Panthers of ISKL #80 – The Aspiring Doctor

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This week, we met up with Steve X. (‘22), a senior student who joined ISKL in Grade 7.

As part of his plan to study medicine and become a doctor, over the summer, Steve volunteered for six weekends at the Bangi Golf Resort Vaccination Center in Selangor as part of his Creativity, Activity, Service (CAS) project, a component of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP)

Here is his story.

“I decided to volunteer this summer as I wasn’t doing much with my free time, so my dad asked me to find something besides studying and playing video games. I was looking at my university applications and thought that gaining some work experience could help me in university and would be an excellent opportunity to gain real-life experience. So I started to look for volunteering options at healthcare-related places.

‘I got to experience many different roles at the vaccination center. My primary role was to assist doctors and nurses as they vaccinated the patients by helping them prepare the equipment and materials, like refilling cotton swabs and bandaging people. I also did a few administrative works, like noting the arrival time and which doctor was in charge of people’s vaccination cards, helping at the observation counter, and acting as an usher.

‘I learned a lot from this experience, and it made me reflect on myself. Besides being able to help the doctors and nurses with prepping each vaccination, I observed the importance of teamwork and discipline. It was challenging and intense because there were a lot of patients that came in daily. Furthermore, I got to meet a lot of people and make friends there. I also got to know some doctors and experience what their life is like at the healthcare facility. It’s not like I went to the doctor as a patient, but I was there as their partner. It was such a memorable experience to be able to get on a personal level with them. It’s been so rewarding to learn what it means to be a healthcare professional and pick up some essential skills that apply to my future career of becoming a doctor.”


Thoughts on CAS projects

“In my opinion, CAS projects are great opportunities for students to bring positivity to the community. Through this experience, I think CAS projects should be something that students display genuine interest in because we learn and contribute the most. It’s a great way to connect us to the real world and make us genuinely global citizens.

‘When choosing their CAS project, my advice to other students is that you should do something related to what you want to do in the future. For instance, if you’re studying business, you should plan some fundraisers and make sure it is something you love. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose project; it just has to be something that brings positivity to the community and something you love to do.”


“I am in the Young Investors’ Society (YIS) and the SPCA club. I joined YIS because I am interested in stocks and investing in general. I remember hearing my mom say how she earned some money by trading stocks which was an interesting concept that made me want to learn more about investing.

‘As for SPCA, I joined it because I love animals. I earned a caretaker certificate back in 2016 – to earn this, you need to volunteer 10-20 hours. Once you have the certificate, you can volunteer at the SPCA anytime. When I heard that ISKL had an SPCA club, I joined immediately to spend time with the animals during the weekdays. Especially last year, when the clubs at school were not active because of the lockdowns, I went and volunteered there once a week on my own.”

Plans for the future

“I am currently applying for university to the United Kingdom as well as Ireland. Studying science in High School changed a lot of how I thought about my future. Initially, I thought I would be a great pilot, but the scientific concepts seemed clear when I studied science. I could understand it right away without much thinking or learning, which made me do well in my science classes. 

‘I have got into a few accidents before, and everything about hospitals has fascinated me, like how the doctors treated me, how I counted down before my surgery, then waking up and not remembering anything as if everything was fixed in an instant! Those types of moments excite me. So it led me to think that I should be a doctor to make my patients feel the same way.

‘As of now, I have not discovered what I want to specialize in yet, but I know that I want to be a doctor because it’s rewarding. I enjoy helping people and find it fun to be able to learn about different diseases. There are going to be a lot of challenges ahead, but I trust that I can persevere.

‘Besides being a doctor, I also want to be a university professor that can teach others about the field. I want to make my life as busy as possible because I don’t usually do much during my free time. There’s always some bit of anxiety that pushes me to overachieve. I wouldn’t call myself an overachiever, but then again, I want high grades, so I do just enough to get the grades I want. I’m the kind of person who wouldn’t do something if I knew that my efforts wouldn’t be rewarded. The fact that my dad inspires me the most has taught me that once I persevere through the hard times, I will receive a great reward in the end. This has proven to be true a lot of times throughout my life.”

What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?

“I interpret it as being proud of who you are and what you do. When I first came to ISKL, I was terrible at English, so that I couldn’t speak much, but that didn’t hinder me from making friends. Everyone celebrated their differences here, and they supported each other.

‘In High School, I found myself enjoying music and science classes. And it’s because ISKL allows for a high level of individual autonomy in terms of doing what you love to do and being able to choose the courses you want every semester. That allowed me to explore my interests in those subjects freely. If you have something you love to do, keep doing it because no one will judge you – you need to be proud of what you do.”

Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.

To find out more inspiring stories of our community, read about Seungyoon H., The Warm-Hearted Benefactor, and Zuhayr Z., the aspiring filmmaker!

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