Interview with Solomon Raj A/L Vasudayan
From Quiet Student to Active Leader: Proudest Moments for the RCSI International Citizenship Award Recipient
The International Citizenship Award was created in 2016 by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to encourage medical students to be responsive to the diverse cultural and social challenges of their future profession. For the first time since it was established, RCSI is also honouring deserving PU-RCSI students. The inaugural recipients are and Solomon Raj A/L Vasudayan and Rajwin Raja A/L Kanagarajah.
The interview with Solomon is below. Click here to read Rajwin’s interview.
Why did you enroll in PU-RCSI?
S: I was first attracted with the degrees, MB BCh BAO, that were unique as well as the opportunity to obtain a fully recognized, famed, world class degree without traveling overseas.
What do you like about the programme?
S: Overall, I love how systematic the course is with lectures provided as well as hands on experience taught throughout the 5 years. It has a balance of theory and clinical experience with extremely trained lecturers who work hard with a sole purpose of making us better.
How did you study? How would you say you overcame challenges in your studies?
S: In the preclinical years, I used to review my lecture notes, after every lecture. But I realized that this method was not efficient in the clinical years where we are expected to know beforehand. In the clinical years, my study method was more of previewing the lectures, as the lecturers bombarded us with many questions regarding the patient we see in the ward. Hence, studying beforehand made me better prepared as well as understand certain diseases in further depth. Not to forget what my lecturers always advised us, and that is to; practice, practice and practice.
“We provided a platform to improve students’ lives as well as develop social and administrative skills.”
During your studies here, were you involved in any clubs/associations/student committees? If yes, what are your favourite activities?
S: I was indeed involved in various activities. Some to mention would be in the Student Representative Council (SRC), the inaugural Yearbook, House system, and also in Society of Malaysian Medical Association for Medical Students (SMMAMS).
My favorite would be in the SRC as the President. With SRC we were able to work together as a team in dealing with student affairs as well as making student lives better by encouraging more activities organized by the students. We came up with the house system, where by points were given for the house that organized events. At the end of the year, the House Cup is given to the House which organized the most events. With this, we provided a platform to improve students’ lives as well as develop social and administrative skills as the students had to liaise with many people and plan ways to make their event a success.
What is your proudest moment as a PURCSI student?
I have a fair share of proud moments as a PURCSI student. I was a quiet student when I first came to Perdana University. From there, experience and activities I participated in built my confidence to take part in the Student Representative Council (SRC) election for the term 15/17. Out of the 163 students who voted for around 8+ PURCSI nominees, I was truly humbled of gaining 80 votes which was around 50% of the whole population which took part in the election. It was indeed a proud moment to look back from where I came, to where God has led me. The next proud moment would definitely be the moment I walked on the stage to receive the International Citizenship award, the first outside Dublin. It was a surreal moment for me to be acknowledged for my work that did not only revolve around studying but in other aspects as well.
SMMAMS as I mentioned earlier is a student body of the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) that is a leading voice of the medical students throughout Malaysia. I was elected as one of the committee members for the term 16/17, being one of the first students from Perdana University to be ever elected. With SMMAMS I was given the opportunity to learn and take part in national events.
“To treat not the disease, but the patient.”
Most memorable moment?
My most memorable moment would definitely be when together with fellow International Citizenship award recipient, Rajwin Raja, we came up with the idea of creating our very own yearbook. With him as the chief editor, and myself as The Perdana Editorial Network (PEN) President, we managed to get the approval of the registrar to proceed with the idea, and with all the committee effort, finally PRIME 16 was born. During that time, we did not impose a fee for the magazine as we manage to find sponsors to cover all fees as well. It was indeed a proud moment that I would share with all the committee. Nothing great can be achieved without teamwork and unity. Unity leads to victory. I am proud to see the growth of the seed that we planted and the current edition looks amazing!
What were your thoughts when you found out that you won the award?
I was truly humbled and overwhelmed. I am happy to be the first ever recipient of this award outside Dublin, I hope many more would follow our footsteps to be a well-rounded doctor with participation in many co-curriculum activities as well as mastering their studies.
What’s the next step?
Right now I am still waiting for my employment, having my rest after 5 years of medical school and before housemanship starts.
And finally, what are your career goals?
As a graduate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland, I aspire to be a Cardiothoracic Surgeon. My career goals would definitely be the best surgeon, and in all I do, to uphold the ethical principles taught by my lectures and to treat NOT the disease, BUT the patient, who has the disease. As a recipient of the International Citizenship award, I have learnt to balance my studies and other work. Hence despite my career goals, I would focus to have a wonderful loving family as well, which would be my life goals.