Evelyn Chuo is currently studying Medicine at University College London (UCL). Evelyn completed her A-Levels at Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar and will be graduating in 2025. This personal statement was part of her successful application to UCL, Queen Mary, University of Aberdeen, University of Plymouth and UCL (Biomedical Sciences).
A profession as a medical doctor is closely related to the two subjects that I am most interested in, namely Biology and Chemistry, and is one which is in line with my goal of providing excellent, dedicated medical treatment to patients.
Studying Biology has steadily piqued my interest in the human body’s mechanisms. A particular topic that has most intrigued me is immunity as it forms a critical part of human health and the understanding of its complexity develops impactful advances such as vaccination and immunotherapy. I am determined to thoroughly study the reasons for impairment of normal bodily functions and, ultimately, how to prevent or mitigate them in people. Curious about the seemingly incurable cancer diseases, reading The Basics of Cancer Immunotherapy by Haidong Dong of the Mayo Clinic became my first introduction to academic medicine. This different approach to cancer treatment by targeting immune cells rather than tumour cells potentially stands as an effective, personalised treatment offered by innovative doctors in the future. This interest, along with my concern for public health, spurred me to pursue medicine.
I first shadowed an ophthalmologist at Eye Specialist Centre Kuching in March 2018. Although I had my own experience with a doctor as a patient, holding a third-person perspective more evidently displayed the working partnership of the doctor and his patient. It is good communication skills that are vital, skills I am developing as a volunteer at the Lions Nursing Home Sarawak during my term breaks. Being a volunteer in Malaysia, a multiracial country, has trained me to communicate politely to respect the different cultures of the elderly residents. Although I found it challenging to connect with the residents at the start because of my language barrier, my interpersonal skills and proficiency in Malay and Mandarin began to improve with time. Memorable conversations with them showed me the physical and emotional pain that come with illness and aging, and the importance of healthcare to centre its attention on guiding them through their suffering.
In August, I shadowed at Normah Specialist Centre, a pioneering hospital in Sarawak to test whether my passion and commitment truly lies in this field. The intensity of a doctor’s work became more prominent as I followed doctors on their daily ward round in the ICU. On my first day at the ICU, seeing the patients in critical conditions attached to several machines was unnerving. Although I was only shadowing, I felt an immense pressure during a Code Blue when the doctors were resuscitating a patient. I expressed my despondence to the senior doctors, who shared that their resilience and confidence in such situations develop through rigorous years of experience and, being a part of the patient’s recovery or meaningful last moments grows to be gratifying. This was briefly reflected subsequently in my attachment, as I gradually felt calmer when I faced similar cases.
In the surgeries and radiological-surgical meetings I attended, collaboration and sharing of skills among the healthcare team were crucial to provide the best care for the patient. During the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Gold scheme, I developed similar skills in leadership and teamwork in activities such as building a garden for a rural school under a time pressure of three days. As the saying “to rest is to walk further” goes, I enjoy playing the violin in the school orchestra and mountain climbing which both teach me to overcome obstacles together as a team. I also enjoy running a STEM club in my college as a platform for my peers to share their ideas and discuss research, which helps me to build my confidence in leading with inclusivity.
My fond memories at the nursing home, together with my pursuit of science and rigour in exploring medicine, have deepened my desire to become a competent world-class doctor and confirmed to me that studying Medicine is the path I am truly committed to following.
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