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From Flight stewardess to Medical doctor Dr. Sharmila Samaranayake

10 May 2021 10:23 am

Words : Aanya Wipulasena
Photos : Nirmala Dhananjaya

Dr. Sharmila Samaranayake has a passion to see the world and is dedicated to her loving family. She gave up her dream job to follow a career path that will give her the opportunity to serve the society. 

Tell us a little about your childhood.

I was fortunate to have been brought up in a loving and catholic environment where my parents guided and gave me the best they could. My mom even stayed up with me while I studied. My father is a retired HR and business development director at Trans Asia hotel (now Cinnamon Lakeside). My mother (unfortunately we lost her last year) was the wise principal of Gurukula College Kelaniya. I have one brother Harsha Samaranayake who works for dialog.
I was not much of an athletic person, but was always very active in speech, Drama, various competitions, quizzes and concerts in school. I went to St. Bridget’s Convent Colombo from Montessori to A/L. passed GCE O/L with 9 distinctions. GCE A/L with 3 As and 1 B (45 th in the country from science stream).
I was the assistant house prefect (for Borgia house). Was very mischievous and naughty as a kid but became studious after grade 9.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

No, My dream was always to be a flight stewardess. Actually, when we got essays in school to write about our ambition, when most of my classmates wanted to become doctors, I wrote of my dream to be a flight stewardess. So, I applied for the job and the interview was on the day before my A/Ls. With great reluctance from my mom, I managed to go for the interview and could start working as a flight stewardess at Sri Lankan Airlines right after my A/L exam after a short crash training course (due to shortage of flight stewardesses at that time). Flying was an amazing experience. I loved shopping and travelling to various countries. My favorites are France, Switzerland, Maldives, Thailand and Japan, although I did most of the flights to the UK. I worked as a flight stewardess for 2 years before joining the Colombo Medical faculty. Even the previous day of joining the faculty, I did a flight and gave my resignation with great sadness.
Since I passed my A/Ls with very good results and got Colombo Medical faculty to study Medicine, it was difficult to decide what to give up. My mom always pushed me to study well. So, finally it was time to give up my dream and fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor. Anyway, by that time, I have enjoyed 2 amazing years of being a stewardess.

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