In 1998 I decided to follow my desire for money and a year free from University study. Without a doubt, two years of Medical study had taken its toll on me and the total lack of personal time for that period was horrible. I was spending around 35 hours each week at University or in hospitals and at least that amount of time again at home studying to keep up with the workload.
I had also started tutoring high school children in mathematics on weeknights every week – in fact 19 of them for an hour each. I also worked on the weekends at a Newcastle department store in the sporting department before moving to a better paying job selling hydroponic equipment at a retail store in Newcastle – I only worked there Saturday and Sundays. The store was busy and the days went quickly which I liked.
I really wanted a year off to start a business and I stupidly thought I would be able to return to study the final three years of my degree and start my internship as a Junior Doctor at a hospital. Whilst I have no regrets in making the decision, there have been many times when I have questioned if it was the right thing to do?
I also look back at my naivety in thinking I could start a business and then return to University in a little under one year and everything would be fine. Business takes an enormous amount of time and commitment and success like most things depends on how much you are willing to sacrifice for it.
It was unrealistic to expect to go back to University and be able to put the level of thought and effort into my study while also having the responsibility of a retail outlet. The folly of youth can sometimes make things seem so simple – it certainly did with me.
After so many years doing my best at school to gain entry to Medical School I couldn’t help but wonder if I had made a terrible mistake. It is only in the last couple of years that I have been able to find peace in my decision to follow my opportunities and let life take its course.
My mother made it very clear that she would never forgive my decision, although she did tell me in 2007 that she was proud of my achievements and choices which was a nice thing to hear. It’s amazing how something so simple as “I’m proud of what you have done” can make you feel. It’s probably been one of the biggest reminders to me that it is essential to let someone know when you love them, are proud of them or thankful for what they have done.
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