"Graduating from the best college in the country in 2005, and like any highly ambitious chap around I aspired to get my training in the USA

“Graduating from the best college in the country in 2005, and like any highly ambitious chap around I aspired to get my training in the USA. I didn’t start a job obviously and my family set aside a sum for my STEP 1 exams. But circumstances changed and my family faced financial constraints so I had to let go of my fees to help with the education of my siblings. I had to display being responsible and earn enough so I could support them which meant I could not do a house job and had to indulge in private medical jobs to make up for the needs. I supplemented this by writing articles on international relations and economics. I had touched depths of my faith when I had to write stories for children for a publishing firm in Lahore to support my family.”

“As my siblings graduated and the financial situation improved, I turned to my dream but I still had to meet a great deal monetary challenges. Therefore, I began my house job in 2010 with an aim to revive all what had got a rust in 2005. I took my Step 1 exam during the house job and passed the PLAB part 1 exam shortly afterwards. After completing my house job, I travelled to the UK to take PLAB 2 and secured a job.”

“I thought that rather than just moving straight to the US, I should try to get formal training in the UK healthcare system and complete the MRCP, as I had an interest in Internal Medicine. I had it discussed with some of the seniors during my first job but there was nothing but discouragement. I think that the only thing that had me submitting myself for a residency was my faith in God, something people often fail to value, and I got accepted. I worked my way hard through the first year and after clearing the MRCP exams, I finally took the remaining exams for STEPS. Now my passion was Cardiology and I managed to get into Cardiology Specialty Registrar training during which I took my Step 3 exam and applied for the Match. I must say that my consultants in the UK were supportive regarding my application for the Match and provided me with LORS.”

“And now the real music. No US clinical experience, no US LORs, 12 years since I had graduated and I’m up for a match in US. Some of my friends questioned my decision to go for the Match. However, some did encourage me. My age was just a number, which I was not bothered by.”

“I applied widely because I knew that my application would be filtered out at most programs. I received seven interview calls in total and five were from university programs. I took my interviews in two blocks of 2 weeks during which I travelled back and forth between the UK and the USA. I thought that my experience helped me in the interviews as they went smooth. Finally, I matched into a university program that offers Cardiology fellowship as well.”
"What I learnt in this journey is that I had to take an entirely different path to get my dream. Many of my classmates or even juniors got an early training. So what?

I think it’s important to realize that your success is not relative, it’s not bound by what others have accomplished and how fast. It’s with how happy you are with your life. There is no point of getting training in U.S.A if you aren’t happy there. So instead of blindly following your fellows or making U.S.A your dream without thinking over what you really want to pursue, it would be utterly silly to choose this pathway. I urge everyone who is reading this to make your happiness your first priority. Then obviously you’ll have financial obstacles, like I did, you’ll have to face the lowest of your being, like I did but what’s behind all that is really worth it. Keep your dreams and hopes alive, they’ll be waiting for you on the other side."