On Becoming a Physician

By Rakshith Gangireddy (Class of 2T2)

The seeds of medicine were sown early on in my life. I am the first of many generations of farmers in my family to enter medicine. I probably wouldn’t have chosen medicine if it weren’t for my parents immigrating from India to Canada, and my mom’s subsequent battle with mental health.

As a child, I saw first-hand the impact of the social determinants of health – such as immigration, income, housing, and food security. They affect not only the individual, but their family and community. I also saw the impact that the physicians had when providing care for my mom.

Early on, I knew I wanted to have an impact on the social determinants of health and help shape public policies that can positively impact the health of many. Today, the conversations around nationalizing pharmacare in Canada, regulation of e-cigarettes and vapes, built environments, and medical assistance in death interest me tremendously.

However, medical school comes with its challenges.

Prior to medical school, I studied medical sciences at Western University in London, Ontario. On moving to Toronto, my rent almost tripled! The MAA Janet K. Ross Memorial Bursary has been very important to me. I would not be able to pursue the medical profession fully were it not for all the help I’ve received. Bursaries, such as this one, are the difference between spending the summer working at a coffee shop and preparing for a conference.

Transitioning to medical school has involved drastically changing my study habits from what had worked before. I had to develop and try new approaches. Turns out, medical school is a completely different ball game.

Lastly, the impostor syndrome is something that continues to challenge me on a regular basis. There are so many amazing people in medical school who have accomplished so many great things prior to getting here.

It’s easy to get caught up in my tiny world of going back and forth between the hospital and my apartment, and neglecting everything else. I’ve learned that for myself, this leads to feelings of isolation and burnout. Taking the time, even if it’s only a few minutes, to talk to loved ones on the phone helps me to be resilient. Also, I watch “The National” on CBC. This had become especially important to me during these pandemic times as it helps me feel connected to the world around me.

For me, medicine really is about connecting with one’s community and serving their needs. It is a career that revolves around people and their stories. I embrace this fully and hope to do this to the best of my ability and with empathy and humility.

Medical Alumni Association

of the University of Toronto
The MAA is an independent association funded by U of T MD alumni, working in partnership with the Temerty Faculty of Medicine. 

The MAA provides financial assistance to medical students and connects alumni.
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