When a door is closed, a new one opens
So it’s the last day of the year. It’s a cliché, but time flies. Fast! Next year I will be 25. Quarter-life as some people label it. I can say that I have been through a wealth of experience, ranging from one extreme to another (good and bad), to make who I am today. I believe the things that define us are the things that we love to do. For me, it is traveling, writing and public speaking. 2011 has given me a chance to fulfil these things that I love doing. As for my passion for travel, 2011 has taken me to the England, Wales, Holland, Vietnam, Indonesia and Turkey. I am thankful to the Almighty that at the age of 24, I have been given the chance to see 15 countries and 31 cities around the world. While I am not a writer for the newspaper or magazine, I am also glad that my passion in writing has brought this so called ‘Coffee Talk’ to gain relatively wide readership, especially thinking that my blog is not that sensational with the latest gossips or gadgets. It’s just about my life. I am thankful that people read the things I wanted to share. It really surprises me when I was walking in the middle of nowhere people came and told me they read and love my blog.
As for public speaking, I was also given a chance again to speak at an international level (the last time was in 2009 for the Model United Nations in Harvard). I represented the Malaysian medical students in the International Federation of Medical Students Association in Jakarta, and presented the Malaysian medical students organization in front of hundreds of other medical students worldwide. The feeling before stepping up the stage was nerve wrecking, but the feeling after was extremely exhilarating! My passion for public speaking has also enabled me to teach some students on the tips, tricks and techniques of speaking in public. I was willing to do everything for free, but when you’re unexpectedly paid for something you’re willing to do for free, the satisfaction is beyond words!
Academic wise, I am thankful that until now I never have to re-sit any paper along my journey as a medical student. It is indeed a blessing, because I know this year serves the toughest year yet, juggling between two huge responsibilities as the president of medical student association both at the University and national level. Going for meetings, events and interviews and keeping up with my studies at the same time admittedly was not an easy task. I am more than half-way through, and I hope I will keep the pace up and pass the current posting I am on and keep up with my responsibilities. If I can make it through this term, I believe I have equipped myself be more ready than ever to face the future challenges of my career.
However, not everything goes perfectly well for me this year. In the middle of the year I gained a permanent disability. My left ear was damaged up to the cochlear and nerves that I now have a constant ringing in my head, even now as I am writing this. It never stopped from that day, and I guess it will stay there until the day I lie on my deathbed. It was a traumatizing experience, especially during the earlier days where I was having vertigo and the world seems to spin around me for days. I wasn’t able to even walk without falling. It was even more traumatizing to know that my brain fluids (CSF) was leaking out, and without proper care, I could have contracted a brain infection and only God knows what will happen. Thankfully, the vertigo goes away, only the hearing problem stays. I am thankful that my family and good friends are there to support me during this critical times by visiting me, sending me gifts and wishes. It is in times like these you realize the people that you should prioritize in times of health.
The good thing about having traumatizing experiences is that all other bad experiences pale in comparison. I tend to take problems and other things in general more lightly now that I’ve been through a lot more worse. The problems I face daily become so small in comparison to the traumatic experience I’ve been through. Now that I only have one perfectly working ear, I tend to care less about what people say, and listen more to what my heart says. Every time I face a difficulty, I say to myself ‘Well, at least this might not kill me like last time’, as the saying goes ‘anything that doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. How I appreciate life more now.
All in all, 2011 will be a year I will always remember. Partly thanks to the ringing in my ear which will always be there to remind me the things that I have learned this year. Goodbye 2011, you have been a great teacher. Welcome 2012, whatever you may bring, I am ready!