On March 19, 2021, the Professional Regulation Commission released the results for the March 2021 Physician Licensure Examination. Among the 1,234 exam passers, Jeremiah Dimapeles Lim came out on top of the list, garnering a rating of 89.67 percent. Originally from Quezon, Jeremiah moved to Manila to study his pre-med course BS Medical Technology at Far Eastern University.
In an interview with Candy, the March 2021 PLE topnotcher talks about his college life, his med school journey, and his tips for aspiring doctors.
He initially had a low NMAT rating.
Aspiring doctors would know that one's National Medical Admission Test (NMAT) rating is crucial in the med school application process, but Jeremiah proves that it doesn't define your entire med school journey. While most of the top medical schools in the country would require at least a 70 percent rating from applicants, Jeremiah had a rating of 55. "Una akong nag-apply sa isang kilalang school sa Maynila na nago-offer ng mababang tuition fee ngunit hindi ako natanggap, tingin ko isang factor yung NMAT at isa pang factor ay mababa rin siguro nakuha ko sa entrance exam nila," Jeremiah recalls.
Not only did his NMAT score affect his med school applications, but it also led him to experience discrimination because of his low percentile rank. Still, Jeremiah opted not to retake the NMAT and is very thankful he found a home in his alma mater. "Noong nag-apply ako sa FEU winelcome nila ako with open arms," he shares.
Becoming a doctor wasn't really his choice.
Like many other Filipino kids, Jeremiah's career plans were heavily influenced by his parents, and as someone who lives life by going with the flow, Jeremiah went with it. It wasn't until an experience after graduation that Jeremiah truly felt his calling was to become a doctor. He shares, "After graduation nagkaroon ako ng pagkakataon makapag-internship sa isang malaking government hospital at may time na pinadala nila kami sa Amadeo, Cavite. Doon ko nakita na marami pala sa ating mga kababayan ang hindi nagkaroon ng pagkakataon na makita ng doktor. Ang mga karanasan na 'yun ang nagbigay daan sa akin upang mapagtanto kung ano ba talaga ang aking hangarin sa buhay."
He failed a couple of exams, too.
Contrary to popular belief, student achievers aren't always the perfect beings they're made out to be. As a student, Jeremiah is relatable. His interests and hobbies outside of acads include playing computer games, particularly Dota. Before owning a computer at home, you'll find Jeremiah hanging out at the nearest internet cafe. "Sinusundo nila ako tuwing gabi dahil kulang nalang talaga sa computer shop na ako matulog," he shares.
He also recalls the times when he would fall asleep in class and get scolded by professors. "Bumabagsak rin ako sa exams lalo na sa Bioethics at Preventive Medicine." Despite a couple of failures, his journey to becoming a doctor ended fruitfully.
He has a strong support system.
While it may feel like pursuing your career is a one-person expedition, having a support system helps in the process. Jeremiah is especially thankful to the people around him who supported him throughout med school. "Pag-uwi ng bahay at pagbukas ko ng cellphone ang una kong nabasa, 'Idol congrats! Top 1,' na mensahe ni Eric," he says. "Tinawagan rin namin agad si Luisito, ang tricycle driver na naghatid-sundo sa akin, upang magpasalamat."
He's also grateful for the support he's gotten from his family, his girlfriend, and his alma mater while reviewing for the PLE.
Tips from a PLE topnotcher:
Whether you're a college student interested in pursuing medicine or an aspiring doctor inspired by his med school story, Jeremiah shares study tips as well as life advice here:
Enjoy college but also study hard.
Jeremiah's advice for college students is to enjoy the college journey, but also to do well academically as much as possible. He notes, "Malaking tulong ang pagkakaroon ng magandang credential pagdating sa application sa med school at mag-aral ng mabuti para sa NMAT, HUWAG AKONG TULARAN!"
Preparation for the PLE starts early on in med school.
For med students, Jeremiah says that, although the PLE might be years away for them, the preparation for it begins early on in their med school journey. "Kung may pagkakataon pa, basahin ninyo ang mga libro dahil diyan talaga sila kumukuha ng mga tanong. Para naman sa mga clerk/intern, kung nasaan ka na rotation, sabayan mo ito ng aral ng subject na 'yun dahil diyan ka talaga matututo," he says.
Follow your own pace.
Lastly, Jeremiah would also like to remind med students that the road to becoming a doctor isn't a race. "May kanya-kanyang time talaga tayo, puwedeng ngayon na-delay ka pero pagdating ng residency ikaw ang maging chief resident," he says. "Enjoyin niyo ang journey dahil minsan lang tayo maging bata at estudyante upang pagdating ng panahon hindi kayo magsisi na ilang taon ng buhay mo ang sinakripisyo mo para sa pangarap maging doktor."