Experiences from a Medical Doctor back to Academics
By Estefania Guisado Fernandez
Have you ever experienced that feeling like butterflies in your stomach when jumping from a cliff into the sea? Maybe not, but we all do have those same similar feelings when doing something new in our lives. Scary but exciting moment, isn’t it? From a person who likes that rush of adrenaline going through your body when doing something challenging, joining CHESS was a quite similar experience for me.
My name is Estefania Guisado and I’m ESR1 in CHESS, hosted in an academic institution, University College of Dublin, in Ireland. But before starting at UCD nearly two years ago, my life was totally different. I am a Medical Doctor specialised in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I was born in Seville, a lovely warm and sunny city from the south of Spain, where I had been studying and working for my entire life.
Despite loving my job, I wanted to give a change to my career development and re-take my main reason for becoming a doctor: research, to reach more people and feel more useful for the population healthier being. Luckily, everything changed when I joined CHESS ITN and the project I’m working in nowadays.
The first challenge to face was moving to a new country. Getting immersed in a new language and culture, finding an accommodation, bureaucracy paper work…when you have all sorted out you feel like nothing can stop you now. Once I started my position, another defies for me and the most difficult one, was to switch into the academic environment. Despite having done a master’s degree and presented in conferences during my years in the clinic, it is not the same as being full time working in academia. I needed some time to settle down, but as you go you become more familiarised with everything, inside and outside the University, and you start to feel that your decision was right. My project allows me to still be in contact with the clinic and people (patients and family), something I really love, and this has even given me the opportunity to better understand Irish culture and language. It is priceless the life stories I have the pleasure to listen to, and the good memories I’m making with the people I’m meeting in each visit.
It might seem comfortable to spend the rest of your days doing something you know quite well and you are good at, but life means more than that. Living is going out from your comfort zone and join a new challenge, something you really want to try despite it may look a bit terrifying and risky. It can go well or it can go bad, but you’ll never know until you try. By the time, I can only say that I have no regrets in doing what I did. I really recommend to anyone reading this to jump into that you’ve been thinking starting for a long time. There is no success or fail in our journey, just different paths to arrive to where we want to be.