Inspired to give back
Second-year Clarendon medical student teaches maths to community members
Second-year medical student at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Sashana Nelson, is fired up about helping others in her community of Gimme-Me-Bit in Clarendon.
The Glenmuir High School past student, in an interview with The Gleaner, shared that after discovering that some of her own relatives and friends were struggling with mathematics, she decided it was a way she could give of her talent.
Nelson, who tutors Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate pure maths at her home, said it is her way of giving back to the community.
“The community has done so many things that inspired me. In fact, it is one of those inspirations why I’m actually going to medical school, and I wanted to do something that I could give back to them,” she shared, admitting that while she has no money to give tangible donations, she is at least using her talent to make a difference.
According to Nelson, the idea to tutor in maths came about when she realised that she not only had a love for the subject, but that she was actually quite good at it, and that made her decide to impart her knowledge to others.
Since the initial sessions, which have been going on for over one year now, Nelson said she has learnt a lot from “these young people”.
“Sometimes I threaten to beat them,” she laughingly shared, quickly dispelling any seriousness in the comment, adding that at the end of the day, it is fun, because the classes are making an impact, not only on her and her students, but the community on a whole.
KEEPING THE BALANCE
Keeping the balance for Nelson is simply a matter of setting her priorities straight. She shared that on weekdays, it is all about medical school, but on weekends she dedicates her time to her students.
Fortunately for her, she does not need to do any lesson plans as, she said, when it comes to maths, it is a part of her; she just goes to the class and choose a topic.
“I will go there and will teach the students what I know; so I don’t really spend much time prepping for the classes, because most of the stuff I know already,” she noted.
Commenting on her chosen path, Nelson said it was a natural progression after her late grandmother, Venris Brown, had cancer and she often travelled with her to Kingston. While there, Nelson said she interacted with both doctors and patients.
“The atmosphere felt just right and I felt like I belonged there, even though there were so many sick persons there,” she said, adding that she liked that she could go there and help a lot of people.
Nelson also noted that the medical profession is one that ensures you are always learning something new; and as someone who enjoys learning new things, it is perfect for her.
Student and cousin Veneka Nelson, who has been attending the classes since it started, shared that it has been helping her a lot, especially in light of the fact that she misses the Saturday classes at her school, Central High. Furthermore, Sashana, being a Seventh-day Adventist like herself, ensures that she makes up for it.
“In class, she interacts with us and treats us not only as her students, but as family; in the sense that she uses different methods to teach, so that we may understand in teen language,” she explained.
Veneka added that her cousin “breaks things down. Let’s say she is a substance that breaks down molecules for our brains,” she quipped.
As for Nelson, her one wish is that others will follow her example and volunteer in their communities to share their knowledge. She pointed out that many persons are unable to access online classes, leaving them with a lot of catching up to do.
“Use your talents so that you can help others. At the end of the day, maybe some of these kids will be there to help somebody else. So just go out there and do what you have to do for your community, for Jamaica, and make yourself proud.”