It is no secret that I am studying again for yet another licensure exam; heck, even if I wasn’t preparing to tackle another licensure exam, as a physician, I will still be studying, day in and day out, nonetheless.
Anyways, the exam I am talking about is the USMLE. I am originally an American Citizen, but has since become a dual citizen, adding my Filipino Citizenship into the mix in order to be able to take the license here locally and maybe train here.
Since passing the licensure exam here in the Philippines, I have been a bit confused as to where I should go next: Should I train immediately? Should I moonlight? Should I go on vacation?
A year went by and then I suddenly decided to move back to the States and tackle the USMLE so I can also be a licensed physician in the States, as well as being a licensed physician here in the Philippines.
It took a year to decide because I really didn’t know where my heart is… As much as I want to stay here and train and eventually have my private practice here, I feel as though I will not be able to live up to my full potential as a physician here. I feel that the language barrier, although I am able to speak a lot better Tagalog now than I ever thought I would be, is gonna be a huge factor in my training. Something as shallow as that is a real fear because in the world of medicine, there are no compromises… Not having to know the translation of a phrase and missing out on the diagnosis, no matter how benign the diagnosis is, is not a valid reason. And I want to train without having to worry about silly matters.
Thus, I decided, it is high time I move back home. My real home.
I have been studying leisurely since April just to get the hang of studying again, and come September, I will go full on study mode like when I was still a student. However, I have been losing interest in reading lately… I feel worn down… I feel burnt out.
Nothing can see to make me smile lately as my mind is always about USMLE and studying. Even when my heart is not into it, I force myself to read, and force myself to stay up in order to finish a certain number of chapters.
This is not really a good strategy as I am already feeling the effects of burning out and my exam date is nowhere near just yet.
As much as I want to cool down on some days like today, I end up feeling very guilty and then I start reading again.
I just wish I can read without feeling brunt out and I also wish that I can take a few days off reading, just playing games or whatnot, and not feel the guilt of skipping a few days or even a week.
I am in a very fragile complicated state right now and I thought of putting into words to let off some steam.
Did it help? I can’t say… But it feels good enough just to type some of these stresses of mine.
As always, I will just have to breathe in and breathe out… and pray. Better things are in store for me… I just can’t really see it or feel it just yet… but I just have to relax somehow and believe.
I may not have that many friends in total, but the number of friends that I do have, I feel are the most real and closest friends I can ever have.
Most of my close friends are from my college days and my post graduate days in medical school. Just yesterday, I finally got to catch up with my closest friend, my brother, in medical school, and obviously, fellow physician, Doc Joed.
This was a long time coming as we have made plans to hang out for months on end, but things happened to make us cancel it all the time.
He is my brother in medical school as we both we from B.S. Biology (though different universities), and we share the same passion for research (experimental more than descriptive), and finally, the 1st letter of our surnames are close to each other in the alphabet that we usually land in the same group for the 4-5 years we were in medical school (5 years if we include post graduate internship), thus it is no surprise we are close like brothers.
Such is life in that planned activities never push through, but spontaneous plans seem to push through by way of sheer adrenaline, hence, when we just decided to hang out in the country’s capital just to roam around the city and malls, we made it happen albeit the gloomy skies that opened up and rained pretty heavy.
Braving the rain, we arrived at our stop, SM North EDSA…
After lunch, we decided to shop around; as usual, my number 1 priority in shopping would be for my hobbies… action figures, PC parts, etc. The least of my priorities was shopping for new attire, which was Doc Joed’s main priority apparently. Needless to say, he bought a lot of new clothes and such, then with out really thinking much, I bought some clothes too that I found were nice… something you don’t here me say everyday, “I bought new clothes”, as I seldom really do so; I let my mom or sisters take care of that for me as they know my fashion style (or the lack thereof).
After looking around some more the mall, we had the chance to hang out and catch up with one of over very 1st residents that took good care of us and taught us well during our clerkship days, Doc Anna!
