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Anargyroi Graduating Scholar: Carmela Nina S. Tormo

Themed costume designed and created by me that is made from recycled rubber, paper, and ropes in participation to NatuRevolution 2018, Fundraising event, a movement on saving earth and raising funds for USTH pediatric patients. (Left: Joanna Paula Tan, Right: Enrico Sta. Ana)

Growing up in a simple household and in an underprivileged community in Masbate, I saw first-hand the difficulty of getting healthcare due to limited financial resources. With this in mind, I grew up wanting to help my community by becoming a doctor. When I graduated from college, I was determined to attend medical school. However, this dream was difficult to achieve because of our financial situation. I tried looking for scholarships offered in different medical schools. However, I was crushed by the discovery that I did not qualify for most of them. I was about to give up the dream until the Regent’s Scholarship Program of Anargyroi Foundation was announced in our class. Without a second thought, I immediately applied. I was brought up to take nothing for granted, with a mindset that in whatever you want in life, you need to persevere to get it. With this, I became one of the first scholars of the program.

The month of August 2017 marked the beginning of our medical journey and was the most exciting and difficult step of the way. I started this journey with great determination and perseverance, never imagining that I will ever doubt my decision. In that same year however, my father was admitted because of Pulmonary Embolism. For months, the hospital became my second home. The increasing academic pressure, on top of the anxiety of losing my father at any given time, was impossible to handle. My grades were plummeting; my efforts did not translate into my desired results. However, I pushed on with the same mindset that has kept me moving forward; I kept on striving and giving my best.

Assisting in a sistrunk surgery held in Capoocan, Leyte. (Left: Kalee Marie Royster, University of Toledo)

This ordeal instilled wisdom and a profound understanding on what it means to be a doctor, that is, to belong in a noble profession that requires lifelong commitment to learning new things and serving with compassion. As doctors, we have the responsibility to use our medical knowledge, skills, and teaching abilities to help more than just our patients. Bearing this in mind, I tried going out of my comfort zone and joined activities that are in line with my goals. I participated in different medical missions that offered free surgical and medical services and shared our knowledge in proper health. This experience gave me the opportunity to assist in different surgeries and observe during consultations. On top of these, I also took part in a program that aimed in saving our environment in which I am greatly devoted to.

I am now in my last year in Medicine and I still cannot fathom the idea that I survived almost four years of medical school. This would not be possible without the support of my family, friends, and mentors. By this time, it may seem that the adjusting period is already over, but in reality, every day remains a struggle. However, if you compare this to the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day, this is nothing. Clerkship may have shifted online and we may have very little encounter with actual patients, but in the few sessions we had with some of them, it made me realize that I have much more to learn to become the doctor I want to be.

Medical school is not easy. It is a roller coaster of emotions - a constant flux of disappointments and success. My stories of struggles and almost giving up are the reasons why I am still here and striving with the same dedication and zeal to serve my community. This path is not about the money or prestige attached to this profession but about giving the people what they deserve. It is about saving lives and, in sum total, improving the quality of life. All of these will not be possible without the help of people behind the Anargyroi Foundation, and with deep gratitude, I thank you.