Some say we are entering a new decade, while others argue that the decade will start in 2021. Well, what matters is that we try to focus on our well being, make positive impacts, and surround ourselves with good people and positive vibes. It may sound straightforward, but it’s not something that quickly falls into place. At a young age, we tend to make more mistakes. And learning from your own mistakes is part of your personal growth journey.
(The cover photo features most of the Digital Ambassadors Team at Karolinska Institutet.)
It’s been a while since I wrote about my experiences outside of school. I have been putting it on hold for some time until I came with the thought of reflecting on my whole year. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster – wonderful moments, struggles, and even failure. There were days I was happy with what I accomplished and days where I questioned my decisions or actions towards people.
I hope this blog will inspire and motivate people to take a positive step forward. Sometimes it’s difficult to overcome a significant struggle, but it is worth the try when you start taking small steps. When I began seeking new things, I explored beyond my comfort zone. So let’s start reflecting on the last year of the decade? 😉
Summer 2019: Highlights and Struggles
Summer 2019 has been full of events and surprises as well. I recommend applying to as many internships as possible because you might receive rejections. Increase your chances, and always keep your options open! After my Junior Research Project, my great supervisor, Per Hydbring supported me to continue my research during the summer. 🧪🥼
I went to two summer schools organised by EIT Health. The first one was called Biology of Brain Disorders or BRAINNOVATE. It took place in the beautiful countryside of Ireland at Slane Castle and Dublin at Trinity Business College. I met amazing people from several countries. This summer school was very well-organised. We had lectures from different professors about rare brain disorders, computational tools used in Neuroscience, as well as design thinking workshops. 🧠 We all had an amazing time during the lectures, as well as during the outdoor activities!
The second summer school was Clinmed 2019 Summer School. Participants had to integrate clinical knowledge in the development of new medical devices. Our team had a 3-day immersive experience at the Santa Maria Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal. 🏥 Then, we traveled to the main site of the summer school, in the mountains above Grenoble (France) to develop the projects through innovative training. ⛰️ In the beginning, we had a challenging experience in Lisbon due to the hospital being on strike for three days.
There was also some miscommunication between the summer school organisers and the doctors. In spite of that, these challenges have made my team stronger to work on our project. We had a great time with other participants and explored stunning places in Portugal and France. All in all, our team won second place in the competition! 🎉
Becoming a Teacher Assistant
I never thought I would be able to work as a teacher assistant during my studies. When you keep networking via different events – you will come across various opportunities. The Unit of Bioentreprenueirship kindly asked me to work on the Design Thinking workshop for the second-year Bachelor students in Biomedicine. Hearing the student’s ideas and observing their design thinking process gave me a different outlook on these workshops. All in all, I genuinely enjoyed working with over 50 students, Cecilie Hilmer, and Pu Tai.
Ramadan is a holy month of fasting for Muslims around the world. We practice it according to the lunar calendar, so it occurs at different times every year. This year it took place around May, and Muslims fast every day from dawn to sunset. It was my most challenging one because I spent the whole month with no close family in Stockholm, and the days were quite long.
Nevertheless, it was a fulfilling and rewarding period for me, and I always look forward to the next Ramadan! For all students living away from their families, try to spend your celebrations/holidays with close friends. I spent Eid al-Fitr (i.e., Muslim holiday – marks the end of fasting) with my friends and had a BBQ by the sea.
Filming for the First Time
I wondered about the work behind the interviews and tutorials you see on Youtube, and if I can ever be comfortable around the camera. Blogging behind the computer is not the same as filming in front of a camera. Thanks to KI Innovations, especially Alina Friberg and Patrick Blomquist – we decided to film “20 years of Innovations at KI” conference. It was a fantastic opportunity to interview Patrick (Business Coach). During filming, I was nervous because I wasn’t used to this kind of setting. Rahul, who is the main person behind DA productions and Patrick were supportive and helpful.
As I started blogging during my master’s program, I became a bit more anxious about the people who are reading my blogs. What do they think of me? Am I communicating correctly with the readers? Do I know my target audience? It was certainly not an easy start, but I always knew that I wanted to be genuine and honest in my blogs whenever I talk about experiences or give advice. I had this mindset that the right people will enjoy reading my blogs. Of course, you can’t please everyone. What matters is the effort and dedication you put. Because then you will see the positive outcome of your work.
My experience in Lisbon has undoubtedly taught me valuable lessons. I came across real-life situations when it comes to work issues, and when to stand up for yourself. I was lucky to have supportive teammates in my group. These circumstances develop you as a person without you noticing. I am still learning how to deal with unexpected encounters, and I believe that I have become more resilient.
Ending my last 2019 blog with my Biomed fam! I hope your 2020 will be an exciting year! Happy holidays! Xx
LinkedIn: Sara Abu Ajamieh