July 1st, 2020: half of the year has passed. Little did we know on January 1st that these first 6 months of 2020 would be so "rocky" and impact the life of millions. Little did I know that within these 6 months, I would shape my eagerness to explore further, learn more and go outside my comfort zone.
As many of us, I lived these past months with a range of mixed emotions: from some incomprehension, fearfulness, sadness to some hope, joy and acceptance. The full resilience program was on the table! Eventually, learning to focus on "what matters most": the care for our loved ones, and our health.
I live normally a busy life - I run all the time. This even got me the nickname Fanny Bunny as I jump from one place to another with a high level of energy. Going into the "lockdown" phase in March, I had no choice but to slow down. "Fine - I can do that too" did I tell myself... "for a few days, maybe 2 weeks!" Well, nature decided otherwise and these few days stretched to a few weeks that came up to a few months. Yet, these months brought me to where I am today - and I wouldn't change it for anything.
As I slowed down, extra-time suddenly re-emerged in my weekly agenda - woohoo! I decided to enroll in online courses on Coursera. The world is your oyster, so I went for a variety of topics tickling my mind:
AI for everyone (highly recommend it, even a pure newbie in this field as me could grasp the underlying concepts - and I can finally understand Siiri)
The truth about cats & dogs from the University of Edinburgh (this led to the realization that my cat only meow back because I make some noise toward her... I've been fooled so many years!)
Global health: at the Human-Animal-Ecosystem interface from the University of Geneva in partnership with WHO and Institut Pasteur.
As the weeks unfolded, a renewed sense of curiosity, and also eagerness was building into me. I had to get out of the hamster wheel for a bit. I was aching for too long to do something with animals, yet I also wanted to keep developing myself and challenge my brain in other areas than what I do at work. That's how I decided to apply for a 6-month unpaid leave at my job. I am so grateful for the support of my manager and the whole team around me who made it possible!
I am yearning to make a difference in the welfare of animals, through volunteering. I am lucky to have found a Swiss association/foundation that looks for volunteers. Check out their website, it is in English too:
I am also eager to expand my way of thinking by embarking in parallel on a Postgrad diploma offered by the College of medicine and veterinary medicine at the University of Edinburgh (check out their online learning options here). I chose the "One Health" program, as it rest on the shared principle that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems are interdependent. Thus connecting my biochemistry/healthcare background with my interest in animals and my love for our planet.
So here's to a leap of faith: July 1st = Day 1 of the next 6 months of 2020. As I embark on this exploratory journey, I have no clue to where it will lead - yet I know for sure that it will open doors that I cannot even see today. I am grateful for this opportunity, and looking forward to sharing some of my perspectives with you along the way.
Thanks for reading!