Ian Leung

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Age: 27
Occupation: Healthcare Professional
Instagram: @ian__leung

If we could condense Ian’s story into one line, it’ll impress you nonetheless: he went from dropping out of polytechnic to getting a medical degree from Cambridge. There you go, you’re impressed, aren’t you? Here are a few things to know about him.

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Just call him the comeback kid

Ian fell into bad company as a teenager. “Everything fun came easy back then, like clubbing and drinking.” But it took its toll. “I wasn’t studying, I was just taking naps in Cineleisure during school hours. Being popular and fitting in seemed more important.” His wake-up call came when he dropped out of poly. “You grow up and ask yourself, ‘Is this the life I want?’”

It took a while to find his place

After leaving school, Ian found himself in limbo. With all his friends still in school, he didn’t know what to do with all his time. He could see that he had disappointed his parents, and sought to find some kind of direction. “Everyone was moving forward but me,” he explains. He started taking up gigs such as selling cameras at IT fairs and working at a shipping company for eight months.

 

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He realised medicine was his calling during NS

It was a moment when he was outfield that changed everything. “A soldier was brought in unconscious,” he remembers. “And my medical officer was the calmest one out of everyone. He was fixing the problem. In that instant, I realised this was what I wanted to do.”

He found within him a new determination

So how did he go from hating his textbooks to being driven to succeed? Ian believes it was a combination of his parents and maturity. He remembers an officer coming to his house during his NS period. “He had a Master’s from an Ivy League school, and when he saw that my father had a framed certificate of his Master’s on the wall, he compared the two.” It lit a fire within him. “I was also going through a break-up, so it was a good time to start anew.”

He went from failing exams to attending Cambridge

With only O-Levels as his most recent qualification, Ian started his journey to a medical degree by taking up a foundation year in Norwich, England—he had nine months to prove himself. After failing his exams in the first three months, he holed himself up in his room with his nose in his books. It paid off, and he got the grades he needed. Cambridge was impressed.

 

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He’s not done with studying yet

Since coming home in 2017, Ian has been working in the wards and finds satisfaction in helping patients and solving their problems. The end goal is to work in cardiac surgery, because that’s where his interest lies. “Right now, my life is work, gym, studying and spending time with my friends and family.” Getting a Master’s is next on the line.

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