happy unbirthday to me: turning 24

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Bet you weren’t expecting me to post twice in a day, but here’s a quick post to commemorate my 24th birthday. This isn’t meant to be a nihilistic post, but the past week has been insanely tiring, and I’m doing my 3rd 30-hour shift for the week tomorrow (from Sunday morning to Monday mid-day). Today was my only off day in what feels like an eternity. I don’t know how other people can live life being this overworked, and I don’t know how I made it through these past 1.5 months (which I wrote abt in an earlier post), but I’ve promised myself to keep pushing on for the sake of a better future.

The first thought that crossed my mind when I woke up this morning was: “Happy 24th birthday to me, and by this time next year, I’ll be done with Housemanship and hopefully be overseas, celebrating my 25th.” At this point, the thought of finally completing Housemanship (in end April 2022) is the only thing keeping me going, and hopefully y’all will see me emerge on the other side with my sanity and health intact.

I wake up every morning and stare at the countdown on my phone, glad that another day has passed and I’m 24 hours closer to the end of this long and dark tunnel. As of today, it’s 74 days to finishing this rotation, and 317 days to completing Housemanship. I tell myself that I’ve already spent so many years counting down to graduating from med school, and these days will pass by quickly enough.

In the meantime, I’m trying to find pockets of hope and joy in the day-to-day, and learning to count my blessings:

  • Very supportive parents and my extended family, they’re my biggest cheerleaders
  • God (I know I’m not the most religious person, but I’ve found myself praying harder than ever recently)
  • My closest friends, for always listening to me when I’m struggling and (virtually) supporting me on tough/long days, even when I’m crying about the same few issues like a broken recorder. You guys have saved my life without even knowing it
  • The precious few hours each week that I get to call someone living a few time zones away
  • Having a comfortable and loving home to return to, on days when I’m not working overnight in hospital
  • Good health & youth, and being able to work 30-hour shifts without serious health consequences in the short run
  • Job security. I have an employment contract for 6 years, and I get paid to help people, sounds like a win-win scenario? (the $620k/5-year bond unfortunately doesn’t include House Officer year :/)
  • The fact that time passes in a linear fashion. A bad day is just a bad day, and every day that passes brings me one step closer to my real dreams – spoiler alert, it’s not doctoring!

At this point, I can’t say for sure if I’m even interested in being a doctor in the long run, and I’ve embraced this uncertainty with open arms. Not many medical school graduates even consider non-medical careers, but here I am, the oddball & dreamer who wants to walk down a completely foreign and unforged path.

(Side note: I’m looking for a career/life mentor; if you’re someone who’s made a career transition away from doctoring and you’d like to share your alternative path with me, I’m all ears! I can be reached on LinkedIn or any of my social media platforms)

I have a love-hate relationship with my current career path – while I’m blessed and grateful to have a stable and meaningful job, I don’t feel passionate or particularly fulfilled in the way some of my peers are, and I honestly can’t imagine myself doing this for the vast majority of my life. There’s so much more I wish to learn about and explore in this vast, boundless world, and Medicine is/was just one part of it.

I’m not sure where life will take me in the next few years, both career-wise and geographically, but I’m ready to fearlessly go wherever the wind blows me, and learn & experience as much as I can along the way. My 24th year of life may be challenging (both physically and psychologically), but I’ll make it to the other side, and hopefully have more exciting life or career updates for y’all in mid-2022!

Be sure to follow my Insta or Facebook page to stay up to date with the craziness of my year as a House Officer and see what I get up to in my free time!


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