Paramedic in Making!
Alumnus Rohan Gwynn (Class of 2015) is in Paris completing a year-long volunteering mission with the French Red Cross to gain new experiences, teach First Aid and hopefully become a first responder. Rohan shared with us more about this exciting opportunity and his journey to get to this point….
Rohan, can you tell us about your journey after GIS?
I graduated with a degree in International Development and Human Geography from UEA (University of East Anglia) and found the opportunity to volunteer (with a monthly spending allowance!) in France for a year, through the British Red Cross.
My main mission with the French Red Cross is to provide First Aid training in schools and public events, along with supporting fellow volunteers in providing social services to the local community. Having managed to learn enough French, I recently qualified as a First Aid trainer for a one-hour course, and have been able to run these training sessions with children and adults.
After obtaining a basic level First Aid qualification, I have also had opportunities to observe auxiliary emergency ambulance shifts, by working alongside the Parisian fire brigade. This has inspired me to pursue a new goal of becoming a qualified first responder before my mission ends here in Paris. After my year in France, I’ve decided to apply to university again to study paramedic science and become a qualified paramedic in the UK as a career.
What has motivated you to become a Paramedic?
My main motivation is to have a direct impact on helping people in need. To be able to have the skills, confidence and positive mindset to treat patients and make their day even just a little better is really appealing to me.
Having already experienced the rewards of helping sick people through my experiences with the French Red Cross ambulance service, really inspired me to pursue such a career full-time. The diversity of the role and the potential opportunities to progress towards working on air ambulances or Search and Rescue is definitely another incentive. The role of a paramedic involves upholding certain values similar to those of the Red Cross, notably impartiality, neutrality and humanity – all of which I strongly believe in. Lastly, I’m an active person: I’m not someone who can sit behind a desk all day, so becoming a paramedic seems like an ideal career for me!
Can you share some of your fond memories of GIS?
Many of my fondest memories revolve around either playing sports or getting involved in activities at GIS. From my first year in 2004 until I graduated, I remember having opportunities to travel around South East Asia for sports tournaments, such as FOBISSEA and SEASAC, and for Discovery Week at the end of each year.
Getting involved with charity events such as Movember, the 24 Hour Race and several mufti days were also incredible experiences that I believe developed my passion to help people in need. Getting involved with the International Award, for example, enabled me to step out of my comfort zone and become more resilient and resourceful. On the academic side of things, there were always ups and downs – especially when struggling to comprehend certain concepts. However, I was fortunate enough to have great support from my teachers who would take the time after school hours to help me when needed. I am truly grateful for those who encouraged me to try my hardest, especially throughout A levels when the pressure of university loomed.
Sixth Form was my favourite part of life at GIS: I loved having more freedom, focusing on the subjects that I was interested in, and being more involved in school events. I will always have memories of hanging out in the Sixth Form common room with my friends (occasionally studying), and trying to decide the all-important question of what to eat for lunch! The close friends that I made throughout my 11 years at GIS will undoubtedly last a lifetime, even if we may end up all over the world.
Is there anybody you would like to thank?
I’d like to thank all the teachers as well as sports staff who I had the pleasure of learning from throughout most of my childhood in GIS. Without having such opportunities at this school and the support from the amazing staff, I don’t think I would be sitting here in Paris working with one of the largest humanitarian organisation in the world.
Finally, do you have any advice for current students?
- Step out of your comfort zone: you will be amazed by what you’re able to achieve!
- Don’t worry if you have no idea about what career you want to pursue yet – it took me 4 years and a degree to finally find something I’m passionate about!
- Get involved in something that interests you.
- Experiences are just as important as grades.