Calvin Christopher Willims Fernandez
Full name: Calvin Christopher Willims Fernandez
Bachelor of Medical Bioscience, 2017
If you are working, who is your current employer and what is your role?
I am currently on a Work & Travel program in the US.
Why did you choose Monash Malaysia?
Monash Malaysia is a renowned research university, with an amazing panel of lecturers who excel in different aspects of science at an international level and I knew that if I wanted to be a part of leading research team one day, Monash Malaysia would be the best university to prepare me for that.
While at Monash, what type of opportunities did you participate in?
I was a part of the student council, where I was on the editorial team with three other people and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had here in Monash. I was also a part of the organising committee for Monash’s first ever TEDx talk, which was a very enlightening experience.
What insights, skills or experience made a difference to your own life or the lives of others around you?
There are so many things I’ve learnt in the past three years that I have been here. From being responsible for your own actions and being held accountable for the decisions that you make to being diligent and consistent in order to achieve what you want, it has definitely helped me grow as a human being and as an aspiring scientist in the future. Yes, the stress was real when it comes to the workload but because I loved what I was doing, it was always satisfying to see all my hard work pay off at the end of the day. And it made me want to keep striving to be better.
Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it benefited you?
I was placed in a clinical lab in a private hospital for two months at the end of my second year and it has helped me understand how life outside of the university’s research labs actually work. It was an exciting experience to feel what it is like to work with patients in a hospital and to deal with real-life samples.
What do you love most about your student life at Monash?
The fact that I have met so many different people from so many different countries; in fact, my closest friends in Monash are from Bangladesh, the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Ghana and Sri Lanka and now I have more reasons to travel the world!
If you moved to come study at Monash, where did you live? How did you find that experience?
I lived on my own for a year before moving in with my siblings. It was definitely nice to have all that freedom but because I cannot cook a proper nutritious meal to save my life, I guess the downside to living alone is that I am constantly desperate for home cooked food. But living alone helped me be more independent and I became more responsible for my own safety and welfare because I knew I was on my own.
Outside work or study were you able to build on your interest i.e. volunteering, mentoring other students, other educational pursuit?
I did, and I still do. I teach underprivileged kids who are either affected or infected by HIV on weekends at PT Foundation in KL.
What is your goal/dream in life, where are you headed to in the future?
I have always had a soft spot for underprivileged people when it comes to education and healthcare, and I know that these things aren’t cheap these days, even for us middle class. But I also know money is important and of course, “the more the merrier”. Hence, why I have a lifelong goal of leading a successful and profitable business venture one day that focuses on healthcare, scientific research and education and hopefully be rich enough to start my own charity foundation that benefits the underprivileged in different ways.
What is your advice to current Monash Malaysia students?
Have fun, be open to new experiences and if you’ve always wanted to do something, do it because university is where it all actually happens. But I will also be honest and tell you that you need to constantly work hard and stay focus because you are responsible for your own future, not anyone else. Don’t lose yourself; strike a balance between work and play instead and believe me, you will have the time of your life!