Next was perusing the mall again and also its neighboring mall, Trinoma, looking for at everything and anything we may actually purchase; not to be outdone by my brother, I was on the hunt for a Logitech Driving Force Shifter to add to my ever growing passion of Sim Racing (we can’t have him just spending alone now would we?) and to pair it with my Logitech G920 Driving Force Wheel and Pedals.
Having bought the things we want, fairly satisfied going around the malls, and having caught up with everything that needs to be caught up, we decided it is time to head back home.
Honestly didn’t get nearly all the things I was planning to get in this trip, but what matters to me was that I got to see my former mentor/resident, Doc Anna, and finally got to hang out with my bro, Doc Joed. Things like just talking about anything under the sun without having to pretend you’re someone else makes it quite liberating especially in this world right now where you have to think twice what you say (I usually don’t care about thinking twice anyways) lest you want to insult someone.
Looking forward to another hangout/trip like this in the near future; a geek like me, though truly an introspective and less outgoing, should consider seeing more of the world… helps to de-stress…
Anyways, I will most likely make another post about the Logitech Driving Force Shifter just to give my thoughts on it. I will no longer be reviewing my peripherals as in dept as I used to as it is now time consuming and I don’t have the luxury of time since I need to prepare for USMLE and I still have jobs as a physician to give more of my time to.
Truth be told, it has been 11 years since my last air travel; it was way back in 2006 when I last traveled to and from America, so I was definitely excited, and a bit confused, while travelling to Singapore a few days back.
I was excited, simply because it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, and excited because Singapore is one of the countries I have yet to visit, and by golly, I heard great things about it.
I was confused, since I don’t remember how to travel; I don’t remember where to go, what stations to pass by in the airport, and I don’t know the process for me to travel nowadays since I have a dual citizenship (I am both American and Filipino citizen, but only had a U.S. Passport). Luckily, my sister, who is also a physician, and also dual citizen, happened to have traveled to Thailand a month ago, and she got first hand experience when it comes to the extra paper works we needed as dual citizens.
Now, skipping the boring airport procedures, let us begin with me waiting to be board the plane: like I mentioned above it has been 11 years since I boarded a plane, let alone be in another country entirely, and with that thought, I guess I was a little too excited for my own good and wasn’t able to sleep the night before. This lead me to be a bit off the day of the flight, unsure if I can really stay awake during the duration of the flight. It also didn’t help that the trip to the airport didn’t help me sleep either, so here I am, being a wake for effectively 36 hours since I had work the day before, trying valiantly to enjoy my first air flight in 11 years.
When it is finally time to board the plane, I was right smack down in the middle of the plan, the middlemost seat, which in theory is the best as most people would say that you’d feel less of the effects of the flight there, of course, I would rather have the aisle seats, more specifically, next to the window, even if in fact, by the time you take flight, you’d see nothing but clouds and the body of water, but hey, I am easily entertained.
Thankfully I sat next to one of our friends also on the trip, who happens to also be my mentor during medschool, so it was cool that I had him next to me for the flight.
Overall, I am happy with the trip, it helped that it was just a short flight of 3 hours, so it was a perfect reintroduction to air flight as I plan to either visit Japan later this year or visit back home in America, also sometime later this year.
My only qualm from my first flight in 11 years is simply I ordered a certain breakfast in flight meal, and they got it wrong, it was tough to have it switched to the right one seeing that I am seated in the middle of the flight, so I let it go, but I made sure on the flight back home, I will have the right meal.
And so, we landed in Changi International Airport, and I know that most airports are better than NAIA, but wow, I was impressed by Changi, and all the more impressed when we were on the road; the lack thereof of traffic jams, the cleanliness, the overall beauty of Singapore, scream everywhere. I was blown away.
Right off the bat, I will mention that we are here only for 3 days; the main reason we all went here is that my sister and our 2 other friends wanted to catch Coldplay in concert. I, on the other hand, just wanted to go around so I didn’t bother with a ticket. That is not to say I don’t like Coldplay, I do, I have a lot of songs that I like from them, but I am not a concert kind of guy. If it were The Cure, however, I will definitely watch them. I digress.
