Of all the questions that people message me with, this is one the most common. How did I, little unknown medical student at the time get to write for the Guardian newspaper?
The truth is. This was no big plan of mine. I didn’t try and write for the Guardian, I just sort of fell into it. Great you might be thinking, fat chance I can help you. But I would disagree. Although I didn’t go out thinking I want to write for the Guardian I am going to e-mail the editors, I was proactive. But not just in regards to writing, but in life in general. And this is just one example of it paying off.
At the time I had lectures and in my lunch break I was reading the healthcare section of the Guardian online. I read a news story that struck a cord with me. Women in medicine being told that they weren’t capable of doing something. This myth was and still is something that I am passionate about dispelling. On an orthopaedic placement the consultant joked out of 8 women, no one was going to be a surgeon. It bothered me at the time and over a year later I carried that statement around with me.
In the article that I was reading about women in medicine I wrote a comment and I was actually contacted by an editor who liked my comment who asked me if I wanted to expand it for a blog. It was all really exciting and I was literally writing it on my lunch break over 2 days. Then when I sent in the blog article, I was told that they liked it and wanted me to expand it and run it in the actual newspaper too. There were tight deadlines which was a bit much between my lectures, but it was too good an opportunity to pass up so I made it work.
I screamed when I saw my article in the paper and so did my family. It was such a random and happy moment and it opened up new doors for me.
I was contacted by the Royal Society of Medicine who wanted to meet me and show me around their building in London and was subsequently invited to a dinner where I met lots of fancy doctor and was even asked to introduce the CEO of the NHS England Simon Stevens, at dinner. A room full of lots of fancy people and I open with “wasn’t the soup great”..! What was I thinking!! Anyway, someone told me I was “very human”, whatever that means, so maybe it wasn’t the WORST introduction ever. Maybe.
Anyway, my point of writing this isn’t to inflate my own ego, it’s to encourage you to be more proactive in your own life. Anyone can write and anyone can do anything with enough effort. Put yourself out there, you will get something back. Take a chance.
I often think that I fall into things, but if I look back, I kind put myself in that position. No on was going to e-mail me and say “hey Salma, you have some great idea, write for us”. I had to take the first steps. I started this blog, that was one step. It made me write. Then I kept up to date with what was going on in medicine. I was proactive and I benefited.
Nothing is beyond anyone. So don’t have one of those “oh my god, I can’t write”, or “people like me don’t do stuff like that”. Do whatever you want to do. Give yourself a chance.
Take a leap of faith on yourself. You won’t regret it.
Until the next post xxx