If you have attended a Western Chances Scholarship Award Ceremony in the last three years, Abid Khan may be a familiar face.
As MC of the event, Abid demonstrated his talents extend beyond those which saw him graduate last year from The University of Melbourne with the Doctor of Medicine.
As well as undertaking MC duties, Abid is working as a doctor at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He recently made time to chat to us and reflect on his past, present and future
Western Chances: Can you tell us a bit about yourself - where you grew up, your schooling, passions and hobbies?
Abid Khan: Well, I grew up in Melton, went to Melton Secondary College for Years 7 and 8, and then was accepted to Melbourne High School, where I completed my VCE. Whilst at high school I developed a keen interest in drama and theatre. I took part in a number of plays and even musicals. I had more opportunities to perform in medical school where I joined the University of Melbourne Medical Revue: Medleys. I was even lucky enough to direct the show in my final year.
Oh, and I can't talk about my hobbies without mentioning my obsession with Escape Rooms - 17 rooms, 13 escapes, 4 fails - not too shabby I'd say.
Lots of our supporters might know you as the MC of the last three Scholarship Award Ceremonies - how was that experience for you?
It has been so wonderful to be a part of the ceremonies and welcoming new scholars to the Western Chances family. It's always such a fun night, sharing people's stories and showcasing the talent Western Chances has managed to find. I'm always quite nervous at the very beginning of the night, secretly praying within, hoping that not many people pick up on the number of sentences I trip over. But once the night gets going and everybody's relaxed with a few laughs and plenty of applause from the audience for the award winners, the nerves settle and I can just enjoy the night. It's a great gig, and I hope whoever comes after me, has lots of fun doing it, like I did.
What impact has Western Chances had on your life?
Western Chances relieved so much of my stress during high school. Having to commute from Melton to Melbourne High was costly. The scholarship covered my travel expenses and in addition, books and other school related expenses. But more than that, being involved with Western Chances has opened up so many opportunities and allowed me to meet some of the most amazing people in our community. From speaking at the Good Business Forum, to being involved with STAR and the alumni launch, it's all just been wonderful to connect and grow with some brilliant people.
What was your favourite thing about growing up in Melbourne's west?
My favourite thing about growing up in Melbourne's west, is how nice it is to be not-quite-city, but not-quite-country. The hustle and bustle of the city can be a bit too much, but the isolation of the country can be so inconvenient and, well, isolating.
I never felt disconnected from the wider world in the west and the pace of living out here was pleasant. We could play cricket on the streets or go to parks until dark and still enjoy the starry sky at night. And yet the larger shopping centres and movie theatres weren't too far away to enjoy a day out on the weekend. Living in Melton has a peaceful balance to life, which is quite nice.
You have just graduated from university as a Doctor of Medicine. How do you feel now that you've graduated, and what's next for you?
I'm astonished that I got through seven years of university! It's odd! It felt like it went by so quickly but at the same time it felt like I was at university forever. I've learned a lot and now it's all about putting it into practice. For the next year, I will be completing my internship at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. I will rotate through various disciplines, learning on the job how to apply the knowledge I've gained and how to be a doctor. From here on, it's about pursuing my passions in medicine and working towards developing my career.
What advice would you give to other students who are wanting to follow the educational path to medicine?
At the heart of medicine is the passion for learning and teaching, and that means not passing up opportunities to do either. As a doctor, your objective is to increase your understanding of medicine, the body and of people so that you can be the best healer you can be. So, get involved with any and all chances that come your way, to learn and even teach those coming behind you, as teaching increases your understanding of things you think you already know.
Sounds like a lot of work? That’s because it is. Be ready to strap in for the long haul. To practice medicine, requires years of studying and commitment, even after graduating from med school. But it is an enjoyable ride, particularly because you share it with some incredible like-minded people.
What is your big dream for the future?
I'm working towards developing my career, so my "big dream" is still in the works. I'm not quite sure where I would like to end up in terms of what field of medicine to specialize in. Do I want to be a surgeon? Perhaps an obstetrician? I love working with kids, so maybe a paediatrician? But emergency medicine is super cool too. Alternatively, you could say, I've already achieved my big dream, by qualifying as a doctor. The more exciting thing to think about is the journey this ticket will take me on and the experiences I will get to have. Because no matter where I end up in the future, I'm already doing the thing I set out to do: dream accomplished.
Image courtesy of Abid Khan
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