Being obviously a tourist hot spot, most people understand English, thus making it very easy for me to order food and whatnot, and feel very confident when the time for my sister and friends will inevitably will leave me for the concert. My confidence is further increased when the area, overall, seems to be a safe place, unlike here in the Philippines when the sun goes down, you have to constantly look over you shoulder and be vigilant. I am not trying to ruin the Philippines in terms of safety, but come on, people that live here will know what I mean… don’t pretend you don’t know what I mean.
As the trio set off to line up for Coldplay, I decided to explore. I don’t plan on using the Taxi or anything of the like seeing that I wanna spend less on the commute and more on items, plus it makes it easy for me to see the actual sights and sounds, so to speak.
Since I play lots of video games that are open world, I was not to worried about getting lost, and again, it helps that everyone speaks English very well. What worried me most was my knee; as you all know by now, I had surgery nearly 3 years ago and I still have difficulty longing long distances and standing for long periods of time. It was just the sheer adrenaline of being somewhere new that kept me going really.
Sure, I succumbed to fatigue, going in and out of the hotel I was staying in, Premier Inn Hotel, and then heading towards the nearest coffee shop to get a sugar rush in order to resume my exploration; I am a big Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf fan, but sadly, I can’t find any nearby, so I settled for Starbucks, my former love.
After the much needed sugar rush, I am back on the road, exploring on my own. I was this close in getting to Merlion Park by myself, but having air traveled just in the morning and not having enough sleep to back it up, I reached the end of my energy tank, and had to call it a day and head back to the hotel. Overall, I had so much fun exploring on my own, tomorrow surely will be even better.
Next day… it started a bit slow, cos we all woke up late. Having washed up and ready to go exploring again, we waited for my former Resident/Mentor when I was but a wee medical clerk, Doc Noe, who has moved to Singapore and is a physician there, so who better to show us around than him, while my sister and 2 other friends, who are also physicians and my mentors, catch up with their colleague. Just 5 physicians hanging out in Singapore.
Doc Noe then treated us to a nice hearty meal, and as the afternoon was ending, a photo of the former AUFMC IM residents along with their boss/mentor is definitely a must.
At the evening, we managed to meet up with Doc Jap’s high school classmate who happened to also have moved to Singapore; he also treated us to a delicious dinner and then showed us around.
Though we didn’t get to visit places like Merlion Park and the like, Orchard Road was pretty neat by itself; lot’s of places to eat, shop, or simply look around. I was on the lookout for some action figures so it isn’t surprising that when I arrived in Singapure I would go straight to the action figure shops, sadly, no Macross figures in stock at that time. Maybe next time…
As the night turned into early morning, we wanted to see Mustafa since it is supposedly a 24 hour lot for electronics and whatnot, but we were just too tired already; we headed back to the hotel and of course, the packing comes next. Now since I didn’t really get to buy anything interesting this time around during my visit, it was relatively easy packing, especially when my sister bought herself a Samsonite luggage as pictured above. For my friends’ souvenirs, I decided to just buy a lot of souvenirs in the airport later in the morning.
Finally, had just about enough sleep for the trip back home. After a quick bite to eat, it is straight to the airport and on the way back home to the Philippines. After 2 and a half days away from home, I must say, I was already getting home sick, hence, I was very eager to hop on that plane and get home.
Upon arriving back home, the first thing that greeted me was the wall of humidity and heat; Singapore wasn’t really at its coldest at that time we visited, but boy oh boy, nothing can beat the heat of the Philippines. The next thing I immediately miss about Singapore is the free flowing traffic; back here, man, the traffic jams are a stuff of legend.
I don’t know if it was apparent in the post, but I was slightly hinting that I am planning to go back to Singapore later this year, for I am a Formula 1 fan for 21 years now, and I heard that it may be the last Singapore GP in F1 for the foreseeable future (not yet sure), I jumped at the chance of finally watching a race live in person. I will also be traveling on my won for the first time in my life, so it all the more, it will be a special experience.
