Assalamualaikum wrt.

"First i was dying to finish high school and start college,
And then i was dying to finish college and start working,
And then i was dying to marry and have children.
And then i was dying for my children to grow old enough for school so I could return to work.
And then I was dying to retire.
And now, I am dying.. And suddenly I realized I forgot to live"
Submitted by Nicole Zablocki
I remembered the first day i set my foot on this piece of land of Russia, that adrenaline rush, of starting a new life in a foreign land. The first few weeks of discovery; cold weather, tongue-twisting language, fast underground trains, new people, and of course the ever fascinating big books of anatomy and histology from the Russian authors. I've always been a person of adventures, and so new things do have big effects on me. Adapting to the metropolitan life of Moscow took me quite a period of time, until i found my momentum, walking according to the rhythm beat.

But as the days progressed to months, and months progressed to years, i realized that the routine got predictable. Classes were the same, the grocery shopping stayed as it was, that urge of looking forward to weekends rather than weekdays somewhat became more unbearable as the schedule of classes grew tighter.

I remembered my days of first years where we studied to get that '5' or
'отлично!' from our teachers, but learning how the system works and that language barrier that grew harder by time, i merely lost that interest to compete anymore. What is the use of it anyway? My seniors survived just fine by doing it this way, just surviving, and they became doctors after all. The easy and breezy medical life in Russia, when you choose to have it that way. 
Besides that, the cold weather do have those turn-off effects, it gives that feeling of pure laziness and the reluctance to get out of the room and to just spend the time snuggling under that thick duvet with that heater turned on. I started to find a group of friends to make movie-night marathons in the weekends, something that i looked forward for every week. Searching for new movies, shopping places and food  became the favorites in my google engine.

"Home is where the heart belongs"

Summer break is that 2 months holiday during summer in which we are given the choice to spend in Malaysia or just stay in Russia. During this period, we also have to fulfill our university's requirement of hospital practical. Oчевидно, we chose to do the practical in Malaysia, and of course, at the nearest hospital in our area. As we were not under any supervision of doctors or nurses, we always ended up lingering around the hospital floor, the canteen, or the better ones amongst us, they could be found in the hospital library. 
We fulfilled the requirements as minimum as we could most of the time, we were not allowed to ask too much as the doctors are busy with their work, and the nurses are caught up with the amount of patients, and as inexperienced undergraduates, we could only help but little. I became more frustrated and decided to finish the practical as fast as i could, get that doctor's signature and ciou!
As summer holidays finally finished, we got that 'rejuvenation' of spirit in finishing our studies as medical students. That was all in our heads, to just survive and finally graduate.
Years passed and here i am, facing my final year in Moscow. I've heard news of my seniors who are now fully licensed doctors, how they had a hard time adapting to the system, how they were always 'marked' whenever they mention that they graduated from Russia. Many of our seniors get these funny and hurtful remarks whenever they did not perform the procedure correctly.  I went through the internet to find some resources about the current cases of Russian graduates, only to find some of these articles.
"At present, hundreds of medical graduates from Russian and Ukrainian universities especially CSMU are out without a leash in our government hospitals.
Most of them don’t know pharmacology or physiology.
Most can’t perform simple clinical procedures like urinary catheterization and intravenous cannulation.
Most can’t deliver acute care to a patient in distress.
They are not well-versed with common medical terms and classifications.
In short, they are a different breed altogether"
I searched for more, and all I found are the same as these. I always knew about Russian graduates being less skillful compared to the local medical graduates as the lack of exposure here, but never to my horror, this alarming extent.
Questions started to arise in my head,
Why are these doctors so angry at us? They write these articles full of emotion and anger.
Do we need to stop studying medicine now?
How do we stop the government from sending us here anyway?
Are we doomed to this curse, forever ‘инвалидов’ as a proper doctor?
I searched for what is wrong in this picture and I think I found it. We lost that spirit, enthusiasm, passion, interest, or whatever you call it, to our dream and ambition. We forgot the purpose and intention coming to this piece of land. We got tired with the system and language and decided to just follow the flow and choose not to respond rightly to these challenges.
When we were kids we dreamt of being that perfect doctor/engineer/teacher, imagining that we will be that hero who will save lives just like in the movies, helping with full of responsibility and sincerity.
Somehow, that dreams just remained as dreams. Clouded and maybe bit by bit, became impossible in our minds.
I do not deny that external factors here in Russia do poll on this account.
Maybe it’s just the system here that we can’t change.
Or maybe it’s due to our reluctance to get out of our comfort zones we’ve created, avoiding the reality that we’re actually going to face. Miles away from Malaysia, breezy and enjoyable life here in Russia, it’s not so hard to avoid the reality.
How could i be so ignorant? Here I am in my final year of medical school and finally realizing this reality. But the reality has always been in front of me the whole time. I just never took the time to acknowledge it till now.
What is the purpose of my existence here anyway?
I can’t be here just to ‘survive’, what kind of doctor will I be? How can I be of a good use to my society? I can’t stay in this same state if I want to be a contributor, just like every object created in this world, all of them have their own purposes. My purpose is of course to be the best doctor that I can, to be able to contribute and make improvements in health care of my people and maybe if I try harder, I can do researches and find cures for taboo diseases that people thought to be incurable.
I can’t change the reality but I do know a change in my actions now can improve the reality.

