“When I was young, I always got ill. So I have a wish to be a doctor and help others who are ill.”
This is part of a speech our youth of the week gave during his university studies.
With strong determination, Thea Sovan Pitou has achieved his goal.
Currently, he is a sixth-year student of medicine at the International University.
At the age of 25, Thea Sovan Pitou, with a medical specialty in skin disease, pursued a scholarship after high school to fund his studies at medical school.
Practising medicine had been his dream since he was young.
He said: “When I was young, I was so often ill. Therefore, I wished that I could learn to be a doctor and I would not suffer any more.”
Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to find a scholarship; instead, he took a part-time job and enrolled at the International University (IU) to pursue his dreams and become a medical doctor.
For two years, Thea Sovan Pitou worked as a cashier at a restaurant.
He had to work from evening until midnight.
“If you take it easy, it must be easy. I considered the night work a pleasure, and although I had to work until 2am, I still got up early to review lessons.”
He said that sometimes he was so tired from school and work, however, he would fall asleep on the job.
Besides working as a cashier, Thea Sovan Pitou also was willing to help his colleagues learn English for free.
According to Thea Sovan Pitou, the key to overcoming challenges is creating a strategy and utilising time-management skills.
He said that while he was working, he also was reviewing lessons.
“I like doing two things at the same time: working at the restaurant and reading books,” he said.
“When I meet new cases, I take notes and do more research. My present work helps me a lot. The cases completely teach me lessons that are mostly the same as my academic study, so I don’t need to take much time review the lessons.”
He also has joined some social activities concerned with health care.
For example, he contributed his time to the Cambodia Special Olympics just recently.
He and his colleagues organised the delivery and distribution of free lunch, snacks and drinks for all participating children, care-givers and parents.
He also joined forces with Operation Smile in Cambodia, an organisation helping the poor within Cambodia.
Through this, he visits neighbouring countries including Singapore and Vietnam.
“During my tours, I always spend time to explore new techniques at the hospitals,” he said.
As the oldest son from a family of farmers, Thea Sovan Pitou has a lot of responsibilities to aid his family.
He manages to pay school fees for his two siblings.
He said that he has to be a role model and help his parents.
“I don’t let my parents encounter so much difficulty any more,” he said.
“I have to help them financially and be mindful.”
In the future, Thea Sovan Pitou dreams of opening a professional clinic that offers quality medical service to those who cannot afford it.
“I want to help poor people, and provide them with a good standard of health care,” he said.