Faces of U of T Medicine: Mranali Dengre
Mranali Dengre has always been interested in science and her curiosity led her to study molecular genetics at the University of Toronto before applying to medical school. She caught up with Faculty of Medicine writer Julia Soudat to talk about her areas of interest, how her parents inspired her to pursue her dreams and what she likes to do when she’s not studying.
What made you want to become a doctor?
Growing up, I was always a ‘why’ child and this intrinsic curiosity led me to study the most fundamental of the medical sciences; molecular genetics. I had the opportunity to gain valuable insight into the cutting-edge technologies that could be harnessed for use in personalized medicine. It’s an area of research that I am passionate about and I think it has the potential to revolutionize patient care.
Simultaneously, I started working as a Pharmacy Assistant and had the opportunity to interact with patients from various walks of life. I deeply valued being directly involved with patients on their journey to health and realized that human intimacy was something that lacked in academia. There were many more experiences that led me to medicine but fundamentally, being a doctor meant that I could help bring new technologies from the bench to the bedside and directly contribute to patient care.
Who inspired you and helped you along the way?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. We immigrated from India to Canada in 2001 and throughout the years, I’ve witnessed my parents’ hard work, commitment and dedication towards settling in this country and helping my sister and me achieve our dreams. Both of my parents have seen many challenges in life but their optimism has never faltered no matter what difficulties they encountered. Even today, I see them striving towards new goals and it motivates me to keep growing as well. My parents have been so deeply involved in my journey - be that with friendships, school or life otherwise - that I see them as my best friends. From driving me 2 hours a day (to and from high school) so that I could pursue the IB Program, to sitting with me late into the night while I studied or worked on applications, they have always inspired me with their support and love. Truly, I don’t think I would be here were it not for them.
How did it feel when you got your acceptance letter?
When I first applied to medical school, I used to think about how I would react if I got in — whether I would cry or laugh or smile — but when I got my acceptance letter, I was so overwhelmed that I didn’t react at all. I couldn’t believe what had just happened. I remember my family and friends being very emotional while I just sat there re-reading the offer letter and making sure it wasn’t a dream (because it was truly a dream come true). Over the next few days, I went through a roller-coaster of emotions, from excitement to happiness to nervousness, as I began preparing for the beautiful journey ahead!
If you got accepted to other medical schools, why did you choose U of T?
For me, U of T symbolizes a rich community of commitment towards patient care and research on an international scale. Some of the most cutting-edge research in the world is being conducted just across the street from the Medical Sciences Building - it’s a daily dose of inspiration! I also appreciate the flexibility in the Foundations Curriculum at U of T – it gives students the freedom to define what it means to be a physician.
What are you most looking forward to as a U of T Med student?
Becoming a part of the UofTMed community is so exciting! I can’t wait to meet all the amazing people who are part of this program and to share life-changing experiences with them. I’m excited by the prospect of exploring medicine with my peers and confronting inevitable challenges as a team.
What do you think the biggest challenges will be?
One of the biggest challenges will be adjusting our learning strategies to match the shift in mindset that occurs between being an undergraduate student and a medical student. During undergraduate studies, our learning habits are often catered towards our GPA, so we tend to absorb information on a short-term basis. In medical school, everything we learn from Day 1 onwards is going to be relevant for the rest of our lives. We will need to adjust our studying habits to better integrate knowledge on a long-term basis.
What do you like to do outside of school?
I love cooking, photography, playing the piano, swimming, hiking and reading. I also really enjoy going to the movies (yes, going to the movies — not just watching Netflix) and exploring Toronto. I make it a priority to spend time with my family and friends whenever I can. I also really enjoy traveling. Traveling to new places is very enriching and with each journey, I learn a little bit more about myself. This summer, I had the incredible opportunity to visit Singapore and Indonesia!
Faces of U of T Medicine introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Faculty of Medicine. From advising political leaders to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, our students are making an impact on communities at home and around the world.
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