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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Today's special: Pride chicken and humble pie

It’s interview season now in the College of Medicine. Students of various shapes and sizes, thickness of eyeglasses, length of skirts and color of long sleeved shirts have flocked to the campus to vie for just 120 slots for Medicine Class of 2012. I see them mask with nervous laugh and chitchats the all-consuming jitters that accompany waiting for the interviewers to call them into the room.

Seven years ago, Wednesday, March 1st 2000, was the day I was interviewed. I can hardly remember the details other than fact that I introduced a gaping hole on the side seam of my new pants no thanks to a protruding metal part of the elbow rest on the seat on the bus on my way home. Thank God it happened on the trip home.

Thinking about it now, I believe that interview was a slam dunk. I believe that was the reason I got into medical school. While my college grades were so-so (imagine being just one of the 12 or so students who DID NOT get to graduate with latin honors in a class with about, oh, 100 seniors) and my NMAT scores were quite okay, in my mind of minds the interview sealed my fate. Imagine an interviewee who, when asked what was the most selfless thing he’s done within the year prior to this medical school interview, responds with- I donated blood. That’s the equivalent of “World peace” in beauty pageant parlance. The best part of it was- I did donate blood months before the interview.

I remember so little about the interview. I remember they asked which part of the newspaper I read first- the comics of course! I remember they asked me what I thought about the hot issue then of the Erap presidency, to which I believe I responded that the problem was moral ascendancy and credibility. I remember being asked about my faith, my family, my lovelife…

But what remained with me all through the years was my personal prayer at that time: that God grant me a good balance of pride and humility. I prayed for Him to allow me to be proud enough to showcase what an amazingly blessed life I have, and with equal measure, to instill in me the humility to recognize that the amazingly blessed life I have comes from Him.

Often we tend to downplay our blessings and gifts so as not to appear smug or brash to the point that we downplay God’s goodness in our lives. During that interview in med school, I would like to believe that sharing a short litany of my accomplishments and talents is being a witness to how faithful God is in my life so long as it is tempered by humility that sans God, I am nothing.


Seven years after starting medical school and just a little less than two years after graduating, not in my wildest imaginings have I conjured an image of myself sitting in a college council meeting, the assembly of the 600-odd faculty members of the college. Equally awe-inspiring was the second part of the morning’s activities- the recognition ceremony for faculty achievers eg those who received local and international awards (including two TOYMs), got elected to key leadership positions here and abroad, and finished specialty courses within the university. It was an experience to be in their company, if only for the fact that I am in the same room as the major movers and shakers and decision makers in almost all aspects of the medical profession are.

Makes me humbly proud all over again.

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Blogger Doc Lek said...

I had my interview then on the 7th of March 7 years ago. I inadvertently scheduled it on the day of my tatay's birthday. It turned out to be a huge blessing since I also did very well on my interview (and I think my interview clinched my acceptance to the UPCM fold). I learned later that my tatay asked from God that I be accepted at UPCM as His birthday blessing to him. When I learned that from my tatay, the past hurt that I've been keeping against him for months vanished. God does work ever so beautifully in our lives...

Saturday, March 03, 2007 8:14:00 AM  

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