Mind rant #24: The Climb

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

mount Bray :)

For being able to write this post, i thank Allah s.w.t.
For being able to experience this, i thank Allah s.w.t.
For the chances that i had, the people that i encountered, i thank Allah s.w.t
For all the doa i have received, from known and unknown ones, 
Jazakumullahu khayr, only Allah is able to repay you back.
I am certainly sure that without these doa, i will never be where i am today.

Truly, Allah is the best planner of all.

This, perhaps will be one of my longest rants of all. But i just have to write it down, i need to write it down. I hope that it will somehow benefit or even inspire others, but most importantly it is to remind the future me, who will one day be at her lowest point in life, that once, Allah had blessed me with what i wanted, letting me reach the peak of a long and difficult climb. And to keep myself in gratitude, with what He has given me. InsyaAllah.

For truly with hardship comes ease.
Truly with hardship comes ease.

Again, i remind you that this is a very long rant. So i thank anyone who's willing to read this. And for those who're not that willing, i thank you anyway for still reading up to this point. And if you could do me a favour to scroll down to the very bottom, and pray for me and friends? Jazakumullahu khayr.

This, is a chapter of my life. So here goes;


Professional Completion Module
We came back from our holidays/electives to start this last module of our 5-years of medical school. It will lasts for 10-weeks. And we all knew that time will fly, so so fast, and it really did! As scary as it had been though, we did enjoy ourselves in between. Listening to talks from the consultants about life as interns, they really do give you that boost of energy that you need. All the while trying to remind us to enjoy our last moments as students.

*here's us (with anak-anak Zainol) enjoying ourselves here and there. with ice creams and flowers*

Study groups
We weren't the best at sticking to study groups. We never really had any when we were in our pre-clinical years and even during our clinical years. Until we realized that finals are coming up so we really have to get our heads into this, or else we'll get left behind. So together with the anak-anak Zainol (pika and ika), we'd be studying everyday, going through whatever topics that we decided on. Ika's smallest bedroom is our main port. With ika at her desk, and I will be perched in the most backache-inducing position on ika's bed; with pika on the other end of the bed with her own unhealthy-posture. This was our routine.

Our little group is called the Flame and Moths, cause both me and ika will somehow do whatever that Pika asks. Hence, the theory, that she is the Flame that all Moths are attracted to. heh. Sometimes we even wondered if she possesses any black magic to lure us in. Hmm. And on weekends we'll head to the James Joyce Library, now back to our '3 Musketeers and a Zorro' (fitri hakim) group. And Akem will always ended up taking our pictures by the end of it. :P towards the remaining days, the girls (Suha and Ecah) came by and sleep at our house, to study together like we always do for the past exams we had :)

Sorry, i really don't want to forget all this, that's why i'm writing it all down. But here's the main point, the only way for you to ever get through med school, is by study groups.

Trust me. We're not meant to live alone. :)
and again i thank Allah for blessing me with them.

and this is Mr Zorro. one who'd take pretty pictures for the three of us,
who doesn't like pictures of himself, cause he does that kind of weird Zorro pose. :)

Final days
And as the final exam approaches, we all became much more vulnerable. And there's only really one solution to it: prayers. And night prayers (tahajjud) was the one that is most important that helped us through this. And trust me, it hasn't been easy. The very early Subuh here in Dublin made it even much harder to wake up for Qiam, and you cant really sleep early cause the Isya prayer is quite late. But we'd all be knocking on each other's doors or miscalling the other's handphones whenever we do wake up. Sometimes the knocks work. Sometimes it doesn't (and we'd be rolling like sushis inside our duvets huhu). But we tried our best to keep close to Allah s.w.t. InsyaAllah.

And i don't think i need to remind anyone about the importance of tahajjud at this point in time, we all know how special it is. The only problem is how hard we try to stick to it. So don't worry if we failed multiple times, the important thing is we tried and we keep on trying. :)

The du'a made in Tahajjud,
is like an arrow that doesn't miss its target.
[Imam Shafi'e]

yup, years worth of notes.
mine is the coloured one. Akem's is the cards.

