Interview with Isaac Wade, UNE Medical Students Association
Bachelor of Medical Science, Doctor of Medicine student and President of UNE Medical Students Association, Isaac Wade spoke with us on the importance of checking in on the well-being of your mates, and how his club has been adapting to the virtual reality we currently live in!
What has been the biggest challenge for UNEMSA during the lockdown, and how has the club overcome these challenges?
Not being able to meet in person! Our entire cohort is on campus, and the majority of our events and initiatives are in-person social and academic nights – it’s been hard to get people keen for events when we’re all so far apart, but at the same time it’s more important than ever.
We’ve been trying to be consistent, and rather than focusing on brand new things, trying to convert some of our classic events online, which we’re incredibly keen for!
What are some of your top tips for staying connected as a club during this time?
Check up on people! The best way to start a conversation with your club members is to see how they’re doing. With everyone in iso, people have been missing friends, cooped up with none of their favourite hobbies, and potentially being driven mad by family, so starting a chat about how that’s all going is a really good way to stay connected, AND get some cool ideas for stuff to do as a club!
What’s the best thing about being involved in UNEMSA?
The connections and opportunities! We do a broad array of stuff as a club, from social events to exam prep, to advocacy work, but one thing that’s really cool is our connection with bigger associations like the NSW Medical Students Council and AMSA, the Australian Medical Students’ Association. I’ve made some great friends and learned some incredibly useful things from amazingly talented people, and I don’t think I would have gotten involved without UNEMSA.
Set the scene: Describe your study space
Haha, it changes! At the moment it’s my dining room table because it’s cold in Armidale and the dining room has a big window that keeps the place nice and warm. Normally I sit at my desk in my bedroom because I’ve got a monitor in there that lets me multitask better than I can with just a laptop. There’s always a coffee or huge bottle of water nearby no matter where I am though!
What iso-projects have you been working on?
Lots of cooking! With some restaurants closed and a lot of extra free time on my hands, it’s been a great time to try new dishes, cooking techniques, and exciting different ingredients! With restrictions easing I’m very keen to have some friends over for dinner. 👨🏽🍳
What do you look most forward to when restrictions are eased?
Visiting family and friends back home – For the last few weeks traveling up to Queensland has been tricky, but now as restrictions start to ease, I’ll be able to go home and see people I haven’t seen since the beginning of the year. Hopefully some people will start coming back to Armidale too, which will be great!
What have you enjoyed about staying at home?
Saving money has been an unexpected benefit! While I have been doing some online shopping, I’m buying less stuff and spending less on hobbies and food than I normally do, and it’s been great to have an extra bit of cash in my wallet. More free time has given me the opportunity to go out on some really great walks in the pine forest and around Armidale, which has been wonderful too.
Are there any events coming up with your club?
Yeah, we’re looking forward to a few things coming up soon! Inter-year E-sports will be taking place of our normal inter-year competition, which people are keen for, and we’re about to start running some Zoom-ba classes so people can have a bit of fun and stay active!
In a first for us, we’ll be running some celebrations for IDAHOBIT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia on the 15th of May, which we are all looking forward to. We have a lot of queer members and allies, and we’re keen to celebrate them!
Community is everything – especially as a student. Connect with people who have similar interests or studies as you.