COVID-19 diaries with Vehie Nadim: Making a Difference Whilst Staying Apart

The next in my COVID-19 diaries series is with Vehie Nadim, a second year dental student at King's College London...

You put the laptop screen down. Breath a sigh of relief, despite your fears that your Mum didn't crash into your room mid-exam, the house stayed silent. That's it. Exams are over. You're free! However, freedom is limited to the confines of your house and as far as TikTok can transport you. Despite this anticlimactic end to the year, perhaps this time of restrictions can in fact lead to greater freedom. 

Studying during these times has been a challenge without any "post-exam motives" planned. This has not been eased with Snapchat memories constantly reminding you of the adventures your past-self experienced this time last year. However, these same apps previously saturated with selfies are now filled with thought provoking messages in order to ignite a revolution in our society. Allowing our past selves to undergo valuable growth during this period. Movements against the atrocities aimed at the black community across the world have been amplified through the power of social media. Many of us began to sign petitions, protest and educate ourselves and each other. This stance shed light on many other causes which often not received the attention they deserve. 

All these campaigns have one underlying message. We as humans should support and respect each other and this can be shown in both big and small actions.

Isolation etiquette: We all enjoy embracing the outdoors to clear our head and appreciate nature. Then a person appears. Palms sweat and we avoid eye contact as if this is how COVID-19 is transmitted. Instead, let's make sure to share a smile or say thank you when someone gives us room to maintain distancing. After all, smiling is also contagious, and you could initiate a cascade of happiness.

Give a helping hand: There are lots of ways to improve your ability to help those in need depending on your interests. Perhaps, brush up on language that you know many of your patients speak. Maybe try sign language or a suicide awareness course. Alternatively, you could sign up to be an NHS GoodSAM volunteer. 

Every day's a school day: The current climate shows our education system and news broadcasting unfortunately isn't enough to be aware of global affairs. Therefore, it's important to try carry out self-directed learning. I like to think of topics taught in previous history classes and then widen my knowledge beyond the curriculum. This doesn't necessarily need to be through books but can also be with TV shows, podcasts and films. 

Be Kind: Be kind to yourself and to others. There's often pressure to accomplish a million things with our free time, however it's important to rest and recuperate. Carrying out self-care will then provide you with the energy needed to care for others. Being compassionate to those around you or just calling those who are distant for a chat can make all the difference. 

One of my favourite lines from Stockett's 'The Help' expresses the simplicity in how we should view others and ourselves. 'You is kind. You is smart. You is important.'

Helpful links:

Do you want to write a COVID-19 diary? Please get in touch! Whether you're a dental student, foundation dentist, dental core trainee, associate, dental nurse, therapist I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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