The Positivity Tag

Lately, I've been in a bit of a funk and have been struggling with writers block this year.  This explains the sparse amount of posts on my blog.   Instead of doing a 'where have I been' post, I decided to just gloss over my hiatuses.  To help me, and perhaps even bring a smile on your face, I decided to do the positivity tag! I am surprised this hasn't been done excessively in the past amongst the blogging community but its short, sweet, and simple.  Enjoy!

Name three things in your life that make you feel happy and positive.

Reading is something I thoroughly enjoy.  Mental stimulation of some sort is extremely satisfying which is why I almost always have my nose deep in a novel or textbook.  My favourite fiction authors include Khaled Hosseini, Sophie Kinsella, Jodi Picoult, and Jane Austen.  Non fiction novels include The Health Gap, Pathology of Power, Status Power, Genome, Epigenetics, and Nature vs. Nurture for example. 

Dance is a huge positive adrenaline source for myself.  Whether it be Kathak, Bhangra, or Hip-hop, nothing can lift my mood more than grooving in the privacy of my own room or taking dance lessons.  It injects a huge amount of energy into my system, irrespective of how drained I feel mentally or physically. 

Finally, seva.  Seva, also known as as 'selfless service', is where one acts to help others without expectations.  It can be in the form of volunteering for a charity, making food for the homeless, or being a part of community programmes to benefit others.  It doesn't have to be part of an organisation and can simply be buying a homeless individual a sandwich, helping an individual with their groceries home, or even lending a hand to a friend.  Acts like this nourish the soul.

"Living creatures are nourished by food, and food is nourished by rain; rain itself is the water of life, which comes from selfless worship and service." - Bhagavad Gita, 3.14

What do you do to try and be more positive?

Books ranging from self-help books to Holy text, alongside prayer and meditation enable me to ease any anxiety, tension, or stress.  It doesn't completely erase any negative emotions but in my experience, it provides me strength to deal with the situation with a positive outlook.  In terms of day to day, writing a list of ten things that I am grateful for at the end of the day is a great way to slowly shift your thinking over time.  Positivity needs to be exercised, like a muscle, to grow stronger. 

What do you like to do to relax?

Individuals source relaxation from various sources.  Relaxation comes from spending time with my parents or loved ones.  I love playing cards for example over going to clubs or parties.  Spending time with a small group of people is a great get-away from real life.  On the other hand, practicing kathak diminishes any stress as the padhant/beats of kathak or classical Indian dance is very calming for me.  Finally, as mentioned previously, reading novels and prayers/visiting houses of worship is a fantastic relaxation technique.  

What is your favourite positivity quote?

"You did not get this far to only get this far" 
Whenever life gets difficult, this quote acts as an accelerator to move forward.  Of course, in heightened emotions, all logic is out the window and I'm throwing toys out the pram.  Nonetheless, this quote reminds me that, yes, it has been a long journey, but you've come too far to quit now.  Fail forwards.

Everyone has a part of their body they dislike - say something positive about yours.

At the moment, I love my hair because of it's length.  I spent years constantly chopping it off when it gets to my belly but now it is finally growing out.  The weight of my hair means that it is significantly less frizzy and easier to manage with beachy waves instead of tight curls.  

Who are your positive role models?

Kristin Johns is my biggest motivation as she is unapologetically herself.  Many people have told me that I need to 'grow up', 'mature', and act more 'my age' which fed my insecurities tremendously.  Now,  I wear bows, pearl clips, and overalls because that is the real me.  Life is too short to be anyone else.  

How to Get Work Experience for Medicine

It's that time of the year where prospective students for medical school are bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Getting into medical school (or any university degree nowadays) is no simple task.  One of the highest hurdles is gaining enough work experience to demonstrate your interest for the healthcare field but this isn't easy to come by.  A huge flaw is having the mindset that work experience shadowing a doctor is the most fruitful way to illustrate your understanding for the field and desire to learn but this is not the case.  Most medical schools are aware that work experience isn't handed out like candy and thus do not expect hours of shadowing written on your personal statement.  In fact, some of the most competitive students are the ones that haven't shadowed a doctor and went about a different path.  Here are a few ways you can gain appropriate work experience for the medicine course.

Ward Assistant.  A ward assistant is an in-patient care volunteering role that I personally carried out at various hospitals.  The main task is coming in during lunch time to feed patients that are unable to feed themselves for various reasons.  This is your atypical caring role which many universities expect to see. Other tasks include assisting the patient to the bathroom and simply accompanying them given that it can get very lonely in the wards.  I enjoyed this because there were times I would see the patient's health develop and, soon enough, they were able to carry out all these tasks themselves without the help of a third person.  As we know, nurses are in very high demand and having an extra pair of hands on the ward is priceless to them.  You gain a huge appreciation for nurses and understanding of their job role which is crucial when working in healthcare.  Most hospitals are always looking for ward assistants and volunteers so it is worth checking your local hospital's website.  Generally, this is not a highly demanding role which requires a couple hours a week max so it will not intrude or affect your a level studies. Furthermore, the direct patient contact will not only aid in gaining skills but nourishes the soul.  Similarly, one can volunteer in a care home, which I did not do so cannot speak much about it.  Nonetheless, it is  equally as rewarding.

