Scholar Stories: Janaghan Loganathan

The fact that medical students spend most of their days working with skeletons and corpses sounds tough as it is; however, that is not their only suffering. Meet Janaghan Loganathan, another remarkable member of the first cohort ProjectEd scholars who is a struggling medical student at the University of Malaysia Sabah. His story is so deeply inspiring that it made me see the tribulations I have are nothing compared to his.

Being born in Pulau Pinang, a northern state in the Peninsular of Malaysia, Janaghan never thought that he would be studying across the sea in the Borneo island on his own will. He lived with his parents who were facing difficulties in making ends meet; his mother was a housewife while his father was working as an operator in a steel company. Yes, you may imagine how much an operator would be paid and the extent of their ordeal. Nonetheless, they managed and did not feel out of place since there were people who were just like them within their circle. Living in a suburban region allowed him to witness a number of the underprivileged population and it caught his attention that some hardly had access to high-cost medical treatment. Illnesses struck and diseases pounded, but all Janaghan could do was to sympathize. That was the moment he came to a resolution; he must become a doctor to reach out to sick patients in suburban areas.

Some might romanticize life as a medical student, nonetheless, there was a price to every want. The tuition fees of the medical course were high and just like other students, Janaghan was expected to pay for it. Prior to pursuing the first degree, his father helped fund his studies and needs aside from Janaghan’s personal savings he collected from working as a salesman before entering university. Being thoughtful parents, they even had some savings for his education. Janaghan thought it will be fine then; pursuing his ambition will be made possible. And then one day, it hit him; it hit him so hard that life was not always a bed of roses. His mother was diagnosed with cancer and his father had heart problems. Janaghan was on the verge of a downfall. Dark days were all he could see.

He was hoping for things to get better, but sadly they did not. His father’s health condition took a turn for the worse to the point that they could not wait for the appointment in the government hospital. Then, going to a private hospital was the only option at hand. What to do? Janaghan was on the horns of a dilemma; the money his father saved for Janaghan’s education was all they could use for hospital fees. His mother was in need of treatment and medical check-ups while his father needed open heart surgery, at a private hospital at that. Painful, yet Janaghan sacrificed it all. His parents were more important to him; they meant the world that he could never ask for another.

Despite using the savings for his parents’ treatment, he did not surrender his ambition. Not yet, he said. There must be another way to fund his studies. He started scrolling through websites after websites, pages after pages, looking for financial aid. He successfully applied for a particular scholarship, but it went in vain; he was not selected to be called for the interview session. Never mind, he tried again. It was a mundane day, just like any other day, when he stumbled upon Knowledge Is Free Scholarship Programme advertised on the Study Malaysia website. His application was then processed and surprisingly accepted. Oh, God. He almost broke down.

It was beyond his imagination that such an organisation as ProjectEd was there to help financially challenged students like him. Being awarded the Knowledge Is Free Scholarship Programme was extremely unexpected. He could feel that his burden had started to be lifted off his shoulders; his tuition fees were partially payable and academic materials were accessible with the help of the scholarship. At the end of the day, his sacrifice for his parents and his strong determination were not in vain. He was deeply thankful and this experience of his has become a driving force for him to keep going in pursuing his ambition. All he dreams for is to become a credible and obliging medical doctor to help those who are ill just like his parents. We pray that may his dream come true and may the odds be ever in his favour. See you in the next few years, Dr Janaghan Loganathan.

Written by: Humaira Mohamad (June 23, 2019)

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