This summer, Sudha Ayalasomayajula, Medicine Class of 2019, worked in the medical inspection room at the Dennison Armoury in Toronto. A unique role for a second-year medical school student, but a fitting one for someone participating in the Medical Officer Training Plan (MOTP) with the Canadian Armed Forces.
Ayalasomayajula learned about the MOTP early in her medical school studies and was immediately struck by how closely its values and priorities matched her own.
“What appealed to me was the lifestyle the MOTP offered and the emphasis they placed on physical and mental discipline. I thrive on schedule and discipline, and staying active and mentally alert,” she said, sharing how perfect the MOTP fit with her life and plans.
The Program offers several other benefits including subsidizing tuition and providing a salary. In return, students must commit four years to the military following residency.
It’s giving Ayalasomayajula an opportunity to fulfill a major goal in her life – one that she set for herself as a teenager as a result of a major health incident with her father.
When Ayalasomayajula was only 16 years old, her father suffered a rupture of a brain aneurysm. Living the experience and witnessing the many stages of care and recovery made a huge impression on her.
Thankfully, Ayalasomayajula’s father recuperated. This experience created clarity of purpose for Ayalasomayajula and she began to focus on the courses that would lead her to studying medicine.
In addition to her studies, Ayalasomayajula began volunteering in a long-term care facility. She would spend every weekend working with the residents of the facility, helping out the care team. What started as a 150-hour commitment as part of her International Baccalaureate high school program turned into an eight-year learning experience that has led to wonderful relationships with many people.
After four years of undergraduate studies at Western, Ayalasomayajula received admission to medical school – and became a student at the Schulich Medicine - Windsor Campus. She was thrilled, especially since Schulich Medicine was her top choice. And now, she’s loving every minute of it. She believes it’s the perfect fit for her.
“I am an introvert so I really like the small class size,” said Ayalasomayajula “I have a fantastic class, we all get along well. Being in a class of 38 people and sitting and learning with these people every day, it’s very comforting, I couldn’t have asked for a better class and that’s shaped my Windsor experience.”
During the past two years, Ayalasomayajula has been busy in and outside the classroom. She led the Choosing Wisely Canada initiative, started a fitness club, served as Vice President, Windsor for the Hippocratic Council, and worked with the Teddy Bear Hospital Program in local schools. With the help of a classmate, the self-described bookworm also started the Windsor Chapter Book Club.
Now in her third year, the clerk is really looking forward to applying the knowledge she learned in the classroom to real-life situations while learning from clinicians in the moment. There’s definitely some anxiety accompanying that enthusiasm, but she’s pragmatic about the realities of clerkship.
“I do fear making mistakes now that we are dealing with actual people and that we are giving input, but I’m going to focus on being constructive about my mistakes and applying corrections to future interactions with patients. Overall, I am confident it will be a good experience."