|With Dr Dalila, Dr Aneesa & Dr Yusuf|
Last month I received an S.O.S from one of my fellow trainee lecturer friends in IIUM, Dr Solah. He asked me if I could replace him as a guest speaker for a programme at CUCMS. They needed someone to talk about preclinical Masters & PhD as an option for medical doctors who are interested in pursuing postgraduate degrees. I agreed, albeit rather tentatively. My relationship with public speaking is a strange one. Though I love talking to people and enjoy the adrenaline rush of being able to hold the attention of a crowd, my pre-event jitters and nerves usually sky rocket to insanely high levels.
As it was in this case, I was nervous the whole week prior to the event. Mostly because the Course would take place on unfamiliar territory, this was the first time I had officially been invited as a speaker and the sheer caliber of the other speakers. Some of them were Professors whom I had immense respect for, great men in their respective fields and dynamic speakers and motivators.
I set about preparing my slides in my own style. Simple, straight to the point and with the highest visual impact that my less than artistic talents could muster. I prefer not to cram words onto my slides. Instead, I use key words and phrases, present them in a visually stimulating (I hope) layout and elaborate on them.
I started showing my slides to other lecturers and colleagues and their feedback helped me to fine tune the content. As fellow Basic Medical Science people, they too were invested in this effort to introduce our slice of life to young doctors out there.
I arrived at CUCMS around lunch time, just in time to see the participants, HOs and MOs, swarm the panel of Clinical Master students of various fields after their slot. My IIUM juniour, Dr Naim had also given a talk regarding Membership exams and was inundated with questions from eager young doctors.
|Lt Col Dr Arshil|
After lunch, I got to listen to talks from the other speakers including my IIUM senior Lt Col Dr Arshil who talked about the current MINDEF options, Aviation Medicine, Underwater Medicine and Military Medicine. His video clips and stories of all the missions conducted by military doctors was enthralling. Kudos to them for their contributions and efforts. Dr Suriyakhtun was also very compelling in her passionate explanation and defense of complimentary and alternative medicine. I must admit, I am one of the many skeptical doctors when in comes to this branch of the medical family tree. However, I applaud her for her passion and scientific efforts in making sure that more information is available to not just the public but to other doctors out there. I whole heartedly agree that we have no right to ignore or belittle anything about which we know nothing about.
The highlight of the afternoon was the opportunity to listen to Prof Latiff again. He is a cardiologist and the current Dean of Medicine at CUCMS. He is an amazing person, who as a medical student had an idea to set up a medical school that would be fun. He realized that dream in CUCMS, he said. Listening to his life journey and stories, he managed to evoke this sense of hope in all of us. Namely, that if we have a dream or vision and we work towards it, with faith in Allah, insyaAllah it can become reality. The last time I heard him speak was when I was in 5th year medical school, at that time, I felt the possibilities were endless. Life, has made me jaded and less optimistic perhaps, but sitting there, listening to him talk, once again I felt that untainted feeling of hope for the future.
|Me (credit pic to Dr Mohd Khamizi)|
Somewhere in between these speakers was my slot. Alhamdulillah, I think I did quite well. I managed to convey not only facts and information regarding pre-clinical Masters & PhD but hopefully allowed the audience to widen their horizons. In the end, it comes down to what we want to do as doctors and as Muslims, BMS (basic medical science) lecturers, not only get to still be doctors on their own schedule but are fortunate enough to be involved in the foundations of future doctors and help to increase the pool of knowledge. Although, there was no frenzy of participants excitedly mobbing me to ask about being a pre-clinical lecturer, several participants did approach me for further information after the programme, even as I was walking back to my car.
I am perhaps most touched by the feeling of friendship and solidarity that the organizing committee exuded and somehow managed to rub off on me, a total stranger in their midst. They treated me like an old friend and made me feel very welcome. Especially Dr Dalila, Dr Aneesa & Dr Yusuf, although, I am sure that if given more time, I would have felt the same way about all of them. I would have to say, the last time I felt this way was back in my medical school days when I still believed that I could truly make a difference in this world. Perhaps, this chance meeting with people who still believe will refuel my passion. Thank you to IMAM MOSIT (Islamic medical association Malaysia, Medical officers and specialists in training) for inviting me.