Girls Unite #3 "In Pursue of Sports and Medicine"
A level results are coming out soon. What will university life entail for you? For some it might be exciting, for some it might be stressful, but regardless it is definitely a new chapter in your lives. Follow us on this issue of “Girls Unite” where we hear from Jo, a first-year medical student at the National University of Singapore and an enthusiastic student-athlete. We hope you will be inspired by her story and encourage you to pursue your passions, be it being a doctor, engineer, scientist, lawyer or anything you dream of.
Q: Hello Jo, it is a pleasure to meet you today for our issue! In a few words, could you introduce yourself?
A: Hi I’m Jo! I am a first-year medical student in NUS who loves my friends, family and Project Yangon! Right now, I also do track and field and train with the NUS sprints team.
Q: Wow! You are both a medical student and a student-athlete. Out of all the sports out there, what inspired you to do track and field?
A: I was an avid tennis player, playing with my family and for school since I was young. Having played tennis throughout my life, when I entered Junior College, I wanted to change it up.
I still love the game of tennis, watching it on television, marvelling at the game’s unpredictability and the players’ skills and resilience. In track, I like how my performance is defined solely by my timings and I don't have to take a competitor’s timing into consideration. I work hard to try to beat my previous timing alone. I like how my hard work that cumulates from training reaches a crescendo that is drawn to a cathartic release through that one final race. The thrill of training for constant self-improvement is what I find alluring about track and field.
Also, my junior college had no tennis so I had to join track XD
Q: Most of us have idols whom we look up to, who are some inspiring athletes whom you look up to?
A: I look up to my coaches a lot, be it in tennis or in track. They too are athletes but have made it their life’s mission to inspire and empower young athletes and help them grow. Their passion, patience and selflessness never cease to amaze me.
Q: You are on varsity (school) team for the National University of Singapore, what does the typical training look like?
A: A usual training comprises of warm-ups, drills and then workouts. Each component of the training is different because my coach tries to make things interesting for the athletes so we never have to get bored with just running circles around the track.
Q: Your training sounds tough, what motivates you to continue with track even if times are tough.
A: In addition to the pursuit of betterment, I think having a good team is very important with regard to motivation in track. Although I mentioned that track is an individualistic sport, individualism does not mean that you are not integrated into a larger whole. I do strive for excellence to the best of my ability in search of self-improvement but I also do so to make my team proud for giving me the opportunity to represent them as well. It also helps that the team is really fun and encouraging, making the training fun too.
Q: Now let’s talk about your life as a medical student. What inspired you to become a doctor?
A: During attachments with clinics and hospitals, I saw the reality of life as a doctor – the time you need to invest, the mental and emotional toll it can have. However, I also saw how all that would fade away when patients and their families returned year after year, smiling broadly, despite their running noses and hacking coughs, as they come through the door. Doctors don’t only treat – they can comfort and be a friend in need – and the sense of fulfilment you get is what makes me determined to pursue medicine.
I had the opportunity to participate in medical and non-medical mission trips. Before school started, I also worked at Rainbow Centre as a teaching aid, assisting children with autism spectrum disorder throughout their school day. These humbling experiences have taught me the importance of patience and compassion and solidified my desire to serve those in my community. I thought that studying medicine, which grants the capacity to heal physically and emotionally, would enable me to help others on a greater level, and allow me to move towards the person I aspire to be.
Q: For all the young and aspiring doctors out there, do you have any tips?
A: I think if you work hard, are passionate about medicine and proactive in finding out more about it (such as going for attachments), I’m sure that the goal of entering medical school will be within reach!
Q: With so many things going on in your life, how do you manage to balance your school work and your passions?
A: I think time management is really important! With regard to family, I always reserve the weekends for family lunch and dinner and try to have meals with them if I’m not staying in school too late. I try to study a little every day, even more so on the days that I don’t have training or other school commitments like meetings, so my work doesn’t pile up and I don’t feel too tired! I think consistency is important in ensuring that you don’t feel overwhelmed with the workload.
Thank you Jo for sharing your story and inspiring young people out there to pursue their dreams even while schooling! We hope to hear about your other amazing achievement in the coming years.
Jo is working hard on Project Yangon, Project Yangon is a project organised by medical students from the National University of Singapore, to visit Yangon, Myanmar and improve the health of the villagers in Shwe Pyi Thar township through a series of initiatives. Support her teams' fundraising- 30% of all sales on Charlye & Co. from 10 February 2020- 10 March 2020 will be donated to the cause.
The article is edited for clarity by Charlye & Co.