January 14, 2021, by Lee Mei Kee
“I AM HERE”
COVID-19 pandemic has substantial impact on our daily life, including but not limited to teaching and learning. The sense of loneliness and isolation is growing larger day by day, which could take a toll on our mental health. To combat this together, UNM School of Pharmacy and Division of Biomedical Sciences academics and students expanded our circle of concern by having online gathering, namely “I AM HERE” session to connect, care about, accept and support each other. Academics and students took the initiative to share about various topics during the sessions, ranging from summer placement to meditation. Let’s see what our Biomedical Sciences Year 2 student, Siew Zhen Yun, who presented about “The Life of A True Scientist” and “Microbes” during the sessions:
“Coivd-19 is impacting the whole world as a global pandemic, this obstinate virus affects our life, disturbs our daily agenda and plans in 2020. Despite our lifestyles may be irregular and we are not allowed to gather around, we try to maintain our social connection and interactions with others. “I AM HERE” is a platform for students under the school of pharmacy that caught in this worldwide dilemma to carry out a conversation with other student and lecturer. I love this sharing session because the speaker can set his own topic and carry out the presentation by his way without any restrictions. Also, everyone else is allowed to ask any question and voice up throughout the whole session. Hence, I will say that “I AM HERE” is an alternative for students to build up a connection with each other in a constructive and meaningful way with total freedom of speech.
I love listening to others especially when they can share to us the beautiful side of the Earth. Some told story about how important music and yoga is to them, some told fact about potential ways to cure cancer and some gave us motivation. I learn so many things from others by knowing that knowledge can be gathered from all directions and methods.
As a talkative and friendly person, I took a chance to share my experiences in one of my research projects about the plastic and microplastic degrading bacteria. This sharing allowed me to share my experiences with others in a better and more relax condition since it is not a formal lecture. Besides, I received many interesting feedbacks and questions from others through email and private message via different social applications. Those who contacted me asked me about the details and many other questions regarding whatever I mentioned in my first presentation. Some even requested me to make it on ‘stage’ again to talk about my interesting stories. Therefore, I carried out my second sharing but this time I want to be more inspiring than just interesting. There is no point for me to keep sharing my experience in the project, the listeners need to live out their own life and write stories about themselves. Thus, I talked about why I decided to become a scientist, not just biomedical scientist but a real scientific researcher. I talked about how the dynamic changes in my life keep pushing me forward and forcing me to move on. For instance, after both of my grandmothers passed away, I realised that human are not immortal and we are surely not invincible. As written in the song “Heaven’s Not Too Far”, a song written by three siblings based on their mother’s perspective before she “move up north” due to cancer.
Overall, I really appreciate whoever that created this platform for us and whatever this session brought to me. I took my time enjoying the honey and strawberry in “I AM HERE”.”