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09 March, 2015

Choosing Medicine

I think it's always hard having to decide things and choosing medicine was never a part of my plan. I originally intended for an easier career, like being a teacher or being a research scientist, so that I would not have to go through the process of hardship. I eventually learn that there are no easy rewards and if I ever want to be successful, I have to keep challenging myself.

I did fear that choosing medicine would mean putting myself up with a hectic lifestyle and having busy schedules would also mean I would spend less time with the people I love, but all that is no excuse especially when you have a passion for something. I then forget about fearing, I forget about thinking all the downsides, I will forget about all of the challenges I have to face because essentially it is challenging and I will just have to accept that. And so I did.

After not being scared about taking up a very difficult course, I come to fear about the current situation in the medical field in my home country, Malaysia. Indeed, they say 'overflowing of doctors', well general practitioners to be exact. Indeed, the time needed for placement for housemanship is ever growing longer and longer. But it isn't impossible, it's just a matter of waiting. 

After fearing about all that, I come to fear about tuition fees. Wow was I amazed by the cost of studying medicine. Pay a high price to study a difficult and challenging course, yet everybody would still go for it. I guess it's obvious these days universities are using the Medicine course to earn a fortune. So many universities these days offering the course would not surprise me that that would be the reason of increasing medical students, increasing unqualified houseman and medical officers. But perhaps it isn't because of that, perhaps it's because Malaysia is lack of hospital for housemen to practice in.

Anyway, it is ridiculous to see tuition fees for medicine to reach as high as RM500,000, and perhaps even more. Because of that, I was very uncertain about going to a medical school, as I did not want to go to an unaccredited university which could be priced reasonably, versus going to an accredited university that cost as much as owning a house. I didn't want to burden my parents financially. But based on the current situation, policies may change, and if the unaccredited university remains unrecognised, then what of the graduates? 

Well it's always that isn't it? 
Unaccredited or accredited, and inexpensive versus very expensive.

Boy do I have much fear. But this is it, the steps I take today will affect my future tomorrow, for every actions taken there will always be consequences to bear. What ever it is that you are doing, think it through and make a decision. I took 2 years to finally come to a decision to do this. And even when I finally make the call, I still had doubts in my own capabilities. And so I let my results tell me if I pass the pre-requisite. This all started during Form 5 when I brave myself and chose an impossible career that seemed to me at that point of time. But I worked my way through, studied hard, strive and strive after countless failures, these are the efforts that tell me I am capable of more (I hope I am).

One of my best friend, Siang Siang, once said "you must have a big goal, and before that big goal, you must have all the little small goals to accomplish, and then you will slowly worked your way towards the big goal".

I think it's important to have little goals before taking a big step towards something great. One step at a time will never lead you wrong because you will be constantly thinking about the future and you will be constantly reminding yourself and ask yourself whether it is the right decision.

Choosing Medicine is not a decision to be taken lightly, to anyone reading this who intend to choose medicine, I hope you have thought through everything, and I mean everything. Because choosing medicine means giving up and sacrificing a large part of your life so that more lives can be saved. Remember, your sacrifice saves people's life. And if you are not willing to accept that, then you are not fit to be a doctor.


Darien Liew
Got questions? Ask me - 
http://ask.fm/darien1996

28 February, 2015

DECISIONS: Before & After SPM

Think clearly, be prepared and then choose wisely.

It always come to a point in life where we start thinking about what to do? What's my next step, Where should I go? Some people end up miles away from what they originally intended for. Some will keep dreaming and stand no where in this world. 

But it will come. Decisions must be made, and a path must be walked on. Question is, are you walking on the right path?

Before SPM
I would say that the Form 4 - Form 5 period is a golden period. Why? 

