Friday, October 16, 2009

The end of my medicine career

Today has more or less marked the final straw of my medicine career. After failing the supplementary examination for O&G, I'm really contemplating right now on quitting medicine once and for all. I have accepted defeat and have lost all confidence, faith in myself and I strongly believe that history will just repeat itself if I were to resit the second supplementary exam in December which will involve more components of the O&G exam (written, viva and osce). I had previously failed my OSCE component in both the supplementary and mainstream examination which proves that I am clearly lacking in 0&G clinical skills. Or maybe its a stroke of bad luck as the mainstream examination didn't really consist of a clinical O&G station; it was more a history and viva station which I would have surely passed if I had stuck to my ground. And yesterday the examiner told me that my performance in taking a PAP smear and doing a pelvic bimanual examination was unsatisfactory (although I did say the right things). On the other hand, I managed to pass the VIVA station but in the end you are guranteed a 'pass' only if you pass both components.

This O&G OSCE has really been my downfall; the only obstacle preventing me from achieving my MBBS certificate and title as a 'doctor'. It has made a devastating impact on me and I've lost all self-esteem and motivation. I don't think I was meant to be a doctor in the first place as surely God would not have made this exam to be such a barrier. I'm deciding between giving up medicine altogether and return to Malaysia to choose another course or whether I should credit transfer to another university (either in Malaysia or Australia) with the hopes of repeating 6th year medicine. But I am postively sure that if I do decide to repeat the exam in early December and if I were to once again fail it, I will NOT be continuing my studies in UNSW. I never liked Sydney in the first place and these past 3 years has brought a lot of suffering and hardship upon me. Although it can be tolerable at times, I never truly had one fleeting moment when I can declare myself as being content in Sydney and that I had made a right decision to choose UNSW. There has always been a cloud of doubt lingering over my head and I was never free from a set of misfortunes throughout the 3 years in Sydney. Only this time, it has doubled in magnitude. Since arriving in Sydney, I faced the huge problem of trying to adjust to a new country, being away from home, starting in a new university with hardly any close friends around and sharing an apartment with two other medical students (which I have not met before in my life). It was already a bad start of the year. The following year I managed to shift out and settle more comfortably in a single bedroom unit (thanks to mum and dad) but I faced a bigger set of problems mostly consisting of struggling with my own inner demons. I had to fight off dark lurking doubts in my mind, voices that kept telling me that I was not good/worthy enough and a huge torrent of emotions that envelops me in a split second ranging from intense anger, sorrow or fear forcing me to make rash decisions or act in inappropiate ways. These 'bad' cycles often repeats itself and I am left feeling numb and regretful of my foolish actions or words that I could not control during the 'heat' of the moment causing me to despise myself even further. And this year I feel as though all my effort and discipline that I have put in has literally gone down the drain. Maybe I shouldn't blame it all on external forces, I know that a large part is due to my irresponsiblity and that I could have rectified it in the past such as emphasising more on the OSCE component. Or perhaps this is the way I am repaying for my 'sins' or 'bad acts' I have committed in the past.

All I really want right now is to crawl up into a hole and bury myself inside. The pain and disappointment cuts like a knife and it tears me up even more knowing that I will be unable to graduate with the rest in December. I have no desire to speak to any of my friends although I know that they will be supportive and sympathetic. And I have a strong inclination to go back home and to break away from this dreadful place and 'nightmare'. I don't know whether it would be a wise idea to actually go back for a week or two first. It might help calm and soothe me once I am back in the comfort of my own home and in a warm, welcoming and familiar environment.

The only thing right now that is probably making the situation more bearable is the fact that both my parents are around. I know that during hardship and troubled times, it always helps to have family and your loved ones around to offer support and encouragement. This 'failure' has made a devastating impact on me and I don't think I will be able to easily brush aside the matter and sweep myself off the pits of despair. I am unfortunately not very strong-minded who can take failures and defeats lightly and see it in a positive light as a way to learn, grow or mature. Those are the people I truly admire but unfortunately I do not possess such hard-core determination. Even physical pain cannot really justify or rival this inner pain which shatters my heart into a million pieces. I don't know how I can EVER pick myself up from this and try to focus and prepare for the exam in December which will probably be my last attempt in achieving a medicine degree. I believe I have wasted 6years of my life, slaving away in medicine when I could have chosen a much less stressful, demanding and easier course. I'm just not cut out to do medicine and there is no point in reassuring myself that this is just a setback . All I know is that I will decide on Monday whether or not i should try for the final time in december when I meet Dr Phillip Jones who is the Phase 3 course coordinator. And if I were to try again, I do not know whether or not I have anymore inner strength, courage and determination left inside. Either way, I've realised that life can be very cruel, harsh and unfair.

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