Before coming to India, my future was so very undecided. Nursing school? Medical school? Stay at home mom? Career? I was hoping that being immersed in medicine through clinical rotations in an under served country would give me a clear idea about what I wanted to embark upon in the medical field upon returning home. While this experience has in no way helped make my mind up about my future work it has taught me a few valuable lessons that will help me when I return home.
The most valuable mindset that I picked up while traveling around India and experiencing the culture and people is to do whatever you are doing in life with great love. This was Mother Teresa’s way of life and with it she accomplished great things. India is one of the world’s poorest countries, yet it is reported to have the happiest people living simply in their day to day lives.
As American’s we are so worried about worldly possessions; money, clothing, cars, etc. And even those of us who have achieved what we perceive to be the “American Dream” are not happy with what we have. We always want more, more, more! Even here seeing how it is absolutely possible it is to live with just the basic necessities, I feel myself constantly wanting more. When I go back home, living simply is an ideal that I am going to make a conscious effort to strive for in my daily life and in my future work, whatever it may be.
Another impact that this experience has had on me is accepting that I don’t have to accomplish everything to be happy. The life that I have at home is perfect and I have already achieved great things. If I don’t ever go to medical school, that’s okay because I’m going to have a wonderful family to look after, and fulfilling career no matter what I decide to do. It took me coming all the way to India to realize this fact. I can make just as much of a difference in public, community, and rural healthcare as a nurse or nurse practioner as I can as a doctor (and be much less in debt and much happier being done with school)!
Being here and having to live in very close quarters with other women has also taught me a lot about myself and how I interact with others. I have learned that I need to listen better and talk less (something that I feel I have always known but never been so blatantly told)! A certain roommate helped me see that I can be a better person if I just shut up and listen. She later apologized for telling me off but I feel as though there was a reason that we were put together in this situation, to help each other grow, learn, and become better people.
Coming to India on CFHI’s cultural immersion program has changed me for life. It has changed the way I deal with less than ideal situations and day to day disturbances. My cousin-in-law commented on my blog: “when you get home you will have to constantly remind yourself that you were actually there.” It is going to be hard to live out the values that I have learned here and the ideals that Mother Teresa and other great spiritual yogi’s taught when I am actually back caught up in the daily grind. I will have to constantly remind me that there are bigger implications in this world than the petty small stuff I am dealing with.