This week, we chat with Darren Lee Yeu Jyn from Malaysia. Darren received an Honours Degree in Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne.
Here Darren chats about his experience as a student and what he has learnt from the global pandemic.
Tell us about your study experience?
I came to Melbourne six years ago and each year represented a different chapter of my life. I started my journey as an undergraduate student in Microbiology and Immunology and was actively involved in community empowerment, especially with the Malaysian community.
I also worked many casual jobs at the university while studying. After graduating, I worked as a full-time Assistant Supervisor at a local restaurant before commencing my current role as a Research Assistant and Lab Manager at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.
This year, I was awarded a scholarship by my supervisor to complete an Honours project with the laboratory, focussing on sexual health antimicrobial resistance genomics.
What advice would you give to someone starting your course?
Put yourself out there! Be vulnerable and courageous. When you put yourself out there, you have the potential to meet people from different walks of life. They are the ones who can guide you and help you advance in your journey.
I also hope that in your final year of study, you can proudly say you’ve made friends from all around the world!
Did you find it easy to find employment?
I was lucky to be offered employment with my current supervisor as I did an internship with the laboratory in my final semester of undergraduate studies. Initially, they did not have any positions available, but my persistence in contacting with my supervisor led me to my current role.
I always advise students that in this era, it’s about who you know not what you know.
What is your job now?
Research Assistant at The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, The University of Melbourne
Describe a typical day in three words?
Complete my to-do-list!
Have you been affected by COVID-19?
I have been keeping myself busy during the lockdown with lots of assignments and learning new skills online. I have also been helping stranded Malaysians get home by reaching out to them. On some days, I feel very unproductive and can get emotionally affected as my family members are not with me during this pandemic. But I have the support of friends here who are my family away from home. There’s also FaceTime to keep in contact with my family which helps.
What have you learnt about yourself?
I love helping people and keeping spirits lifted.
I have been organising a “Friday Night At Home” series supported by the City of Melbourne, which provides information and discussion on topics like student support during COVID-19, racism and sexual health. In addition, you can see live performances! It has been very well received and if you are interested to watch it, find us at Settled Services on Facebook.
Three words to describe your life during this time?
It’s Okay, Darren.
What about the future?
I’ve learnt that life is very unpredictable. I’ve learnt to treasure every moment I have with my loved ones and to go with what life has to offer.
Like the song title goes, Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).
Follow your dream and do what you are passionate about – for all the hours of hard work you put into your passion, no matter what the results are, you won’t regret doing it.
What positives can be taken from the changes in our lives?
That we can make changes wherever we are, even if it’s within your four walls as long as you have the heart and mind to do it. So listen to your heart and keep moving forward!
Thank you, Darren, some very inspirational words.