That was the question I asked His Majesty when he granted an audience in 2010 to the students selected to study medicine.
We were fresh high school graduates, brimming with pride and self-accomplishment amongst the crème de la crème of the nation, standing atop within the top thirty students in the biology merit. There were more than forty of us, standing kabney and rachu, in the order of our merit ranking, to offer chhawang to His Majesty at the Lingkana Palace. We were then escorted into a lounge where His Majesty granted us the audience.
His Majesty spoke of his experience outside Bhutan, having ventured out to study, very much like us – the immediate challenges, the things outside and what goes through the minds of Bhutanese who live away from home. The talks centred on the need to work hard and gain skills but never to forget the values with which we have been brought up.
College, at the time when we were just selected to be sent out, was a sense of excitement and the energy to learn and find ones intellectual choices and experience the world outside. This segment of journey is overlapped by myriad of psychological changes and developments. His Majesty told us about those and many more, and at various points through college life, I get reminded of those points.
One, was the occurrence of love. I now believe that it is a phenomenon of self-discovery and self-fulfillment.
The other was, was the answer His Majesty gave when I asked if the world would end in 2012. HM fondly answered, if the world were to end in 2012, we needn't then make plans to educate people like yourselves and frame a national strategy for the nation. “I believe the world will not end.”
That was a silly question I now realize. However, it showed HM’s congenial ability to connect to the youth – children of our age, who knew only innocent things on earth. I console, that was okay to have been asked for we yet to see the world, with our eyes, learn and become an individual of capability. Then, we knew only of the facts, figures and statistics; some knew science and history and economy. Those are raw information and we hardly knew of the deductions to be drawn from those information.
Well, now that we are half-way through undergrad studies in medicine, and now that we realize we know little more than yesterday, we stand at a juncture where we are collecting as much information, skills and knowledge that the world has to provide… all these to be taken back home, and hopefully to sow the seeds of a culture of science and medicine.
The world did not end, and the mere information that we learn in colleges elsewhere on earth should find a way to benefiting humanity but firstly our people, back home who are eagerly waiting for us to return home, as capable doctors, with a lot of patience to spare for their mind.