Yasmin Jauhari (1996-02) is an NHS Specialist Registrar in General Surgery. She has combined her career and academic studies with extensive travel (including expedition doctor roles) and is always on the lookout for a new challenge (having recently also qualified as a yoga teacher!).
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think back to your years at The Mount?
I came to The Mount from Malaysia, so it was also the start of my life in England. It was a huge step and this was before the era of mobile phones and the internet. (I’m starting to sound quite old!)At the age of twelve, I was learning how to be by myself in a new country and was lucky to have The Mount as that first experience. Everyone was so supportive and whenever I felt homesick, I got hugs. I didn’t even know what homesickness was at that stage. Every thing about it was so novel, but also an incredibly amazing life experience.
What’s your fondest memory of The Mount?
There are so many to choose from but I guess some of my fondest memories were as a boarder and the silly things you do to occupy your time. Once, in the middle of the night on Midsummer Night we snuck out, onto the lawn, to taste the midnight dew. The girls from my year are going to laugh at this memory because every time we talk about it now we’re like, “Oh my God, we were such geeks!”
How important an influence was the Quaker ethos for you?
I didn’t know much about Quakerism before coming to The Mount; it doesn’t have a huge presence in Malaysia. Quakerism was part of my learning about living in England was and I had no standard to compare it to. Now, in hindsight, it was a wonderful ethos and environment because it was very accepting of each person. I was in a new place where everything was changing but I never felt that I had to change into anything. Another thing that I appreciated then, and even more now, is the pace and the silence. I enjoyed Meetings in the morning and having that moment of silence before you start your day. I just never get half an hour of silence any more, that’s not a thing!
Through your years at university, did you feel conscious of influences from your time at The Mount?
It was more subconscious for me.
I met amazing people at The Mount and had good teachers, so I felt that I was able to learn to be comfortable in my own skin. I think many new challenges with medical school and living in London were met with a degree of calmness as I couldn’t deviated far from who I was. The Mount was invaluable in teaching me to be grounded in who I was.
How and how often do you keep in touch with girls from your cohort?
There were forty in my year and through various networks we are all still in contact with one another. I am still in close contact with six other people, and Luce Holden was even my maid of honour.
Looking ahead, what are your hopes for the future?
To be honest, I don’t know. I think because of my background I’ve generally just taken each step one at a time. Career-wise I’m working towards becoming a breast surgeon and I’ve done my PhD research in the subject. But where I’m going to live, what hospital I’m going to be in, all of that other stuff – I have no idea!
I’ve had to adapt to many different environments, and my ability to do this is largely due to earlier experiences of just having to make do with where you are. It actually works out well because you learn that you can be happy in most environments if you have the right mindset. And I definitely owe that to The Mount.
I genuinely loved my time at The Mount. My husband always laughs about it. We visited The Mount a couple of yeard ago, with my friend Luce. We met Mrs Thompson and she remembered us. My husband was like, “This is madness. You guys are in your 30s and you’re going back to your school and your teachers remember you.” I think that’s a real testament. It was an important place for all of us. That’s where we kind of figured things out for ourselves and it was safe to do so. And we made friends for life.