Thursday, 5 March 2015

Overcoming Fears

                             Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.
                            Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
                                                                               -    Helen Keller

Optimism is a word that gives a boost of energy. When you feel that the whole world is acting against you, just hearing it gives little hope. By knowing the existence of some positivity in life, you tend to take your challenges positively too.

Here, I am going to share a story about Optimism and how it helped me.

This happened just a month back.

 MBBS Final year degree examination.                                                                                       
The top of the question paper read like that. Just looking at it gave me jitters. 5 more minutes to open the dreaded paper and read its contents, and my mind went back to the previous day.
                                                      Day before the exam

It was 5.00 AM. I took my books and went to the corridor in my hostel. The January mist was at its full force, and I shivered, despite my heavy sweater and scarf. Some of my classmates had already started reading and I went and joined them. Most of us read outside the room, because the warmth of our hostel rooms made us sleepy and we couldn’t afford to sleep.

I sat leaning over a pillar, and the chillness that spread from it was enough to shake off the lingering sleep. I opened one of my books and started reading. It continued till 8.00 AM and it was time for breakfast.

My friends and I used to spend some time at our hostel mess, eating, chatting and gossiping.Only two of us went to mess that day, because others were too busy to eat. We hesitated a minute before placing little of the upma onto our plates. After 5 minutes, we were back and I had started studying with that upma taste at the back of my mouth.

The clock soon showed 1.30 PM. Time for lunch. Sunday lunches were always a special affair for us. In fact, sunday in itself held a special place. Sundays were meant for little studying, and more for cleaning our rooms and they solely existed for sunday lunches.

We never visited our hostel mess on sunday afternoons and as soon as we get up, the first thing in our mind would be where to order and what to order for lunch?

But on that day, we visited our mess for lunch and none of us ate well. Not because of the taste of the food, but because of the time left for our examinations.
None of us even noticed the dinner time and it went by soon.

I was sitting on my chair with Davidson’s Principle and Practice of Medicine on my lap and I was going through the previous year question papers. I still had many chapters to complete. This may seem a little odd to a non-medical person. Who would be reading a few hours before exam? We would.

The time was soon past midnight and the chillness had spread everywhere. We all hoped that it had spared the question paper setter’s heart. 

The clock struck 5.00 AM and I was still turning pages with many more to go. It had been 24 hours since I had woken up, and the sleep was begging my eyes to close. After an half an hour of rest, I was up again and everyone looked like people on the day of their death sentence. 

When I was searching for an answer from the previous chapter, my eyes fell on a chapter that I had studied two days back. Pure terror filled through me, when I saw that I couldn’t remember anything. Tiny droplets of tears were ready to face their downfall. I felt that someone had placed a constricting band around me. The whole room seemed to close around me.

 I opened my tiny cupboard and looked at the small statue of my favourite God. I held my hands in prayer and closed my eyes. The tears rolled down and various emotions passed through in that small moment.

                             Fear is something that you should be careful not to let inside you.
                             Once it takes over, you are not responsible for yourself anymore.  

I pacified myself by saying that I had done what I could and there was nothing to fear. I was ready to face the first day of exams.

                                                         During the examination

The chief examiner had announced that I could open the question paper. My hands were shaking and I finally managed to open it. I had a little excitement that ran through me when I opened it. The emotions soon changed into anxiety when I read question after question. I looked at the other faces in the examination hall. No one had looked up from reading the paper and the silence in the hall felt eerie.

I looked at my paper again hoping the letters would change into a new question. Nope. No such luck. The paper remained the same and I slowly took my pen and opened the answer sheet. My brain was not ready yet. I have written many examinations and nothing made me feel dead like that.
I managed to complete it and when I met my friends outside, no one was ready to discuss the paper.
                                                       Second day of examination

No difference from the previous day, excepting the fact that, that was not a surprise.

That evening my mind was going through all the chaotic happenings mixed with philosophy. I had my exam the next day too. And I had slept a total of two fours for the past two days and my eyelids were heavy.

That is when, my mind asked a dangerous question, “Why should I study?”

To which, something deep inside me answered, To become a doctor?

“Why should I become one?”

Because, that was and is your ambition!

“Wasn’t  it the worst decision ever?”

Really? Do you think so?

“From my childhood, my aim was to become a doctor. I have always dreamt of it.”

Then, why the sudden change of mind now?

“Because, I have not done my exams well. I tried my best. I have been reading throughout the year. I have been attending all the classes. I have been taking cases throughout. But, why do I feel like that my best efforts always go in vain? A person who studied in the last minute would have given the same set of answers. What would be the difference then? May be studying MBBS was not my cup of tea. I shouldn’t have chosen this!”

Do you think that one exam will be able to estimate your worth? What you have studied throughout the year will help you in the long run. When you treat your cases, it will certainly come handy. Don’t you agree? Do you think that everyone gets a chance to learn this course? If you have been granted an opportunity to read this and have come successfully so far, don’t you think that you are selected to become a doctor? Your ambition was nurtured well and you are working hard to achieve it. you are providing the best efforts you can and you are justifying yourself.
You have an exam today and believe in yourself that you can do well.
First believe in yourself to face the challenges. If you can’t do it, then, who can?

                                            Even the darkest night will end,
                                                and the sun will rise
                                                    -  Victor Hugo

With that the inner voice disappeared. It was not a hallucination where I was hearing voices. It was just the Optimism in me surfacing to give some advice to the pessimist in me.

The past month had been the most depressing period in my life and I am writing this today as Dr.Vaishnavie K. If I had lost hope after a little bumpy ride, I wouldn’t have seen this day in my life. As I was able to remind myself of all the dreams I have dreamt, all the services I wanted to do after becoming a doctor, I was able to go forward.

                            Dream is not that which you see while sleeping,
                                It is something that does not let you sleep.
                                                       -    A.P.J Abdul Kalam

As true as that quote, my dream did not let me sleep and I have achieved it. It gave me hope in despair and whenever, my confidence was down, it showed me a future me fulfilling my dreams and I rebounded with confidence.

All those exams were being so hard, just to give me the title of the ‘doctor’. All those sleepless nights will give me a peaceful sleep today and even on becoming a Doctor, my life is filled with optimism.
When I look back at those days now, I can realise that hard work never fails and it has been proven in my life. Hard work alone didn’t give me this reward. Hard work combined with self confidence has made me what I am today.

I can say million things I would like to do now. As I am happy now, I dream to spread the happiness far and wide. And as Paulo Coelho rightly said in The Alchemist

                                   When you really want something,
                       all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.

Share the optimism with the world.