. 17th April 2020, Radhika introduced herself to the new world, and since then there is no turning back, she has been consistent. She is consistently interacting, putting out her story, sharing her notes and study tips, creating planners, and the list goes on. It is no surprise that in a few months she constructed a family of 9000 people on Instagram from around the world, dang girl! Do not mistake it as a diversion from studies. She used the platform to be accountable to her audience in order to remain consistent with studies. The cherry on the cake is how she takes guilt-free breaks both from studying and social media. This is what I call balance.

Takeaway –

  1. Consistency builds a strong foundation.

  2. Give yourself time to reboot.

  3. Embrace yourself and be passionate about your work.

  4. Perfection is a myth, do not fall into the trap.

2. Have a hobby and turn it into a strength

There is an artist inside Radhika, which is visible through her hobbies. Painting, writing, dancing, she does it all. When you see her Instagram page, you will witness how she has turned it into her strength. She channelized her inner artist to connect with others by giving a real peek into a medical student’s life. Not just that, she turned her artwork into posters to raise money. While money is necessary to run a business, Radhika is also driven to use the money for a cause bigger than herself.

Takeaway –

  1. Fuel yourself from your hobbies.

  2. Don’t shy away from putting yourself out.

  3. Noble work requires finances, there is nothing wrong with making money.

3. Convert failure into success

If you are a medical student, you know how overwhelming the first year of medical school can get. During her first year, Radhika failed her anatomy internals by 0.5 marks. She approached her professor for feedback, she then realised her answers were long and missed some important points. Fortunately, her professor awarded 1.5 grace marks because of her diagrams (I told you she is an artist). The incident shook Radhika but not her spirits. She added smart work into her hard work by changing her study techniques (more about this on her page). Later, she secured a distinction in biochemistry and physiology in her terminal exams. Although she missed the distinction in Anatomy by few marks, she came a long way, and she was confident that her concepts were on point.

Takeaway –

  1. Failure is just an opportunity to improve.

  2. Always take feedback constructively.

  3. Identifying your mistakes is crucial for growth.

  4. Every effort counts, keep working.

  5. Even if you miss the target, don’t miss the process.

4. Confront the negativity

Today when you put yourself out, you open the door for unasked opinions. Something similar happened with Radhika, recently. As she was growing and building up a community of like-minded people, there were few thorns among the bed of roses. She fell into the rabbit hole of cyber-bullying (cybercrime). She received inappropriate messages from multiple accounts around the same time. While anyone at this point would prefer to block them and move on with a fake smile, Radhika came out loud. She reported them, talked openly about the incidence and asked her audience to do the same.

Takeaway –

  1. Be bold and confront.

  2. Discuss the real stuff, many others are in the same position as you.

  3. Ignorance is not always bliss, take actions.

  4. Lean on to your support system, ask for help.

5. Share warmth with others

Radhika has a small group of closely knit friends with whom she feels the most comfortable. Meeting new people, socialising or talking to a stranger on a flight might not be her cup of tea. However, if you try to reach out to her, the only vibe you will receive is warmth. Even if she is inside her shell, she will give out her helping hand to embrace your existence. I can vouch for that, I don’t remember how I started talking to her because it never felt different than talking to a friend. Even when it comes to her Instagram family or fellow creators, Radhika ensures to take out time to interact, support and encourage everyone in the community.

Takeaway –

  1. Show love and support, it can profoundly affect someone.

  2. Genuineness always wins hearts.

  3. You grow more when you help others.

Radhika’s words:

I am a philanthropist, I always have been. Some of the things I am working on are starting my own NGO in future when I have the investment. I think that I’m privileged enough and I have a lot more than I need, I would like to give back to the society and the people who need it. I am working on playing my part in the stigmas regarding mental health. I also want the society to know that philanthropy is not charity, but instead it focuses on the elimination of the social problems. It emphasises on endeavours from which we all benefit, such as libraries, museums and scientific researches. It also supports the efforts that may be too unpopular to gain widespread support by the general pubic or the government. – Radhika Kotak

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