[Y-SPACE] Paperboat: Why did I set for sail?
By Namfon Wonglue
When I was asked what keeps me moving forward towards my goal— I had to go back to one question: WHY?
As I write this, I’m also attempting to remind myself. As a very forgetful person, believe me when I say that for several years (and counting) of my medical journey, I have to constantly— literally every single day— remind myself why I’m doing this.
To the one who’s reading this, probably you’re about to sail yet with a lot of hesitations, asking yourself “What’s next?” wondering if “Am I set for the right direction?” or “Am I even making the right choice?” or maybe you are this adventurous sailor but when it comes to a major transition, you just utter “Am I even prepared for what is yet to come?” I guess, I can’t answer all those for you but you are on the right page and here’s a letter I’m writing for you.
Dear future doctor,
Welcome, aboard. You are now set for a sail. Here are three factors to consider: 3Ws. The wind, the waves, and the Wise Navigator. And there are essential things that you have to bring with you: your compass and your map (or GPS).
“What do you wanna be when you grow up?” — a very common question asked by grade school teachers to all aspiring pupils and a common answer to this is “I wanna be a doctor when I grow up.” Then the next question would be, “Why?” Some of the very common answers would be because it is a noble job to have, or because it seems cool to be wearing a stethoscope around my neck and listen to people’s heartbeats, or probably because it is the path that almost all of my friends chose to take so why not take it too? There would be a lot more answers but let’s pause and think. If you have decided to pursue medicine, again, pause and think. Ask yourself, why do YOU want to pursue medicine? This is a very crucial part of the journey since along the way, you’ll have to go back to this point of your life where you answered this question. At several moments of your medical journey, you’ll have to look back and ask yourself, why again did I choose to take this path? And that would keep you moving forward. “Oh yes, I remember, this is why I wanted this.” Remember, this has to be your why. It’s okay to have a cliche reason, what matters is this is your own why, not your parents, not your friends, but yours. I remember having read this somewhere and I wrote this in my personal journal: Stop worrying about the what-ifs and what could’ve been. Start embracing what will be.
Your why has to come from the core of your heart, not from someone else’s. If you really want this, go pursue it. Let the Navigator and the currents bring you to where you’re set for the sail. There may be sunny days and there could also be stormy days, there may be big fishes and they may also be small catches. There may be strong waves that would try to bring your heart somewhere else, and there could be strong winds in the middle of the ocean which would try to oppose the direction you’ve set on your compass, and truly, there would be times that you would be captured. But take heart, reset your compass, look at your map, and again, go back to your why.
There will always come a time that you would think of just ending the journey. Very convenient to just pack your bags and leave everything behind and just go back to the shore. There will always be those thoughts of what if I just took the other boat? Or just set my sail towards the opposite direction or maybe just chose a different sea. But know, that you are just tired. You are just consumed. To try to save lives and bring healing to people is not an easy job. Blood and tears would come along with it. But hey, when you reach this point, just have some rest. Buy your favorite coffee. Have your comfort food delivered to you. Watch your favorite movie. And have the best nap of your life. Allow your hope and love tank to be refilled again overnight. Surrender your weariness. A sailboat cannot drive by itself – that’s why you have your Navigator.
This journey would usually take around 10 years at the very least here in our country before one could be an officially licensed physician. Yes, the endpoint of it all is to become a doctor, but let me tell you a fact. Despite the seemingly certain endpoint of this very long tunnel, as you move forward in your career, lots of tedious training will mold you, maybe painful just like how a sculptor polishes a statue. And you will always bump into another crossroad, and into another crossroad, then another one. Endless of them. But one thing is for sure, as long as you have your why with you, you’ll know which direction to take.
Why do I do what I do? First of all, I trust my Navigator. He knows my strengths and my weaknesses and I know He’ll bring me to the destination He has planned for me. The next one, for my family and my loved ones. There will be a lot of crying times of blood and tears, but there they are, always intuitive in wiping my tears away and helping me get back on track. And lastly, I do this for my future patients. My heart desires to be a channel of God’s healing to His people. I may still have a very long way to go to be the best doctor that I can be, but with all my whys, I know I will get there.
Come join us in the battlefield journey, we need more sailors especially in the current trying times. What keeps me moving forward towards my goal? The Why.
Now I ask you, what is your why?
Rooting for you,
Namfon Wonglue is currently a Post-Graduate Intern at the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital. She completed her medical education at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center, Inc. last June 2020. She graduated as Cum Laude in her Bachelor’s degree in Medical Technology at the University of Santo Tomas last 2015. She aspires to share her heart and passion to reach people through the art of medicine for the glory of God. She yearns to be a channel of His healing to people and to thrive to whatever specific field she’ll be practicing in the future.
YSPACE is a platform open for young writers to contribute their worth-sharing thoughts and stories to the world. It is a space for young people and by the young people which aims to promote a strong sense of empowerment and inspiration to young Filipinos.