I want to be a Doctor

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Sharmini Jana

I grew up watching several parents boasting around announcing to the whole taman and where ever they go on how their children has always wanted to be a doctor ever since they were young. May it be a wedding function, temple thiruvizha, family reunion or wherever they go, there’s always an aunty somewhere talking about this:

Girl-ke/Boy-ke chinne pille-le iruntey doctor aganum nu aasai.

 

These ‘self-announcements’ are done once their children obtained good results for their UPSR/PMR, yes I’m not kidding. When the child managed to get into the science stream, the child is automatically labeled as a doctor by the family without even knowing the child’s real interest/talents and most importantly, the parents are not even aware of the child’s current performance in the class. Once the SPM/STPM results are announced, these are the same parents who either blame/curse the education system/examination paper marking system/ university intake procedure;

Intha varusam nambe pillingeh result eh kavutetanungeh, ellam vote kage tan. Ippo partiya epdi achu nu…

Class le ivanodeh mosama padikeravanunke ellam nalla result tukki kuduterekanungeh, avanungeh aalu.. en magan sonna. Paavingeh..ipdi senjitanungeh…


OR

They would twist and turn the whole ‘self-announcement’ according to the result/courses offered.

Girl-ke/ chinne pille-le iruntey maths teacher aganum nu aasai. Chi..chi.. etheke inthe doctor, law lam padicikite. Pombele pillaiku teacher tan correct-ana job.. 

Whether the system is messed up or unfair, that’s a different issue. My one question here is, while the parents are busy blaming the system, are they well aware of their child’s performance in class? Were their performance was really good enough to enter the medical line?

For the parents, no matter what the SPM/STPM result is, if the child wants to become a doctor, he/she shall be so. I have seen parents who went to the extend of mortgaging their house/properties in order to generate enough cash to send off their children to take up medical degree in overseas. Not forgetting parents who turn to loan sharks for help as they are not eligible for any bank loans. Why?

1) The child is not eligible for any education loans/scholarships due to her/his result (a single A in Biology is not good enough to secure themselves a scholarship)

2) The children are adamant of taking up medical degree and wouldn’t join any other institutions for other courses even though they were offered a placement in public university for a course which has high demand right now.

It is heart-wrenching to see such parents working day and night doing several jobs just to see their child achieving their dreams. What’s even more heart-breaking? To see the children returning back to homeland, failing to continue their studies as they couldn’t cope up. I have seen such families. Right in front of my eyes. Unbearable. It takes enormous time for the families to regain their stability both financially and mentally. The whole family was devastated because the child wouldn’t want to continue their studies except for medicine line.

IF, the children are initially bright students with excellent/acceptable results who are unlucky to get a placement for medical degree locally…my heart would go for them.

But, these are the students who barely pass their school exams, poor results in SPM/STPM and with just enormous interest in medicine. Why medicine? Majorly due to the title of being a Dr and for the ‘gasp-in-wonder-look’ that our society give when someone is introduced as a medical doctor.

On the other hand, there are parents who are able to sponsor their children’s studies completely. No loan payback, so less pressure. Child decides to take up medicine, at the very last minute joined law degree and after one whole year, is now doing teaching. One more started off with medicine, and the whole town came to know about it as the parents started to hoooaahhhh about it to majority of the people they met. The child changed line into BSc Chemistry after 2 years and the parents decides to pull off an act of their child never went into the medicine line at all.

Students,

Make sure you are well aware of what a medical degree really offers before you start holding onto it as your sole dream. Get updated with the entry level requirement and most importantly make a self-evaluation on your own capability to be a medical doctor. Remember, a mere ‘A’ in Biology for your SPM/STPM and ability to dissect a frog, mouse, hamster and identifying its organs is never enough to guarantee a placement for a medical degree and it definitely does not mean you are all set to be a medical doctor. Thus, open up and widen your mind with the numerous options you have in medical line, doctor is not the only choice.  I’m not discouraging any future doctors here but, beforehand please evaluate yourself in order to avoid unnecessary problems and stress both for you and your family. Make a wise choice. These are the very few phases in life where you have to doubt yourself a little for the benefit of yourself. Why? When you doubt yourself, you know where you stand. When the reality hits you, you will make a better decision. Being a medical doctor is a life time commitment and requires undivided passion, but if you are interested more on the salary or the title it carries, then I believe it’s time for you to explore the other branches of the tree.

Earlier this year, I met a girl who was offered a scholarship to continue her studies in medical line. Asked whether was she always been interested in this, her answer was ‘ naah, my parents wants me to go for it. They have a businessman in the family, now they want a doctor. I’m waiting to finish my studies and set up my very own boutique, I wanna become an entrepreneur actually akka. This medical degree is for my parents, not for me..”

There was another scenario where both the parents wanted the child to be a doctor. With the result obtained, the child knew it was impossible and happily accepted the course which was offered, it is indeed a good field. Everyone was happy except for the mother who was not satisfied and insisted that the child should still be a doctor. I was left speechless after hearing this story.

Parents,

Educate your children that doctor/lawyer/engineer are not the ONLY professions available in order for them to be seen as a successful person. There are many many more options available for them. This starts from the primary school itself when the students are required to list down 3 of their ambitions in an orange color card, which I have no idea why was it done anyway. I remember a friend who listed ‘doktor, doktor gigi, doktor haiwan’ as her ambition and when the teacher asked her about it, she said ‘saya tak tau cikgu, abah yang cakap suruh jadi doktor’. Parents, pretty please do not feed/force your children to do something which you was not able to achieve. You have lived yours, let them live theirs. You may guide them, preach them about the pro and cons in each of their step in their life but do allow them to make the final decision.

Sharmini Jana