After Heriot’s Blog

Next on the blog we have Fabiah Ahmed.

Please get in touch if you wish to share your story ‘after Heriot’s’.

Fabiah Ahmed, Class of 2019

What is your current role?

Intercalating medical student at the University of Aberdeen.

What was your journey to get there?

I have a P6 diary entry with the words, “I want to be a doctor or teacher! And read all the books in the world before I die!” I think this sums me up quite well and although the latter probably won’t happen, I will hopefully become a doctor very soon! My mum was studying Dentistry in Bangladesh when she was 20 and and dropped out and immigrated to the UK with my dad in the 90s. They sacrificed their comfortable lives there in order to make a better life for their future children. They didn’t know any English or have anyone here, and although they never told me and my siblings, they must have definitely struggled at some points. I am always aware of how fortunate I am to be living in a developed country and the sacrifices my parents made for us. My brother Fahim joined Heriot’s in P6 on a scholarship, and my twin sister Fariah and I joined in S1 on a bursary. The bursary took a lot of stress of my parents, who otherwise would not have been able to afford sending their children to such a reputable school.

I studied all the relevant science subjects and started volunteering as a ward trolley assistant at the Western General Hospital in S4. I loved seeing the doctors on their ward round and seeing how their knowledge and communication skills helped sick patients. I did the Medic Insight Programme hosted by the University of Edinburgh in fifth year, where I met other aspiring medical students. One of them ended up being my flatmate in halls at university, and we are best friends now! In S6, the school organised a medical school interview event with doctors to give students wishing to apply for medicine practice and support. I took this experience forward and after an interview with the University of Aberdeen, I was accepted to study Medicine.

What are your achievements?

Being accepted into medical school was a huge achievement as becoming a doctor has always been my dream. Getting straight A’s in all of my SQA examinations was another achievement and this would not have been made possible without all of the help I received from my teachers, who often sacrificed their lunchtimes and energy to give us as much help as possible. Medical school has been tough, and I am proud of the friendships I have made, which has no doubt helped me through some challenging times. I’ve recently been accepted to intercalate and do another degree in Immunology and Pharmacology, and it has been amazing to learn about the research aspect of medicine.

I’m proud of my part-time job as a healthcare assistant in a specialist palliative care unit, where I have learnt so much about seeing and treating patients and their families as humans and not just sick individuals. Inspired by the interview prep event organised by Heriot’s, I myself have organised revision events for younger medical students through my role as President of Aberdeen University Paediatric Society. For my 21st birthday I completed the Edinburgh Kiltwalk to fundraise money for Children’s Hospice Across Scotland (CHAS) and raised £400, and very proudly wore the Heriot’s kilt! I have recently been accepted into a medical elective in Malawi which I will be going to in August 2024. This was partly funded by a bursary I received from Heriot’s after leaving, which is awarded to a deserving student going to study medicine. I also used this money to buy my first ever stethoscope and each time I examine a patient, I remember how much Heriot’s has given me.

What are your favourite memories of Heriot’s?

I really enjoyed my Advanced Higher History class where we studied the Russian Revolution. It was a nice break from the sciences and the enthusiasm and joy from the teacher and all of the students is something I still remember. I loved my volunteering I did at the school nursery, an elderly care home, and in the junior school. I loved how close our year group became in S6 and being nominated as Prefect felt like a huge honour. Overall, I miss the Heriot’s community and how much it felt like a big family. The janitors, refectory staff, teachers, and technicians always had time to say hello to you and help you out. The Gold Duke of Edinburgh expedition, although it didn’t feel like it at the time, was such a rewarding and funny experience!

Any top tips for current pupils when planning their future?

Follow your passion and success will always follow. Heriot’s always pushes you to work towards whatever you enjoy – whether it is the sciences, sports, arts, or drama. Always remember to show gratitude to everyone who has helped you along the way, no matter how small of a role they played, and irrespective of their position. Work hard, be kind, be happy – and never be afraid to make mistakes or fail as that is often where you learn the most! Say yes to things you are scared of because it will give you the most amazing experiences and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Finally, it is okay to not have all the answers just now – you are young and have so much time!