40 Before 40: Graduation in the UK

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

On 21 July 2014, I was able to cross off one of the things I want to do before I turn 40, and that is to experience graduation in the UK. Although I was aiming for a Master's degree, I guess another Bachelor's degree is really not bad and I shouldn't complain. I gained my first Bachelor's degree in Nursing in 1997 and now in Specialist Practice. I am not giving up on my dream to get a Master's degree though, so watch this space.

My graduation ceremony took place in Bristol Cathedral. The ceremony was very organized and I basically didn't realize that there are no graduation rehearsals here unlike in the Philippines. I was also wondering whether I was going to receive another certificate because I already received mine through the post few months before. But apparently not. All we did was basically go to the platform and be congratulated by the Chancellor. There were few speeches but that was it really. As simple as it may have been, I definitely enjoyed the whole thing as this was another experience and achievement for me. 

My favourite part was after the ceremony. We marched down to the marquee for some refreshments and the faculty were lined up and were clapping as we passed by. For some reason I felt like I was in a Harry Potter movie.  Another important part of my day was the picture taking with my family in the Southwest. Of course, I wished that my family in the Philippines were here too,  but unfortunately it was not possible at this time. But I am sure there will be another opportunity for them.

I also loved the instagram box, if you call it that. But whatever it was, it was cool.

And here is another feather in my cap. I may not be the cleverest girl you know, but at least I dream big. One day, I will look back at all this and will whisper to myself, "at least I dreamed the dream"......But in reality, I am hoping that I will be able to live those dreams. 

Never give up that dream of becoming who and what you want to be.

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40 Before 40

Friday, 11 July 2014

It's almost 2am in London and I am now officially 38. While most women probably will not disclose their age on the worldwide web, I really don't mind. Age is just a number as they say. Age is basically what you make out of it. In fact, I am very proud to be in my late thirties. And if you look at the photo below, you will understand why. :)

Since I will be turning 40 in two years, I thought I would challenge myself so I made a list of 40 things that I want to do before my big 4-0. This is not a bucket list as such (or maybe it is). It's just  a list of things that I have always wanted to do but never got the chance to do. At the same time there are a few on my list that I just recently thought of doing. I know I may not be able to cross all of them off before then, but at least I can say that I have tried.

So, here is my list:

1. Learn how to swim
2. Learn how to drive
3. Experience Graduation in the UK 
5. Run in UP Diliman
6. Learn to Ski
7. See the Northern Lights in Iceland
8. Run a Marathon abroad
9. Write a book
10. Have my own Art Exhibition
11. Learn Martial Arts
12. Visit Cambodia and/or Vietnam
13. Learn another language
14. Go camping
15. Learn Fencing
16. Watch Kris TV live
17. Learn how to pole dance
18. Learn how to play the violin
19. Be a motivational speaker 
20. Be a Humanitarian Volunteer
21. Learn how to cook at least one main dish from 5 different countries 
22. Horse back riding
23. Watch Tour de France in Mont St Michel
24. Read at least 24 books
25. Road trip to Italy and see the sunflowers
26. Watch Sarah Geronimo and/or The Killers in concert
27. Watch The Championships in Wimbledon
28. Zip lining
29. Mud Run
30. Sailing
31. Climb a mountain
32. Visit Pooh corner
33. Find the best cheese roll in London or learn how to make it
34. Medical Mission
35. Watch an Opera
36. Cycle around London 
37. Stay in a Monastery 
38. Run in 5 major parks in London
39. Ask 5 "guys in light blue shirt" to give me 3 challenges each
40. Continue to inspire people and make my dreams come true.

I guess I am ready to take on the challenge.

tintin x

Volunteerism: Hands Up for Health

Friday, 4 July 2014

Most of my friends can vouch for my passion in volunteerism. When I moved to London, I have been in constant search for organizations that I can volunteer with. But I really didn't need to look far as the opportunity was right at my doorstep. One day at work, I searched for volunteer work on the intranet and Hands Up for Health came up. After reading a few information about the progaramme, I knew I have found the perfect place to volunteer. So I immediately emailed the programme manager, Dr. Beth Thomas and it was not long until I had my first "go" at Hands Up for Health.

Hands Up for Health aims to provide young people (from Lambeth and Southwark) a hands-on experience in dealing with true to life situations.  Young learners get the chance to care for patients (in the form of talking and breathing mannequins). This way, they get an insight of what really goes on in the hospital. Hands Up for Health provides experience to young pupils that helps "promote health, science and healthcare careers". 

The amazing work that this organization does to educate pupils at such a young age about healthcare inspired me to volunteer the second time around. 

The training took place at the Simulation and Interactive Learning (SaIL) Centre at St Thomas Hospital. I arrived at the centre early enough for the team briefing led by Dr. Thomas. As the group of pupils were running late, I had the opportunity to take some photos so I can share with you how the training centre looks like.

As I mentioned earlier, there are mannequins and they are life-sized ones.

This is a breathing and talking mannequin. As you can see, the area is set up as it is in a hospital ward.

One of the work stations where the pupils can be shown how to take and give blood.

Work Station

The day's simulation was on Basic Life Support (BLS). The pupils were given a scenario by the facilitators (volunteers). I was the actor and played as the person who called for help because my friend "Jeff" collapsed on the floor. As soon as the pupils arrived at the scene, they took over and I was so amazed at how much knowledge and skills they had. They maybe 15-17 year olds, but they certainly knew how to deliver a life-saving care to the patient.

They dealt with the situation as if they were dealing with a real life situation. They certainly knew how to assess the patient for airway, breathing and circulation. When they have established that the airway was patent, but the patient was not breathing and didn't have a pulse, they immediately commenced CPR.  And believe me, they performed it like a pro. 

Although we were there to facilitate (and educate), we allowed the pupils to lead the scenario.  I must say that their awareness of what was going on was unbelievable. They were orientated with some of the hospital procedures, good at history taking and confident on reassuring the patient. I could see from their actions that their ultimate goal was to save the patient's life (and they successfully did). At such a young age, they were already acting like professionals. 

At the end of the scenario, the pupils were given a few minutes to reflect on their experience and was given the opportunity to ask any questions. It is really reassuring that these young people are confident enough to help anyone who may be in a life threatening situation. They performed better than I expected and they were very disciplined.

My experience with Hands Up for Health is one thing that I can really be proud of. Not only that I am able to share my knowledge, experience and skills, but I also get to work with amazing volunteers and most especially meet young people who have huge potentials and interests in healthcare. To be able to volunteer for an organisation like this is very rewarding. This is basically one of the better ways on how I can spend my days off from now on. I am looking forward to more volunteer days with Hands Up for Health.

Hands Up if you are willing to give up your day off to something as worthwhile as volunteering for Hands Up for Health. And Hands Up if after reading this you will entrust your life to a 15, 16 or 17 year old who has done a proper training with an organization like Hands Up for Health.

And how have you been spending your days off work?

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