My Fellowship Craze.
So, last week I went for yet another examination to get myself yet another degree. Now before you move away from this page thinking that I am just showing-off here let me assure that this is not about my patting my own back in appreciation. This is more about how no one else around me could understand why I wanted to study yet again or go through all the horrors of examinations again and again at this advanced age. Every single person I confided the fact to was actively belittling and discouraging my urge to write exams. From my dad who asked me if they would give me a promotion at work if I got an extra qualification to my boss who let me stew for day’s on end without signing my leave letter to go write the exam, everyone around was against my writing it.
Never mind that it’s my own money which paid for the course or my hard fought and saved leave (by working even on days in which I was sick) which I hoarded throughout the year to go write the exams. What they fail to understand and what I couldn’t make them understand was it was not the money or the prestige or whatever which drives me to go for these fellowships and degrees- its not even that I like the sound of them after my name. It’s simply the challenge- whenever I hear that so and so exam is soo bloody tough that it’s like climbing the Everest, and then I am oh so tempted to try and climb it metaphorically or go join the course, write the exam and measure myself against the best of the best. Its purely competitive, animal spirits. I want to see where I am, where I stand when I am pitted against the best, especially youngsters and fresher’s who have had the benefit of just finishing college and having the subject on instant recall, while I have been away from reading and jaded with clinical practice for all these years.
I guess if I had been a swordsman I would have gone round challenging others to duels every time I felt jaded in life and wanted to prove a point to myself. But being a geek, I sign up for advanced courses and write exams as if my life depends on it. Even if they are kick ass tough exams which have me gibbering in fright the night before. Even if the exams (And results) have no real world effect on me or my career- nothings gonna happen if I fail or pass. It’s just the pressure of self pride and a love for education. There are dozens of ways I could waste my money and time. I choose to waste it in higher education, on doing interesting courses and spending my free times (the relatively sparse time I get off work) on studying, reading, writing and passing exams. Now is that such a bad hobby? I leave it to you readers to judge me.
P.S. Continuing medical education is not compulsory in India- it’s discretionary. Besides once you reach a certain level of competence in your field there is nothing – literally- left to learn in a formal education setup.