By Kiran Qayyum (2019 award recipient)
I used the Medical Venture Fund to help pay for weekly cello lessons, which I started soon after beginning Medical School. Learning a new instrument has been an amazing form of stress relief and avenue for self-expression. This has helped me gain a better grasp of musical theory, push myself to achieve goals, and have a productive hobby outside Medical School for my own mental wellbeing.
In April 2019, I performed at a recital hosted by my cello teacher and attended by other cello students. This was a wonderful experience where I got to learn from musicians of all levels and meet some lovely new people. It was also useful in overcoming nerves associated with performing for a crowd. When I started lessons, I didn't intend to attempt the cello grading exams, but I later decided it was a good challenge and a useful way to perfect a few musical pieces the best I could. I thankfully passed my first exam in June and aim to continue to sit exams.
One of the most valuable parts of this experience has been overcoming fear associated with failure and feelings of inadequacy. Starting lessons as an adult is daunting, as most people your age are miles ahead of you in their knowledge and technique – and in this I feel a sense of resilience needs to be maintained to remain inspired and continue at your own pace. This is often the case in many other situations in life, especially Medical School where you may feel that you are behind but need to adapt to these circumstances and focus on improving yourself despite barriers.
Ultimately, this has been a brilliant experience that I hope to continue and learn from throughout my studies and career.