GP Surgeries.  Many GP surgeries are looking for volunteers to man the front desk or help sign post patients to where they need to go.  This is experience I carried out every week during my GCSEs.  It is less likely that smaller GP surgeries will have such opportunities available and this role will not have much direct patient contact.  However, the role does not matter but it is what you take from it.   This role can aid in team working and communication skills as you will be working and communicating with other members of staff and the public, all of which are vital when applying for any medical course. 

Healthcare Assistant.  This is a very common paid role that many graduates in particular tend to lean towards but any student over the age of 16 is able to train and gain the qualifications required to become an HCA. Not only does this involve working with patients but you carry out health checks, monitor vitals, take blood, health promotion, feeding, and washing patients for example. The list is endless.  An HCA will provide clearer insight on how life as a junior doctor will fair (to an extent) as well as how one works in a multi-disciplinary team.  You will work closely with doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff.  You can work part time or on 'bank' so, only when required urgently, you will be needed to work and this ensures it does not interfere too much with your school work.  I recommend carrying out the training and preparation over school holidays when there is less educational commitment.  

Summer Internships.  There are various summer internships that enable students to travel to less fortunate countries to work in hospitals or community centres.   Here is a link to one of many programmes available: Projects Abroad. The pros is that you work in professional clinical environments, shadow doctors and nurses, understand healthcare at a global level, and begin to learn essential medical skills that are similar to what HCAs carry out.  Students are sent out to Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka for example and you can choose your destination and dates.  Another pro is that you can choose the length of the trip from one week so that you do not need to block out a huge amount of your summer holidays. If I had the courage and finances to do this, I would in a heart beat.  As someone who is passionate about global health this would be a God-send.  However, with that being said, a common con is the need to finance this trip yourself which can cost anywhere from £1,350 which can be steep for some.  

Anything else. This is a bullet point that I felt is very significant.  Even if you are unable to attain work experience that you are satisfied with, you can pull the necessary skills required of a doctor from other tasks.  For example, working in McDonalds or the Library can teach you discipline, communication, and team work.  You can learn leadership skills if you are designated manager of a project.  My freelance stylist job has enabled me to improve my communication and listening skills and understanding a client's needs.  This will easily translate to talking to patients.  In many jobs, one must be empathetic and compassionate, especially in client or public facing roles.  One can read and even watch Vlogs about medical students or doctors and improve their perception of the job, the pros and cons, and process of becoming a consultant.  There is a wealth of knowledge and information available nowadays and most importantly, a medical school wants to see your passion and effort to know the field.  Do not be discouraged if you're not able to obtain work experience; being honest in your personal statement and interview is important and discussing how you came out of this road block can demonstrate determination.  This is your dream to fight for.

Feel free to check out my LinkedIn here to gain a better understanding of work experience I did throughout the years. 

Thank you for reading and I wish you best of luck for your applications! 

Autumn Winter 2019/2020 Fashion Trends

It's my favourite fashion season! The colder seasons never fail to welcome cozy chic which is my motto.  Besides the obvious trends: darker shades, suits, checkered garments, tweed, corduroy, and neutral clothing, I wanted to pick out my favourite trends that I am excited to try to implement.  I am a firm believer in not fixing what isn't broken; however, change can be an exciting concept with regards to your wardrobe! 

Parisian Prep. I've always adored preppy outfits though never managed to find pieces that complimented existing items I owned.  This includes looking put together but not being afraid of layers.  For example, trench coats with a belt tie, berets, lace, pearls, and houndstooth patterns in stunning neutrals.  You don't need to be afraid of colour!  Feel free to go for your favourite shades such as classic reds, baby blues, and soft pinks.  

How can you embrace this trend? Primark! My recent Primark haul featured a lot of atypical Parisian prints and styles that that perfectly emulate Parisian streetwear.  Other shops on the high street include Dorothy Perkins and TopShop.  You don't have to break the bank to look like you stepped out of Champs Elysees. 

Brands: Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney,  Celine, Dior, Valentino 

Bright colours.  I am not one for neon but there is a first for everything.  Easy ways to integrate neon into your wardrobe is through accessories: headbands, handbags, or even as simple as nail polish!  This is the method I would use to have more bright colours in my wardrobe.  Nonetheless, bold is beautiful so do not be afraid to go big or go home.  You will certainly turn heads and have people wishing they had your confidence.  Some other ways of wearing neon is through coats, shoes, or one piece dresses.  

Brands: Balenciaga, Saint Laurent, Versace, Nina Ricci

Florals.  Traditionally a spring trend, but it is evidently popping up on the runway.  This is an easier fashion statement to transition from the runway to the street.  I personally love floral dresses as it is a simple and easy way to wear heavy patterns without worrying about finding complimenting pieces.  A twist on this casual movement is dark florals.  Meaning, flowers that have an edge or gothic vibe.  Although may be intimidating at first, it can be a very Victorian-esque appearance that still screams elegance and royalty. For example, Coach do many subtle floral accessories and bags which are more timeless and less youthful than flower dresses you can find on BooHoo.   I noticed that Dorothy Perkins have many floral trousers that I am more than just tempted to purchase, alongside ASOS having a fresh stock of garments to welcome the season.  

