I have dreamed of being a doctor ever since I was a young boy and there has never been any other path I envisioned for my life. My inspiration/motivation driving me to pursue my dream is a particular group of which I am a member – Indigenous Australian males. I am acutely aware of the many issues that continue to plague Indigenous males in Australia today. Personal experience has taught me that my responsibility and purpose in becoming a doctor extends beyond treating the physical, as this is merely a manifestation of deeper complex issues confronting Indigenous men. I hope to demonstrate to my peers that although we are the most maligned social demographic in contemporary society, we can create a place to function effectively and succeed at our pursuits. I am excited to be a part of, and maybe even inspire a generation of Indigenous men who have a desire to transform/reverse the present culture, which beginning to create a great legacy for our people and future generations. My passion is to witness Indigenous men rise up and claim our rightful place. This is what drives me.
Next year, I plan on entering a Medical Degree which has a duration of 4 years. Following this, I will apply/pursue surgery, with a particular interest in the Central Nervous System/Neurology. I have completed Psychology units during undergraduate studies, and have been intrigued by concepts such as cognitive processes – correlations between mental processes and physical manifestations on the anatomy of the Brain, with resulting behaviours. I have also completed Indigenous Studies units and have been introduced to topics including inter-generational trauma. This has triggered an interest into the pathology of the mental health of Indigenous Australians, and its inheritance by subsequent generations. Much of the brain remains unexplored – additionally Indigenous mental health remains largely uncharted territory, which I firmly believe forms the platform for improving quality of life. While I am aware of ethical barriers, I plan to pursue research into these areas. This is an extremely personal quest for myself as I once again possess an acute awareness of mental issues affecting Indigenous people and plan to serve my community by increasing awareness, while promoting recovery and healing.
My name is Caleb Rivers and I am an Indigenous first year medical student at the University of Western Australia. At the end of 2018, I graduated with my first degree, a bachelor of Biomedical Science majoring in Anatomy.
I began studying at UWA in 2013 when I enrolled in the Indigenous Orientation Course in order to gain access to a degree. My ultimate aim was to study medicine, as I always dreamed of becoming a doctor.
I come from a very non-academic background, so my experience so far has been a long, and sometimes painful journey. I have failed plenty of times along this journey, but the most important lesson I believe I’ve learned is to keep going. Most days I don’t feel like I’ve had too much understanding or foresight of what to expect, or how to navigate my way through a lot of the material, but I’ve always managed to come out the other side. Nobody was more surprised than myself to graduate and receive my first degree.
I am still learning what it means/ takes to become not only a medical doctor one day, but how to be an efficient student at present. I work extremely hard, over long hours everyday, but am learning the additional value of studying and working smartly. I managed to pass the first exam covering pre-semester material.
At present, I am continuing to evolve as a student – refining my study skills and developing frameworks that enable me to best digest and recall the information presented to me. Medicine has presented a daunting and imposing challenge, one that has required me to be honest with myself – this has proven to be a humbling experience. I am finding out that time waits for nobody, but I have accepted the challenge in my own mind, and have determined that I will conquer the obstacles I encounter.
I am extremely grateful for the support I have received from the Rotary Scholarship so far, it has eased the burden of being a medical student.