Diamond in the rough

The birth of life in the form of a human is a matter of chance. There are a lot of forces at play so the chances of a person being in existence are one in a billion but the actual journey starts off after the birth. It is said that the soul always keeps looking for its calling and speaks to the mind in quiet voices, late at night. The voice at the back of your head that keeps guiding you the path, even while you're lost could be the calling the poets to refer to and the scholars write about.

The calling is very strong when we are young but as we grow up, the environment and situations around us result in suppression of the voices. Instead of listening to our instincts, we start following the instructions and before we know it, we become part of the rat race to an endless path.

Our soul awakens at times and tries to remind our minds of the calling again, this time louder than ever, never knowing which one of the voices could be the last, just before it passes and we find ourselves too far to separate from the herd.

Eventually, we give up and the voices are never heard again.

After working for 8 years in the hospitality industry, I was constantly ignoring my calling. I knew I was meant to be studying again but I always kept telling myself that for some reason it might not happen again.

Up until the day, when I finally decided to get out of my comfort zone and took a leap of faith. I gave up my job and moved to start my bachelor's in biomedical science.

So after leaving my job at the cafe. I found myself a part-time job in retail to have a bit of money coming in. I was interested to work in a medical lab and realised nothing else could be better than working as a lab assistant. I emailed one of my professors and waited for his reply. A week elapsed, and when I didn't hear back from him, I decided to speak to him about it.

One evening after finishing my

laboratory work, I went up to him and asked him about getting an opportunity to work in a medical lab. He asked me about my background to which I explained to him how I am a qualified laboratory technician but couldn't get a job so had to change the industry to keep my visa.

He said I would be able to get a job when there are vacancies but for the time being, I can go to the University website and HMRI - Hunter Medical Research Institute's website to check what research I am interested in and can email the lab supervisor that I am interested to sign up and work and get some experience. I felt happy getting all that information and thinking that there could be an opportunity for me to work towards medical research.

I emailed HMRI my expression of interest to work in one of the labs and found a couple of areas that I was interested to work in. Keeping my fingers crossed I waited for their reply. Well, the next day they replied to me saying that my email will be forwarded to all lab supervisors and if someone needs a lab assistant in their lab, they will contact me. I got an email from one of the Lab supervisors from HMRI. He asked me to come see him one of the days and we can take it from there.

We discussed about his research and he told me that he was researching on stillbirths. I also applied to work in Cardiology and Brain cancer research as well but I didn't hear back from either lab supervisor so I went ahead with the one I got an email from and agreed to go meet up as I didn't want to lose an opportunity to work with them.

I got ready in the morning for my 10 am meeting. It was an hour's drive. HMRI is the Medical Research Institute for the Hunter region and it is right next to John Hunter Hospital, I parked my car in the parking and got out. As I looked at the building, I felt my soul talking to me in quiet voices.

All these years, every time I used to drive by the HMRI building I used to think that probably someday I will also work here. The voices in my head promised that someday I will but I always used to drift it aside because of the doubt I had in myself. I never spoke about it to anyone but driving over to John Hunter's hospital for my appointments, I would always think about it.

I took a picture of the building and started walking towards the entrance. It was the best feeling ever. Knowing how you have waited all these years to be where you are at right now and everything else leading up to it and you feel so proud of making it through. I felt tears sliding down my cheeks.

I quickly wiped them off and made my way to the lifts to go up to the reception

As I reached the reception area, Dr. Kaushik, the lab supervisor I was supposed to meet was waiting for me. He is a young man in his late 30s with a gentle smile. He greeted me and told me he will show me around the lab and the building, and then we can sit down and talk about his research and my experience and how we will move forward with it.

It was a good feeling. I was looking at everything with awe, he took me into the labs and showed me the equipment they use for their research. There was so many pieces of equipment and looking at it all your mind starts wandering to what all can be done using it.

As we finished the tour of the lab, we sat down in one of the offices and he started talking about his research on stillbirths, about why they happen and if we can find any biomarkers in the blood of the females to actually being able to detect it in time and then take the baby out to prevent it from happening. All of it sounded really interesting to me though it was not my first choice of the topic I decided to go with it. He told me that once I finish all the lab inductions and paperwork I would be able to join them.

He then introduced me to everyone and as I took my leave, I walked from there feeling so good and excited about working towards medical research. I finally finished all my inductions and the day came when I was ready for my first day and I was gonna get my ID card as well. I went there early and filled out the paperwork for the card and they made me sit down for a picture and asked me to wait for 5 min while they sort it all out.

Moments later, there it was - my ID card and lab access key for HMRI. I was elated. I took a picture of it and sent it to my family. It felt like an actual achievement. Coming from a small town and starting my career in one of the reputed medical research institutes, I feel like doubt is too lonely to realise that faith is its twin brother. I never gave up on my faith and held on. I hope you do too.