Admissions Blog

By Caroline Chia, Class of 2016

Contributed by Alfred Wong, Class of 2016

Enjoy Life...Today

“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” -Glenn Gould

The most important piece of advice came from an unexpected mentor during a summer preparing for my MCAT; a practicing physician Dr. Meng was at the time doing his qualifying examinations for radiology having switched from primary practice. The set of students left in summertime in London, Ontario are taking summer studies or they are professional students still doing exams. And of this subset of professional students, many a medical student can be found camped all hours at the large rectangular table with the view at Starbucks. Do not ask me why; it just happens this way.

On University Campus: London Ontario

Contributed by Alfred Wong, Class of 2016

Action 2: Find and keep many mentors in your life

“Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, that is everyone you meet has something to teach you, if you take the trouble to find it.”- Sir Robert Frost

I came to be where I am largely due to the guidance and efforts of many great mentors. A mentor is not merely a teacher: mentors go beyond to provide perspective, council; they care about where you are in achieving your goals. Medicine is inherently a profession where one works with people in the service of people. In my experience, books and theory can only teach you so much about working with others and indeed how the world works outside the classroom. Yes the classroom has a lot to offer and I will never trivialize that; however, a great deal of my most rewarding learning took place outside and from unexpected people. It was an emeritus professor Jim Erskine, at my business program who imparted the wisdom that,

“’Your degree represents a significant achievement, be proud of it”, however, “your degree does not give you a monopoly on intelligence.”

Contributed by Alfred Wong, Class of 2016

This week I am starting class and with it my first step of a long journey into medicine. Over the past months I have done a lot of reflection why but moreover how I got here, a place in one of the best medical programs in the world. So how does one know medicine is for them? And if so how does one best go about getting into medical school? Sorry, I am not going to answer these questions, partly because like many things in life there exists many correct answers to these questions, and partly because you have to answer them yourself.

What I am going to offer is something more useful and can be done even before you have the answers to those two questions: three process-oriented actions any aspiring doctor can and should do.

What you will read are actions that have contributed to my own long-term success not only as a medical applicant, but also as a person and professional going forward into my career.

The business of pursing medicine is onerous, challenging, and just plain tough at times. Many of you will likely fail before you get it right: I did.

Did you happen to see Angry birds plush toys when you visited the TeamLEAD room? If you do, they actually belong to our students from the Class of 2015! Previously, we posted a short blog entry containing photos of the Class of 2015 together with Professor Hwang Nian-Chih. As seen above, the students also took some photos with Dr. Doyle Graham, the course director for Body and Disease.

If you follow our Youtube Channel, Dr. Doyle Graham was featured in our TeamLEAD video, where he provides an overview of the TeamLEAD approach here at Duke-NUS and how it is an effective way for medical students to learn. You can read more about TeamLEAD here and here.

Credit: Photos by Olivia Tan

For the final pharmacology tutorial, the class of 2015 came to class dressed in bow ties, bowed hairbands and ribbons. This was to honor Professor Hwang Nian-Chih, who is always perfectly donning a bow tie. Thanks to Andrew Chou for sending us this tip!

Credit: Photos by Andrew Chou

Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K), Duke's very own basketball coach, is now also coaching the US basketball team for this year's London Olympic Games.The 12-man team was finalized last Saturday and practice has already begun on 5th July in Las Vegas.

You can view more photos from their weekend basketball practice here.

We wish them all the best in their upcoming matches!

Source: NBA facebook, CBS Sports


You all have a universally fatal condition. It's called pre-death. — Ivan Oransky

Ivan Oransky, health editor of Reuters Health, talks about how people are suffering from a widespread of pre-conditions such as pre-diabetes, pre-cancer, pre-death and many more and also how healthcare can find a solution by taking a lesson from baseball. Watch this video clip as Ivan Oransky delivers his talk in a witty and feel-good way.



The obvious thing is to think about what we could remove from our diet. But I took a completely opposite approach and began asking: What could we be adding to our diet that could boost the body’s defense system? In other words, can we eat to starve cancer? — William Li

William Li, a cancer researcher, discusses how anti-angiogenesis can help to treat cancer and other diseases. Cancer, as he describes, starts out as a harmless microscopic tumor and gets larger when they gain access to enough blood supply and nutrients. Without these, the cancer cells are not deadly. What anti-angiogenesis does is to help prevent blood vessels from reaching cancer cells and thus, the tumor simply can't grow.

He then goes on to discuss how eating natural foods such as fruits and vegatables can help to prevent cancer.

Watch the 20 minute talk by clicking on the picture above.



Other than featuring stories from our students, faculty members and blog authors, we at upbeat also want to share interesting videos/talks with our readers. These videos and talks will of course, be medically related and are aimed at providing our readers with some "food for thought".

Today, we would like to share with you a talk from

You can't make a recipe for something as complicated as surgery. Instead, you can make a recipe for how to have a team that's prepared for the unexpected. — Atul Gawande

In this 19 minute video clip, How Do We Heal Medicine? , Atul Gawande, a surgeon and public health journalist, discusses how doctors can improve their practice using a checklist for surgery. You might ask, why a checklist? Well, watch the video below to find out more!

You can learn more about him by reading his profile here.