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Everyone Deserves a Second Chance (On Both Sides of the Stethoscope)

NewaaronAaron Singh -- At the risk of dashing the hopes of everyone out there who prayed that my long absence from this blog meant that I was finally dead and gone and wouldn’t be causing any more brain haemorrhages with my dreadful writing, I would like to take this opportunity to confirm that yes, I am indeed still alive, and the rumours of my death are greatly exaggerated (despite the fact that they're featured on every "Top Ten Prayers of All Time" list in every church, synagogue, mosque and pagan altar from here to Reykjavik).

Why then, you ask, have I deprived my long-suffering readers of my suicide-inducing rants for so long? Rather than telling you a tale of murder, intrigue and derring-do culminating in a rainswept showdown with the Senior Examiner for Medicine on the roof of King’s College Chapel, I have decided to tell you the truth instead. I made some very bad academic decisions last year (read: I slacked off. BIG TIME.) and have been spending the intervening months trying to repair the damage. Luckily I was given a second chance, which is why I’m here instead of in a shallow grave somewhere with an axe buried in my head attached to a note saying "With love, Mom."

But as I sat pondering my good luck, trying to figure out what went wrong where, something my old A-Levels college headmaster once told me came to mind. "Don’t be afraid of being imperfect. After all, isn’t the whole point of medicine to deal with human imperfection?"

And the more I thought about it, the more I realized what a wise man my old headmaster was. Medicine does indeed function to give humanity a second chance. And as I found out from some of my doctor friends who wrote in to show their support, many of them had stumbled in their careers, too. But they all got a second chance, and were now successful practitioners.

So is it wrong that we on the other side of the stethoscope get a second chance, too? It’s a cliché that failure is a better teacher than success, but it’s a cliché because it’s true. I got my second chance. And I intend to make the best of it. So break out the vomit buckets, folks - I’m back!

Coming up: what I’m doing for my BSc this year, where I’m transferring next year, and how I drove both famous actor Sir Ian McKellen and famous autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen mad. Stay tuned!

January 23, 2008 | Permalink


Well, I never put away the vomit buckets anyway. I knew you'd return soon enough. Welcome back!

Posted by: Kendra | Jan 23, 2008 11:15:19 AM

Aw thanks Kendra! I knew there was at least ONE person who got their money's worth buying those vomit buckets :)

Posted by: The Angry Medic | Jan 25, 2008 4:52:23 AM

I think your writting's are amusing.You are such a young fruit.Yet to be damaged by the world of medicine.It is a damage we allow to ourselves when we choose this field.If you have failed and survived.Than you know perseverance and you know exactly where you want to be.Which is what you need to be a good dr.Atleast in my opinion.Good luck with the exams!

Posted by: Sharonjinnil | Jan 30, 2008 10:06:58 AM

Hey Aaron,

I know exactly what you have gone through and about second chances. I too stumbled in my first year which lead to my dismissal from my prior program. It took me a long time to tell my family, especially my grandparents, when I was dismissed from med school. But it was a blessing in disguise! Like you said before failure can be your greatest teacher.
After trying to make a deal with my school; I took the recommended graduate level courses (and did awesome) and counseling, they still denied my entry.
Hell the Dean told me "I am not going to lie to you, but you may want to look else where because we don't believe you can succeed". That my friend was a slap in the face.

However, after some soul searching and new school searching, I am ready to get back on the horse and ride the medicine rodeo. I have decided to transfer to a school in Arizona, Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. I start next fall and I am stoked about this progressive school.

The past year hasn't been a complete waste, I've been able to experience some different professions and meet some awesome people that I may not have had the opportunity to meet.
For instance, I worked as a research assistant in an entomology lab, a personal care assistant for a young man with autism, and I have worked as a Nurse at an animal hospital. I have learned a great deal about topics that are related and non-related to the medical field. All I can say is what a long strange trip it's been.

Good Luck to you Aaron. Don't ever feel that you are the only one who has stumbled. Some of my favorite professors hit major road blocks on their way to become a physician. Now that we've been given a second chance let's make the most of it and be the best damn doctors we can!

Posted by: Dave Hamilton | Jan 30, 2008 1:18:21 PM

I just stumbled across your blog this evening after a particularly humiliating day on the ward where i managed to embarass myself in various ways in front of patient, house officer and consultant! Feeling like a huge failure of a med student it really lifted my spirits to read the wise words of your headteacher and realise that i'm not alone in feeling imperfect! Wishing you all the best for your journey through med school and hang in there!

p.s: remember to never prescribe chloramphenicol eye drops PO as i did today, it never impresses your superiors!

Posted by: swissmiss | Jan 30, 2008 1:33:25 PM

Hello Aaron,
Just loved your comment, it has been waaaay too long since you posted here, I know 'cause I come h e r e looking for you too. Sounds a little scarily stalkerish, doesn't it...? Thanks for your words of wisdom passed down from one of your wise teachers...I can certianly use them in my life too, but am especially glad that they helped you in yours. I hope to "see" you around more often...remember, in spite of what last year taught you, "All work and no play makes Aaron a dull boy..."

much love, tracy

Posted by: Tracy | Jan 31, 2008 7:24:36 AM

i think that aaron is very thoughtful to write about his experience regarding the stumbling block in his career.thanks a lot coz it means the world of encouragement to know that you got to and can bounce back.

Posted by: dr sonali | Jan 31, 2008 7:28:44 AM

well nice read ,just few words welcome back,nice to see that you have remembered the old teachers words.

Posted by: deepak | Jan 31, 2008 10:59:24 AM

ohhhh you're BACK!! hooray! i was waiting and wondering just when you'd clear your awful exams and come back to tell us all about your derring do and mystique clashes with The Upper Crust of Medicine!
but in any case, welcome home! ;)

Posted by: ditzydoctor | Feb 3, 2008 10:06:30 AM

Welcome back! and good luck for the future. I like reading ur post all these while. Most amusing

From fellow Malaysian who is also studying overseas.

Posted by: Afiza | Feb 4, 2008 1:15:46 AM

LOL - Welcome bak! Good to see that ur takin it all with great deal of courage and i'm sure there is heaps more experience to fill up these blogs as u usually do!!

Best of luck mista!

Posted by: Anu | Feb 4, 2008 6:01:18 AM

hey!glad to see you're back!
Always love reading your blog...

From yet another Malaysian med student

Posted by: princess | Feb 9, 2008 10:34:09 AM

Glad you're back! What??? You're Malaysian? So proud to have a fellow Malaysian like you!

Posted by: Evie | Apr 12, 2008 7:13:15 AM

Welcome Back!!! Your article is very good thanks for updating.

Posted by: stethoscope reviews | Nov 5, 2011 7:04:18 AM

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