As a second semester junior at Texas A&M, my schedule can be pretty draining.
Between research, an internship, my classes, studying for the MCAT, work, volunteering, and being heavily involved in my organizations, I rarely have any time to take a break from everything and do something fun for myself.
However, this year’s Spring Break provided me with the perfect opportunity to mentally, and physically, remove myself from the craziness that comes with being a busy college student.
Normally over Spring Break, you can find me volunteering at one of the many impoverished communities across the country with Alternative Spring Break. But this year I decided, instead, to take sometime to travel.
For 10 days, I was 8,742 miles away in Calcutta (Kolkata), India!
While I was there, I was able to completely immerse myself in the culture, shopping at local markets and centres, attending a local festival, visiting all of the major tourist spots, and eating a lot of good food! I also got the chance to spend time with my grandparents with whom I’m super close but do not get to visit on a regular basis.
Additionally, one of the most unexpected opportunities that presented itself to me in India was the opportunity to shadow an ENT (ear, nose, and throat specialist) while I was there.
It was extremely eye opening to see the differences in aspects of healthcare and patient satisfaction. For example, the ENT I was shadowing was very well known in the area and always had an overflowing waiting room; therefore, he was trying to turn over patients as quickly as possible.
In an effort to be more efficient, he would bring the next patient into his office while he was finishing up with his first patient. This resulted in each patient’s personal and private healthcare information becoming public, as it was inadvertently shared with other patients.
To someone like myself who has lived in America their entire life and has grown up with HIPPA laws being in place and enforced, the reality that patient information was so public was a very out-of-the-box concept and my eyes were truly opened to what a world without HIPPA looks like.
My time in India was short but very well spent. I was able to focus a little bit more on myself and truly live in the moment, something I tend to forget when I’m in college and always planning for the future.
I enjoyed where I was and didn’t worry about where I was going to go. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to travel somewhere else in the near future!