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Visa Guidelines is back

Alhamdulillah, I got married to a lovely lady by the name of Sarah and we're enjoying our new phase in life since that momentous day.

And yeah, I graduated from the University of Nottingham and thus, escaping from the evil clutches of my medical school. woot2! probably needs a post on this as well but yeah, maybe later.

at the bottom of this blog, there is an article on visa guidelines for medical students graduated from UK medical schools under MARA scholarship who are planning to work as an FY1 doctor in the UK.

After all, it was my visa guidelines which i made 5 years ago that helped me to get to know a lot of people and for some, have now become my close friends. And it helped a lot of other people as well. So I hope that this guideline would ease your efforts a bit. Visa application is always confusing.

Scroll down to the bottom for the guideline

Saturday, April 04, 2009

so small

I was inspired to write this story on the day when I received a rejection letter (a change in course from Medicine to Biological Sciences is still a rejection :P) from the University of Edinburgh on 21st March 2009...

photo by blue fin art

It was Saturday. The radiant rays of the sun showered the gardens surrounding the house of the Linzes. It was spring in Edinburgh and Adam Linz woke up to a glorious new day. Rejuvenated and lively, his mind was already occupied with a list of things to do - it is always good to have dreams and aspirations early in the morning; something to kickstart a whole new day. Suddenly, he realized he had something urgent to do and off he went to the hospital.

Lying on his bed, draped in white blanket, surrounded by his family members was Zac; nervously waiting for his surgery.

"Sorry for the late arrival," said Adam.

"That's ok, it's not time yet. Thanks for coming."

Adam was so glad he made it in time. He was so thankful that he did not miss Zac before the surgery. As Zac was taken into the operating room, Adam wished him all the best.

He really cared about Zac. They have known each other for years already and nothing could separate these two best friends. As Adam left the ward, glimpses of the past began emerging in his head.

It was PE (Physical Education) period and they were heading to the swimming pool. Mr Aaron was going to give swimming lessons to his class. Somehow, Zac was not fond of the idea. Adam sensed that his friend appeared uncomfortable and decided to confront him.

"Hey Zac, you're ok?"

Initially, Zac didn't want to confide his secret with Adam. He preferred to keep things to himself. He never intended to share his enigma with anyone.

Nevertheless, Zac's trust towards Adam was so strong; he believed that he can count on him. Without a moment's hesitation, he grabbed Adam's hand and put it on his chest right where the heart is.

Adam startled. He could feel like there seemed to be a hole - there was a hollow.

Pectus excavatum. The congenital deformity had been a part of Zac's life since he was born. It was not life-threatening. His health was unaffected regardless of the hollow in his chest. However, it would be undoubtedly difficult for someone to bear with the deformity. All of the questions that arose before were answered - Why Zac did not want to join the swimming club? Why Zac never liked the sea?

Zac's low self-esteem made him shut himself out from enjoying his life.

A tear trickled down Zac's cheek.

"Don't worry. I'll be with you all the way," Adam comforted.

But Zac could hardly utter a word. And Adam just wrapped his arms around his dear friend hoping that he would calm down.

They eventually joined their classmates in the pool and of course, the inevitable happened. People started teasing Zac and called him names: Hollow, Chest-hole and much more than you can imagine. It was unbearable. God knows what Zac was feeling at the moment but he was not paying any attention to the ruthless individuals.

Adam approached Zac but thankfully, he was still smiling; swimming in the crystal clear water without showing any signs of being irritated by the harsh words thrown at him. Adam was simply glad for his friend.

They say good news travels fast. Unfortunately, bad news travels faster. By next week, almost everyone in high school knew about Zac's deformity. Some were being understanding and gave him support but most were showing much negative attitude towards the innocent teenager.

But Zac could not take it anymore. People were torturing him emotionally. Adam's words of solace barely help in relieving his friend. Zac was in a state of turmoil. He was deeply frustrated and discontented. And all Adam could do was sincerely to be there for his friend.

"Hey Zac, calm down," said Adam.

"Sometimes, I wish you could just leave me alone. You don't even know how it feels like to have a hollow in your chest," said Zac while walking away from Adam. Zac was engulfed by rage and bitterness. Even so, he knew deep down inside he truly appreciates everything that Adam did for him. Who else could he depend on if it is not on his own dear friend?

Adam could not agree more. You just would not know how it feels like until you are in that person's shoes. Despite what Zac said, Adam remained loyal to his friend. Adam comprehended the fact that he needs to be more sensitive.

Several months passed and somehow, Zac suffered several episodes of breathing difficulty. He had also been complaining about having occasional neck and shoulder muscle pain. Zac knew that it was the time to make an appointment with a specialist.

The pulmonologist confirmed that Zac had a lower lung capacity than an average teenager of his age. Zac's eyes lit up. He would undergo a surgery and he would no longer have the deformity.

Several years after the surgery passed and Zac was enjoying his life as a normal young man. That was all he had ever wanted. To have a feeling of acceptance and belonging among his friends. Now, he could try everything without any sense of inferiority.

And Adam, as any friend would, was so happy for his best friend. And forever in his heart will he remember the very words which Zac told him right after the surgery went successfully.

"You know Adam, nothing that I feel today could ever be meaningful if it wasn't for you, my friends and family."

"Thinking about all the hindrances that I faced in the past, I knew they were not really important. Love is what has carried me up till this day. What is a hollow in my chest compared to the people that I care in life? And when I keep pondering these thoughts in my head it surely makes everything - the deformity, the obstructions that I've encountered and everything that made me feel inferior seem so insignificant...seem so small..."

What you got if you ain't got love
The kind that you just wanna give away
It's okay to open up
Go ahead and let the light shine through

I know it's hard on a rainy day
You wanna shut the world out
And just be left alone
But don't run out on your faith

Sometimes that mountain you've been climbing
Is just a grain of sand
And what you've been out there searching for forever
Is in your hands

And when you figure out
Love is all that matters after all
It sure makes everything else
Seem so small
-Carrie Underwood-

Sometimes, we kept wasting our time and energy by dwelling on the many minor irritations of life; instead, focus on the things which are truly vital - things which make life meaningful. And when you've figured that out, that's when everything would seem so small...