Say, you are a slack-ish person, underachiever, under-scorer, and certainly not the best student in the school, then you come to think about your future career - What are you going to do? What are you pursuing? These are questions that will taunt you because you have to make a decision, you have to pave a way for yourself. You are in Form 5 now, you haven't make any decision at all, you're still not a top student, and suddenly, maybe somewhere half way through the year, you start thinking hey how about medicine, or pharmacy, or dentistry? Note that these are programs that would require excellent (or at least good) results, enough to meet the pre-requisites. Question is, it's the middle of the year, you are way behind classes, you cannot catch up, you are already an underachiever, it will be almost impossible to do great in SPM. What happens next? Nothing happens. You will rethink your options, you will wait for your results, then you will decide on what program that you would fulfill their requirement. It's not a bad thing, it's just that if you had tried harder, studied harder, and at least strive for excellence, you would not be worrying and thinking about what you will do, because if you can score really well, your options are limitless.

So here's what you should do before SPM:
Have a lead, at least have an idea on what to do, discover your interest, research on future possible careers. And if you do have an idea, say you want to pursue dentistry, look up on universities and check for their pre-requisites. It's important because these grades you'll be getting is the first key to entering a university. Without this key, even with your foundation year, the university will not accept you (unless of course the university makes an exception, don't hope). So when you do know what you want to do, it's time to start achieving the result you are meant to achieve.

Make decisions and start paving your road, your journey, and your future.

You can dream big, you can talk loud, but the important part is actually doing it. So start doing it.

You can be an underachiever, it's not a fault, it's not something wrong, you're just not good enough, so admit it. Because the moment you start realising that you need to buck up, it is the moment to start seeking for help. Don't wait till later. Don't wait till you're in Form 5 (knowing that you're Form 4 is bad enough) because Form 4 is suppose to be a foundation for your Form 5 syllabus, needless to say, if you are in Science stream and will be pursuing a career in Science, Form 4 syllabus is absolutely important in your college foundation year, be it CAL or AUSMAT or SAM or CIMP. A good foundation will lead to a better foundation (trust me).

I've been there, done that.

Seriously, don't wait till later, start working hard, every effort counts and every minute you spend on studying will be worth it.

After SPM 
Say, you already know what you want, say Medicine, go for CAL. Why? Pursuing a career in medicine is not a joke, you'll be dealing with lives, the pressure is intense, the workload can be unbearable. (You are wrong to think if anyone can be a doctor.) Choose CAL, because with A-Levels, the pressure faced in CAL will be similary in Medicine. Get through CAL then think about Medicine. Of course reality is Medicine would be 20, maybe 50 times tougher.

It's okay, if you want to go for AUSMAT or SAM or etc, you can go for the program with the lighter syllabus, it's okay, just make sure you score damn good, because a great result would indicate a better future in Medicine. I'm not saying a bad result wouldn't guarantee a good future in Medicine, just think that would you be able to cope with all four walls pushing against you? A bad result in these lighter programs would mean that you did not put in a great amount of effort to push yourself to achieve excellence. If you are already not scoring well in your foundation, would you think that you would be able to strive for excellence in a program like Medicine? So admit it, that you're not that good, that you don't fit to become a doctor. Because being a doctor, is not a joke, not to mention, it is costly, so don't waste it.

Be great and do great, then start thinking about all these tough careers.

A good foundation is necessary. Your results in a good foundation is an indicator. Because the second key to entering a university is to make sure your foundation meet the requirements for the university of your choice. Either way, no matter SPM or a Pre-U foundation, just strive for excellence, don't slack, don't be lazy, do your part as a student, you will not regret it.

Wait, so are you on the right path?
I can't tell you if you are on the right path, but one thing's for sure, you pave your own path.

Don't be indecisive, discover an interest and venture into it, do as much reasearch as possible about a possible future career, then do well for your SPM and your Pre-U foundation. When you have obtain sufficient results from both of the criteria, you can start applying to a university of your choice. Remember this, when you have excellent results, you choose the university and you choose the program of your choice. And when you don't have excellent results, every university will hesitate and they will priorities better students, they will start choosing students. That's just how it works. So do great, achieve and strive for excellence. Period.


Darien Liew
Got questions? Ask me - 
http://ask.fm/darien1996