12 Jan 2024

The Dedicated Doctor-to-be — Victor W T Wong

Student Translator: Eunice Y Seto (TRAN/3)

Throughout his three years at the university, Victor W T Wong, a medical student, has been actively engaged in a variety of activities. He has taken on roles such as President of the College’s Toastmasters Club promoting public speaking skills, member of UChum, organising wellness activities for students, and acting as the master of ceremonies for College events. Victor’s active participation has led to his nomination by the College to be named CUHK Outstanding Student 2023: Social Service.

Victor admitted that he used to be introverted and struggled with socialising. He would even blush when talking to others, which he believed was not professional for a future doctor. With determination to change, he joined the College Toastmasters Club. His speeches were not great at first, but he received encouragement from the club’s committee members, which helped boost his confidence. Inspired by his own transformation, Victor wondered if he could help others as well. He took on the role of a committee member to the club and empathised with the new members who were as shy as he once was. In order to help them overcome their fears, Victor drew lots so that everyone would have the opportunity to speak on stage. In the beginning, many new members had shaky hands and husky voices during their speeches. After three months of practice, they gained confidence and became more expressive in their body language. Victor believed that personal growth was just as important as academics. As the current president of Toastmasters Club, he was proud to have grown alongside his fellow members.

Victor’s connection with United College has gradually deepened over time. When he first entered university, he used elimination to choose his college – he did not consider those in remote areas or with fewer activities. In the end, he realised that United College was the most suitable choice. To this day, he has no regrets about his decision, noting that the college actively encourages students to develop their potential. Take Toastmasters Club as an example, although the membership fee for Toastmasters International is over a few thousands, the College provides more than 60 per cent subsidy to alleviate the burden of students. Victor had a toothless smile when he was talking about the College’s generosity. He admitted that organising activities often requires careful budgeting because of the financial constraints. However, the College-supported activities are less likely to face funding problems. Victor cited the example of UChum, when they have to organise a stress-relief fun fair for fellow students. Not only did they provide different craft workshops, but they also had funds to buy other items and gifts, and participants were not required to pay for them. Through his involvement in various activities, Victor has come to view United College as a place full of cherished memories and considers it his home away from home.

Last summer, Victor participated in the Pass-it-on: Service Learning Programme by United College and Tsinghua University, collaborating with the SAHK to design programmes for the mentally handicapped persons. He found that interacting with them was simple: treating them kindly will bring you reciprocal kindness. However, the Association’s limited number of volunteers made it challenging to organise outdoor activities on a regular basis. Although the programme has concluded after the summer break, Victor still hopes to help recruit more volunteers and expand the scale of the programme in the future, so that “Pass-it-on” can become a long-term service project and continue to bring warmth to the recipients.

As a future doctor, Victor noticed a lack of direct communication opportunities between medical students and patients. In response, he and his friends established Mediclover, an organisation that initiates diverse kinds of volunteer services. “If you don’t see the meaning of a doctor’s work, how can you have the motivation to go on?” Victor believed. Through Mediclover, he gradually took on a greater sense of responsibility. In the past, when he volunteered, Victor received clear instructions and advice to ensure that nothing went wrong. However, Mediclover is a brand-new service group for CUHK medical students. From purchasing supplies and liaising with organisations to setting the direction of the team’s development and raising funds, the whole team takes care of all the administrative matters without the help and advice of an advisor. The sense of responsibility has made Victor mature, “When you become a doctor and communicate with patients in the future, there will be no one to slowly guide you on what to do. While enjoying your freedom and autonomy, it is important to acknowledge and fulfill the accompanying responsibilities.”

Victor would also integrate his knowledge and skills into the programme. During services, he slowly guided the patients to open up and let them express their emotions so as to relieve their psychological pressure. He also gave tips to the elderly with chronic illnesses to raise their health awareness. Through all the volunteering, he made many new friends and left a colourful mark on his university life. Admittedly, organising the service does take a lot of time and effort, but the corresponding satisfaction of helping others is unparalleled. 

When asked about his short-term goals, Victor jokingly stated that his priority was to work hard and study hard, to avoid being someone else’s service target because of the bad grades. When it came to advice for students, he emphasised the importance of not being swayed by others’ opinions. Victor encouraged individuals to carve their own path and pursue what is meaningful and memorable to themselves, regardless of what others may think. He believed that university offers numerous options, and as long as an endeavour holds personal significance, it is worth pursuing.