I Paid Full Tuition Fee Just to Study A Medical Degree in My Bedroom
2020 is a year of disasters — Chaos everywhere: Lockdowns, quarantines, and the overwhelmed health care systems. Anything, you name it.
It seems like the world is falling apart.
Freshly graduated from high school in 2019, I got enrolled in a Veterinary Medicine degree in Edinburgh. As excited as I was, I finally got to experience university life…for 7 months, until the outbreak of the famous pandemic canceled everything for me.
Though I was very lucky to be aware of the serious harm that COVID-19 could bring because I experienced the outbreak of the SARS back in 2003, this year is still a lot to take in.
My semester ended abruptly, exams canceled, gym membership refunded and my accommodation lease terminated. I flew back to Hong Kong the same week I got notified that my trip to Amsterdam in Spring break was going to be canceled.
I got 4 days to book my flight ticket, to pack all my belongings in my dorm, and to sort out storage issues. I farewelled my friends from different countries and witnessed them go one by one in that week before it was my time.
The next thing I know, I’m back at home.
Dawdling through the 14 days quarantine — slowly ‘catching-up’ on all the lectures that I left behind for a few months and ‘writing’ my essay that was due in a few days. Mostly I was idling or watching Netflix.
Oh, not to mention that I celebrated my birthday in the meantime too. (So that was productive.)
‘It really do be like that sometimes’
Yes. Life has its unpredictable ups and downs.
Who would’ve predicted that I would have canceled 3 trips to 5 places this year and stay at home for 10 extra months? Who would’ve foreseen that I would have 6 real-life work placements canceled just to be replaced by virtual ones? Who could’ve anticipated that I would be accepted into a Vet school in the UK just to study back at home in Hong Kong?
Exactly. No one.
After days and weeks of moaning, lamenting, and whining about reality, I reflect on myself and realized that I was literally rotting away at home. I have done nothing, living day-by-day on Netflix and cereals. It’s about time that I need to stop myself from decaying at home.
With the hard times ahead, it is indeed a frustrating year. Many of us have probably gone through even more challenging times — families lost, job lost, income lost. Yet, this is exactly why it is important to hold tight during these tough periods.
Staying home isn’t my favorite hobby. However, I choose to stick with it.
While I’m at home, I decided to apply for virtual internships. Even though I am still struggling to learn how to milk a cow or how to assist a sheep when lambing virtually, I try to make the most out of it. I try to learn as much out of the muffled videos and teaching materials that my university provided, to minimize the inconvenience that this entire situation has caused.
It is our own choice of how we choose to face our problems.
As a university student here, I choose to be optimistic and make the best out of the worst. Making notes for my remaining lectures, completing online assignments, trying to prepare for the next coming semester, and applying for online internships.
As a teen barely stepping foot into her 20s, I choose to be more proactive and to re-design my life all over. Brainstorming some potential side hustles beside of my soon-to-be Veterinarian career.
Side note: this is how I started writing on Medium.
I ended up with several ideas of what I can do in my 20s and I also read some basic investment books to learn the lesson 101s; while my stocks are plummeting on one day and sky-rocketing on the other, I also took the time to study for my driving theory test so I can get a license in these spare months that I got from lockdown.
As a daughter, I decided to use this spare time to bond with my family since we are all stuck at home. I emptied all my schedules for Saturday and Sunday so I can spend more time together with my mom who’s usually only free on the weekends. I would voluntarily go grocery shopping with her and share with her more about the bits of my life. I would facetime my dad who is currently stuck in China more often about once a week.
As a personal hobby, I decided to learn how to bake and cook. I found different recipes online and tried to make dishes and pastry desserts that I never thought I would’ve done before. I was happy for the discovery of my capabilities.
It is really up to ourselves how we like to spend our time and what attitude we choose to use when facing these situations. I got to stay at home as a result of the disasters that the world is going through currently, yet it is up to me whether or not I allow myself to rot away or to make use of my time wisely for something better.
Plans can be ruined, but they can also be rescheduled, and I choose to stop blaming life for the unforeseeable tragedy that happened. This is what the pandemic has taught me — it is our mentality that needs to stay strong, and the importance of resilience.
By developing these life skills, it allows us not to win life over, but instead to survive during harsh periods and tough times like these.
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