Jan 15, 2023

Priceless

Dear ISFAP Team,

A world of virtue has been found through my relationship with the ISFAP team. Through my academic career (i.e. studying medicine at the University of Cape Town) I have been empowered through this bursary and wish to extend my gratitude to the ISFAP team.

My years spent at the University of Cape Town has been an amazing journey.  The experience I have gained is priceless and more importantly I have learnt the value of the communities in which we have worked. It is my belief that the opportunity to study under this bursary has declared myself an asset to every community in which I work and I aim to uplift every patient I encounter.

I only wish that everyone who went through tertiary education could have experienced THIS journey, the WAY I DID. Its daunting if I think about how much time has passed and the struggles I endured, but I would do it all again if I knew I was getting the support I have had.

The support from this bursary has been the comfort in a calamitous journey through various anxieties and even more uncertainties. It definitely does help when you have a well- equipped team who are more than eager to engage with you and lighten the burden.  I would definitely have to commend the ISFAP team on their approach to managing their students and I am confident that their pass rate will reflect the impact of the bursary on the students.

I would like say special thanks for the tangible commodities the bursary catered for: books, scrubs, equipment and, as some would argue the most important aspect, the allowance. There are however more significant aspects that the bursary has contributed to my academic career. This should be noted as the support they gave through COVID-19, the check-ins and the events I was able to attend and bond with colleagues over. One thing that money cannot buy is the comfort, guidance, advice, laughter and friendship that Carmelita and Megan (i.e. ISFAP liaisons for medical students at UCT) have shared with the students. The jovial and jam-packed conversations often left me more confident to tackle problems which I faced in my professional and social life.

In the broader scheme of my life, I have achieved a keystone achievement which my future and the future of other communities will depend on. In reflection, I hope to be a warm and welcoming clinician to all whom I cross paths with whilst pursuing a niche in the medical community who is adept in their speciality. In light of achieving a career milestone, I would like to reflect on a quote from an esteemed book The Art of War, “Every battle is won before it is fought”- Sun Tzu. This quote highlights the fact that in order to be successful, one should plan appropriately and be prepared for unexpected challenges. This is substantiated in the fact that the bursary had a set out a structure in order to support their students.

I have been fortunate to be part of a successful pilot bursary and looking to the future my goal is set on pursuing a speciality in medicine. It would be a double blessing if our paths would cross again in that instance. As I work toward that day, my internship and community service time will be spent enjoying my medical career and positively influencing the future aspirations of students in the bursary, granted the opportunity.

In closing, my professional career has the prologue completed and I am certain the best is yet to come in the following chapters. I am certain that my path will cross with the ISFAP team once again as I would be keen to be involved with student development. As the years go on, I will continue to reminisce and share with others how special my journey has been.

Bidding gratitude

Dr Ethan Chelsea Mackay

ISFAP - the Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme - was established to assist poor and 'missing' middle income university students in selected fields of study to afford the university fees by means of providing financial aid provided the candidate meets certain prescribed requirements.
©  Ikusasa Student Financial Aid Programme Foundation NPC

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