A Speech From Parick Webster
Location: YAL’s AGM 29th October 2021
“Will I be able to keep up? Am I smart enough? Will I be able to relate creditably? These were just a handful of the questions reeling in my mind as I started my first day as a medical student at the start of this year. As I walked into building 410 – the Curtin medical facility, it sank in that these were the people I would spend the next five years with .. .inferring I will make it that far. I was very nervous. I bit my lip, walked in, and started introducing myself.
Fast forward to the end of that long but incredibly memorable day, and I was certain I was in the correct place. In a matter of 6 hours, I had spoken to a conglomerate of engaging, clever, and kind-hearted people … individuals I am grateful enough to now call my friends.
Fast forward again to now, with only 3 more looming exams to go and I can look back and I can say with certainty that there have been many apprehensive yet enjoyable occasions this year. From explaining treatment decisions with my limited clinical knowledge to doctors to facilitating history-taking consultations with a patients. Every week I have had to get up in front of my peers and explain a concept or topic I have had one week to learn myself. There has been many very early mornings and long days. It has been a new and foreign experience for me, but so too has it been incredibly gratifying, incredibly memorable, and incredibly inspiring. I am deeply grateful to be surrounded by bright minds and caring hearts. Friends who I have bounced ideas off, learnt new perspectives from, debated with over the smallest of details, and laughed together with even at the most stressful moments. I can name almost every part of my body, internal and external… yet still, I don’t quite know how to treat a sore elbow.
I can affirm in truth that my journey through this year has been undeniably supported through the assistance from this foundation. I recall a speech by our year coordinator. It was brutally honest, if not a little pessimistic, but necessary. They advised not to maintain employment if you wish to succeed in this course. I could see the truth in it; medicine does demand many hours. It is stressful and the content quite immense. However, it frustrated me seeing the inequality that is perpetuated. One where the financially secure have an advantage, where those with no choice but to support themselves fall behind. I only bring this circumstance forward to explain the deeply beneficial role VAL plays in this. Knowing I have the support from this organisation has taken a surmountable burden from my shoulders. I have been able to focus on this important stage in my life as VAL has taken away that underlying stress that can distract and disempower.
Time seems to be something We can never seem to get enough of. At times, it seems there is not enough hours in a day, not enough days in a week for all that we wish to experience, complete, and achieve. I am deeply appreciative for YAL’s support, and its ability to give me time. More time to explore my passions and focus on my work. I would not have been able to join the Curtin Rural Medical school or the educational outreach program Dr. Yes and engage with the community without the help from this foundation. Through these programs, I have been able to go to schools and teach students on the importance of mental health and sexual education, as well as receive extracurricular clinical experience. This has been a pinnacle of my year thus far. Where, in another existence without the guidance from VAL, I may have had to sacrifice this time and thus, these invaluable opportunities in the attempt to just keep my head out of the water.
My experience may be vastly different to the other scholars here tonight. However, I know each of us here has worked hard to get where we are. We have persisted with resilience when circumstances may have positioned us a little behind others. We have dedicated ourselves to work towards our passions and we stay true to ourselves. We have given back to our communities, knowing first-hand how this can lift others up.
In alignment with the values of Young Australia League, I can say with assurance that I have found a sense of belonging through my time as a scholar and I wish all our new scholars the very best in their unique and exciting journeys.”