As the week draws to a close I think about the events I have attended and the people I have met this week.
On Tuesday I heard from a number of inspirational people at the Virgin Startup Meetup event at WeWork near Liverpool street station, (I didn't realise how close it was to the station and completely walked past it- typical me!) The speakers described their paths to starting their now, successful businesses and the challenges they faced. I think it is important for us all to remember that success stems from perseverance, positive thinking and focusing on that dream or vision which will keep you going during the trying times on your journey. Despite achieving much at my young age I am not the most positive of people, (more a realist I like to think) but I have always remained (and will continue to remain) focused on the goals I set myself. I work extremely hard and do what ever is necessary to make my dreams a reality. People see the success of others as an 'end-product', often they have no idea what struggles and challenges you have had to face and overcome in order to get to that end point.
Wednesday- I heard from more inspirational speakers at the University College London (UCL) Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) alumni network event, of which I am a member. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions that took place which included the 'Queen Bee' effect (I am purposely not explaining what this is so look it up if curious!), confidence issues among those that define as BME and employment opportunities. I could relate to much of what was said. I enjoy networking at these events so much; it is so interesting to hear other peoples experiences and paths in life. I think it is crucial we all work together and find ways that we can help each other daily.
Friday- I attended 'Exceedingly Good Careers: leading yourself and your career in the right direction'. The event overall was good and there were more inspirational speakers at the event who I managed to speak to in person afterwards which was great. Miss Gabrielle Weston who is an author, ENT surgeon and BBC two presenter for 'Trust me I'm a doctor' was one of the speakers I spoke to afterwards. She offered great advice which included how to see ways through what appears to be closed doors or people saying "No!" to you. I managed to speak to her briefly after the event. It was unfortunate that she was unable to offer me advice on writing as it appears she is incredibly busy and would be unable to assist me in this way...
Nevertheless I attended a number of talks and workshops throughout the day which ultimately led me to realise one important thing, (for those of you unaware I am currently taking a year out of my medical training to decide on a career path) despite the current state of the NHS and the proposed changes to junior doctor contracts, I still want to continue working as a doctor. I have always wanted to a be a doctor, ever since I was four years old in fact and I have worked incredibly hard to make this happen. I only yearn for creativity and a better work-life balance which the system that is the NHS does not allow in my view. Therefore, I have not changed in this right, (others at the talks stated they had changed and wanted something different in life) of course I am not the same person I was at eighteen when I entered medical school, but I have the same dream and that is working as a doctor. Therefore, it is the system that is the problem and there is not much that can be done about this. So, what about changing systems and moving somewhere else? I will answer that with another question. Why should I have to uproot myself and start afresh somewhere completely new and completely different? My whole life is here, I love living and working in London. My family and friends are here. So, I am not ready to move and experience life in another country just yet or perhaps ever. I do not know. I do not have the answers to all of the questions running around in my head but going to the event made me realise that I still in fact want to be a doctor and for me that was a great moment.
Moving on to Saturday- I attended the Medic Footprints event- Alternative careers and wellbeing for doctors. It was great. I enjoyed hearing about other doctors' paths inside and outside of medicine. We as medics are so talented but often we pour ourselves completely into our profession because we love what we do so much. That often means we suffer in so many different ways. Mental health is a big issue in this profession and the bigger issue is how many of us our dealing with, (or not dealing with) it. There was a great discussion on this topic at the event and I have written several articles on mental health among medical professionals, (see my articles page) so will not dwell on it too much here. If there are any medics reading this I want them to look after themselves- do not feel guilty if your are genuinely sick; take time off of work as the sick cannot be treating the sick. Do things outside of medicine and try your best to maintain those outside interests. Network, speak to others who may be experiencing what you are experiencing. Build and work hard at your essential support network as in trying times the people that form this will keep you going.
It was also a pleasure to deliver a ten minute talk about 'rediscovering writing'. I explained to the audience how I started writing articles and poetry and my future plans. I performed two of my poems and the audience loved them. I was so pleased to have been given the opportunity to talk at the event. I really hope I inspired others as much as so many at the event inspired me.
I met a fellow poet who called herself the 'lyrical surgeon'. She was amazing and I hope to work with her in the near future. I also met a friend of mine called Dr. Gyles Morrision who is similarly doing many amazing things.
Today I reflect- I have achieved much in life and have so much more to achieve. I am grateful for the opportunities and the people in my life, including God. I will do whatever possible to ensure that I continue to be a positive and productive member of society.
Have a great and fulfilling Sunday!