I have yet to book my flight, book a hotel, or even buy a ticket for F1, but I’m pretty much sure about this trip, just have to finalize the seating (gotta find good seats, of course) and ask Doc Jap’s friends what hotel to book into, and we are ready for the race!
Anyways, overall, my 1st flight in 11 years, thankfully a short one, and thankfully a beautiful place like Singapore to visit, was a fun and well worthwhile one. I am not much of a traveler, but honestly, apart from going back to Singapore for the race and going to the States to see my home again, I plan to go to Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan in the near future. Somehow, visiting Singapore whet my appetite for traveling. Maybe this geek should see more of what the world has to offer…
Til next time! PEACE!
I will add a few of my favorite shots I took with my DSLR (you can click on the title/caption to be linked to my Flickr:
Let’s face it, physicians are not supermen or superwomen as much as people think we are; We do get bogged down by the physiological needs that every other human does. We do need to eat at the proper time, we do need to sleep to regain our energy and train of thought, and we do get sick.
I for one got a bug right now and it has debilitated me for the better part of the entire week. This caused me to miss my clinic duties. It is tough because I chose this career to in order to treat people who are ailing or at least do my best to increase their quality of life as it goes, but having the tables turned on me and now assuming the sick role hinders me from doing so.
I am a workaholic and I don’t like to be seen or labeled as someone that can’t be relied on, so being sick and having to miss my clinic duties is tough on my ego; All I can think about is letting my colleagues down, and most importantly, I feel I am letting my patients down.
But we were also taught in medicine that one physician has to take care of him or herself and stay healthy enough in order to treat other people.
With that said, there are still patients who don’t know what we are going through just to treat them; all those sleepless nights, all those sermons from our bosses, all the doubts that can cloud our judgment, and a multitude more of intangibles, add in the fact we are still human and are, like I mentioned above, still bogged down by physiological needs, the mere fact we try to take a short nap (10min nap is already heaven for us, by the way), have a quick snack since we are already hypoglycemic and suddenly have blurring of vision. or having to go to the bathroom real quick because the peristaltic rush is a bitch. It is the latter, tangible, aspects of being human that patients hate about us doctors. They expect us to be exempted from all that in order to be of service to them.
God forbid the physician gets sick.
Being away from work to recover my health and I am sure once I get back on the horse, I will make a run for it and be better than I was before I got ill and serve the patients the way we physicians aim to do. But there is a voice lingering, a thorn in my side, reminding me that I am failing my patients. With that mentality, let it be known that, each time we take a quick nap, we are thinking of our patients as we are counting sheep and how we can better treat that patient in the ER, also in taking a quick nap, makes us rest our weary minds and reset it to think more of the treatment; each time we take a snack, we tend to forget to chew, and in doing so, whet the mouths of our clerks/interns at the possibility of them carrying out the Heimlich Maneuver on us, just to finish the meal quickly enough to attend to the patient again immediately; and having to dispose a few pounds into the toilet rapidly and not realizing that the toilet paper ran out and hoping the same clerks/interns are not devilish enough to not give you a new roll when you ask them (I can always give them a demerit anyway).
Assuming the sick role reminded me how human I am as a physician and how vulnerable we are to being human. Let it be known that every waking hour, every minute passing, every second ticking, we are bound to our patients and we are as angry at ourselves for being human as the patients are. We just need someone out there to understand us… as humans.
DISCLAIMER: Photos of celebrities are not mine. Credits to the owners.
Waking up on the last day of 2016, at least in this part of the world, at noon, gives me but 12 hours (or less at time that this post is… well… posted) to reflect on the highs and lows of the year. This may be enough time for most people to just give a one sentence summary of their 2016, but not me; this year has been good to me, and I will take you by the hand and take you back to the best parts of the year, some bad parts that are far and in between, and you will know why this has been my year.
