Students' Take: Meet LKCMedicine Year 3 student Grace Chua, a national shuttler

LKCMedicine Year 3 student Grace Chua is an athlete and aspiring doctor. In this section, we find out more about her thoughts, challenges, and aspirations.

1. Hello! I'm… Grace Chua. I'm 24 years old this year and currently in Year 3. I'm older than all my batchmates as I spent three-and-a-half years playing badminton professionally before starting University. Other than playing badminton, I like to bake, read, and solve puzzles (like sudoku/crosswords/chess puzzles), although being in medical school has left me with little time to do all these!

2. I'm a medical student from the Class of 2023, and… during my time in LKCMedicine, I hope to get to know my batchmates, seniors and juniors better. They are all very interesting people with interesting hobbies and stories. This year, I began my clinical attachments and I realised that there is so much to know in the field of medicine! Hence, I hope to keep discovering more and explore the various aspects of medicine in School. 

3. My passion for badminton started… at the age of six when my parents enrolled me for lessons at a Community Centre. At that time, I had no aspirations of being a national shuttler, but I just enjoyed playing badminton and being around my friends. Gradually, I began to love the game and even after more than 18 years, I still do, and that is why I'm still playing it now! My parents are not national athletes, but they have always been very supportive of my sporting journey. 

When I graduated from Junior College, I decided to take a few years off before starting University to play badminton professionally. Up until then, I had always been balancing both studies and sports. I wanted to see how far I could go if I focussed fully on badminton. In addition, it was also a dream for me to represent Singapore in major games, and thus I decided to take this leap of faith!

4. My inspiration to study Medicine... is an accumulation of my experiences, mostly in my sporting career. When I was 16, I had an injury just one week before I was due to fly for an overseas competition. I was devastated as this competition meant a lot to me, and the doctor recommended that I withdraw from it. 

However, when I communicated my thoughts to the doctor, she came up with a plan for me to receive intensive treatment for a week. She then reviewed my condition and decided if I was fit to participate in the competition. Her willingness to understand my situation and eagerness to help inspired me to be like her. 

In addition, I am always very inspired by the work that doctors do. When I was playing badminton on a full-time basis, I had various injuries and had to consult sports doctors on different occasions. I was inspired by how they were able to help athletes, even those with very serious injuries, get back on their feet and thereafter win medals! Of course, there is a whole medical support team involved in the recovery process of the athletes. In future, I hope to be a sports doctor and be a part of the athletes' journey in helping them reach their full potential.

5. As both a medical student and a national shuttler,... time management is something very crucial. My typical day involves having lessons or clinical attachments in the day, before going for training at night. If I foresee that my lessons or attachments will end late, I will try to fit a gym session in the early morning instead.

My aim is to qualify for the next Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in December 2021. So far, I have participated in three SEA Games and one Commonwealth Games, and I always look forward to the next major game. There is an immense sense of pride in being able to don national colours and compete, and I also enjoy meeting new friends from other countries.

6. The challenges of my career as a national shuttler... includes injuries and learning to deal with failure. Everyone knows that injuries are part and parcel of sports, yet each time it strikes, it is easy to be disheartened and lose motivation to keep going. I have also encountered failures, such as losing matches and letting my team down. However, all these setbacks and challenges have taught me how to handle my emotions better, as well as to learn from my mistakes and seek to improve. These experiences have allowed me to emerge stronger and more resilient, which I believe will help me greatly as a future doctor.

7. One of my favourite life mottos is… "It won't be easy, but it'll be worth it." This keeps me going through the toughest days when I feel like giving up.

8. When I become a doctor, I would like to... be a good doctor. This is a very vague term, and something which I often think about. While clinical knowledge and skills are important, I believe that being able to empathise with patients is extremely important as well. I want to be able to treat my patient as a person, and not as a disease. I have often thought about what I would like to achieve as a doctor, and one thing stands out for me: I would like that when my patient walks out of the clinic/hospital, he/she would tell his/her friends that "Dr so-and-so is a good doctor". That would bring me great joy. Because after all, I am a doctor, not for myself, but for my patients.