The Sky never was the Limit...with God

Ramblings and reflections of one growing in stature and wisdom and in his walk with God :)

11:44 PM

PMS: Brighton-Sussex

Etched by Isaac

This shall be a post dedicated to the latest news in my life - the Partner Medical School (PMS) matching results here at IMU, and the underlying feelings that it stirred up.

Come September next year, I will be flying off to Brighton-Sussex Medical School, which shall be henceforth be known as "BSMS" in this post, and possibly for the rest of time in this blog.

The day of the PMS matching results was a whirlwind: We were told at 9 am that we would be receiving our results at 4 pm. Just the day before, I heard some news that it would be delayed to the next month. So, like, BOOM, results appeared.

Our OSCE practice session was derailed. All of us, except for one, were going to receive a letter which would contain directions to the next three years or so of our medical school lives. Stomachs filled up with butterflies and productivity nosedived. All of a sudden, the upcoming Semester 5 OSCE seemed irrelevant. This was the future!

So 4 pm came, and I obtained my letter. I opened it, and fumbled for the name of the school.

"Brighton-Sussex Medical School". 

I was dazed.

Later, I discovered that I had placed it as 8th choice, which was why it rather stunned me. However, when I was filling up the matching form, I had a weird feeling that I would get BSMS even though I ranked it relatively low. Premonition perhaps? Or a divine whisper? I'll find out one day. For that day, I was rather riled up inside when I found out that most people had gotten their top 3, if not top 5 choices. The effect of the PMS result managed to stun me enough to misplace my nametag. Yes, my nametag, which is something I've never lost in my entire life. I left it in the room, together with my beloved black pen, which I must now replace.

We went to sit down and talk, in a nearby room, and later again, over dinner. Most of us were still feeling over or underwhelmed. Whether the school was too unexpected, or now regretted, or just out of place and time, we all had our issues. Some were happy too, of course, but the overall mood of the room would be best described as Cloudy with a chance of Sadballs. We talked it over and discussed our feelings. Numbness and shock were present.

I spent the weekend being a friend to a friend in need. Glad that things are better as of today. ^^

I also did some soul-searching over the past few months. Looking up from where I sit, I see the medical books I bought in Semester One. Not all are still here; some have been sold off to juniors. The thought of whether I should sell other books was what prompted me to write this post.

"I bought so many books but I never read them enough"

If there is one thing I regret not doing over the past 2.25 years or so, it is exactly that: Not reading enough of my medical books.

I mean, how did I get where I am today, and now, with the grades I have (absolutely average, just B- overall), without reading those books? Actually, without much reading at all?

I look at the amount of time I spend actually doing academic stuff and compare it with that which I spend reading random stuff on the internet, feeding my new-found photography hobby, reading up on the latest technological advancements, playing badminton, hanging out with friends, standing in the LRT and whatever other nonsense I dump my time on, and I marvel.

I marvel at the wonders God has worked in my life. I marvel at how He weaved the pathways of my life and brought everything together. I marvel at how things turn out to connected in the end, after all. I marvel at the extent of my foolishness in the days that have passed yet He gives me His grace. I marvel at the blessings He's showered upon my life and hope that in some way or another, I will leave His mark on those around me.

So many things to thank God for.

The amount of studying I have done would definitely bring failure to just any other medical student. Not that I am boasting that I don't need to study, absolutely not - I feel guilty that I'm not studying enough all the time. It's just that the amount of divine favour in my life is awesome, and I feel so humbled. Like really, without Him, where would I be?

Somewhere along the way from being 17 to being 19, I discovered how to have fun and feel emotions in life. Before that, I was quite the emotionless robot. I thank God for sending Vanessa to remedy that part of me. However, I need self-control to reign in the pleasure-seeking part of me that was unlocked. If not, both the wallet and the clock would never recover. I discovered that it took increasing amounts of effort to increase exam performance with increasing performance marks. This led to a standoff within myself: "To pour it all into studies just to get that elusive 'A' or to cut back on academic effort whilst shoring up other intangible assets and developing people skills?" To cut a long story short, I chose the latter, and till this day, did not regret that choice.

Or at least, until the PMS results came along.

I blamed myself for not studying harder, for not getting better grades, for "wasting time with friends" and for all the other things in the world that I had not accomplished. Why wasn't I in one of the Scotland schools? Or at least a more well-known school? Or somewhere other than BSMS? I mean, why did I get the eighth choice? And it's one of the the rare non-Singapore recognised medical schools too, should I want to work there in the distant future.

This bickering went on until I decided to calm down. Or, something inside me told me to calm down. AND, do some research about BSMS. After all, why can't God use me by sending me to some small unknown medical school? It's the only choice on the list that is a medical school. The rest are universities. And OLD universities at that.

The results were intriguing. Yes, BSMS is a new school (founded 2002, with first intake in 2003). Yes, it is rather small, and still a medical school. Yes, it is not so well-known over here in Asia. However, it boasts an extremely high student satisfactions score - which is a big thing for UK universities, an extremely high applicant rate (16 applicants per seat - highest in the UK), high standards of teaching and learning, high hospital bed - to - student ration, an innovative and 'hybrid' curriculum that combines the best of both the modern and traditional medical syllabi, and it's located in a strategic spot - between London and France. High rentals, but good integration of transport and plenty of choices in consumerism. The place looks great too. Pretty place, Brighton is. Warm too. Warmest among all the UK PMS.

Oh, and it's the gay capital of the UK. I foresee plenty of exposure. Good for me as a medical student, of course. 

I embarked on a journey to discover the other IMU students who were going to BSMS with me. Within 60 hours, I had 107 of the 108 students' placements, and I had discovered that there had been a change in the allocation of seats between Australia and the UK, but I hadn't found the fourth person going to BSMS. I may never will only find out at BSMS.

Logistics wise, I believe that the scholarship allowance should be enough to cover my living expenses. With average rental touching 150 pounds a week, I certainly hope I will have enough leftover to eat and drink. I foresee myself taking many photographs in Brighton and Sussex, if I can find the time. Of course I can, time is man-made. Hahahaha. I need to do more academic stuff.

IELTS, application for Certificate of Good Conduct and Visa all have to be done well before I fly. A passport renewal is in order, and so is a new passport photograph to comply to the new passport photo standards.

I pray for God to keep me and my loved ones safe and healthy, and to give me wisdom to handle things.
And to grow up. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

I'm actually quite happy that BSMS is only taking four IMU students from my batch, and that only one other student is a JPA scholar. It's good to broaden one's circles. And I realised that it seems to be a pattern - I enter a new place without people I know from the previous place. It has repeated itself from kindergarten till university. Why not at the second university too? 

And all this realisations are happening in so little time.
And I'm only flying in September next year.

That will be the topic of question after I get over this upcoming exam, which is in 36 days.

Learning to cope with the undulating waves of emotion is part and parcel of my daily life.
Not being kiasu is a whole new ballgame. It's interestingly different.

Here's to a successful OSCE and final moments with friends God has blessed me with, for now.

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