Last day of the course

First thing first, time to update my current medical school status.

Here is a list of previous schools applied and a decision have been made:

  • Newcastle Medicine Malaysia (got a conditional offer, met its conditions, but I rejected it because it was not recognized in Singapore)
  • Royal College Surgeons of Ireland (waiting for shortlisting notice by 26th March, but I have yet to receive a notification yet, so most probably I would have been rejected by them)
  • University of Monash, Medicine (waiting for shortlisting notice, and for UMAT test on the 27th July with registration closing in June 2016. Received a rejection from MONASH because currently, they do not recognize my diploma certificate and they need my education cert to be VCE equivalent)

So that is 2 more schools into the list of rejection.

Anyway, back to the main topic of this post. Yesterday marked the end of my Basic Intelligence Officer course. Needless to say, the separation brought so much emotional distress I couldn’t help, but to hide it. I wouldn’t want them to affect all my friends, especially when they were kind of affected by one news I told them.

While I was chilling at the mess yesterday, ready to make my way back to my bunk, MAJ D stopped me and told me to look for my DS (direct supervisor) for the course debrief. I am so thankful for MAJ D’s action, otherwise, I would have missed out on the most important aspects and news about my performances.

Initially, I was confused as to what MAJ D was saying until I went into this secluded spot of the mess and saw my DS sitting there, waiting patiently for me. When I sat down on the soft comfortable chair with a cushion, my DS spoke to me about everything, from my test performances to my overall grading. Overall, for one of the test we did, which spans over a 7 hour period, I did the best! Prior setting the context of my score, I was kind of disappointed when he revealed my marks. Until this conversation happened.

DS: Woah, XK, your test score is xxx/300

Me: Woah… Ok, that is not too bad (Trying to conceal the disappointment in my voice)

DS: Don’t woah me ley, it is really well done. One of the top few I think… (His eyes glancing through the result slip for the cohort)

A silence and awhile later…

DS: Actually, you’re the top student for the test. You even did much better than the regulars.

Then a wave of stunning shocks hit me hard, real hard. I couldn’t believe my ears! It felt like a dream come true. Even though I wasn’t awarded with the best NSF, knowing that I actually topped one of the most challenging, time-stressed tests was comforting enough.

Slowly, as we venture away from the topic into my ambition, I guess his curiosity got the better of him and he asked: “May I asked why do you want to do medicine so badly?”

Internally, my mind was screaming: “Yes, this is the time to practice your well thought out answers” but, my fear was holding me back of revealing the entire story. Eventually, both my mind and fear won. I managed to relent half of the story while worrying that my DS would lose interest if I go on rattling for a long while. However, the main key takeaway I have from this experience is that I need to learn how to mention the reasons in order, starting with the one of the highest importance.

Because when I was telling him the reasons, I mentioned about my knowledge exposure to the field and my childhood experience. I totally left out about how my volunteering experiences and my goals had further shaped my desire to study medicine. I guess the next time I answer, it would go along the lines of knowledge exposure, to my volunteering experiences, and then my goals.

Anyway, I must say I have grown a lot from this course. Working with a team of people with a variety of personalities on both ends of the spectrum had impacted the team dynamics in one way or another. And in spite of such great differences, our syndicate was able to achieve what we first started – to have fun, and to complete our work as early as possible. We definitely managed that, and somehow, compared to the other syndicates, we had the most laughter, screams and tears from our planning with each passing day.

When things came to the last exercise, we had to reshuffle the syndicate. Things became much harder to adjust although the majority of the syndicate 1 kids remained together. There was this book I read which mentioned somewhere along the lines of changes and team dynamics. It goes by taking a capable leader in a work setting, who is eminent for their efficiency and effectiveness, and placed them into another organization with better-skilled teammates to perform the same function. Surprisingly, instead of functioning better with the highly skilled team in the new organization, their functionality dropped three to five fold. And that was what I had personally experienced for myself – things could not work out, and there were many times we (those previously from syndicate 1) felt conflicted and restricted. This was a very important key takeaway, and in order to adjust the situation to a better one, I felt that communication of the expectations right at the start is extremely important. If ever given a chance (which I hope not), I would try to implement and level up the team to the same level of expectations so the functionality of the team will not be compromised.

In addition to that, I believed that parts of my analytical and critical thinking skills have improved (and I hope this is true) given the rigor of analysis we were constantly exposed to over the previous weeks.

Despite this being a 5-week short course, I felt the bonds we forged are stronger than what many experiences in my past is able to do so. And I will definitely not forget anyone of them. Who knows, maybe our paths might cross someday in the near future?

Like what the CO JIS mentioned: “Once an Int Officer, always an Int Officer”.

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