Elizabeth's Scholarship Story
I chose to study at Imperial College London because not only does it have one of the best courses for Medicine in the world, but the community, research and location attracted me as well. Having over 300 clubs, societies and projects, I knew that I’d find loads of things to get involved with to ensure I balanced my academic studies with hobbies I enjoyed. For example, handball - a sport that I really enjoyed but hadn’t played since Year 10 - was one of the clubs and I knew that I’d want to reignite my interest in the sport. In addition, the College is at the forefront of research with cutting-edge technology. Knowing that we were being taught by some of the best in the world was not only inspiring, but also provided the opportunity to network and cultivate interests and ideas in an environment that encouraged creativity and thinking outside the box. Being in the heart of London meant that I wasn’t too far from home and could enjoy all the benefits the big and bustling city had to offer!
I live in East London, but I’m originally from Nigeria so I grew up in an African household. From a young age, we were encouraged to work hard so that we could succeed in our studies and make our parents proud by achieving things they didn’t have the access to. Therefore, university was a very obvious choice for me, and my parents were extremely proud of my progress and acceptance by the universities of my choice. They were pleased that I chose Imperial as they were aware of its leadership and advancements in the field of science – that university that constantly had experts “speaking on TV”. My mother works in the NHS within the field of mental health and my father works in logistics, so I’d be the first doctor in the family; this also filled them with joy.
I chose to study Medicine because I really enjoyed learning about the sciences, and knew that I wanted to study in a profession where I’d have a daily impact on the lives of others and form relationships through my work. After doing work experience with community paediatric consultants, I was inspired by their versatility: their ability to adapt to each child in front of them and interact in a way that made them feel more comfortable. This, along with the problem-solving aspect, communication and teamwork that I witnessed in a multi-disciplinary team meeting, highlighted to me various aspects of Medicine that attracted me. Particularly with paediatrics, doctors weren’t only treating the patients, but supported the families through referrals to support groups, resources and courses that would help them to take better care of themselves and their children, providing more comfort and understanding about the conditions. This highlighted that doctors aren’t there to treat the condition alone, but the patient as well; the strength of human connection really stood out to me. It truly demonstrated holistic care.
At the moment, I particularly enjoy Lifestyle Medicine and Prevention (LMAP), as well as learning about Endocrinology and Cardiorespiratory Medicine. I really enjoy LMAP because I think it’s interesting to see how lifestyle affects health , looking at how it impacts the individual as well as the population as a whole.
I had the privilege of joining a project called the SHARP Project led by Dr Sofia Chacon that focuses on the use of simulation, both virtual reality and in-person, to prevent knife crime in secondary school children. This project was truly fascinating to me, as the way in which medical research, virtual reality, simulation and preventative work in the community interlocked was something I never really expected. When I think of research, it’s typically lab-based and working with specimens. But having the opportunity to go into the community and interact with school students, talk to them and show them the reality and severity of knife crime is truly inspiring, insightful and a true learning experience. I wanted to join this project because of my personal experiences growing up in East London, where knife crime is quite prominent. Knowing people who participated in and had fallen victim to this issue left me with a desire to give back and try to prevent young people from engaging in and experiencing such violence by participating in this amazing project.
Receiving the President’s Scholarship was actually a pleasant surprise as I first realised I had been awarded it when reading through my offer letter. It wasn’t something that I had applied for, so I felt very blessed and honoured to find that the School of Medicine felt that I had the potential to succeed and decided to invest in me. This was very motivating and I felt encouraged for the academic year ahead. It also meant that I’d have extra financial support at university which would allow me to maximise my experience through participation in various extra-curricular events, clubs and societies.
I used the support I received from the Scholarship to pay my membership fees for various clubs and societies that I got involved with, for example Netball, African Caribbean Society and Gospel choir, as well as associated merchandise (t-shirts, badges) for societies such as Nutritank that involved volunteering. This support also helped cover travel costs to and from events, volunteering and matches, meaning that I had the financial freedom to participate in as many activities as I wanted to and didn’t feel restricted by finances. As my accommodation is off-campus, this Fund has also supported my travel to campus as I require weekly travel cards – relieving the stress of travel expenses.
To alumni donors and friends of the College, I’d like to say thank you so much for donating as you have really made a positive impact in my first year of university. These donations do not only hold monetary value but emotional significance too, as they not only provide a bit more financial freedom but grow individuals’ confidence in their academic abilities, as well as providing avenues for them to explore interests outside their field of study.
The President's Scholarship Fund ensures students like Elizabeth in the Faculty of Medicine are supported to succeed on their academic journey. Find out more about the impact of giving for students like Elizabeth.