There is no secret to success

Judith with her mother, Leong, feeling proud when her daughter received the awards in 2007. Photo source: TheStaronline

Judith with her mother, Leong, feeling proud when her daughter received the awards in 2007.
Photo source: TheStarOnline

An alumna’s success story

“If you know where your passion is, just go for it.”

Judith Wong Ju-Ming, the specialist registrar of KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Singapore is a CPUS (then known as SPUS) alumna from the class of 2001/2002. After completing the A Level (Science) programme in SPUS, she pursued a degree in medicine at Penang Medical College (PMC). She spent the first half of her studies in Ireland before returning to Penang to complete her degree.

Upon graduation, Judith was honoured with the University College Dublin-Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Overall Best Student award and the Malaysian Medical Association’s prize for best student in medicine. She was also given the honour of presenting the valedictory speech at her convocation ceremony. On the happy occasion, she attributed her success to the sacrifices made by her mother who has to ensure that her daughter can pursue her dream career in the medical field.

The end was just another beginning

Judith discovered her interest through further readings that are not directly related to the A-level syllabus. As a believer of life-long learning, she found medicine to be the right field for her as it is a field that constantly poses new challenges and offers opportunities for learning.

Along her academic journey, Judith had witnessed classmates who had given up due to academic pressures. Despite that, she persevered until the very end due to her strong interest in the course and her determination to complete it. When she finally graduated and started working, her enthusiasm towards medicine was heightened as she became a part of a team of people with common goals for completion of research projects, and this has always been a great motivation for her.

Talking about her experience as an intern upon the completion of her studies, Judith said:

“The end was just the beginning. After graduation and with the start of internship, the learning curve was only getting steeper. The real hardship and test of perseverance starts here. It is physically and mentally challenging with long working hours and frequent night duties. Whatever detailed knowledge gained during medical school makes little difference to the functioning of an intern.”

30 hours a week of night duties

Now, she spends a significant portion of her time teaching medical students and trainees as well as research in the field of pediatric intensive care though she is a registrar in the hospital. With those heavy responsibilities, she often sacrifices her time spent with family for work. Night duties which are at least twice a week have taken a minimum of 30 hours of her time at the hospital on top of her regular working days. With this, she still needs to continue her work at home. Besides, she has to deal with the stress of working in an environment where minor mistakes may lead to dreadful consequences.

Despite of the challenges faced at work, she enjoys witnessing patients healing, and she feels humbled when she played an important role in giving a child the chance to live after intensive care. On top of that, she always get a euphoric sense of accomplishment when her research work got published and recognized.

Exams are only a means to an end

Commenting on preparation for exams in the A Levels and at university, Judith believes that there is no need to be overly studious and erudite to study medicine. Enthusiasm and passion towards the subject is of utmost importance. While she was still studying, she never actually aimed at scoring for exams. She was grateful to have good and inspiring lecturers at CPUS who made even the most mind-boggling concepts digestible.

As for her juniors in CPUS, Judith offers this piece of advice:

“Students should always have a goal in mind. If you know where your passion is, just go for it. Exams are only a means to an end and I hope it stays that way for you. Your exam results are not important when you start working but what matters more are good work ethics and quality of work’’

We are very honoured to have the opportunity to interview Judith and share her inspirational story with all CPUSians. You are certainly a role model to us. All the best in your future endeavours and we shall do our best too.

Article by: Lau Onn Yee

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