Omaima El Tahir

· What has been your most important experience as a mentor?

I have been tutoring since high school and actually also acted as a mentor because most of my pupils discussed their future career ambitions with me. As I moved on and became a medical student (after being rejected and studying Biomedical Sciences for one year), I felt so much joy and gratitude.

From that moment I became more passionate about teaching and always tried to motivate students around me to fulfil their dream. I noticed that I had most impact on my fellow female students with ethnic minority background because I understood their struggles, insecurities and humiliating moments when not acknowledged. It felt so good telling them they would be okay, relief them from anxiety, negative emotions caused by ‘not fitting in’ and on the other hand preparing them to handle those situations in a good way by sharing my own bloopers.

I do believe that listening instead of talking, having a good sense of humor (as life is serious enough), finding the courage to expose your flaws are key in connecting with people and becoming a mentor.

· What has been your most important experience as a mentee?
I have two great mentors.The first is my mum, her peace and wisdom always allow me to clear and reset my mind in turbulent times. My professor is the second, her discipline, positive energy and authenticity are inspiring.

My most important experience is letting go of always being in control, taking time and to embrace self-compassion. I always tend to be very hard on myself, things I achieved or will achieve, I had or have to achieve them fast without making any mistakes.

So far, it’s quite challenging to give in but being more relaxed about it and accepting that in life you don’t always get what you want but what you need really helps.

· How did you arrive at the position you are in now?
Dedication, faith, humbleness and perseverance were good companions on my path to achieve my medical degree. My parents have taught me to work hard and have fun, this also works really well. At the moment I have no idea what the future holds but as long as I follow my heart it will keep me on the right track.