Finding the meaning in medicine

For Dr Victor Lin (OM 2013), Victoria’s 2023 Young Achiever of the Year, the decision to go into medicine wasn’t necessarily a simple one.

“I found studying Philosophy so fascinating and meaningful at School, I considered pursuing it as a career,” says Victor. “But while I was in Year 8, a close family member fell ill with a brain tumour. As a family we saw the impact doctors were able to have first-hand, and that was a big motivator for me.”

Sharing knowledge and recognition

Now well on his way toward a career that couples research in haematology with clinical practice, Victor is working long days across the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, as well as preparing for the next hurdle—his Physician exams. As if that weren’t enough, he is also continuing his involvement with the not-for-profit he established with friends during the pandemic: Teaching for Impact.

“Our idea was to provide the clinical context a lot of students were missing in their studies,” Victor explains. “We’re now developing an app that gives a simple overview of clinical guidelines and moving into other disciplines as well.”

This was not Victor’s first foray into creating social impact. As a second-year university student, Victor co-founded the Young Australians’ Cancer Initiative (YACI). This organisation aims to improve the understanding of cancer as a disease in secondary school students through formal education and internships.

Victor also co-founded the Australian Student Society of Haematology in 2019 which promotes the development of interest and knowledge in managing common haematological problems that arise in day-to-day medical practice.

Nominated in recognition of his drive to create meaningful impact, Victor describes the experience of winning the Young Achiever Award as “surreal”.

“It says less about what I’ve achieved and more about all the people I’ve worked with over the years,” Victor emphasises. “None of the things I’ve done are possible with just one person’s ambition.”

Maintaining a philosophical perspective

When asked what stands out most from his Melbourne Grammar experience, Victor again emphasises the impact of his Philosophy classes.

“The in-class discussions were what I found most rewarding,” he says. “They gave me a perspective that life is not just about how much you earn, fame, or climbing a hierarchy, but that interacting with and supporting people is the most rewarding thing you can do. That message stayed with me.”

“There are very few jobs like mine where you’re seeing humans at the most vulnerable moment in their lives,” Victor adds. “Sometimes you meet people for the first time as they’re dying. It’s that human-to-human contact, and the ability to be present in those moments, that I enjoy most.”