A year off from full-time work seems like a dream scenario for most people.
Wake up late, wear pyjamas all day, watch Days of Our Lives or re-runs of Married at First Sight – the possibilities are endless.
However, Glen Alpine resident Shakif Shakur said he plans to spend his 12 months off work a bit more productively.
The Campbelltown Hospital junior doctor recently received more than $80,000 in funding as part of the 2018 Westpac Future Leaders Scholarship.
There were only 17 people Australia-wide who received grants as part of the scholarship – which offered successful applicants up to $120,000 in funding.
The money will be spent on furthering his research into public health issues affecting disadvantaged communities
The 26-year-old he would also use the money to take a year off full-time work and concentrate on his masters degree and teaching.
“I start my masters this week and I have a job teaching medical students at Western Sydney University twice a week,” the young doctor said.
“But it’s going to be nice having a break from full-time work.”
Dr Shakur said he didn’t have to look to far beyond the hospital walls for examples of public heath issues affecting disadvantaged communities.
“South west Sydney is an area of disadvantage,” he said.
“I can see myself being involved and working in the area long term. It’s where I can make a difference.
“Public health is an area where I feel I can make a contribution.”
By his own admission, Dr Shakur is “a bit over-ambitious”.
But with a resume like his – before he even hit 30 – it’s fair to say that ambition has paid off.
After graduating Hurlstone Agricultural High School – where he was also school captain in 2009 – he spent the next five years at WSU completing his medical studies.
He hoped his story could also inspire those in the local area, and change the perceptions held by those outside of Macarthur.
“South west Sydney gets a lot of flack but I want to be an example of what can come out of here,” he said.
“All my education has been here (in Campbelltown) and it has been great.”
As part of his year off, Dr Shakur will also travel overseas to further his knowledge about public health and how it impacts disadvantaged communities.
His destination hasn’t been decided yet, though a possible internship at the World health Organisation could be on the cards.
Dr Shakur said the aim was to return to fulltime work at Campbelltown Hospital by February next year.