By Homa Arshad
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Royal London Hospital

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Me in 2008, in my second year of specialist training

There is so much to look forward to.  You will meet extraordinary people, hear extraordinary stories and experience so much.  As your responsibilities grow, staying close enough to the clinical work means the privilege of treating patients will become sharper and more meaningful.

Don’t be scared of extreme situations; they are opportunities for growth.  But be kind to yourself, and own who you are – everyone else is taken. 

It’s worth walking the fine line between tolerance and honesty.  Both are needed for healthy close family relationships.

Nature will have you forget the sheer exhaustion of working whilst bringing up babies.  Savour those precious moments, and remember to support your colleagues when they are going through the same.  Listen to your loved ones and pay attention to their needs.  You’ll be glad of the decisions you made through careful deliberation over what others expected of you.

Friendship is precious, but friends will come and go.  Don’t expect too much from people, and you’ll experience less betrayal and disappointment.  When friendships change, let them go with good grace.  Make an effort to spend time with those who show you compassion and respect, but know that good colleagues come in many guises.  Understand that good trainers simply enjoy training.  Don’t worry about a fictional expectation of payback; they are generally driven by the satisfaction of a job well done.

You may feel that nothing worth having will ever just fall in your lap, but sometimes it will.  Do something that scares you as often as you dare, or as much as you can afford to.  You can’t pour from an empty cup, so become expert at looking after yourself and constantly learning more about what you find renewing.

Mastering the art of not giving a flip will help you to achieve a life close to authenticity, but it will make it hard for some people to feel valued enough to trust you.

In difficult situations, the truth matters, more than anything else.  You can lose your way if amiability, ambition or fear take precedence.  As you get older, you will be glad you were less scared to do what you believe is right, and more cautious in its execution.

Recognise that persistence from other people who want something from you that you don’t want to give is a sign of disrespect.

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Me at SICOT in Sept 2022

I’d like to pass on some advice from a few others.  Advice from a bully who taught me more about life than about operating: Don’t forget to look up; don’t forget to live.

Advice from my mother: Trust fate – if it’s not intended for you, you can try everything but it won’t help.  If it’s intended for you, you can try as hard as you can to get away from it and you won’t be able to.  Advice from my son: you need fun to stay alive

Time will go faster and faster as you get older.  Life is short, but it’s worth putting time and effort into your passions.

You will be around long enough to make a difference to many people’s lives.