Let’s start off with the obvious bad parts of the year, though it may not have affected my life directly, these personalities were a big part of my childhood that I can’t go unaffected by their deaths. I am, of course, talking about the celebrity deaths. Now deaths are never nice, no matter the person, no matter the time, and I felt that it was such a bad coincidence that their time came up in 2016 giving 2016 such a bad rap. The deaths that hit me hard were that of John Glenn, Mercury 7 astronaut; I am an avid fan of anything to do with space and the early 60s space race that led up to the Apollo missions and landing on the moon were of my favorite in science history. John Glenn and the rest of the Mercury astronauts paved the way for NASA and all other space agencies we know today and the science of space travel we know today. And like his flight before launch, God Speed… John Glenn.
Next on my list is David Bowie; being a fan of the rock scene from 50s-90s, it is no surprise that I am gutted by his death. I in particular love his songs Life on Mars, Rebel Rebel, Starman, Heroes, and The Man Who Sold the World. You may ask me why Space Oddity is not in the list, if you know well enough, I tend to not like songs that become too mainstream. His style of music and fashion for his time was definitely ahead of his time. So influential that he influenced my all time favorite band, The Cure, to come into fruition. You are now one with the stars, Mr. Ziggy Stardust.
Alan Rickman makes the list not for his contributions in the Harry Potter movies, but for my personal favorite movie, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves as the Sheriff. He definitely cut our hearts out with a spoon.
Florence Henderson, now of course I wasn’t born yet in the original run of the Brady Bunch, I did catch a lot of the reruns and I remember watching them almost daily with my mom in the afternoons when I was younger. We honestly need more shows like the Brady Bunch again that shows family values, and having Florence Henderson as Mrs. Brady is perfect as she portrayed a mother to us all giving us wisdom.
Erik Bauersfeld, the voice actor for Admiral Ackbar and Bib Fortun, as well as Kenny Baker, who portrayed R2-D2, both are, of course, from Star Wars movie lore, and being a Star Wars fan, this definitely gutted me. My love for science fiction truly began with Star Wars and losing them is like saying goodbye to my childhood and my humble beginnings for my love of science fiction. It reminds me I am no longer that kid anymore and I am an adult now, yet still loving science fiction and Star Wars.
Speaking of Star Wars, we can’t cap off this topic without talking about my original princess, Carrie Fisher, who portrayed Princess Leia. All geeks like me would remember her in her Golden Bikini in Return of the Jedi, but I will always remember her for her smile in the outtakes; they were magical and perfect. This was the death that got me the most. And then sadly, her mother, Debbie Reynolds, also passed just a day after her.
Now honestly, that is the only bad I can say that happened this year. Even if it doesn’t affect my life directly, like I said earlier, they were a big part of me growing up, and it is just a confirmation that I am no longer a kid anymore with their deaths. With that out of the way, let us talk about the good! This may take awhile, but don’t worry, I still have a firm grip on your hand on this one.
Let us begin with the good stuff with… what is the greatest thing that happened to me in my life thus far, and that is, of course, me becoming an officially licensed physician.
Now let us go back a bit to 2014, where I had my knee operation and forced me to delay finishing my medical internship by at least 2 months and thus also forcing me to miss out on the August 2015 Physician Licensure Examination with my classmates.
I will admit, I was envious when my classmates took the exam and all passed the exam, whereas I, still had to finish my internship and waiting for March 2016 for my exam.
Needless to say, March 2016 came by, 12 difficult exams across 4 days in 2 weekends, and 2 days later, on March 16, 2016, they announced the successful passers of the physician licensure exam and there was my name.
