Hey guys, I was going through the good ol’ archive and found this little gem. Honestly when I first read it again I was pleasantly surprised. I’m incredibly happy I was forced to write this, not only because of its content, but also because of the memories associated with it – my first year at University. Enjoy!

Greetings! My name is Verrel Wibisono and I am an 18-year-old first year student at Universitas Indonesia. In this essay I will outline a few things about myself, my journey to being accepted into Fakultas Kedokteran Universitas Indonesia (FKUI) and my future aspirations. First and foremost, I would like to sincerely apologise, karena Bahasa Indonesia saya tidak cukup bagus untuk menulis esai yang lengkap – that sentence still required some assistance from Google and therefore one can probably see the lack of confidence I have in my own ability to write in Bahasa. Nevertheless, I can say with utmost certainty that I am very happy and extremely excited to be studying medicine at the oldest and most prestigious university in Indonesia – Universitas Indonesia.

I was born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and have lived there for 18 years now. I studied at the Alice Smith School from Year 2 (which I believe is the equivalent of Kelas 1 SD) all the way to high school, where I graduated and completed my A Levels in physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology. My desire to pursue medicine was only realised during my time in high school. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career which blended the meticulous research and observation found in science with the principles of altruism. My school had put me on a 1-week work experience at a fertility centre, which I absolutely loved because I experienced so many things in their field first-hand. I observed their surgical team while they were doing an oocyte transplant, witnessed the IVF process on a huge screen in real time and shadowed the primary obstetrician-gynaecologist among other things. With the vast amount of support provided by my school in finding potential career paths I finally decided that I wanted to pursue medicine.

Initially, my parents were not very supportive of my plan to return to Indonesia for university – it was going to be very difficult for me to study any subject in Bahasa Indonesia. However, I was sure that this was a big opportunity to provide something back to my home country and its people, as well as an opportunity to make my career something that I would be immensely proud of and fulfilled with in the future. When I informed my parents of my decision to apply to KKI FKUI (the international class at FKUI), they were very surprised yet impressed, and they started to get behind my big goals and dreams. FKUI is the oldest unit at UI and is constantly producing some of the best doctors in Indonesia and the world. To my knowledge, it possesses the best equipment and lecturers of any faculty of medicine in Indonesia. This is testament to the brilliant and well renowned research produced by the university, as well as all of the alumni that are known to be the absolute best and most knowledgeable in their field, as well as contribute massively towards the development of the country. There is just something so inspiring about the doctors from UI and their impressive achievements. After discovering all of these things, I was sure that I wanted to become a student at FKUI.

The journey to FKUI was definitely an arduous one. I applied to SIMAK, the pathway to UI which involved an incredibly difficult entrance exam. The exam for FKUI comprised sections of physics, chemistry, biology and mathematics. I naively thought that I was lucky due to my A Level subjects, but as I started to try the past papers that were available, I realised how this was less and less true. The material just seemed too different. In the middle of all this revision, I was lamenting the idea of applying to UI in the first place and began to doubt my own abilities. In spite of this, I soldiered on, reminding myself of the future potential I had in becoming a doctor and serving my country. On exam day, I was incredibly tired from all the work and pressure I had been withstanding previously. The exam was online in order to limit the spread of COVID, which I applaud the university for doing. I was very concerned about the possibility of other people cheating, but with the protocols of the camera and microphone in place I was slightly more at ease. I knew I had to just do my best and put my trust in God. I came out of the exam worried about how difficult it was. It was truly impossible to have known everything in that exam, but I felt that I was somehow expected to know everything. To be very honest, I was not optimistic about the outcome because I was incredibly overwhelmed by the amount of work that I needed to do in the lead up to the exam. Consequently, I felt quite anxious for what seemed like the longest time until I received an email stating that I had made it to the interview. I was immediately feeling ecstatic and uplifted, and immediately informed my parents of the news. Worryingly, there was a miniscule amount of time to prepare for the interviews, which seemed like a gargantuan task. I structured my preparation by watching MMI style interviews, gathered practice questions, and asked my friends to help test me on various different scenarios. Though I did not feel 100% prepared, I was not going to let it hinder my performance – I knew this was my chance to prove myself. I was incredibly happy with how the interview panned out. I felt like I had the right balance of everything that was required. Despite this, the wait until the results announcement was ostensibly interminable. Again, I was exceedingly anxious and worried that I would disappoint those that were rooting for me. Results day. I struggled to get out of bed and did not dare to touch my computer. Nonetheless, I was simply too curious. I opened the website, entered my exam number and closed my eyes while clicking the ‘see results’ button. I slowly peeked at the text on the screen, and you can imagine the overwhelming joy I had when I saw that it said I had been accepted as a new student at UI. Feeling relieved yet jovial, I could not stop myself from crying. All that work had actually amounted to something amazing. My parents were very proud, and soon after the congratulations came sweeping in. This was my time to be happy with myself and celebrate, as I could foresee the work and strenuous effort I would have to put in later during my time at university. Nevertheless, you can never take these moments for granted.

