Student Dietitian’s Confession: Is Being a Medical Doctor My Calling?

Growing up, I didn’t understand why my parents kept on encouraging me to be a medical doctor. I knew since then that they want only the best for me. But, I wondered why being a medical doctor was the only career they thought I would be successful at.

Since grade school, I believed that my fate when I grow up was to be a medical doctor. I’d answer every “what do you want to be?” question with “I want to be a doctor.” If you would ask me why, I wouldn’t know what to answer. Right after graduating high school, I only had one option — to take up a pre-medical course. My dad wanted me to take up Nursing while my mom wanted me to take up Biology. I chose Biology because it was what I thought was close to my interest. I thought.

One thing my school failed to do was to introduce us to different course programs. So most of us relied to what our family suggested us to take. My choices were so limited that I had to choose which was a little bit closer to what I find cool. I had good grades in high school Biology so I thought college Biology would interest me too. But, I was wrong.

During my second year of doing Biology at the university, I felt that I was heading to nowhere. I realized I was not really interested in what I was doing since the day 1 at the university. That moment made me realize that I was just doing everything because I had no choice. I grew up more matured and I realized that I actually had a choice, I was in the right age to decide on my own already.

At the end of the academic year, I made my first toughest decision that was completely decided by me. That was, having a break from studies to find out what I really wanted to do in my life. I’d say that was one of the scariest, toughest yet right decision I made in my life. That act seems stupid and immature because I wasted 2 years of my parents’ money, 2 years of my time and 2 years of expectations from people. But, for me that was so right.

It was tough because everyone was calling me a Doctor expecting me to graduate as a medical doctor very soon. I was asked several times by my relatives and family how many years more I had to take to graduate. But, I had to make a decision for myself.

I didn’t want to please people while hurting myself.

I took a break.

I went back to Saudi Arabia, to my family. It was supposedly a two-month long vacation. After two months, while they were excited to send me off back to the Philippines to continue their medical dream for me, I was in awe. I was wishing that my flight would be moved — or better canceled.

Thanks to my mom who already knew and felt I was having a problem. I agree that Moms know well when their children are not okay. And, that’s amazing.

She asked me a week before my flight about what’s happening and I told her about everything — I got depressed, I stopped studying, I had failed grades, I was not happy with what I was doing, I needed a break and I was totally sorry. She understood and told me that I should tell that to my dad. But I was scared — very scared.

The day before my flight, mom noticed I hadn’t told dad anything yet. So, she told dad herself. Although dad did not scold me or anything, I knew he was a bit disappointed. Flight was canceled. After a long time, I felt free and comfortable with my life again despite the fact that I was clueless of what’s with the road ahead of me. But, I believed everything was part of God’s plans and there’s something cool and awesome plans waiting for me. I just had to work for it and to achieve it myself.

I enrolled at a business school in Saudi Arabia — but after few months I was told that my enrollment was canceled due to requirement issue. That was again another discouragement for me. I felt that I wasted my parents’ money again.

My dad then suggested that I should go back to Philippines and continue my Biology course. But, I was not ready. I wanted that when I go back to the Philippines, I wanted to go back with new hopes, new goals and new course that I’m happy with. I didn’t want to take up any course that I would fail again because I am not happy with it.

18 months passed by, a lot of things happened. I focused on proper nutrition and exercise. I lost weight, which was good. I worked at an insurance department at a hospital, which was good. I studied Islamic studies and focused with Tajweed, which was good. I started blogging seriously, which was good. I felt I regained myself and my identity. I discovered more of my abilities.

After 18 months, I knew I was already ready to leave to pursue my dreams — dreams that are mine. I went back to the Philippines with my own dream which is to become a better person and become closer to success at all aspects of life. I went back and enrolled for Nutrition and Dietetics course. Something that is considered a pre-medical course, but I’m taking it not because it is a pre -medical course but because it is a field I believe I could grow professionally and help others. I didn’t close door to medical school, but I focused on learning Nutrition and Dietetics more. I explored and observed it out as a totally different field. I observed myself as a dietitian student.

Taking up this course has never been easy. I was laughed at because people thought that the Doctor-to-be became a Cooking expert. First, my course is not Culinary Arts. Nutrition and Dietetics is a health allied course. Yes, we had to cook various types of diets including special diets. But the profession is more about the effects of the food, in the form of nutrients, to our body, prescribing meals to patients with special needs, education others about proper Nutrition, guiding a client to a healthy lifestyle, etc. Also, there’s nothing wrong with the idea that Doctor-to-be turns into a cooking expert or chef. Culinary arts, just like any other course, is a respected and competitive field.

Despite those — I survived the years of taking up this course. Now I’m closer to wearing my graduation cap and gown. I discovered a lot about myself since I overcome my fears and stood up with my own decisions.

I’m currently having my academic trimester break. I’m back in Saudi Arabia, again. My family have already planned things and considered that right after my graduation — I’m going to enter medical school. They really want that MD for me with sincere intentions. But, other people were encouraging me to join Med school because they thought my course is useless. I was told that being a medical doctor is the only way I would be successful in life and having just ND degree is not going to bring me anywhere. Of course, their comments do not matter to whether I’d pursue medicine or not.

Although I’m not closing doors to medical school, it does not mean, I’m now ready to enter that new chapter of life. Just like how I needed the freedom to decide for myself on choosing my college degree — I need the same freedom to decide whether or not I’m going to proceed to medical school.

Honestly, I have fears. I’m scared to tell my parents that I need some time to think about proceeding to medical school. I know sooner — I’d be brave again to tell them that my success isn’t limited to having a Medical Doctor degree. In fact, it could even ruin me if I force myself to do it for the sake of just pursuing other people’s dreams.

A year from now — I maybe at the medical school or doing something else. But, whatever I will be doing I will make sure it is something I decided for myself not something I did to please people.

And, I hope you too do the same. Don’t do something for the sake of pleasing other people or just because you are scared to be hated by others. Let your time to discover and to explore your calling. Overcome fear and pursue your calling with courage. Accomplishing your purpose while doing something you are passionate with is what will make you successful in life.

[Update: After one year, I wrote about Choosing Medschool Again]

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

Author: Najmah

Najmah is a 23 year old Filipino Muslim, Clinical Nutritionist and Med student. Born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Living in the Philippines since 2010. By Najmah contains posts about her life lessons, personal excellence and journey to becoming a doctor. You can also find her blogging on The Muslim Bricks

1 thought on “Student Dietitian’s Confession: Is Being a Medical Doctor My Calling?”

  1. Najmah this is somewhat my story. Though the decision to go to pre-med was ofcourse mine which my parents fully supported. But when I was in my A-levels still studying pre-med I had suddenly started taking more interest in psychology and Nutrition. Finally I ended up enrolling in BS Psychology course. Though since then my relatives look at me like maybe I was a failure or something but inside I laugh a little because I never even gave a shot in medical school so how can they just judge me. But that is what people love doing 😉

    I am glad you spoke up Najmah to your parents and May Allah give you lots of success wherever you go. 🙂

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