Education News

Passion to Serve – The Driving Force Behind Melissa’s Journey in Medicine

June 16, 2021 | Achievement News

It was a moment filled with significant milestones for RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC), as the institution held its 21st Conferring Ceremony on May 30, 2021 (Sunday). A total of 111 medical students were conferred with the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, Bachelor of Obstetrics (MB BCh BAO) degree which is internationally-recognised by the National University of Ireland (NUI).

With this conferring ceremony, RUMC celebrated its 2000th graduate while also marking its 25th year of delivering high-quality medical education this year.

“Not only is this a special conferring because you have completed your medical degree studies and are about to officially become doctors, but this conferring ceremony is a double landmark in the history of RUMC. This is our 21st year of conferring medical degrees in our 25th or Silver Anniversary year since RUMC was established as Penang Medical College,” highlighted Professor David Whitford, President & CEO of RUMC in his welcome address during the ceremony.

Graduating along with RUMC’s Class of 2021 is valedictorian, Melissa Mae Gabriel, who personally enjoyed how Medicine was both Science and Art.

Growing up in Kuala Lumpur and residing in an area surrounded by lush greenery, Melissa has always enjoyed getting the best of both worlds - the fast-paced city life and the wonders of nature, from the very beginning. Little did she know that she’s about to embark on a life-long journey to her dream career with a similar fortune.

Having a strong interest in a career that involves serving people and being unsure between choosing Medicine and Law, Melissa decided to first build a solid foundation by doing her A-Levels in Pure Science at Methodist College Kuala Lumpur (MCKL). She received the Merit scholarship which covered her full tuition fees. It was during her time in MCKL, Melissa was introduced to RUMC – an avenue for her to further explore her passion in pursuing Medicine.

“Looking back, I am eternally grateful for having done my A-Levels at MCKL and the good friends I have gained during my time in MCKL. For if not for them, I would probably had missed the opportunity of studying Medicine,” expressed Melissa. Speaking on Melissa’s success, Ms Angela Pok, CEO of MCKL said “Is it an honour to receive this news.We also learned that three (3) other students from MCKL were conferred during the ceremony. MCKL has always been proud to learn about our alumni’s continuous accomplishments locally and abroad as they portray a great example to all our students, the community and beyond. On behalf of MCKL, I would like to wish our alumni, Melissa Gabriel, Melvin Hoo (Dean’s List and 1st place in Family Medicine & Public Health), Eunice Lim (1st place in Forensics and Legal Medicine) and Jason Pereira a heartfelt congratulations. Their dedication and determination have led them to great success. Wishing them the best in all their future undertakings.”

Passion to Serve – The Driving Force Behind Melissa’s Journey in Medicine

RUMC’s medical degree entails 2.5 pre-clinical years in Dublin and 2.5 clinical years in Penang. This provides an incredible exposure to understanding teaching in the western world, being on the cutting edge in research, and experiencing the various types of cases in the tropical setting of Malaysia, as the students return to Penang.

“Besides academics, the opportunity to study in Dublin is also one that moulds students to be more independent, hone skills, and build friendships from different cultures,” said Melissa when asked about her inspiration to pursue Medicine at RUMC.

Throughout her journey in Dublin and Penang, Melissa showed great dedication, not only in her academics, but also in extracurricular activities, where she was part of various clubs and societies, such as the Women Association in Surgery, RCSI Student Medical Journal, Climbing Club, and Surgical Society – to name a few.

Another one of Melissa’s greatest learning experiences was her involvement in research in Dublin.

“Through my time in research, I published a research paper, won the “Harry O’ Flanagan Medal for Excellence in Undergraduate Research medal” and was honoured to be in the Irish Medical Times for “Undergraduate Researcher” of the Year,” shared Melissa.

Are you one of those aspiring doctors wondering if Medicine is rightfor you? Here are some tips from Melissa.

“I think the first step is to really find out if you (not your parents, not society) want to do medicine. This includes speaking to many people in Medicine and also other careers.”

“There will be trial and ‘tribulations’, there will be sweat and tears. Medicine is a very challenging journey and I am only at the beginning but it has certainly been very rewarding. As my best friend once told me, there are no bad days, only character-building days,” Melissa added.

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