10 Sep 2019

Without a scholarship, Uddaka Wijesinghe would not have been able to come to College, and that is something he will never forget. “Getting that scholarship made a huge difference to me, it changed the way I was going about my life. I knew I had been given an incredible opportunity and I really wanted to show how much I appreciated it. I tried hard in class, I tried hard in every single thing I did. I wanted to do and be the best I could, and pay back the school’s faith in me.”

He has many fond memories of his time at College, especially his final year when he was Head of Julius House. “It was such a positive end to my time at school. As a young adult, you don’t often get such good leadership opportunities. I put everything into the House, into that role.”

Uddaka went on to study medicine at the University of Otago and is now a house surgeon, currently on rotation at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland, and contemplating training as either a general surgeon or gastroenterologist. “I knew from quite a young age I wanted to do medicine. It’s such a good career for me as it combines the things I most enjoy – interacting with people and science.”

He learns new things every day at Middlemore – one of the biggest and busiest hospitals in the country serving a community with very high health needs – and finds medicine endlessly fascinating. “Being a doctor definitely changes your perspective. You see people at their most vulnerable, and have to cope with some difficult situations that you can’t prepare for. It forces you to mature.”

A sense of gratitude and the desire to do some good in the world are ingrained in Uddaka’s character. He recently started gifting an amount on a regular basis to support College’s scholarship fund. “I gained a lot from the College experience, and it would be great to see others receive the same opportunities. I’m also a big believer in staying loyal to those that help you, which is why I’ve started giving back.”