Patrick Chua from Asian Pacific Medical Association
Our next spotlight is on Patrick Chua, one of the student leaders of the Asian Pacific Medical Association (APAMSA).
Although some people know they want to go into medicine from a very early age, Patrick’s journey to medical school was not as straightforward. After high school, Patrick attended college for a while before leaving and joining the military. While in the military, Patrick discovered that he excelled at combat first aid trauma and even had to use these first aid skills on a friend. After four years, Patrick left the military and was condsidering a career as a firefighter or paramedic. However, after returning to college, he found himself taking on more leadership roles and realized he loved his science classes. One thing led to another, and Patrick soon found himself falling in love with medicine. Patrick faced many difficult obstacles throughout his journey to medical school and prides himself on his ability to overcome those challenges. “I’ve gone through so many phases of my life and just looking back and seeing how far I’ve come is definitely what brings me the most pride. Just taking the captain’s wheel and steering my life and having the ability to just turn it around was definitely my proudest feat.”
Patrick grew up in Indiana and was one of the only Asian students in a school of 4,000 people. He was subjected to severe bullying and racism, which greatly impacted the way he viewed his cultural identity. “I don’t want to say I grew up hating my ethnicity but I just was so out of touch with it… and I mean there was definitely a part of me that I hated it because if I ever felt isolation and I couldn’t explain what the reason was, I would just pin it on that.” Patrick joined APAMSA’s leadership because he wanted to create an environment where people would feel welcomed and safe. “I just don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through, even to a lesser degree… I just want to do everything in my power to minimize the possibility of that happening to anyone else.”
When asked what advice he has for incoming medical students, Patrick emphasized that medical school has a big learning curve and students should remember to have faith in themselves. “Just continually strive for self-improvement and don’t compare yourself to other people. You are your best control group… no one else has the same advantages and same disadvantages you have, only you know if you’re improving.”