I still can’t forget that day: I was out for lunch and coffee with my close friend Amanda, who was visiting the country as she moved to China for work and studies. She was here for a few weeks and we decided to meet up and hang out and just to help me calm down after the exam. The funny thing was I wasn’t able to eat a lot and she knows me well enough that I eat a lot despite my size, but I guess I was really feeling the effects of the exam at this point. After Japanese lunch (our favorite) and coffee we decided to go around the mall and we ran into my sister, Debbie, who happens to be a licensed physician too and is already a consultant at this point. The importance of running into my sister is apparent once me and Amanda decided to go home: I got a call from my sister, and since I just saw her in the mall, I thought she was calling me if I needed a ride going home, but it goes like this:
Debbie: Hey doc! (take note, we usually call eachother doc as a sign of professionalism and respect, so this was nothing new)
Me: Hey doc… sup?
Debbie: CONGRATULATIONS! YOU PASSED!
It turns out her bestfriend since their medical school days and co fellow in AUFMC Section of Cardiology, Dr Cheng, called her up after Doc Cheng’s boyfriend, Dr. Lloyd, found out I passed when he was checking the website.
I didn’t really believe it myself since I was at the website and was like refreshing it every 15 minutes. So when I went back and saw my name, I was on cloud 9. Truth be told, my right knee still hurts but I jumped for joy and the pain of jumping on my bad knee was worth it.
The best part was when I stormed out of my room and shouted from the door to my mom just across the living room laying down on the couch watching TV. As soon as I said it, I just blinked once, and she was right at my face giving me a tight hug! Then my dad got home from his afternoon jogging and when he found out he ordered pizza for us and the neighbors. It was nuts!
I got a barrage of messages/calls and what not from friends and mentors and it was one of the best feelings of my life. But of course, I still have a long way to go so I couldn’t just settle with this. I still have residency training, hopefully midyear next year.
I will also mention that I lived in Manila for almost 4 months while I was reviewing for the exam and having to pack up the place and move back home it was a very unforgettable experience.
This condo served me well. I thank you. Moving out…
This condo served me well. I thank you. Moving out…
This condo served me well. I thank you. Moving out…
This condo served me well. I thank you. Moving out…
Then came the day I dreamed of forever, Oath Taking for the New Physicians where I got to see my friends from the review center and recite the Hippocratic Oath together while my family looks on is something that is embedded on my mind.
Nice shot from my sister. Nice angle!
This time around we are with fellow doctors, Dr. and Dra. Martin! I am the godfather of their first born!
With my Professional ID and Certificate of Registration
Here we are with my classmate and good friend (all my classmates are my good friends) from AUF School of Medicine
This served as my new profile picture in Facebook; long over due need for a change of profile picture.
More friends made this day!
With my mother!
With my older sister who is also a doctor… thus my boss!
As soon as I became licensed, the very next day, it was back to the real world. By that I mean that I didn’t rub it in that I am licensed; I was never one to show off all the time anyways, so after the high of passing, I made sure I got my feet planting back down to earth the very next day. For new licensed physicians, they can immediately go training, look for a job as a general physician, or go on vacation. I for one wasn’t really looking for a job at this point, nor did I wan’t to go on vacation so to speak, but thankfully for me, I made enough of a name for myself as a medical student that I was given a lot of job offers the coming days and months. Heck, even up to this day, since I am not training yet, I am given so much job opportunities it is ridiculous.
My first few jobs were lecturing in my Alma Mater and my former review center, as well as a general physician in several institutions and mass blood donations. I knew I didn’t want to train yet, but I also didn’t wanna stay idle. So I took these simple tasks.
I was then giving a clinic schedule in a nearby diagnostic center and has now become a staple of my earnings. I was happy… I was working just 2 days a week in the center, then I got my other rackets as a general physician and professor elsewhere. I was earning enough to get the things I wanted and still able to save.
Then I was given another opportunity in school other than being a guest lecturer, I was given the position of University Physician. Now I wasn’t going to accept this but I thought that this may be a simple yet effective way to give back to my former university, AUF. So I took it and 6 months later, I feel my colleagues in the clinic is more of my family now than anything. I certainly did not regret accepting the job.
I am well received there even if I am still a rookie so to speak that I was asked to become the Director of the University Health Services at the gentle age of 27! I had to control myself… As much as I wanted the prestige, this would mean I would have to commit more than just a year in serving as their director and it will hinder my plans of training for Neurology as my specialty. So I humbly declined.
