I just realised that for the year 2010, I only made 2 posts. 2 POSTS! What is wrong with me? I constantly say how I have many things to say, how I love writing, how I want to share my thoughts, regardless of its significance, with the world. And yet, I just stay on Facebook for hours, (illegally) download music, and potter about at home. My 3 months at home has certainly flown by. I am of course partly to blame because I wake up at noon everyday. It makes the day fly by all the faster. I'm not sure whether this is done consciously by body or not. Do I want my menial 3 month break to end quickly despite the years of hard work I expect to come? I just don't know.

Now that the end and beginning is near, it got me thinking of the career choice I made. Needless to say, I have heard from so many people how hard it is, how you are expected to act, how long the hours are, how socially-deprived you'll become, etc. The downs of the profession are endless. The only good thing I have heard is that if helping a sick person is your passion, no matter how torturous the job, you'll get the satisfaction. And that satisfaction is one that no one else can fully understand and share. Only you will know it.

From a young age, I must admit, I am used to excelling, always getting strings of As, always on the top tier of my class. I'm not be the best at everything - there was always someone better than me, someone with a better score, someone with a more admirable personality and achievement. But I try to do reasonably well every time, knowing my capabilities and my limits. I don't try too hard, because that just isn't me. I don't try to beat everyone and I certainly don't try to be overly studious. I like having fun too! I am human after all.

Yet, I do worry that I'll face a whole different ballgame during my medical training. Actually, I know it's totally different. Students no longer aim to score an A, they aim to pass. An A is too much of a far distant dream. It's that hard. I want to face this with a wary and ready perspective because I don't want to break down when I receive my first failure. And it isn't just about the exam part - which I agree with a friend of mine's opinion: that an exam is not necessarily the measure of how good you are as a doctor, the test is later when you are shoved into real life - I also worry whether I can handle the 'seconds-between-life-and-death' situations. We all have seen ER growing up, and many other medical dramas. They may be actors, but the job is real.

I pray I will have the courage and the strength to see through the choice I made. I myself am aware that after SPM, I could have chosen any path to embark on, whether it is law, biotechnology, astrophysics or even culinary arts. I know I can do pretty well in any course because whatever my choice, I'll do my best. However, looking back, I don't think I could have chosen any other. Despite how I would love to follow my parent's footsteps, and despite how my first true ambition was to be an astronomer/astrophysicist. I believe I'm not a quitter, especially when so much money is being invested on my future.

I'm currently reading a book about a 3rd year medical student who just started her clinical and subsequently found herself quite lost and detached from the alien world of medicine and hospitals despite her earlier training. A theme that came up was how doctors are supposed to act with patients, coldly professional vs. emotionally humane. Another theme was women in medicine. The setting for the book was nearly 30 years ago and perhaps the medical world has changed in that respect, but it still struck me that women still need to work twice as hard and be at level or better than their male counterparts to receive some respect. The character, just because she was a woman, faced indifference, disdain, condescension and even hatred from senior doctors at the hospital. To be honest, she deserved some of it but still, I hope such things are no longer a problem.

Another important point that struck me closer to home was how some medical students nowadays view their expensive education. A doctor said that the students assume that since their chosen profession is to help and serve the community, it is the community who owes students a good education and when students enter medical school, they become full of pride in the knowledge that their education is supported by the community. And then, these students graduate and fly off overseas for want of better pay, or because of their lackadaisical attitude, they make poor housemen or don't graduate at all and switch courses. This I know, happens here in Malaysia and elsewhere. The writer was right in opining that it is the would-be students who owe the community as most of the time, medical students are on scholarships or loans and either way, the money comes from taxpayers' earned ringgit. Of course, some are indeed fully self-funded, but we should be thankful that there is education provided for us, locally, available to all, and because its so expensive, there are means to reduce the financial burden. Directly or indirectly, we owe it to others to succeed and give back later on.

I'm hugely grateful that I'm on government scholarship and my 1/4 of a million ringgit worth of tuition is being paid for. The only thing asked of me is to graduate and serve the people who in some way may have contributed to my education. If it weren't for my scholarship, I probably couldn't have chosen medicine. Taking medicine is a huge undertaking and demands much dedication, hard work and responsibility. I'm expecting a lot from myself I know, but that is my motivation. No one expects more of me than myself.

Wow, I honestly didn't realise this post would be so serious. But I guess it is some sort of relief for me. Putting hopes to writing is a form of conviction, isn't it? Now I have to aspire to live up to the expectations I blurted out here, or not I'm a filthy hypocrite. Ugh, I hate hypocrisy.

Anyway, I'll end this post on a lighter note with some quite funny cartoons. :)

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