Skip to main content
KBS_Icon_questionmark link-ico
Walid Anwar banner ;

Beyond the ward: Inspiring future medical students

15 January 2020

Second-year medical student Walid Anwar has always had a strong work ethic and firmly believes he can do anything he wants if he works hard and puts his mind to it.

It wasn’t until he saw his sister have a severe head injury as a young child that he witnessed the “miracle work” surgeons could do and knew that medicine was his calling.

Outside of his studies, Walid mentors’ other young people who hope to get into university.

Hard work pays off

Walid was born in Pakistan and his family moved to the UK when he was one in search of a better life. They eventually settled in East London, in a challenging and rough area with limited exposure to people who attend higher education.

"Making friends is easy – but making good friends is hard, especially when the good ones are rare to find. Crime and drugs are very prominent in East London, so keeping away from it is harder than being involved. This is why keeping focussed and not getting distracted was a constant struggle, and it doesn’t help when there is constant pressure to perform."


Football was a big part of the school culture – something Walid was not initially very good at. However, he wanted to get better, so he dedicated his early mornings and weekends to improve his football skills and eventually made the primary school team, who went on to win every game that year to become champions.

He used the same mindset and dedication to play for GKT’s football team & teach himself how to box, do judo, play cricket, weightlift, and is currently trying his hand at table tennis.

“Talent will only get you so far – hard work and commitment are what will take you to the top. Instilled from my Dad – there is ALWAYS room for improvement.” 

Life-changing accident

At five-years-old, Walid witnessed his younger sister fall from a second floor and sustain a severe head injury. She needed surgery and had a long, but full, recovery. When Walid saw the positive impact, the surgeons had on his sister’s life, he knew that he wanted to be able to help other families in the same way.

From seeing the helicopter land in the park to how the whole road was blocked – I knew it was serious. I was small at the time, but I knew that her chances were limited. When she came home, we had a massive celebration; and that is the impact I want to create when I’m a surgeon”

From this time onwards, Walid had one goal in mind – to become a surgeon. During secondary school, Walid visited a homework club at his local IntoUniversity branch and worked towards achieving this goal with their help. He completed extra homework, worked on personal statements and secured work experience placements. All this contributed to receiving an offer to study Medicine at King’s as part of the Extended Medical Degree Programme

“IntoUniversity provided an environment where everyone wanted to learn and where everyone was eager to know all the extra information the schools didn’t provide. This is why I loved the place. IU has given me many opportunities which have sculpted me into the person I am today – I cannot thank them enough.”


Mentoring the next generation

Having gone through the process of applying and successfully getting into medicine at King’s, Walid aims to help the next generation of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds get into university through mentor programmes with King’s and IntoUniversity.

He sees mentoring as more of a ‘big brother’ role for him and helps give insight and advice about what medical school and university is really like – something he didn’t have when he was younger.

“Helping younger students achieve their dreams is what puts a smile not only on my face but a whole family’s. To have the privilege to be in such a position, I believe that it’s necessary for me to help others who are in a similar situation to me when I was young. This paves the way for another great career and gives me self-satisfaction that I am giving back to society.”

Walid hopes to go on to be a world-class surgeon in his chosen field, as to have an immediate impact on patients’ lives. He also hopes of helping people in Pakistan through building an orphanage in his village to fulfil his Dads life-long dream.


Professor Steve Thompson, Co-director of the Extended Medical Degree Programme at King's College London said: “The EMDP aims to level the educational playing field for students coming from underrepresented backgrounds and to diversifying the medical workforce. It is a cornerstone to King’s commitment to giving back to society and making the world a better place.”

Walid is a great example of one of our students who is committed to doing just this even before he graduates as a doctor. We wish him every success in his future career.– Professor Steve Thompson

King’s sponsors an IntoUniversity Centre in Lambeth who are a significant partner of King’s Widening Participation strategic priorities.

King’s Extended Medical Degree course MBBS (EMDP) is specifically designed for students who are studying A-levels or Access to Medicine at a non- selective state school across the UK. The course offers a more graduated introduction to medical study than the standard MBBS degree and provides greater academic and pastoral support.

In this story

Latest news

Alan Pears

7 August 2020

In memory of Alan Pears

King's College London is saddened to report the death of Alan Pears, Emeritus Reader in the…