Excerpt from Patrick: The Calling For A Medical Profession Part 2 (Excerpt)
Homer and Sol are not rich but they never—not even once—made their children feel that they cannot pursue something they’ve always wanted. When the decision was made, they had no idea if they can raise the money to put their youngest through medicine school. Even if they had any doubts or fears, they didn’t show it. Instead, they encouraged Patrick, just like his elder sisters before him, to go after his dreams.
But the road to medicine school didn't come without sacrifices. To prepare himself for medical school, he decided to shift to another degree program in college—from BS Chemistry to BS Psychology. He found Chemistry extremely challenging but he also thought that being a Psychology major would help him relate and understand his future patients.
P: I remember calling Mom over the payphone 10 minutes before the deadline of one of my toughest decisions in life. It meant dropping some subjects I was currently taking that would not be credited in the program I am going to shift into. This would result in under loading and a disqualification from graduating with honors. I was crying because I thought it would ruin my chances on being accepted to the top medicine schools in the country.
P: “Okay lang yan, anak,” she told me. “Basta alam naman natin na matalino ka, okay na yan.” I went home welcomed by hugs from Mom and Dad—hugs of same tenderness like those I received from them during my college graduation despite not receiving my magna cum laude medal. They also showered me with the same when I learned I got into the best medical school in the country.
P: I've always believed that living life with an advocacy is a life well spent. During my first few days in medical school, I was invited by some members of the upper classes in UP College of Medicine to establish a college organization that would empower equality, human rights and health, regardless of a person's sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE), that is equality whether one is heterosexual male or female, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender / transsexual. I co-founded One’s True Nature (OTN).
P: I remember being reluctant at first but little did I know that I would become President of OTN in its second year, and that we would come up with pioneer projects in the country such as the first Philippine Gender, SOGIE, and Health Conference, and having these groups as my greatest friends in life. Aside from gender equality and human rights, I have been advocating for Health for All and against HIV/AIDS (Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) stigmatization. I am planning to continue all these throughout my medical career.
P: I am considering pursuing a vocation in Public Health as a doctor in far-flung places in the country without physicians before pursuing a career in Emergency Medicine, Trauma, or Head and Neck Surgery.
Patrick is currently a fourth year medical student at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine and a clinical clerk at the Philippine General Hospital. He took his clinical elective in Head and Neck and Trauma Surgery at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital in Singapore in mid 2016.