Not just about exams

Once upon a time, there was a junior doctor who was getting ready to sit her upcoming professional specialist exams. Now these are stressful and difficult (or commonly so perceived) examinations, and she had dedicated a lot of time for study, and study alone. When her dad tried calling her to catch up several times during that period, she turned him down and said she would make up time with him after her exams were over. She remembered those phone calls, she remembered the promises she made.

Then on the week before her exams finally took place, her dad caught a bad pneumonia, got admitted to hospital, never recovered, and passed away a few weeks later. Among those weeks she turned up and sat her specialist exams in the worst mental situation ever — but she, with her smartness and her hard work, managed to clearly pass. Yet in her smartness she realised too that some things had changed, and that she could not turn back time even if she wanted to.

Two years later today, she is a young consultant specialist with a passion for the education of junior doctors in specialist training. She would keep telling the trainees who have exams coming up — with their brows frowned and head heavy amongst a pile of study notes — that exams are not everything; that family and friends still exist and appreciate your time. And that although they may think they’ll be less busy “after this”, it is rarely true — she would say always try to make time now.

4 responses to this post

  1. // reply // #

    that’s very sad. I often think about the “what ifs” about those close to me dying. sometimes the possibility would come to my mind in the midst of fights, or making major decisions. then I’d remember to try to live in a way that I will not regret later on. by the way, do you have exams coming up soon joe?

    • // reply // #

      Hey Winnie, nah, quite thankfully none coming up for me!!

  2. ck
    // reply // #

    Reminds me of the movie “click”.
    Family comes first

    • // reply // #

      Hey CK, thanks for the comment! I enjoyed that movie too…

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