We always have a formal/ friendly relationship with our doctors. We know their work ethics but we hardly know their stories. One such doctor is Dr. Vishal Punjabi. Working and interacting with patients and also working on his thesis. He is an ideal student. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Dr. Vishal Punjabi completed his Bachelors’ Degree in Dentistry (BDS) from MGM Dental College and Hospital, Navi Mumbai( 2014). He is a university rank-holder, topper, valedictorian of his batch and has also received the student of the year award in 2014. He is also a recipient of the prestigious Pierre Fauchard Academy international senior student award in 2014 from India section. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology from his alma mater. Along with academics, he has been actively involved in extracurricular activities in college, participating in debates, dance, competitions and sports.
We all favor the professions that our parents or someone was known can help us step into or guide us. But going out into the unknown with your gut and passion is a real challenge. Vishal Punjabi actually took this challenge up and succeeded. He was always interested in Biology but never thought of pursuing it as a profession. When you are out there on your own, one needs to up their game. Stepping out of his comfort zone and finding out all the possible things you can do with your passion is what he first did. After appearing for the entrance exams, he came to know about the different opportunities in the field of medicine. He opted to do dentistry and hasn’t looked back since.
Now the circumstances he went through might be very common. Anything a common dental student would go through. But it depends on the traveler to make their journey adventurous and that’s exactly what he did. He participated in various debates and conferences and presented his paper on various dental topics all over the country. He took up responsibility as the student council secretary of his college and is now serving as a honourary First Vice- President of the Dental Student Welfare Association of India (Maharashtra).
Dentistry as a profession comes with its own challenges. The first challenge is clearing the entrance exam as the competition is immense. The major challenge for Dr. Punjabi is diagnosing the right disease at the right time. The patients he deals with are mostly suffering from oral cancer or are in the initial stages. The diagnosis at the right time is the responsibility of doctors to him.
Stress and pressure is part and parcel of any profession. For a dentist pursuing post-graduation, it’s about meeting with various academic deadline, managing cases, and social life. Dr. Punjabi says that he prefers distracting himself a little at a stressful moment. Music is the best way to deal with pressure, it’s relaxing and soothing and helps to let off steam. Few other ways he opts to do that are playing some sport like cricket or badminton. Once you are relaxed you can focus on the problem at hand.
For a person who has been constantly active, he has learned a fair number of things on his way. He was guided by his teachers and constantly supported by his dean Dr. Sabita Ram who also introduced him to new opportunities. About success, he says that practice makes perfect. So to be successful it’s important to devote oneself to whatever work one is doing. At any step, one must work like it’s the beginning of the journey and remain focused. Persistence, patience, and passion are key.
He suggests that life can be confusing at times, especially for the young individuals trying to find which career path to opt for when everyone around is running in a rat race. It’s important to avoid blindly following a career path and pursue something one is passionate about, the rest of the pieces of the puzzle all fall into place eventually with time.
At present he is pursuing his masters in dental surgery specialising in the field of Oral pathology and his goal is to continue gaining knowledge so as to spread awareness amongst our community about all the dental problems we are ignorant about and also to focus on tobacco intervention and prevention of oral cancer as that is his field of interest.