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“I made sacrifices but it was worthwhile”- Shaunique Critchlow realizes childhood dream of becoming a doctor

Shaunique Critchlow always wanted to become a doctor- such was her passion for helping those in need. Inspired by the profession of healing, a young Critchlow had her eyes set on realizing her dream and was determined to let nothing and no one stop her.

Years later, her proverbial “tunnel vision” and “eye on the prize” mindset is reaping dividends after she not only graduated from the University of Guyana thus fulfilling her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor, but finished as the best graduating student in the School of Medicine, with a GPA of 3.82. Killing two birds with one stone, for her academic achievement, she was awarded the Prime Minister’s Medal on Monday.

In an interview with Nightly News, the 24-year-old doctor said “I always knew I wanted to become a doctor from a young age. I’ve always admired the physicians who selflessly dedicated themselves to the service of others and that was one of the first motivating factors in me choosing this profession.”

Diving more into who Dr. Critchlow is, the young woman described her childhood as “normal” as anyone else’s. She grew up in Kitty, Georgetown, and attended the Sacred Heart Primary School. However, at the age of 9, she migrated to Trinidad and Tobago where she completed her secondary schooling, up to the CAPE level. In 2016, she returned to Guyana to pursue studies in medicine at the University of Guyana.

The soft-spoken, introverted young woman said her time at the institution was one she would remember forever due to the many obstacles faced. However, she was determined to prove that those challenges were surmountable. “The journey over the last 5 years has undoubtedly been the most arduous one in my academic career thus far. My main focus in medical school was to get through one course at a time. The workload is massive and would quickly overwhelm anyone. So, consistency and perseverance are the keys. My time here, though challenging, has allowed me to develop on both a personal and professional level and it has been a genuinely rewarding experience altogether.” she said.

In the wake of the ongoing pandemic, Critchlow said that while the University of Guyana has made provisions for the student population, more could be done. “I believe that though the University has made provisions, a bit more may be done to support and maximize online learning until it is possible to resume in-person sessions, as this is an aspect that many students are still struggling with.” This resonated with her all too well.

Now that she has completed the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program, Dr. Critchlow says she is filled with mixed emotions as she heads into the next phase of her life. She said that while she is overcome with excitement to begin a medical internship at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation, she remains a bit anxious to put everything she has learned into practice. Nevertheless, one thing is certain for the 24-year-old- she will put her best foot forward.
“For anyone reading this, don’t be afraid to pursue your dreams and always believe in yourself for nothing is impossible. Don’t be distracted by criticism and keep a positive mindset.” Dr. Critchlow encouraged.

By Amel Griffith.



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