Brands: Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Miu Miu, Coach

Office minimalist.  This is my style to a T.  I love wearing outfits that satisfy a working environment but also as everyday 'casual' wear.  I believe it is time I begin to invest more in workwear chic given that I will be finding myself in professional settings more as I get older.  Therefore, this is the trend I am most looking forward to adapting.  The office minimalist is shown through shades of beige, big suits, oversized coats, and lots of collared shirts.  

Brands: Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Tibi, Prada, Hermes

Fearing Love

I am filled with pride -one of the infamous seven deadly sins.  Unfortunately, with this, ego usually follows.  Despite being an individual who loves happiness, peace and positivity, I suffer with these two character-killing traits.  These qualities are heightened when afraid to get hurt.  It acts as a guard or wall; built automatically when emotions of adoration or love begin to overwhelm me.  Some argue this occurs because of past pain being emulated in current situations or simply due to insecurities. 

To me, it’s both.

When one experiences circumstances where they’re feeling belittled or second best, it harms their ego.  Like a crack in a cup, no matter how much glue is used, the piece never quite fits like it did before.  The scar of the break is still evident.  Glue can be in the form of compliments, self-help, or keeping busy, but the sensation can relapse.

Growing up, my mother fed me with an analogy to explain the human mind:

Holding up a blank piece of A4, she asks, ‘What do you see?
Nothing- just white paper.
She then puts the tiniest of a dot in the middle of the page, no bigger than the size of a period.  She’ll ask me again, ‘Now, what do you see?’
A black dot.’
See- you’ve forgotten all the whiteness already.  Your attention was on the mere darkness which takes up far less than 0.01% of the whole page.  That’s how humans process negativity – it becomes their prime focus and all the good is overlooked.’ 

This elucidates why past incidents can haunt and affect the present.  It takes that one moment of pessimism to oversee happiness.  I admit that previous feelings towards myself hover in my daily life; thus, resulting in my ego.  I do not have this facade because of superiority.  Rather, it is a defense mechanism.  It’s the anticipation for history to repeat itself.  Hence, I attempt to seem strong when truly undergoing the opposite.  I try to appear resilient but deep down, I want you.  I want to send the first text or ask to meet for coffee. I want to spend time with you in any shape or form. 

But I’m too afraid. 

Or maybe…

I’m too in love. 

It’s a constant tennis game in the head; wondering what will eventually win: the yearning to talk or the fear of eventual rejection. 
There are very few people I can freely speak to first without trepidation of coming across needy, clingy, or like a burden.  Sadly, one of the two categories encompasses family (Neethi didi!) with the other being my best friend (shout out: hey T heyyyy). 

One of the biggest reasons that people fall apart is because one or both parties are too troubled at the idea of being the one that loves more.  It is satisfying to know that someone else has an unfathomable amount of adoration for the other.  Nevertheless, affection should be limitless.  It is easier said than done.  I am a preacher not a follower on this topic.

I always told myself to be a hurricane and not a leaky faucet when it comes to expressing your feelings towards someone.  It could be a best friend, family member or whomever you have a distinct relationship with.  I do try to give every fibre of my being, however, I reach a point where I hit a wall.  Beyond this imaginary fence is a lot more to be felt and evoked.  Nonetheless, my guard is up.  I start to alarm myself at the amount of love I have; causing me to take a step back.  I begin to wait.  The questions sing-song in my head: Am I worthy for a call? Do you want to text me?  Are you thinking about me like I’m thinking about you? 

Every time my phone vibrates; I jolt at the thought that it could be you.  When it begins to light up, I hope you’re ringing.  When I open the door, I want you to be on the other side. 

And when it’s not you, I’m disappointed. 

I miss you more than you think.  But my ego prevents me from expressing it.

I now realize how exhausting it is to have this frontage.  This deprivation of regard stirs more problems than the wall is worth.  It plays out that I do not care, they’re no longer significant, or I’ve forgotten.  Conversely, my intentions are the opposite.  I care too much, you’re too significant, and I can never forget.  Yet I still cannot bring myself to tear down this barrier despite knowing how tiresome it is.  One shouldn’t have this petrified ambiance. 

Do not let the person, who will go through tremendous lengths, ever feel less than their value.  That is a punishment and they’re the last person deserving of it.  Hold on to them.  Remind them of their worth.   Tell them you love them.  Because one day you may not be able to.  They’ll be so drained by trying.  They may give up.  It can come to the conclusion that, ‘I’ve done everything I could, and yet still I can’t get through to her.’  And that is the most painful sensation- for them and for you.  

If you are reading this, I am so sorry I’m so afraid but trust me when I say I love you.  So much so that I surprise myself at the thought that I probably love way more than you think. 
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