Alumnae Spotlight – May 2016

May’s Alumnae Spotlight highlights some of the amazing things our Soror, Mrinmayee Takle is up to! Read about her story & the advice she has to share!

What are you doing today and how did joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc. prepare you for this?

I am a first-year medical student at the University of Virginia. Being a sister of Kappa Phi Gamma helped me throughout the entire application process for medical schools. One of my first steps was the written application – I described how serving as various positions such as President, Service Chair, Scholarship Chair, and Rush Chair through KPhiG gave me many leadership qualities. I also spoke of these during my interviews. More than leadership, KPhiG has taught me how to speak confidently in front of groups of people – how to stay calm in times of stress. I was always confident during my interviews and was able to show who I really was. Being a sister of KPhiG gave me more than the ability to boast about my leadership and responsibilities on my application; it gave me the confidence to be myself during my interviews and speak without hesitation. Even today, when I have to make presentations in class, I know how to speak without “ums” and to pause instead. Things like this help me incorporate what I’ve learned through KPhiG into my daily professional life.

What were your biggest challenges and struggles?

One of my biggest challenges thus far has been to restart my life at UVA. I was very comfortable at VCU – I had a great group of friends, which included my KPhiG and Greek family. When I started at UVA, I had a difficult time starting over and finding that new support group. In addition to adjusting to a new place, I had to adjust to a completely different pace of schoolwork. My schoolwork now is something like I have never experienced before – in a weeks time, I learn a semesters worth of undergraduate material. It’s a constant marathon! All of this was a major adjustment, but I realized that though my support group of sisters wasn’t as geographically close anymore, I still had them. My big, who’s also in medical school was a big part of that. Having gone through a similar academic adjustment the year before, Komal Dhir really helped me and gave me tips. My family was also a huge support, as were my line sisters, Jahnnavi Madiraju and Rimsha Ayub. That first semester of medical school was one of the most difficult semesters I have ever gone through, but it goes to show that if you reach out to your support group, they will be there to guide you along and a shoulder for you to rely on.

What is your favorite part of school?

My favorite part of school now is knowing that I’m finally doing something that I’ve dreamed of. Every day, when I learn about every possible detail about the human body, I am so intrigued! There is nothing that bores me about school, especially knowing that thought the material might not be used every day in my future career, it somehow relates. Additionally, I love seeing patients. When I am stressed, it’s my patients who motivate me to work harder – I remember when I was having a rough day, the patient who I was interviewing called me an “angel” for going through medical school and wanting to be a physician. It reminded me of how much I truly want this. Another favorite part of being a medical student is being able to wear my white coat with pride. I get to wear this coat one to two times a week, and I feel like I’m floating whenever I get to wear it. So I guess overall, my favorite part is knowing that I will be a physician and will have my own patients… eventually… 🙂

What is your work/life balance?

My work life balance is… mainly a lot of work. It was definitely difficult to find a balance, but I’ve found that doing things for myself is just as important as work, studying, and school. If I’m not a healthy individual after all, how am I supposed to show my patients how to be healthy? I find that working out and running is a great stress reliever – plus it keeps me in shape 🙂 I also get time to go out at night, because I love getting dressed up, putting my heels on, and having a good time. It’s just learning how to study during the day, go out at night, and go straight to the library after having brunch with friends while discussing the night before.

What do you perceive are the benefits of joining Kappa Phi Gamma Sorority, Inc.?

So many benefits! Networking for one – I’ve asked advice from older sisters, and I’ve also been approached by sisters I haven’t really spoken to before regarding medical school. It’s great to know that even though you may not be close to another sister, more than likely, she’s willing to help you out. Support (Sisterhood) – I have no idea what I would do without my sisters for support. Leadership – being able to be a leader and also having it as a resume builder, since both are quite important. Now let me just continue to list out some principles and have them relate (haha). Womanhood/Scholarship – being a female doctor really affects your personal life, but it’s a choice I’ve made to focus on my career and to not give up on my dreams. KPhiG has taught me to never give up. Service – Theta Chapter at VCU participated in various service activities throughout the school year for different organizations – nowadays in school, I do the same! Culture – UVA has a very traditional Southern atmosphere to it, and during undergrad, KPhiG allowed me to be in tune with my cultural background. I was reminded to find organizations where I could continue to explore my culture; it has motivated me to attend ISA (Indian Student Association) events at UVA! Self/Character – like I mentioned before, it’s so important to take care of your self – whatever that means to you. Work out, go out, enjoy life. In general, it’s KPhiG has been a good reminder that being a good person and having a good character in general is quite important. For professionals, whether that’s medical or otherwise, clients will not be willing to trust you or work with you if they don’t believe in your character. In general, KPhiG has been so great to me – I think it really teaches it sister to be well-rounded.

What advice do you have for women that are attempting to follow your career path?

Know that it’s a difficult choice. There are many reason that women would choose not to become doctors. Being a med student inherently means that you’re a high achieving woman, and that can be intimidating at times. Additionally, as a female in medical school, your time is very limited in general, so it’s very difficult to meet guys. Also, you’re inherently sacrificing some family life in the future. Yes of course, it’s possible to find a balance, but it’s not easy. It’s difficult – there’s no other word for it. That being said, it’s worth it. If it’s something you’ve always wanted, go for it. Don’t let anything stop you. At the end, you’ll be that career woman and balance the family life you want, if that’s what you want. Know that like everything else, it’s not easy, but it will most definitely be worth it

How do you measure your success?

One major thing I’ve learned is that it’s important to not compare yourself to anyone else. I’ve learned that everyone has different backgrounds and different experiences. Knowing this, I set up my goals for myself. My own yardstick should be me. My yardstick has inches inches, and I’ve realized that if you start comparing yourself to someone else, you’re comparing inches and centimeters – and we all know that doesn’t work. You do you 🙂