When I started to think about my future, I always had my family and country at the forefront of my thoughts. Your peers are undoubtedly important too, as they are part of your support system. I will try my absolute best to help my peers not just academically, but also with things outside of university. I would love to make as many friends and social groups as possible, as this allows me to extend my reach for social events during downtime and gives me more people to rely on for assistance when I need it. Giving back to the community is just as important as being a part of it, so I can see myself being part of multiple extra-curricular groups that aim to help students and the general community. I would love to be able to bond with peers on hobbies too, such as sports and music, as these are some of my favourite pastimes. As for my personal goals, I usually spare few thoughts, however I know that I want to become a diligent, ethical and compassionate doctor which will require a lot of hard work in my preclinical years. I strive to be as organised as possible in my time management and work. I value the importance of being a balanced person, allowing time for just myself, time with peers and time with family. In my clinical training years, I aspire to be as involved as I can. It is such a unique opportunity to be trained by the very best in various different fields of medicine. I want to use my time wisely during it and learn as much theory and as many of the practical things as I can. I think it is simply too early to say what I would want to specialise after completion of my internship, but I always considered anaesthesiology and cardiology as the two specialisations I would most likely end up pursuing. I am deeply intrigued by the inner workings of chemistry in the human body, and that is why anaesthesiology was an instant fascination for me. I consider cardiology a very difficult specialisation since it is concerned with a reasonably complex but life critical organ, and there is a high demand for them in the country. I had this dream that I would one day be able to make large scale improvements to the health sector for the benefit of the society around me and my country, and for that I would need to become well established in the health ministry or another part of the government. I have even dreamt of becoming a minister, as this would be the best way for me to contribute sustained and considerable development towards the country. I would love to be able to go to Newcastle for my masters, in a subject such as epidemiology or immunology as this would certainly help me move towards my goals. Going to university during the era of a pandemic definitely sparked my interest in this field and looking at the different ways to mitigate the spread of disease is just incredibly interesting to me. My family have supported me through thick and thin, and I would not be anywhere close to where I currently am without them. I would love to be able to make them happy, healthy and proud. I certainly try my best to do everything I can to help them, but I want to be able to give back to them as much as I can. The medical course is very long if not the longest educational course there is and is not a cheap investment. Knowing the amount of trust that my parents have in me from just allowing me to pursue medicine, I am determined to make the most of it and will use it to develop not only educationally, but also as a person. I am extraordinarily fortunate to be in the position that I am, which is why I stress the importance of gratitude and giving back so much.

For those of you that are reading this and aspire to study at UI here is what I would like to say. Firstly, believe in yourself. It is going to be difficult studying all that past paper material and all those exam questions, but there is no way that you can know everything in that exam, so don’t expect yourself to (believe me, I have been through it myself). Secondly, try your best. I know that may seem obvious, but there were countless times that I felt like giving up. You need to constantly remind yourself of your goals and what you want to achieve. Stick them up as notes on your wall if you have to. Remember what you are doing all of this for and that it is possible to just keep going at it. Lastly, don’t take things personally if things don’t go your way. Universities have many different factors that they take into account when selecting students, so don’t assume anything about your intelligence or otherwise. What is important is to give it your best shot.

To end, here is a wise quote commonly attributed to Mahatma Gandhi – “You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing, there will be no results.” My take from it is that it is worth trying and persevering, because you will never know what could have been if you didn’t. Even if it does not go your way, it is not the end of the world – there are always more chances to try. Thank you for reading.

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