Mr. Robert Dominic Gonzales, RPh, a senior Doctor of Medicine student and Interim President of the Central Student Council, topped the 2021 Mga Natatanging Mag-aaral ng Medisina ng Pilipinas – National Capital Region – Southern Luzon cluster. The award is conferred by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges and the National Conventions Board, which announced the winners on March 3, 2021.
Following the recommendation from Faculty of Medicine and Surgery Dean Ma. Lourdes Domingo-Maglinao, MD, Gonzales underwent the screening process, which included an evaluation of credentials and interviews. The criteria for judging were Academics (30%), Leadership (30%), Social Responsibility (30%), and the Self-Analysis Essay (10%). The award aims to “acknowledge the efforts of exemplary medical students from each region who went far and beyond themselves in their academic and leadership direction and long-term socio-civic engagement commitment.”
Looking back at his own journey as medical student and leader, Gonzales said he was able to hurdle all challenges by “acknowledging the privilege and blessings that we have, coupling this with time-management, surrounding myself with people who support, constructively critique, and love me for who I am and what I do, constantly reminding myself of my dreams and our collective goals for the community.” Gonzales likewise said that to be able to persevere, one must “know one’s limitations and saying “no” when it is time to say “no” already. A perfect blend of self-care and self-love.”
Gonzales said that “as I approach the end of my medical school and student council journey, I dedicate all of these memoirs to my fellow Thomasians, fellow youth, and student-leaders. Thank you for helping me live to a version of myself who aims to be selfless, brave, and strong amidst all the challenges that we face every day.”
With the regional victory, Gonzales will now join fellow medical students for the national-level search. Now a senior medical student, Gonzales is a graduate of the University’s Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy program. He has also been President of the Central Student Council since 2019. In 2020, he represented the student body in facilitating the transition to the Enriched Virtual Mode of Instruction, which was prompted by the pandemic.