Growing up, I would vividly remember how I dreamt of becoming a doctor but was not really sure why. I just knew that wearing that coveted white coat with my name across my chest followed by two very important letters - M.D. - was something I would want my future self to be. However, the clueless 10-year-old in me did not know what those two letters would entail. I just knew what I wanted, and I would do what I could to achieve it.
Now that I am approaching my last year, I am starting to realize and understand what those 2 letters mean to me. Allow me to share three things I’ve realized in my 4-year journey in UST as I continue to pursue my dream of being a medical doctor.
First is on grit and courage. Grit, according to Angela Duckworth, is the passion and perseverance to achieve long-term goals. What comes prior to grit is courage. Courage is what allows us to take that first step towards our dreams, and grit is what allows us to stay in it despite the failures we face. My first year in medicine was one filled with uncertainty, doubts, and to some extent, fear. I remember the times when simply finding the room for my classes would take so much time; lessons that used to take a month were now taught in a day, and quizzes became so frequent that every night would entail me studying until the wee hours of the morning. The scary part is the reality that even if you’ve given your 110%, you can still fail. It has not been smooth sailing. I am a reader; I love reading books and novels and what not, and that is also how I approached my life. I preferred watching from the sidelines. I guess some people may have seen my introverted self as cold and aloof. But in this new environment, I wanted to change and break out of my comfort zone, so I joined competitions where I was able to meet new people and make new friends. I started interacting more with my block mates and batch mates and started loosening up and enjoying every new experience that came my way. I realized that medicine is not a journey that can be completed alone. All the hardships and struggles were made bearable because of the people I shared them with.
Second is on purpose and value. We, as medical students, are very familiar with the phrase: “Mahirap maging doctor kung hindi mo gusto”. True enough, this phrase is grounded on the fact that one’s “WHY” and purpose need to be clear in whatever path they choose. Success is not measured by the wealth you have accumulated, but by the people with whom you had the privilege to touch the lives of. As I joined the Academic Society of the Medicine Student Council and conducted review sessions for my fellow students, this gave me a sense of fulfillment more than any other. The messages of gratitude from them made me realize that my dream of becoming a doctor is rooted in the purpose of being of value to others and this is what success is like for me.
The third and last point is on luck and gratitude. A little bit unconventional, but the awareness of luck playing a part in our lives is a realization that we simply cannot do it all alone. The road to becoming a doctor was not easy. It took a lot of time, resources, and sacrifices just to be able to start the journey. But I was really blessed to have met the right people, and to have been in the right place at the right time. I was and continue to be lucky to be able to pursue my dream, to be entrusted and given the rare opportunity by the Anagyroi Foundation to realize my dream. I am lucky to have had very patient and generous professors who would impart their knowledge in their respective fields. I am lucky to have a great support system in my friends and block mates who give me encouragement and company in times when I needed it. I am filled with nothing but utmost gratitude to these people who have been instrumental to me getting to where I am right now.
Those two letters - M.D. - mean different things to different people. But for me, those two letters represent my dream of finishing a journey filled with challenges, and an opportunity to be a positive spark of change in the lives of others. For this once in a lifetime opportunity, I am truly grateful.