Since my father passed away due to cancer, I had a dream to become a cancer researcher. Obstacles never end along my journey. Since my first year in university, I experienced leg tendon injuries, and this progressed to leg ligament injuries. Despite my leg injury preventing me from participating in physical activities, I tried to explore other hobbies that I am capable of doing instead of focusing on my limitations. I spent my free time engaging in hobbies like singing, ukulele playing, and Zentangle sketching. In addition, I gained more empathy, which strengthened my conviction that I must work with the team to lessen the patients’ pain.

During my third year at university, I experienced a significant turning point in my life when I was diagnosed with depression with ADHD traits and BPD traits. Undoubtedly, my final year project was a massive challenge that burned me out. As soon as I encountered failure in my experiment, I felt guilty about myself and doubted whether I was still qualified to be a researcher. Although I had low energy and low mood every day, I managed to push myself to complete my lab work. In spite of being close to giving up, I kept reminding myself how far I had come and kept trying to troubleshoot my experiment by determining the sources of contamination to my mycobacterial culture. I was proud of myself for getting the results on my tenth attempt.

The setbacks and challenges I encountered taught me to accept my flaws and recognize my accomplishments. Despite not being perfect, I will always do my best. My struggles taught me to modify my goals in light of my circumstances and to sometimes accept that I am not okay. Currently, I am more concerned about the lessons I can learn from the process than with the end result. The biggest thing I took away from my failures was being aware of, allowing for, and accepting every single emotion. No matter what challenges I face, I have learnt to adapt, work hard, and persevere. In spite of my diagnosis, I will never let this label hold me back from pursuing my dream. I see this as an opportunity to learn more about myself and accept every aspect of me so that I can become a better person. Failure is particularly likely for a researcher on the road to success, but I’m ready for my largest adventure of my life, which is living the life of my dreams.

“It’s really okay to not be okay.”

“It’s okay to seek help.”

“The only thing more exhausting than being depressed is pretending that you’re not.”

“Your physical and mental struggles aren’t your fault.”

“Believe me, life gets better when you learn to embrace every little piece of yourself.”

“Never give up, great things take time.”

“You’re stronger than you think and I believe that we can make it through the rain.”

“Don’t let your dreams die in the storm. Just believe to achieve!”