The passion for science is something I’ve had from a very young age, but I decided to become a doctor while participating in an extracurricular activity at high school in Italy with the international humanitarian organization “Doctors without Borders”.
During these sessions I was taught the significance of their activities and encouraged to think about how crucial and vital a doctor’s role is. Throughout this experience I had the opportunity to meet Tommaso Urbani, who told us about the heroic story of his late father Dr. Carlo Urbani, the first person to identify the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome as a very dangerous and contagious viral disease, but became infected himself and died. The thing that inspired me the most is that his early warning to the World Health Organization was a crucial contribution in saving the lives of many people around the world. This made me realize how big the responsibilities are on a doctor’s shoulders and how his actions can have a global effect.
I am currently volunteering as a patient companion in a hospital in order to have a better understanding of a doctor-patient relationship and the expectations that a patient has from a doctor. I was able to notice how a doctor has to adjust his way of communicating to different patients and the importance of giving them empathy and reassurance to overcome fears and negative emotions. While talking to patients I discovered that they see the doctors around them as a sign of relief and hope; this motivated me even more to study medicine. In an induction session I was taught how essential basic hygiene procedures are in a hospital environment; for example, patient companions must wash their hands efficiently before talking to a different patient in order to prevent the transfer of germs.
By shadowing a dentist I had the opportunity to have a view of a doctors’ daily life and their hard work to guarantee quality assistance and meet the health needs of their patients. I learnt that a doctor has many different cases to deal with everyday, so it is essential that they cope with every situation in a manner that suits the patients’ age, background and condition. Making sure the visitor feels comfortable when he enters the clinic and satisfied with the service when he leaves was the aim of the doctor in all circumstances.During my summer holidays I supported a young disabled child with epilepsy and learning difficulties. Initially it wasn’t easy to communicate as the child had speech difficulties but when she started feeling more comfortable with my presence, I managed to interact with her more clearly by using our own gestures language.
This experience made me realize that words aren’t always necessary to communicate and transmit emotions.I’m fluent in four languages: Urdu, my mother language, and Punjabi as well, because I’m originally from Pakistan. I also consider Italian and English as my first languages, the reason being that I have lived and studied in Italy for many years and I’m currently studying and living in the UK with my family. Communicating in four totally different languages on daily basis has drastically improved my communication skills and my ability to confidently handle situations related to different backgrounds or cultures.
Learning the Quran off by heart has boosted my memory skills alongside helping me master time management and put dedication in everything I do. Committing to memory the Quran in parallel to handling school exams required plenty of hard work and commitment, which in my opinion will benefit me in dealing with stressful and pressurizing situations that a medicine student is likely to go through.
Since I find chess a very relaxing game, I participated to the schools’ chess club in my first year of A-levels.
From the fascinating functioning of the human body to the doctor-patient interaction, medicine is the only sector that allows me to pursue and fulfill my personal interests and put my skills in action.