The exams
Our finals consist of 2 exams, alhamdulillah. Because the school didn't want to jumble all things together, so we did most of the difficult part during our 4th year (medicine and surgery - with all the very difficult OSCEs and written exams) and in the first part of our final year (psych, GP, ObsGynae, Paeds). Many thought that us UCD students seem to get the easy way out. well, maybe. but we have always thought that we all did the exact same thing like others, it's just much earlier in our 4th year. So it seems like these two exams is nothing serious but they are pretty much as scary. And me and Suha ended up in the first group to start on Tuesday and Wednesday. While all the other malaysians start theirs on Wednesday and Thursday.

"If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then,
is an empty desk a sign?"  - Albert Einstein.
i take comfort with this quote. this is always how it looks like when i study. :)

The Viva. 
Wednesday, 29th April 2014.
I remembered that i wasn't able to focus anymore when i read. So i decided to watch this video by Nouman Ali Khan in the morning of the exam. The video was called "Praying for Success" (linked).  It was a 30 minutes khutbah, so as i was prepping myself for the exam, i could only listen to the first 12 minutes of it. And the thing that got stuck in my head was: 

"ask Allah for what you need to get through it."

Which really does make sense. Cause we can ask for whatever that we wanted, but perhaps that wouldn't be the things that will help us get through any of the hurdles that we are facing. So i was the second group to be called for the Viva exam, and i remembered feeling quite calm as i was waiting for my turn outside the room. Another guy was sitting beside me. I wished him luck, and then i closed my eyes for a good minute, mumbling this Doa over and over;

"ya Allah, grant me with what i need, You're the All-Knower." 
And then i was called. Bismillah :)

magically that day we wore the exact same colour! :)
and that's the book for Viva.

The Long Case exam. 
30th April 2014
So for anyone outside the medical field, this exam is basically a session where you'd be sent to a random patient, and you'd spent 45 minutes with him/her, taking down their history (whatever that they came in with) and examine them and organize all these jumbled information that you have to present it to two consultant-examiners for 15-20 minutes. You'd present the patient and his/her case, and give your thoughts on what the diagnosis might be with your reasons, things that may have been (the differential diagnosis) and your short-term and long-term management for it. And they can then ask you whatever they want, either about the case or nothing related to it at all.

So as you can see, that's why medical students would usually be the ones who'd desperately ask for prayers when they are in exams. Cause almost everything can go wrong in only an hour of the exam. Your patient can be uncooperative, you may not even understand a word they are saying for their thick accent, you may know what's wrong with them but you could not remember anything about the disease or its management, you could have the world's most scary consultants staring down at your stupid answers, and you could even get tongue-tied in the middle of it all.

But when i went for my exam that morning, instead of my initial plan to go early and revise for cranial nerves exam (cause i was beginning to feel like i know nothing!), i went to the St Vincent's Hospital's surau, and spent my time with Allah s.w.t. I poured everything out; the nervousness, my jitters, and my hopes. it was a relief. it's like i was letting go of my every worries; to leave the rest to Allah's Will. So after that i went straight to the hall that we have to wait in, and being Mr Ariff's daughter, i was certainly in the first group to start the exam straight away. So when i went to my patient, the most important thing that i bring in with me was my trust in Allah. For i have done my part, my revisions, my prayers, and now it's His Plans that i should believe in.


Mine was quite a straight-forward case except for the fact that i can't examine her stoma. But Allah helped me through it. And I was the first one to finish the exam at 9:15am, coming back to an empty hall. Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, Allahuakbar.

right after i finished my Long Case. my expression is disproportionate to the agony i felt.

D-day: Doctor Day. 
1st May 2014
So both me and Suha was quite free that morning, while the rest of the Malaysians are heading for their long case exams. We had our good rest after our jitters, and like we planned, we walked for 40-minutes to Clonskeagh Mosque for the morning. We spent our time there, and i was reminded of my first long case exam in my Baby Res year (3rd year). Back then, I finished a day earlier, so i went to Clonskeagh Mosque for a 'date'. 2 years later and I am here for the same reason again, but with a partner this time. :)

While at the mosque, a lady who was reciting the Quran since we arrived suddenly came up to us, she wanted to do her tasmi'. And she recited 2.5 pages of the Quran that she memorized this morning, MasyaAllah. So we asked her a bit on how she does it; she said it's been 4 years now. Her son is already a Hafiz at the age of 14. And she said to do it a page a time, especially after Fajr prayer. And she asked me a question; "are you married? -i shake my head obviously- well then, you have a lot of time to do it." Huhu, insyaAllah.


