Dr Zahra Kadom (Medicine 2013)
Zahra is currently mentoring two medical students through the Careers Service Alumni Mentoring Programme.
Why did you sign up to be an alumni mentor?
There is a big gap between the six years you spend as a medical student, where you are protected to a degree, and suddenly launching into being a doctor. When I saw an email about the mentoring programme, which is especially aimed at those from disadvantaged backgrounds, I saw it as an opportunity to share my own experiences. At the first get-to-know-you meeting, many of the mentors were older than me and it was inspiring to see them reconnecting with Imperial.
How does it work?
The Careers Service matches you to your mentee based on your backgrounds – for me they did a good job. All three of my mentees to date have been women, which is not something I particularly chose. But women often prefer to see a female doctor, whatever your background, and it helps to talk woman-to-woman about my own area of specialisation: women’s health. I was quite active as a student, and my mentees were members of some of the same College societies as me, including the Imperial College Medical Education Society, so we started off with plenty in common. After an initial face-to-face meeting, we keep in regular virtual touch via email and WhatsApp.
What are the benefits - on both sides?
I give my mentees an insight into my everyday life as a GP, and also talk about what to expect if they choose a different career path, working in a hospital. As the relationship progresses it becomes more colleague to colleague, especially as I am quite close in age to my mentees. For me, it is a nice link back to Imperial.
It’s only five years since I left but so much has changed and there are so many new opportunities available to medical students. One of my mentees is currently on an exchange at the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine in Singapore, so it’s great to find out what she is getting up to!