That red self-help suddenly gleamed in front of me, that book that I bought for 25% off in a jumble sale during my holidays in Malaysia. The book is entitled “How to Get from Where" You Are to Where You Want To Be”, 
these first few words caught my eyes

Waking up and progressing.
That willingness to progress will of course, involve risks. Risks to get out of my comfort box, my circle, habits and the daily norms.
We are always scared of going outside of our circle because it feels comfortable inside the comfort box we created, we are scared to progress because we tricked ourselves that we are doing fine, when the fact is, the world outside is revolving and we’re actually at the back of the line. 
We are scared to take risks because we are afraid of exposing our weaknesses, but if we do not try to expose and expand ourselves, we would not be able to maximize our capabilities and be the best that we can be. Each of us are individual, and a group of individuals make up a society. As we progress to become maxed-out individuals (in terms of highly capable professionals), we form great societies. Great societies form a remarkable country and vice versa.
Product of the system”
Practically, here in Moscow, we say we are the product of the system, that the government who were responsible to send us here, that the agents did not blurt the truth about the real study life here,  but are we going to continuously blame the system for what we have become? Where do we head then, after blaming?
To blame is much easier than to take full action or to respond correctly to the situation.
The definition of responsibility is the state or fact of being responsible, answerable, or accountable for something within one's power, control, or management.

You weren’t an accident. You weren’t mass produced. You aren’t an assembly-line product. You were deliberately planned, specifically gifted, and lovingly positioned on Earth by the Master-Craftsman”-Max Lucado

In Islam, we believe that all beings are specifically created for a purpose, not an act of accident. Muslims believe that we are created to be Caliphs on earth and a servant to the Master-Craftsman. Caliphs in terms of giving the best conduct to other people (building trust, enlarging network, harmonize the earth) and also as a servant to the Almighty; Allah subhana wa ta'ala.

As far as i remember during my summer practical in Malaysia, I notice that housemanship is a period of crucial torture where these young doctors are always pressured as being the ‘losers’ of the hospital. 
At these period of time, these doctors are expected to know every single procedures in that particular department, despite the fact that they are new and maybe lack of some skills as they are not fairly exposed during their student years. When these doctors are done with their first 2 year period of work and have progressed to be medical officer, they forget the fact that they were once housemen too, and they treat these new housemen with the same treatment that they were once treated or more likely to be called as the period of true vengeance. 
The vicious cycle starts again and again, hospitals which were supposed to be the place of saving lives, become just like a prison, only learning to survive the housemanship, and continue their journey to become ‘great’ doctors. Especially for the graduates of Russia, where we become especially wounded with this journey of hardship, we tend to be more frightful medical officers to the junior doctors, misusing the wise concept of ‘learning the hard way up’.

There is some corrections of value that need to be buffered back here. We can change this reality of sorrow in Malaysia into a new realm of hope if we try hard enough from now, how? Let’s start with some exposures.