Next opportunity was to be a part time faculty in the Department of Biochemistry in AUF School of Medicine. I was also very psyched about this as I love teaching and teaching in the school of medicine is one of my goals. to think, I am a 27 year old physician and a faculty in school of medicine. Awesome. It helps that I also love Biochemistry. But sadly, my sched in my various jobs at this point took its toll and I need to sacrifice this one.
Six months since I officially started working, meeting new people/colleagues, adding friends and memories, and of course, having earned and saved up enough money and reach my quota in saving, makes me feel really accomplished. And makes me look forward to next year, my year, the year of the dragon, for even more accomplishments.
Now as we wrap up 2016 in a few hours, I got my DSLR ready for my annual fireworks photography, got my family cooking up for dinner, and got my favorite games loaded up in my PC… Cap it off with a high!
I thought being a 27 year old and not having to train yet in my chosen residency program, I would just enjoy my life as a general physician, being a mentor in my former review center for medical students, being a guest lecturer in school here and there, and a (motivational) speaker in several institutions. Sure, that alone sounds like I am juggling quite a number of tasks, however, I am very happy with my work load and more importantly, I am not directly involved with the administration of any of the institutions I work in.
I just have to be a physician in the clinics I work in and not care about the inner workings of the school/clinic/diagnostic center; I can just teach as a guest lecturer and need not worry about the syllabus, grades, and everything else – being a guest lecturer, I am simply given a topic and I teach it; I can just give a talk to people, either to motivate them or guide them in a phase in their life, and not worry about organizing these talks.
And more importantly, I still have, surprisingly, enough time for my own leisure activities.
Looking at my current writeup of my resume/curriculum vitae, one would say it is a pretty handsome paper for a 27 year old. And it will only get better from here.
I was content with the content (wow… I need a thesaurus) of my resume and plan to just add more weight to it as I get older, as I train, as I try to add more letters at the end of my name. But recently, I have been given more opportunities that most individuals in my age group would never have. I am not trying to be a show off here or anything, but I am both surprised and happy that I am given such job titles and opportunities at this stage of my life where most of my friends I know aren’t in this position or never had this opportunity.
Let us run down what I am doing for now, take note, this is not me being a show boat: I am a general physician at a university and a diagnostic clinic, I am a mentor for medical students in my old review center, I am a moonlighter in several institutions, I am a guest lecturer for the department of biochemistry, anatomy and possible physiology in the school of medicine in my Alma mater, I am a guest lecturer in the department of biology also in my Alma mater, I am proctor/preceptor in the hospitals for medical students, and I am a guest speaker for a number of topics in a number of institutions. And that is to name a few. I have a lot more ventures and these are things that not many in my age group are doing or has done.
So another opportunity came knocking at my door, and as a 27 year old, I find it a tad bit bonkers that they even considered me. The university I am working as a general physician is asking me to become the overall director of the university health services that was previously held by my mentor and good friend. He left the university last summer for other opportunities, but he held it for 5 years prior and he had a lot more experience in the medical field and admin way before he was given the title as director.
Here I am, a fresh new doctor in the world of medicine, a young start up at the age of 27, with little experience handling administrative work. Sure, I was a constant student leader, a president in many organizations, both as a student and not, held positions in the hospital as a senior medical intern, etc. but I always had a superior to eventually fall back on when the going gets tough. Now if I do accept the position as director, it is all on me. Any decisions I make, I will receive reprimands or praises. I will be in board meetings where there is a high chance that I am the youngest one (heck I am the youngest person in the university clinic right now). Persuading the higher ups at a young age may be difficult. Having being bombarded with administrative work may make me lose my mind especially when I am still inexperienced with these.
Though I am very flattered by their consideration. Like I said, not that many friends of mine are given this kind of opportunity at this age, so I didn’t expect them to consider giving me the position of director. And to think I just a fresh face in the world of medicine having recently passed my board exams (with one take, mind you) and just started working 3 months ago.
