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Craig Heath - Keelite of the Month July 2015
2015 Human Biology and Medicinal Chemistry
What am I doing now?
I have been elected as President of KeeleSU for the academic year 2015/16 and graduate this month (fingers crossed) with a BSc.
How did you get to where you are now?
Through the long and arduous process of two sets of elections, decided by student vote. I have spent the past three years of my life at Keele and quite simply couldn’t leave. Besides the course, which was both difficult and extremely rewarding I have also had the pleasure of being a member of a large number of societies and sports, worked in the Union as a Steward and generally made myself known on campus (occasionally through the use of a Captain America shield). The experiences I have gained from each area of this shaped me into the person I am today, and I have no doubt that it got me the position I am currently in.
Photo Left: Captain America campigns for SU President.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Besides the election as President, my greatest achievement would likely be my involvement with Keele Marrow* society over the last two years. We have pushed the society to new heights on campus, recruited a phenomenal amount of people to the Anthony Nolan Register and been recognised with Committee of the Year 2013/14 and 2014/15 at the Keele SU Activities and Volunteering Awards.
* Keele Marrow supports the Anthony Nolan Trust which matches individuals willing to donate their blood stem cells or bone marrow to people who need lifesaving transplants.
And your biggest mistake?
The combination of Rugby and Rowing may have been my greatest mistake. Not through a lack of enjoyment or the time taken up, but because 6 dislocations and a surgery on my knee later, I think my body was trying to tell me something. The regret of never playing in a Varsity rugby match against Staffordshire is still painful, although I did provide commentary and a match report for the 35-0 thrashing that Keele Men’s Team gave Staffs in 2014/15.
What are your ambitions now?
To represent and serve the students of Keele in my position as President, while also preparing to further my own education by applying to Post-Graduate Medicine courses. My eventual aim is to apply this in the Royal Navy or abroad with the Red Cross or MSF.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work in a similar field?
Anyone wanting to take on the role of a Sabbatical Officer should do what they can to integrate themselves into the workings of KeeleSU. This will give you an insight into how things work before you get there, but will also get your face around campus. Anyone looking to pursue a career in medicine should know, above all else, that experience is essential. Finding relevant work experience will provide a talking point in interviews, give a view of what medicine entails in different scenarios and most importantly allow someone to think about whether it is something they truly want to do.
What made you choose Keele University?
I lived fairly locally prior to joining Keele, harking from Cannock in south Staffordshire. Thanks to this proximity I visited Keele multiple times while at school. From the first moment I stepped off of the coach, I fell in love with the campus, the friendliness of the people and the vibe of community. I am happy to say that still endures now.
What kind of a student were you?
In a word, active. Though whether for better or for worse is a matter of some debate. In my first year it was all sports (before my body gave out). I still made time for my lectures and labs, although Thursday morning 9am’s with a commute from Shelton after a Rugby night in the SU were my own form of Hell. Refusing to let injury get in the way of involvement with campus life, I could regularly be seen powering my way up the hill from the SU to the Lennard-Jones Laboratories on crutches, while also finding myself involved with Marrow, Drama, Concourse (Student Newspaper and Online) and KUBE Radio. My final year followed a similar style, although nights out now took the form of donning the red shirt and earpiece of a Steward, and the Library became my home for working on both of my ISPs (dissertations/extended lab reports).
Photo Right: Craig on KUBE
How has Keele influenced your life?
Keele has shaped and influenced me greatly, allowing me to discover who I am and what I am truly passionate about. I have met fantastic people, fallen in love with the beautiful campus and found reserves of strength and resolve I never knew I possessed.
What is your favourite memory of Keele?
Despite three years of examinations and the grilling I had at candidate question time, I do believe that this might be the most difficult question! My experience at Keele has been so varied and been influenced by so many different groups of people that it is almost impossible to pin something specific down. In all, my time at Keele has been a wondrous experience, filled with fantastic people and allowing me to gain a profound self-awareness and boost in confidence. I’ll attempt to pick one moment or memory out though....
From the (in)famous rugby socials, to the equally loud and energetic gatherings of Drama, the organised socials and groups of friends could be exhilarating (if somewhat draining the next day). The peaceful cohesion of a full 8-man boat crew on Rudyard Lake or wandering around Keele Hall grounds in snow or sunshine were closer to relaxation than I would normally allow myself. Japes and jokes with the lecturers and friends in Chemistry were a common source of entertainment and certainly stick as pleasant memories. As do the times spent with those self-same folks on long free Monday afternoons in the Lymestone Vaults pub in Newcastle.
Possibly one of my favourite memories – which may not come as a surprise to a number of people – was a Keele Marrow recruitment session at the start of 3rd Year (Oct 2014). This was my first event as the President of the Marrow Society and we had organised a donor sign-up day in the Chapel. The previous year's events had not been too successful, generally due to a lack of volunteer help and advertising I organised as Clinic Coordinator. That day in the Chapel, however, we had so many volunteers that they had to keep being rotated either inside for counselling or outside handing out fliers and getting public attention. To date it is our single most successful recruitment event, with 69 people signed onto the Anthony Nolan Register. I could not describe how it felt then, and I’m not sure that I can now, but it was quite spectacular.
Photo Above Left: Keele Marrow receives Activities Award 2015
Photo Right: Craig with the "Chemistry Troupe"
What is your impression of Keele now?
Keele is still as vibrant and welcoming as when I first walked onto campus. Academically it is continually improving and the research the University produces is truly world-leading. People and departments have moved around or been rebranded since I began my Keele journey, yet the identity of the place is never lost.
Anything else you would like to add?
To my classmates and peers that are moving on from Keele, I wish you all the best in your endeavours. Remember though, one never truly leaves Keele (i.e. come back and visit me!)
To those still studying or working on campus, I hope that you are able to enjoy yourselves and make full use of your time at Keele.
To the alumni, as varied and vibrant as the campus itself, I look forward to working with you and hearing your stories.
And to the squirrels of campus, thanks for brightening up any otherwise dour day – I could never not smile when I saw one of our furry little campus dwellers!
Photo Right: Craig at bottom right helping to recreate the very first opening day of Keele, 1954, in 2015.