1. Name: Gabriel Baluyut
2. Course: MSc Physicians Associate
3. A Levels: Biology, Psychology, English Literature & EPQ (Ankylosing Spondylitis)
4. Your undergraduate degree: BSc Genetics + 2 online courses in Personalised Medicine and Clinical Neurology
5. Journey in 3 words: Failures. Exhausting. Perseverance. That is the reality of it! We’re keeping it real here! ;)
6. What motivated you to pursue a career in science?
Coming from a Filipino family and having a Philippines background – I knew I’ll either end up as an engineer or do something in the science field. Though throughout my education, I have always been the type of person to go with the flow and do something that I enjoy. That is why I decided to go into the ‘science’ route. I wasn’t motivated nor I was forced to go into it. It was just that science is something I really enjoy.
Now if you ask me why I pursued a career in ‘medicine’, it’s because I stand by Desmond Doss’ principles. He refused to kill an enemy soldier or carry a weapon in combat, during his service at Guam and the Philippines; also most famously known for his heroic medic act on Hacksaw Ridge. One of his quotes was "With the world so set on tearing itself apart, it don't seem like such a bad thing to me, to want to put a little bit of it back together." I really believe in this! I want to help people and I know that one person alone cannot change the world, but a community can. A career in medicine will help me find that community and I will foster and grow with that community. I know it'll take me a few years, and that there are many challenges scattered ahead of me before I reach my goal, but each will provide an opportunity for growth and reflection. For now, I will continue to seek out opportunities - to build my knowledge and experience on the medical field.
7. Briefly describe your current course (masters):
As a Physician Associate (PA) student, we are trained to become advanced, skilled medical professional who have a principal role in a patient’s care and to provide a continuous workflow. We are taught how to take medical histories, diagnose patients, develop treatment plans, interpret diagnostic tests and lab results, and to prescribe; hence, it’s quite similar to being an MD student. During our clinical rotations, we practice medicine alongside Doctors and Consultants, and are committed to a team-oriented approach with all staff members.
8. What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue the same course(masters):
Simple – Research, Shadow, and Volunteer.
Research the PA role and make sure it is what you want to do. This career is very similar to being a Doctor and the responsibilities are also very similar to being a Nurse Practitioner. Therefore, you must fully understand the difference between each role and have a solid reason to why you would choose PA over the other two career roles.
Shadow as much Doctors, PAs, Nurses, Surgeons, or Consultants as you can. This will enhance your perspective into medicine and will allow you to gain an insight into what it’s like to work in the medical field, as well as to see the hardships that comes with the role.
Volunteer when you can, as this will allow you to experience what it’s like to care for someone, help someone, or it can be a way to prove to yourself whether you’re empathetic or compassionate enough to pursue a role as a PA.
9. What are some of the pros and cons of your undergrad and do you believe it prepared you well enough for your post grad?
Pros: The number of essays I had to do in my undergrad definitely increased my confidence on my essay writing ability, which has really helped me when doing my post grad assignments. Moreover, the amount of presentations I had to do in front of a large audience also made me more confident in communicating well with people I’ve just met, and I’m able to transfer that interpersonal skills to my clinical rotations when talking to a member of staff or to a patient or their relatives. Lastly, the basic anatomy and physiology knowledge I gained from my undergrad definitely benefited me during my post grad.
Cons: As undergrad was financially expensive, I became quite good with handling money and monitoring my finances, and this is really important in post grad. There was nothing much I can think of regarding cons, but the step from A-levels to my undergrad was really small. Now if you compare that from undergrad to postgrad, the step is huge! I am not sure whether this only applies to my course, but I wasn’t prepared (I really thought I was) for the intensity and difficulty of being in a med school, especially that we are studying medicine in just 2 years. What was expected from us was a lot and if I were to describe it; it’ll be something like drinking out from those water host that firemen use to stop fire from a burning building. I was drowning on workload. It’s alright though, I managed, and I became more disciplined to study.
10. What advice do you have for overcoming rejection?
Sleep it off! This was what I did every time I got a rejection email/letter from universities. Rejections are unavoidable, but what is avoidable is the strain and self-doubt that we end up putting ourselves into. Hence the best thing to do is to sleep it off, wake up with a fresh mindset, and start planning/researching what you can do next. There is no point dwelling over the rejection, when you can start planning your next steps to reach your goals. There are no successful people in the world that have never experienced a rejection. So, remember and I’m saying this from the bottom of my heart - your quality of life will always be measured by the stories you share, the people you meet, and the impact you impart; not by your rejections/failures.
catch up with Gabriel on socials: https://www.instagram.com/gabz_studyz/
I hope this post inspires you to follow your passions and acknowledge that at every stage of your career will involve perseverance, consistency and discipline to help you achieve your desired goal. Never forget that “ no accomplishment is too small and no goal is too high”
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