We went back home, and by this time everyone have finished their exam. So basically what we were told was that if we failed any of the two exams, we will get "the email" that will tell us to come and redo the long case exam the next day. So that was what we were dreading. The promised email would come out at 6pm. So after our Zuhr prayer, we were in our telekung, and we were all reciting al-Quran, calming down our nerves. We wanted to revise a bit in case the inevitable happen but we couldn't focus. In the end at about 4pm, the jitters was starting to come in. Finally ika and Ecah came to join me and Suha in my room. We all talked about our cases, reassuring one another of all the wrong things we did as well as the wrong answers that we have blurted out. And then suddenly Pika came to the room with this ghastly look and said: "the email is out". And it was only 5pm.

And everything went by so fast. We all were checking our phones and after confirming that everyone passed all of us hugged each other and we were all crying. We did our sujud syukur and went to call our family as it was still 12 a.m. in Malaysia. And the rest, was history.

with suha at Clonskeagh.
and that was us skyping after the result.
*mata bengkak nangis semua*


Looking back, so much have happened. And it has been a roller-coaster ride through it all. Suffice to say that I will cherish every moment that I have been through. We are all happy, alhamdulillah. But that night, after prayers, we all make du'a together for our past, our present, and our future;

For the desperation that we felt all the while, 
which had brought us down to our knees,
forehead down in sujud, sobbing into our prayers, 
seeking for none other but Allah's help; 
We prayed that that feeling will last, 
in our time of happiness and sadness.

For the new amanah that we have now as Doctors, 
we prayed that we will keep our promises that we say every so often;
That we wanted to be doctors not just to heal the bodies,
But to heal the souls, with Allah's help and by Allah's Will.
and to be doctors for the ummah and not just for ourselves,
carrying the responsibility of amar makruf nahi munkar with the trust.

For the last 5 years of being a medical student,
With all the lonesome rides, the agonies and the emotional turmoils,
The patients that we have seen and learn from;
The books that we have read, and the time we spent,
All the hard work as well as any of the lagha (forgetful)  moments;
We prayed that Allah forgive us for all the wrong-doings,
and accepted these 5 years as part of our amal ibadah. InsyaAllah.

Aamiin ya Rabb.
If anyone is still reading this post, then i hoped you'd say Aamiin for this doa.
It has been, a great climb.
Alhamdulillah, wa astaghfirullah.

That's it for my rants this time.
Thank You, ya Rabb. 
I can never thank You enough.

Yours truly,
Dr Izyan Ariff
University College Dublin

always am and always will be, another servant of Allah s.w.t. :)


syakey said...

beautiful du'a masyaAllah, aminn.

sister Izyan, i hv been your silent reader for quite a long time. i must say that your writing always inspired me a lot and i'm sure people out there too. even thought it's just a small sharing about your experience somehow it's has soul in it. keep on writing and share you Dr experience may Allah bless and grant you steadfast towards Him. amin. and yeah congratulation!

izyan.ariff said...

to Syakey:

jazakillahu khayr. all praises go back to Allah :) insyaAllah. doakan i keep my promises to myself and continue writing. ^_^

thanks again for dropping by sist! :)

mohamad zainol adam said...

well expressed... congratulation... the touching part... to heal not only the body but also the soul. Our doa is always with you all. May Allah grant ease in all your (you and friends) future undertakings. Amiiinnnn...

Sher said...

My dear Izyan,
This entry made me cry with joy :) Alhamdulillah.. Congratulations! May the journey after this be one that you tread with care and in the company of good friends and the people you love. May the lessons you've learnt assist you in your new life as a doctor. May we meet soon! Proud of you. Miss ya! XOXO

Anonymous said...

Congrats Doctor !

izyan.ariff said...

to uncle Zainol: thank you uncle for your prayers :) nanti jumpa uncle + aunty on graduation insyaAllah! :)

izyan.ariff said...

to beloved Ms Shereen :)
dearest teacher :) Hope it's okay to wish in here, happy teacher's day! (in case you ever bumped into this section again)

sorry i heven't been the best in wishing anything to my teachers, but you're always in prayers. nothing i do or say can ever repay you.

miss you so much teacher! hoping that we'll meet again pretty soon insyaAllah :)

to anonymous: thank you ;)

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