Some updates..

How long has it been since my last post?

All I remember was that I was filled with joy and anticipation for the upcoming new year. I had been offered a place to study Medicine at the University of Sydney in 2020!

So much has happened since then.

New country. New routine. New friends. New pace of life.

Of course, I had to let go of many things I had.

Current violin students and personal training clients that I had been teaching & coaching in Auckland, New Zealand. Close mates whom I had grown accustomed to having around. Heaps of spare personal time too. I had tried to make the most of my time after graduation to save up and be productive. It worked. My book “The Driving Factor” got another 30,000+ words added to it during that period. I managed to forge connections with clients and networks, of whom many agreed to contribute too.

Here’s a short sneak peek my book for my readers who are interested 🙂

This project of mine would never have been made possible without the support and contributions of my writers from various parts and each corner of the world, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia , United States of America, China, Malaysia etc. I tried to find as diverse a group of people with different age groups (ranging from ages as young as 19 to matured seniors of ages 60+), socioeconomic statuses, backgrounds, religions, upbringings etc. The purpose of my doing this book was to record and document as much as possible the major turning points of their lives, how it happened, what they did to handle/tackle/overcome that issue and what gave them the drive to do it. This book was written with the young adult in mind, the teenager making that transition into adulthood and maturity. It was written for them, to support, hopefully guide and inspire them to believe in themselves and the people around them. To prove that anything indeed is possible with the right ingredients- consistency, hard work and determination in all aspects, to never give up and quit. With the right attitude, anything is possible as long as you set your mind on it.

Getting interested? Guess you’ll just have to get it when its released! 😉

Anyway, here are some more updates into my current life. As i’m sure you all are well aware, 2020 turned out to be a year full of unexpected surprises.

An epidemic. The coronavirus shutting everything except basic necessities down. Can anyone say that they saw it coming and was expecting to spend the vast majority of their time stuck indoors for the entire year? Would anyone have predicted that fights over toilet paper would occur? Not me at least. Anyway, i’m not writing today to rant about this so i’m just going to move on.

Moving into a new country with basically no friends and connections can be tough. Much less moving into a new country and have an epidemic that confines you at home and not allow you time to socialise and make friends. Thankfully, I had done it before (without coronavirus of course) when I first moved to New Zealand from Singapore back in 2012. But back then, I had the support of my parents who were with me. Not this time though. I was alone. Was I scared? Maybe. To be honest though, I reckon it was more excitement than fear. This was my lifelong dream coming true! Medicine was all I wanted to do. There was no plan B. When I didn’t make it in, I took a gap year to reapply and try to figure things out. Doing the necessary research and having to do/take so many entrance tests got to me. Why does every country require a unique test?? UMAT (it’s been changed to UCAT) for New Zealand. BMAT and UKCAT for Uk. MCAT for the States and Singapore. HPAT for Ireland. GAMSAT for Australia. Just wow. Seriously?

When I took the GAMSATs it was basically just another entrance test for me. To be honest, I did not expect much from it. Little did I know that this was the test that was going to gain me entry into medical school. Im just glad I stuck through and did what was necessary. Okay. Rant over.

Things weren’t the easiest at the start. It was tough trying to get to know people. I had so many plans and expectations of myself. There were 3 goals I had shortlisted a couple years before.

  1. Pursue Medicine. (✔️)
  2. Publish a Book.
  3. Set Fitizen up.

Point 1 was my major worry back then when I had not gained entry.

Point 2 started in 2016 and has been in the works (slowly) these past couple years. I wanted to document my life whilst I was going through it and to see how my perspective of things changed as I grew older with more experience. I was hell-bent on getting it published before school started (or at least the first couple months into the new year), which got me insanely stressed out. I’ve decided to postpone my publishing date to after I graduate and gain some working experience. Reckon my experience of medical school and internship these next couple years would make a good addition to the book. (Plus I won’t stress out too much about deadlines and be able to focus on schoolwork whilst making sure I only enter ‘quality’ additions to it and not write to hit my word-counts.) There are days when I wonder if I will sell any copies at all. To be frank, I don’t expect the book to sell, and I remind myself the reason why I even started writing in the first place. It was for me. Myself. To document my life and experiences thus far and share it with whomever was interested (and hopefully add some insight and value into their lives). That’s all that matters. Who cares if it doesn’t sell?

Point 3 was something I am deeply passionate about. What is Fitizen anyway? Some of my older friends may know what it is. To me, Fitizen will be a lifestyle. A way of healthy living that incorporates medical science with hollistic approaches. What do I mean? Imagine a place where you can workout. Are you thinking it’s a gym? That’s where you’re wrong. It’s not just that. A health bar/cafe selling nutritional foodstuff. A place where you can make appointments to see doctors, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, personal trainers, dieticians etc. A one-stop shop for everything. What would you call it? A healthy lifestyle club maybe? I don’t know. That was and still is my dream. I had already found a partner. Scouted for a suitable place. Sourced the necessary equipments. Guess what happened? Corona hit. Damn. Gyms started closing left, right and centre. What was I to do? This wasn’t going to happen. Not anytime soon at least. But this is something that has been on my mind for ages. Am I going to give up on it? No. But unfortunately, I don’t see anything happening in the foreseeable future. One thing that is driving me to do it sooner rather than later is because I know that things will pick up and only get busier, leaving me less time to work on it in the future. We’ll see.

Anyway, it’s 12.30am now and I have clinicals tomorrow. James (my good friend and chauffeur to the hospital 😉 ) told me not to be late tomorrow so I better get some sleep.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my updates and rants!

Never give up on your dreams guys.

Just before I end, I’d like to share a quote I quite like.

“After every storm, there is a rainbow. If you have eyes, you will find it. If you have wisdom, you will create it. If you have love for yourself and others, you won’t need it.”

― Shannon L. Alder

Don’t forget to pick your head up and be kind to others friends. Things will always pick up and you never know what other’s may be going through.

In Health,

Paul Chong

Year 1 SMP Medical Student


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