In the series “Person of Interest”, Annie and Juliet interview people they find interesting and want to learn more about. Check out other interviews here.
Occupation: Medical student
Undergrad: Honours Biomedical Sciences, University of Waterloo
Grad: Western University
Born in: Taipei, Taiwan
Grew up in: Toronto, Canada
Currently living in: Windsor, Canada
How we met
It was the blissful summer of 2005, and I was visiting family in Taiwan. My dad decided to deport me to a summer camp to learn about personal finance as a 7th grader. Annie was a fellow camper (or victim?) who sat beside me. She said she was from Thailand and since I’ve never met anyone from Thailand, I thought she was super cool so we became friends. We’ve remained friends even though I realized she’s not actually Thai – a testament of true friendship.
How would you describe yourself if you meet someone new? How would you introduce yourself?
“Hey! I’m Joey, nice to meet you! I am a medical student entering my 3rd year yet I still have no idea what I want to go into after I graduate. I was born in Taiwan, came to Canada when I was 7 and grew up in Toronto. I currently live in Windsor, which is a small city that borders Detroit. Some of the things that I enjoy include gaining calories through delicious food, basketball, and travelling.
How did you decide to go into the field you’re currently in? Because I know going into the medical field is a big commitment.
In my final year of high school, I was struggling to decide between a career in business or in healthcare. For business, I suppose I enjoyed imagining myself living the jet-set lifestyle – travelling to/working in different cities, meeting new people and experiencing different ways of life. On the other hand, I was interested in healthcare because I shadowed an optometrist at the office where my sister worked, and it was inspiring to see how much influence a practitioner can have on a patient’s quality of life.
The decision was tough. My parents surprised me by urging me to choose the business school, even though they have always imagined me to become a “doctor of some sort.” It was the obvious choice, with expected payouts after 4 years of hard work, and I’d have an established career. Becoming a healthcare professional, be it optometry/dentistry/medicine, is a total black-box, as with the rigorous application processes, nothing is for sure.
I eventually decided to jump into the world of uncertainty and chose to enter a science program. Sure, it would have been nice to roll around in $$$ and blowing boatloads of cash on red in Vegas, but I realized I didn’t want to be known as just another guy who made a lot of $$$ but still not as much as Bill Gates. I thought that I was capable of accomplishing more, not only for myself, but also for the benefit of those around me.
I initially thought I’d become an optometrist due to my shadowing experiences, yet it was hard for me to commit entirely when there are other options. I began to do some volunteering in the ER at the local hospital, and it was there where I became more interested in medicine than anything else. I was captivated by the complexity of medicine, the art of patient care, and the broad opportunities that it offered – not simply just the eyes (optometry) or teeth (dentistry). Never looked back since.
What does happiness mean to you?
Something that I want to capture and never let go of. It involves doing the things I enjoy, with the special people in my life, without troubles or worries…
…or eating good food. Feeling like sushi.
What is the best decision you made… in the recent years?
Fostering kittens. I’ve always wanted pets when I was a kid, but my parents never allowed it. When I got my own apartment, I thought I’d finally get to live the dream. Since school’s pretty busy, I can’t really commit to a pet long-term, so fostering became the perfect option. To date, I’ve fostered 11 kittens – all of which have been adopted.
Three sentences to sum your 25 years of existence.
Family’s always first.
Procrastination is the precursor to productivity.
It’s not where you start, but where you finish that matters.
Any upcoming events that you’re attending that you’re excited about?
3rd year clerkship! It’s where students spend an entire year rotating through different clinical departments. It’s a great opportunity to appreciate the daily lives of physicians in various specialties. Hopefully I’ll decide on something by the end of it.
What things have been on your mind lately?
- The stressors of clerkship – being on-call, having real clinical responsibilities, studying more than ever, not being able to see friends & family as often, etc.
- Food – never leaves my mind.
- Game of Thrones – no spoilers? But can’t wait for Sunday’s finale.
What are your plans for the future?
- Survive clerkship → decide on a specialty → survive residency matching → graduate successfully → do residency → start practice → buy a yacht and cruise into the sunset.
- Travel: next destination is Eastern Europe.
Check out other posts in our Person of Interest series!