After achieving a First in my BSc Applied Medical Sciences from UCL I got an internship at a science communications charity in London. It wasn’t exactly what I had planned to do but I was keen to start work and start proving myself. I really enjoyed the internship and gained lots of valuable real-world experience. When the pandemic struck the UK in March, like most people I moved to working from home. The pandemic made me reassess my priorities, and that coupled with some job insecurity prompted me to apply for the MSc Control of Infectious Diseases one year earlier than I had previously planned.

I was really thrilled to be admitted on to the programme at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as studying here has been something I’ve wanted for a long time. I started the course entirely online in September and I really love it. There has been quite a steep learning curve and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming with the ever-changing situation in the UK, but I’m really glad that I am still managing to follow my ambitions.

As part of my degree I had been hoping to do my summer project abroad in a low-middle income country so I could gain some public health experience there in a meaningful way. Unfortunately I don’t think that will be able to go ahead this year but nonetheless I’m looking forward to doing a remote project, and trying to get that experience later. The university works on such important issues and it’s really fulfilling to know that the research I do in my project will contribute to a larger fight against infectious diseases.

After I have finished my Master’s, it is still my plan to find a job at Public Health England (or the new NIHP) or a local authority in health protection. I’d like to do a PhD too, once I have found my niche. Ultimately I have grand ambitions of designing and managing disease controls programmes, perhaps in government or NGOs.

I’m so grateful to have gained such a strong foundation from MES. My time there really fostered a strong sense of independence and of taking responsibility for your own learning. Without that I don’t think I would have been able to fare as well starting my Master’s in 2020. It’s also much harder now to make friends with course mates or build relationships with academics, since we only see each other online and in limited settings. I think it’s more important than ever to be self-assured and proactive, and these are also valuable skills that I gained at MES.

We are in incredibly challenging times and many of us have reassessed our priorities, however I think it is still just as important to invest in the education of tomorrow’s leaders. I hope that many more children will be afforded the opportunity to attend ESMS as a result of the contributions of Access to Excellence’s generous supporters.

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