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Determination Leads to IMU Alumnus Leroy’s Success

20 Apr 2021

determination /dɪˌtəːmɪˈneɪʃ(ə)n/ Learn to pronounce

noun 1. the quality of being determined, firmness of purpose. “those who succeed because of sheer grit and determination.”

2. the process of establishing something exactly by calculation or research. “determination of molecular structures”

Determination is the essence of increasing your chances of being successful in a particular thing or achieving a particular goal, and it can also help you to stay motivated and continue striving towards the one thing you want to achieve. Determination also helps to keep you in control and motivated to continue along the path of achieving your goals in life. It is important to know what gives you that determination to keep going and remember that answer when you are faced with adversity or a challenging situation.

Leroy Tan Young King, what got him into medicine?
Leroy had always wanted to get into medicine since he was a young boy. He has fond memories of visiting his family doctor as a child. Leroy was particularly inspired by the kindness and good-naturedness of the doctor. Leroy recalls a time when he was aged 6, where that doctor had responded to a 3am call to open his clinic just so Leroy could receive treatment for an Asthma attack. Leroy aspired to be the same reliable and people centered person that he was.
Why IMU, Leroy?
Leroy left college in 2009, yes everyone- in 2009. That is more than a decade ago. Though there were many options for medical universities abroad, there weren’t many locally that were as established as IMU. “I felt that IMU offered a medical programme that was reasonably priced, reputable and from speaking to other doctors at that time, I was told that its graduates were held in high regard due to the close integration of the clinical schools’ campuses with government hospital facilities.”

Favourite Memories from IMU

“For me, it would probably be the experience of growing in the community of diverse IMU students. A lot of the students tend to stay around the campus which gave us a sense of community within the IMU area. We hung out a lot after lectures, in between classes, even off-campus time, and not forgetting futsal sessions.” shares Leroy. “Hours spent in the library were interjected by occasional naps and a quick coffee break at the library café. I had a small group of close friends who studied together, and we kept each other motivated especially in the tough days leading up to major exams. I learnt what it felt to fall in love, I learnt how to live away from my home for the first time, and I learnt how to make friends who to this day I still count them among my closest confidants.” Leroy recalls. “IMU runs a yearly Olympic-style sporting festival called the IMU Cup which incorporates nearly 20 different sports. We were assigned randomly to a “house” when we register at IMU, and my house was Phoenix. Being randomly assigned a house made it possible to meet people across different programmes such as dentistry and pharmacy. I enjoyed the friendly competition and camaraderie when playing in sports like football, basketball, tennis and Scrabble. I was also glad to be introduced to sports such as Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball and Touch Rugby, all of which were foreign to me before I joined IMU.”

Leroy recalls being elected House Captain in his final year at the Bukit Jalil campus, but had to pay the “penalty incurred on House Captains” as he puts it, of joining the Cheerleading team. To his pleasant surprise, being part of the cheer team left him wonderful memories from the hours of the practice with his teammates and from being tossed outside his comfort zone. “Tossing people up and down, now that was fun” said Leroy with a grin.

Academic Journey in IMU

Leroy enjoyed the pace of the way IMU lecturers conducted their classes. “Lectures were well spaced out and a problem-based learning approach was emphasized. I appreciate the amount of space and time that was given to us for independent adult learning, but we still had timely check-ins from our lecturers and mentors.” Leroy expresses.

Challenges in IMU

Medicine on its own is a challenging field as we are all aware. “When you first enter the medical learning journey, it feels like you are thrown into the deep end of the sea. Pre-university education lays down some good foundation, but the immense size of the body of knowledge one has to go through in medical school still amazes and baffles me to this day. Having said that, most of my peers and surely many of those after us will eventually make it through. Memory not being my strong suit forced me to develop my own style of studying which put emphasis on association with actual clinical problems and understanding of processes as opposed to rote memorisation.” – Leroy. “I spent the first 2.5 years at the IMU Bukit Jalil campus, and the final 2.5 years at the IMU Clinical School in Seremban which included a 6-month stint at the IMU Kluang Campus.”

“These different learning environments posed different sets of challenges. In Bukit Jalil, we studied Anatomy, Physiology, Pathology, Microbiology, Pharmacology among other things. However, it was the time in Clinical School which was especially challenging as we had to marry our academic knowledge to real clinical scenarios, to real live patients, it was scary indeed!” Leroy laughs.

“In the first days of Clinical School, we as medical students always looked like lost sheep when we arrived on the wards; a look of innocence I fondly reminisce about when I see other young medical students on my wards today. As we progressed, we gained confidence in managing patients, and it encouraged us when our input as medical students were sometimes acknowledged or even taken into consideration by the treating doctors. We were afforded a fairly unrestricted access to interview, examine and formulate management plans for patients which really put us in good stead for the challenges of housemanship.”

Post IMU Graduation

Leroy graduated in 2014 and completed his housemanship at Hospital Sultanah Aminah, Johor Bahru. He continued there as a Medical Officer at the Department of Ophthalmology. In 2019, he was selected into the Masters of Ophthalmology programme at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and is based in Hospital Selayang as part of his training.

He hopes to graduate as an ophthalmologist by 2024 barring further delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Who else in your family, apart from you, joined IMU?
Leroy’s wife, Janice Chian had recently joined IMU to pursue a Master of Counselling, in September 2020. She comes with a business degree from another university and has been in the Education field for a long time. When they moved to Kuala Lumpur for Leroy’s Master’s, she weighed her options to advance her education. She had initially considered psychology, or something related to social science. However, counselling was something she had always been keen about. IMU’s Master of Counselling programme was introduced in 2020, and after speaking to faculty members and learning about the programme’s structure, she was convinced. Leroy adds with a smile “I didn’t hide my enthusiasm when Janice decided to join IMU, I’m happy it’s something that we both have in common!”

Leroy’s Passion & Hobbies

Outside of work, Leroy loves the outdoors and playing sports, especially Golf. He admits to being a relative newbie but enjoys the challenge of learning and improving. “I enjoy photography, especially of outdoor landscapes, portraiture, and like many husbands- play the role of photographer-in chief for the wife’s social media feed.” He quips. “Had I not become a doctor, I would have wanted to be a photographer. Now because of COVID-19, I’m limited to taking photos of my toddler running around the house!” “I do not have as large a memory and recall ability for some things as I would have hoped for. For example, I find it hard to remember event details or sequences or numbers etc.” shares Leroy. “Thus, photography helps me to relive the scenes years in the future- vividly, albeit digital versions of them.

Leroy’s Wisdom
“For those on the fence about studying medicine in this current climate, think hard and really ask yourself this question: Is medicine what you want to do for the rest of your life? In this context, medicine entails the need for never ending learning, years of hard work, sometimes thankless service but so, so much personal satisfaction. I say this from a standpoint of someone who has gone through the process of medical school and junior doctorship, but just as the notion of lifelong learning holds, still has a long way to go and am in pursuit of my Masters. It is a challenging process, but it will seem easier if we stick through with it. No, the work does not get easier. It only seems easier because with hard work and determination, we become more proficient; and a proficient doctor is what all our patients deserve. “ One quality – Determination.

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