During medical student life, your source of stress is your studies, as you have to memorize the whole bookshelf to merely pass. Being a doctor, the stress comes from having the enormous responsibility, as your mistake can cost someone his/her life, your carelessness may cause someone pain, your ignorance may delay someone from getting the right treatment.”

Learning the fact that we have an enormous responsibility, we as undergraduate students here in Russia, have to make a resolution to fill our chest with adequate knowledge and skills. Potentials are within us, we just need to direct them to the right way.
Being a doctor does not mean that we are only involved with the medical problems of our patients, but also their social science and social economy problems as we are saving human lives, not gadgets.

In the event of cardiac arrest, in the midst of panicking and crying family members outside the door, we must be able to recall the steps that we learn in the Advance Cardiac Life Support course that we attended last month/year, and act accordingly. Practice makes perfect. Experience is of course, the best teacher.
On another occasion, a frail looking 25 year old man with a newly diagnosed leukemia asked, “Doctor, what’s wrong with me? Will I die?”. Think.. think.. Choose your words wisely before answering, doctors!”

Do you know that right now, the statistics of drug addicts among our youth in Malaysia has recently increased. On 19th of February 2014, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has called on families to unite to propel the fight against drug addiction among youths. He said the Government was concerned that drug abuse problems had commonly resulted from a breakdown in the family unit. In this case, let’s say we encounter a drug addict patient, we can’t merely mark that this is his problem, an individual problem, assuming all the typical thoughts that we busy doctors are stereotyped with, but can’t we see that this is actually a social problem. 
Prophylactic steps outside the range of medicine need to be taken in order to cure this problem of our society and it starts with the doctor to detect the root of the crisis. Treat the disease, not the symptom, if we doctors really heal the roots of the problem, it will not be a surprise if we can not only cure diseases but also the social problems that our society is facing.
Having said this, we as the future doctors/engineers who are going to be a part of the society, have to master social skills, and that could not be achieved if we choose to just linger with the same group of people who are only interested in catching movies, who are only interested to ‘chill out’ or just stay in the room under that duvet sleeping comfortably avoiding the big pang of reality in which we know, will surely take place once we end our studies here and start with our working career, the development and cultivation of care in our society will not fruit in just one day, nor will it make a sudden appearance once we touch down in Malaysia. I know we do care for the society deep inside us, but we must not layer it with atherosclerotic plaques of ignorance with our state of being here.

People call me a perfectionist, but I’m not. I’m a “rightist”. I do something until its right, then i move to the next thing.
James Cameron-Oscar winning director of Terminator series
We have to stop having the ‘victim mentality’ as our past seniors have experienced. Its just not right! Let us make some changes starting now and when we do start our career, we are ready to be contributors, not just feebly taking that grand account of being a doctor/engineer, when we are not actually making improvements but repeating the same mistakes. Let us become the subject of history of the past, we have a changed mentality and a new vision for a better environment and we  are involved in this change.

       Last but not least, let’s rekindle the spirit of nationalism. Do remember that all of us are the future Malaysians, the new generation who will shape our beloved country into the country that we dream to see. The power that is within us must be molded from now, not when we’ve reached our father’s age or when we have ‘settled down’, but the plan of becoming a real contributing human being starts now. We have to rebuild that big ambition of ours in our mind, putting actions into it.  
The young and the creative, the fast and comprehensive, the skillful and competitive, all of these capabilities or characteristics lie within the youth, especially youth who are currently on a higher education like us, or as Russians call it, люди с высшим образованием. Youth who are ready to take  challenges and reclaim our dignity as  future graduates and professionals from our very own study place, Russia, we not only big on words but also big on actions. Let’s turn those hospitals (for doctors) into somewhere that we wish to be in, let’s make Malaysia the best country that we are always proud of.  
Yeah, i’m talking about us because it starts with us. We are all here for a bigger purpose. So what are waiting for? 
Despite the different backgrounds, different religions and different culture of origins, we are all citizens of Malaysia. We are all going to be part of the society in Malaysia. The future is us!  Hand in hand, we can aspire the nation for the betterment of the society, country and the world. 
Together we are stronger and unbreakable.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.Mark Twain

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