Most people, even those older than me, may jump at the opportunity, but I have grown enough (figuratively) to ask when is the deadline for my decision as I don’t want to simply jump at the idea. They gave me until the end of this semester to think it thru and that is a little over a month left.
I am 50-50 with the idea, mostly due to my age and my inexperience; I feel like I might just let them down, and as a team player, I hate bringing people down. The other thing is, I will have to readjust my schedule, possibly quit some my other ventures, and recalculate my earnings as I am contented with my current workload and salary.
Let us be clear, I am not really too big into the money idea, but let us be honest, I have a certain set of skills that takes you to hone and a license that one can’t simply buy, so I also want to be properly compensated for my services that I am sure not that many people can provide.
Once I can justify the increase number of hours I will gain, the proper compensation that equals the workload or at least equal what I am earning now with lesser hours, being able to fix my schedule all over again and possibly quit some of my other ventures, and the fact that I will gain confidence in my abilities to be a good director, then there is a good chance that I will accept the position.
I will use the grace period given to me to really think this through and seek out advice from my professors that never failed to help me out in these difficult decisions.
But one thing is for sure, whatever I decide, I will stick by it with no regrets and use it to my advantage to grow more mature and hone my skills.
It wasn’t that long ago when I donned the medical school proper uniform or even that of a 4th year medical clerk uniform. All the pain and suffering while studying on going on duties as a clerk is still quite fresh in my mind, and I do have some literal scars that are still oozing with blood from it all.
So when I was asked to help out in my Alma Mater for the current medical students’ exams, I was more than happy to help out and be their proctor/examiner for some subjects.
I wanted to give back to the university and the department that made my dreams into reality and never stopped believing that all my goals in life will be in fruition. Thus, simple acts like this can still go a long way in their eyes and then some. Plus, I am starting to acclimatize myself once again with the school policies as I am a guest lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry also in the School of Medicine in my Alma Mater and plan to help out in the lectures/reports/exams in the second semester. Helping out now will help get in tune with the medicine office and the people once again.
This is actually my first time being a proctor in an examination but still having the memories of being a student taking the exams quite fresh, I still remember the usual things my proctors would say before, during, or after the examinations, so I was easily able to adapt quickly and thankfully the students were very behaved so I had no problems during my first proctoring of an exam.
I will be proctoring other exams for the rest of the week and I am actually looking forward to it as it is quite therapeutic doing this. I hardly have to answer tough questions as I would have when I am lecturing, I don’t have to make hard decisions such as those times when I am in the clinic, and I don’t have to correct anything in the test paper as I am not the one that made it, I simply relay any questions.
And I need something therapeutic as the past couple of days up to weeks, I have not been my jolly self in the clinics I work in. Gone is the funny doctor that does his best to make you smile before leaving the clinic, now we have a doctor that seems to just wait til quitting time. The latter is something I don’t want to be remembered as; I have always pride myself as being a workaholic, a guy that gets the job done in spite of the toxicity, a guy that never shies away from a task as it gets tougher, a guy that is cool when it comes to emergencies, and a guy that will never tire even if overtime is a real thing.
I need something therapeutic so I can be that kind of guy again. Not sure what has happened to me in the past few days up to weeks. I probably took life a wee bit too seriously that I have lost track of how to have fun at work. There is a number of things that I can point my finger on as to why I am not my usual jolly self, but I can’t really pin point the exact moment where I felt the dread.
Thus I try to do new things, go places, and just try to relax – and being a proctor… simply a proctor, may help me. Here’s hoping it will.
So as the tables are now turned as I am no longer the medical student/medical clerk/medical intern, twiddling my thumb while having what seems to be a restless leg syndrome as I toil away at the exams, I am now the proctor and examiner looking at younger medical students that are now having the mannerisms I had during exams. It is a perfect circle. And pretty soon, they will also become proctors or examiners for future medical doctors… and thus, the cycle continues.