University

Usually I like to write private reflections that go into a lot of detail, including about the people that I’ve had the fortune (or misfortune) to meet. But, for a change, I decided to do my reflections in a more public setting, to maybe better distill what I’ve experienced and learnt throughout four years of higher education.

I can’t really say it’s been a long journey, because even though matriculation day felt so long ago, the time has really flown by. Every day seems to pass even quicker, and there never feels like any time to breathe. I don’t think it’s really down to the busy lifestyle of Singaporeans or anything like that; it’s probably just down to my poor time management and my desire to just take things easy.

I’ve definitely made some good friends, some regular friends, and met some people I’ll rather not be friends with. I joined several events, and then promptly stopped participating after a certain point. I do regret not participating more in events that do actual social work, because helping people is at the core of my profession, and it seems remiss not to do so when the opportunity arises.

But I guess some of it stems from being a little jaded and unsure about my place in the course. I’ve dabbled in writing even in secondary school, but I think my level of creativity has definitely gone up since I’ve entered university. At so many points during this undergraduate course, I felt as if I didn’t belong. I struggle to remember all the details about drugs and drug use, and I wondered if I was going to be competent, if I was going to end up killing patients, if I was better off pursuing a silly passion in writing.

But I held station and kept going, and now I’ve finished my last exam paper of my formal education. It honestly didn’t feel any different once I left the examination hall. After the disaster that was my FYP, I think I’ve reached a new level of apathy. I really hope a bit of time to recharge before training begins will help me muster up some enthusiasm and motivation; it’s at an all time low currently.

As for the education itself, sometimes it feels like the focus is all wrong and we’re spending too much time learning things that won’t have much of an impact when we’re working as actual healthcare professionals. At other times, I’m grateful for those modules, because it means less assessments based on actual clinical practice. I do feel that we need a lot more practice before we can be capable professionals, but assessments can add an extra pressure that makes things so much more difficult and intimidating. I feel more trepidation pretending to counsel patients as part of an exam than actually doing so in a real life setting, and I wish that can change.

As I look back, with the year that just past fresh in my mind, I hope fervently that I can have the good fortune of having good superiors and good colleagues as I prepare to step out into the working world for real. I can see the importance of having a good work environment, and even doing what you love isn’t necessarily worth the difficulties of having to deal with an unreasonable boss.

So that’s that, I guess. It feels like just another phase of my education, one of many similar parts. But now that formal education is over (mostly, unless I go for further education), I can’t help but feel a little scared. What will the world hold for me? Can I adult? Will I be able to take care of myself and my family?

But for now, one step at a time.

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