Doing good work: Jason, Nariman and Sadaf

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Jason, Nariman and Sadaf were all there when the Rotterdam-based Surgery for Medical Students Society (VCMS) was still in its infancy.

TEXT: Sanne van der Most
PHOTO: © Sanne van der Most

How did you get the idea to set up this student society?

Jason: ‘We don’t spend much time on surgery during the BA. But a lot of the students are very interested in it, just like we were at the time. We wanted to change that up. Our student society was meant to give medical students the chance to see what a surgery-oriented trajectory is like, what can be expected from it later on in a career, and what’s it like to graduate as a surgeon.’

Why not just focus on your own studies? Isn’t that hard enough as is?

Nariman: ‘Yes, it is. The first year that we started doing this was extremely hard. We worked all the time and were around each other all the time. But I’ve learned so much from it. Also things that have nothing to do with medicine but that were very useful all the same.’

Would you recommend doing this kind of extracurricular project to other students?

Sadaf: ‘Definitely. It teaches you so much, and it also broadens your perspectives. I know so much more now about entrepreneurship, about how you sign up at the Chamber of Commerce, how to get people excited for something that doesn’t even exist yet – about how to carry out a vision.’

Nariman: ‘You often hear that students take on extracurricular projects because it looks good on their CV. Of course it does, but if that’s the only reason you’re doing it, then quit while you’re ahead. For me it’s about the experience. That’s what matters most.’

Jason: ‘Medicine forces you – no matter how interesting it is – to think in boxes. I missed the broader vision. I think a lot of students will recognise this. Doing this has taught me how you make something out of nothing – and that’s incredibly valuable.

What’s the future like for VCMS Rotterdam?

Sadaf: ‘We started in 2015, and we’re now entering into our fourth year. The society is now active in every medicine faculty in the Netherlands – we have different branches for each university. In Rotterdam we’re about two-hundred-men big. Looking back, I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved.’

  • Name: Jason Stokker (24), Nariman El Ajaji (24) en Sadaf Soloukey (22)
    Study: Medicine

  • ‘We’ve learned to make something out of nothing’