After checking on the internet if the results on the physician licensure exam are already up, instead of seeing the results myself, I just asked my sister to look for my name. I was nervous.
My sister did not say anything and continued cooking our dinner. After asking her again, she said, “Your name is not there, kindly browse, I might have missed it.” I checked and my name was indeed not there. I did not cry. I accepted the result. That was my second take.
I started my medical journey way back in 2013, after I resigned from my work in Semirara. It was a new chapter of my life that I looked forward to. I struggled every year in medical school and almost quit. I even transferred schools and hospitals just to finish my studies. I was not able to join the graduation since I enrolled late for clerkship way back 2018. I also started late for my internship in 2019. I did not want to finish my internship in Legazpi but instead followed my mother’s advice to transfer to a better hospital.
The storm that hit Bicol gave a sign for me to transfer. I was in Catanduanes when the typhoon came and the ferry ride to mainland Bicol was cancelled. It was after a week when I went back to Legazpi and decided to process my clearance. I endured almost a month of no electricity that even charging a phone cost P50 per hour. I continued my internship in Cavite last January 2020, and after three months, the government placed the country in lockdown. I finished my internship virtually at home, and without any graduation rites from the internship again in 2020. My clearance from APMC was lost in the mail and I had to secure another. I was confused as to why this all happened.
I was already working at that time as a company nurse, since November 2020, in a private company. When the COVID-19 cases went down and the lockdowns were lifted, I went to Cavite to get my certificate of internship in January 2021, and retrieved the remaining clothes in the locker I left when the lockdown started in March 2020. I did not expect it would be my last duty as surgery intern at EACMED Cavite.
After completing all my requirements, I filed at PRC for the exam but I missed another requirement, thus I almost was not able to take the exam. I resigned from my work to prepare for the board exam. It was my first take and I was not lucky.
I looked for another job and attended online reviews, in the evening and on my free time. The schedule of exams for September were cancelled and reset. I kept on reviewing even under home quarantine status.
COVID-19 hit our home in Laguna last September 2021. My sister was unvaccinated and got COVID-19, and we had mild symptoms as well. Luckily I was vaccinated and protected. I continued with taking the exam after securing a quarantine certificate, after almost a month in home quarantine. I even had a discussion with the barangay officer who gave a certificate that when I put 37 in the monitoring record, he said it was febrile. I explained that is normal and I am a nurse, and after getting what I needed, I just left to avoid conflict.
I prepared my materials and rented a dorm for five days. I was not feeling well during the four days of exams but I endured to finish it. While I was dealing with living in a new place, TNVs and tricycle drivers helped me a lot to get to where I needed to be, transporting me from the dorm to the assigned school. My watch was also not working during the entire board exam and the proctor’s reminder of time was of big help.
It was one of the most difficult exams I took in my entire life. While answering each item, I was praying and I wanted to squeeze my head to milk it further for more answers. After the exam, I dropped by a church in Sampaloc, then bought food, packed my things and booked a ride back to Laguna.
I felt free after the exam and continued with my work from home. The current project I am working on now is my silver lining. I am so grateful that for the entire time I was reviewing, I was compensated by my job. I was able to pay for my review and exam expenses. I was able to save as well.
I did not make it again for a second time in the doctor’s exam, but I believe God listened to my prayers. I told God I am already tired after eight years of studying and going on duty. I want to move on to the next chapter in my life. God then gave me job opportunities related to my nursing license instead. I am grateful for the nurse license I got way back in 2008, when I passed it in one take. I am happy that this time, I am still able to make use of it.
I mourned a little for my dead dream of being a doctor. I felt a little lost. But no tears came. Probably, I am already so used to failures and hardships that I just accepted my fate. Maybe someday, when the time is right, God will allow me to have that license. The four points I missed to make it might be filled up by God someday. But for now, I am putting a closure to this chapter and will open a new one.
I am starting all over again. I am now ready to accept new opportunities along the way. I understand that life has reasons why certain tragedies happen. I am grateful that this year, despite everything, I have been spared from COVID-19.
Whenever I fail, I think that maybe God is rerouting me to a path which I deserve more. This 2021 has been so harsh, but there still is the gift of life, and the gift of work that saved me from all the other failures I had. I am looking forward to a blessed 2022.
Debbie Regalado of Sta. Rosa, Laguna is a registered nurse and a graduate of Medicine. Debz to her friends, she likes books, writing, animals, plants. movies and online games. She believes that life goes on.
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