Finding a purpose amidst COVID-19

By Nusrat


Hello homosapiens! (that means humans btw),

Today, I want to talk to you about being a Biomed student who is – well pretty much stuck in this black hole I call “I don’t know what I’m doing with my life?”. This is of course enhanced by COVID-19 given that I now have all the time in the world to ponder about life. 

Coronavirus has clearly changed life for all of us – drastically - on a global scale. The way we socialise, shop, eat, sleep and go about our everyday lives is not the normal we are used to living. What it has also done for those of us struggling to find PURPOSE (it feels so heavy just saying it) is make us even more confused or uncertain about where we are heading.

I have always dreamt of being a doctor. However, as you get older and go through different life experiences, your perception of who you are and what you want from life changes as well. Today, as a 21 year South Asian woman (the 1st in my immediate family, and on my dad’s side to be studying in university) the pressure is on. And this isn’t the pressure to just excel academically and make my parents proud, but also to become the woman who breaks stereotypes and has a smashing career whilst travelling, getting married, making babies and buying the beautiful home I’ve always dreamt of raising my future family in. 

COVID-19 has brought me closer to the hobbies I once loved doing but neglected as I got carried away with all the stresses of being a student – painting, drawing and turning my bedroom into a tumblr aesthetic. What it has also done is made me really think about my life choices (which is really difficult when you are just 21 years old!) and I often find myself questioning what do I want from life? But the reality is, I already know the answer – *in Sharpay’s voice*  I want it all (c’mon my HSM fans, I hope you got that). 

During my placement, I explored what a career in research entails as well as nursing, medicine, a physio, perfusion etc. What I realised is that there are so many professions out there. But deep down inside, my dream is to be a doctor. Doctors have crazy (but not impossible lives). The struggle that I often find myself pondering about is whether I can afford to and want to study another 4/5 years, the controversial NHS salary, the ups and downs and emotional turbulence and the many other lows. Does it balance out the highs?

What I am certain about (believe it or not), is that nothing beats EXPERIENCE! I realised I’m definitely not a lab-gal after working as a Clinical Research Assistant. But I love working with people! This is something I saw myself falling in love with when I started volunteering with an old soul with Dementia. I was always afraid of “wasting” time doings things that I thought weren’t relevant to Medicine. But I pushed myself to work as a Team Mentor (a role I had 0 confidence for and was beyond my comfort zone) and it turned out to be one of the most confidence boosting decisions I ever made. Not only that, I made friendships with a bunch of beautiful colleagues-turned-friends who I’m so happy to be around. It’s all just good vibes you know?

Today I am pushing myself to be brave enough to support the frontline by interviewing for some health-care related jobs. I still don’t know where I’m going but what I do know is that I’m not stopping. 

I want to encourage you guys to go and do everything out there that you take interest in (whether it relates to your career or not) and get that experience! Don’t think of COVID-19 as a setback – start that blog (whether it’s in accounting or to talk about your insta travels), read books on starting a business or learning how to cook, do some LinkedIn Learning or Future Learn courses to boost your CV. 

Most importantly – trust the journey. Sometimes our happiest moments come from taking that first step.