Friday, 18 May 2012

Why medicine?

I am writing this post for several reasons. First of all, I think it would be nice to share my blog readers -- you're all such a positive, friendly, and supportive group! Secondly, I want to always remember why I chose to step into this field, and I'm hoping this will motivate me when times are rough.


I knew from a young age I liked to help people. I started working at my parent's shop when I was only 7 and I loved to be at the front, talking to customers, and helping them with whatever I could. If they needed a bag, I would grab them a bag and would often try my best to smile. Because smiling often made them laugh (I think that was because I had no front teeth at the time!). I love making people laugh, and smile -- it's quite selfish, really.

I started volunteering when I was around 11 at my local library. And I would try to teach younger kids how to read, and where to find the best books. Everything I learned myself, I wanted to teach to others. That moment when someone goes "Aha!" is something I've always loved. And my favourite volunteer activity was spending my lunch hours at school in the secretary's office: answering the phone, taking messages, and giving ice packs and bandages to kids that were injured during lunch time play.

High School

At the start of high school, I had little to no idea what I wanted to do. I remember I would spend endless hours drawing, trying to learn every technique I could. I also remember being a bad student, especially in my grade 9 year. I was unmotivated to go to class, and did not perform my best. Though, something happened mid-high school that changed the path I wanted to take. In science class, we started to learn about the human body, and illness. For the first time, I had something I loved to learn and was excited to go to class for.

At the same time, in my later high school years, I become highly involved in the arts. I had two passions that were competing against one another for my attention. But as you'll note, medicine won out. The primary reason for this was because, even though I loved drawing and acting, I wanted to devote my life to helping others. This was quite easy to realize since I was so committed to helping out my community. When you live in a small town, often the success of that town is dependent on individual efforts, and I wanted to contribute by doing something I loved. I wanted to enter a field where:
1) I would learn something I am most passionate about
2) I could help others
3) I could become a leader in my community

Undergrad/Gap Year

This was a time that solidified my ambitions to pursue medicine. Undergrad was very difficult for me. If it were not for the support from my family, my boyfriend, and my cat Jasmine, I doubt I would have made it through.

I was fortunate enough in my later years to be hired onto a clinical research position, focused on rural health. My supervisor is a physician who grow up in a rural environment, like me. She positively shaped my ideas of:
1) What a rural physician does every day
2) How much of an impact a physician can make on the lives of patients
3) The various roles and responsibility a physician can have (professor/clinician/researcher)

The choice to apply to medicine was a no-brainer for me. Though, it would prove to be quite a challenge due to the competitive nature of the application process. Constantly questioning myself, and every move I make, and thinking "Am I good enough? Will this ever happen? What more can I possibly do?"

Even though it took two application cycles, I am very happy I never gave up on my dream! There were a lot of times it was so easy to just say no (for instance, when I was rejected pre-interview last cycle), but I am a firm believer that if given the opportunity to pursue your passion, and you know what that passion is, you'll regret saying no to that chance.

I am still pinching myself, still can't believe things have worked out for this small town girl. And I am more excited than I have ever been! There will be obstacles along the way, but I hope that my future self can look back on this post and remember just how much effort it took to become a medical student. I am pursuing my passion, and I am so very grateful to be a part of this incredible profession.


  1. Aw, this is so sweet! I really hope you'll be able to keep such a great motivation and spirits during your studies! Here, at least half of the people going to the medicine faculty go there because being a doctor is something their family wants for them/it is prestigious, almost no one goes there for the reasons you have. I'll definitely keep my fingers crossed for you!

    1. Nah, I was very lucky. My parents never pushed me to do anything but were very supportive. :) i had zero pressure, could have been anything I wanted to: an artist, a chef, an actress. But I think they could tell how badly I wanted to become a physician, and I'm very grateful for their support.

    2. That's sweet of them. :) I really hope your studies will go smoothly.

  2. Good for you! Sometimes i still dunno why I did med. :p

    1. I would be very happy to have you as my doctor, Ren :)
      If only we wouldn't talk about cats so much <3
      Wishful thinking!

  3. Congratulations on getting accepted!

    I am just about to finish my first year of med school. If I may offer a word of advice:

    Steel your mind. The first year will try its hardest to beat any desire you have to be a doctor out of you. Its not hard to make it through, but its hard to make it through and not be cynical about medicine. Make sure you make time to shadow and interact with patients to keep the big picture in mind.

    1. Hey Anonymous,
      Thank you for the advice!
      My bff, who was admitted to med a couple of years before me, told me the same thing. I definitely plan on shadowing and interacting with patients, just like you mentioned. Do you mind me asking where you completed your first year?

    2. SUNY Upstate. Where are you headed?

    3. Oh nice :) That's in New York, right? I'm embarrassed to say I've actually never been to the states! But I've always wanted to travel to New York.
      I'm Canadian and will be attending UBC medical school in the Fall.

    4. Ah. I just discovered this blog today while procrastinating my neuroscience, so I'm not quite up to speed. I've enjoyed reading it.

      Are you going to keep blogging during school?

    5. Glad you enjoyed the reading the blog :)
      Yes, I would most definitely like to continue blogging, hopefully in general enough terms, and not overly specific for my med school! I have several comics that, luckily, I've been able to draw in my spare time so those will continue to be released throughout the year.

  4. You're post made my eyes fill up. Again, congratulations and can't wait to hear how things go. I imagine things will get pretty hectic and you won't have much time for long detailed posts - but maybe every once in a while you could give us a little glimpse into what it's like in med school. It would be something I would look forward to for sure.

    And by the way, I loved the image of you as a little girl grinning to make people laugh! lol... that was so cute!

  5. Wow, C! I'd admire your focus and determination! CONGRATS! (again)

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Much due congratulations Cerena! Looking forward to continue reading about your journey as you start. Enjoy the (still long, but worthwhile) road ahead!

  7. Hey there thanks for sharing your stories, they're really inspiring and I look forward to reading about your journey through med school! I am currently resolved to improve my interviewing skills, as I have been rejected twice now as well and also from UBC and I am hoping to gain some more tips on how to improve my chances and interviewing skills. What did you change, if anything, for your interviews? Did you set up a structure to your answers? thanks, much appreciated :)

    1. Hey Donna! Please check out my latest post. Thank you for the question. I hope I answered it well enough, but leave any further questions for me and I'll be happy to answer:

  8. Hey! Hope you are doing well, and having fun at your med school.
    I've just been going through your blog and really like this post.
    And I love your artwork!
    Will be waiting for more from you,
    Take care,
    - S. :)


Thank you for commenting! I love reading each and every one.
If you enjoy this website, please click "Join this site" on the right hand bar.
Have a lovely day,