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Buraq Ahmed

Cambridge | Medicine

The [Randomly Drawn Donor] Crowd Scholar

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From the Trustees

Born in Iraq but raised in Wales since coming to the UK with his grandmother at age 3, Buraq leads scout troops, debates competitively, and even started a tutoring group to help other students in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. In his interviews, Buraq shone as a determined and kind individual with a passion for medicine and personal growth. We are proud to announce Buraq Ahmed as the The [Randomly Drawn Donor] Crowd Scholar.

Strange name for scholarship? Not quite. Any donor that gives £20 or more towards our 2019-20 Crowd Scholars’ educations will be entered into a lottery to name Buraq’s scholarship.

  Subject Area

Medicine

 Area of Interest

Emergency Medicine

 Prospective Uni

Cambridge

Career Aspirations

Doctor

Application Essay

What determines the morality of an action? Outcomes, intentions, or something else? 

The definition of morality is ”Concern with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.” It is another example of how society categorises into black and white boxes. I believe that morality is not limited to rights and wrongs, but it is the study of the grey areas in between.

There are four moral schools of thought that philosophers have adopted, of which two particularly interest me and will form the body of this essay: consequentialism and virtue ethics. 

Consequentialism judges morality based on the outcomes of an action. The most common form is utilitarianism - the idea that the choices a person makes should maximise human wellbeing. It seems sensible to base ethics on the consequences of what we do since we usually make decisions about what to do by considering the results produced, naturally seeking happiness. Taking this school of thought to the extreme highlights the grey nature of morality. If by killing an innocent person, we can save the lives of 5 others, then a consequentialist would prioritise the needs of the many over the individual, thus justifying murder, an otherwise inherently immoral act.

Unlike the other ideologies, Virtue ethics has no categorical imperative or principle of utility, but rather focuses on character, emphasizing actions and being good as a whole. Aristotle defined being virtuous as “doing the right thing, at the right time, toward the right people.” The vagueness of this is likely to leave people unsure as of what to do in situations because identifying and following a virtuous act is often easier said than done. The virtuous decision is commonly defined as the “golden medium” between the extremes of deficiency and excess. In the practical context of healthcare professionals, when breaking bad news, the idea of “honesty” lies in between brutal honesty and not saying things that need to be said. Once again, it is the subjectivity of finding this “golden medium” that often makes being virtuous difficult.

In modern times, the positive attributes of each of the main schools of thought have been distilled to form the four pillars of ethics (autonomy, justice, beneficence and non-maleficence.) This framework is often used in medicine to determine the right course of action and is arguably the determinant in the morality of actions.

Currently, when we discuss morals, we present arguments in support of our viewpoint, trying to convince the reader that ours are more convincing, not necessarily “the absolute truth.” This is because morality does not lend itself to the truth found in science, where conclusions are supported by objective data, but it is a case of subjectivity. However, a degree of objectivity about how to behave is needed for certainty within effectively functioning societies. With a little more thought people will accept that there must be some objective and moral principles. For example, the idea that rape is wrong isn’t subjective or a matter of opinion. The difficulty is in where the line between objectivity and subjectivity is what is in fact drawn within moral dilemmas.



Why Crowd Scholar?

Arriving in the UK as an asylum seeker with a degenerative hip condition stripped away my chances of having a “normal” childhood. With my parents left behind in war-torn Iraq, my grandmother did all that she could to put me through school and ensure I obtain the best medical treatment possible despite her own disability, lack of language and money.

I am immensely grateful for these experiences as they have shaped who I am today - sparking my desire to read Medicine and my motivation to push myself so that my actions can render my grandmother’s sacrifices worthwhile. 

Through my GCSE grades, I was able to obtain a full scholarship to a leading sixth form college. This opportunity allowed me to surround myself with high achieving, financially well off individuals whom I would have otherwise been unable to meet. Despite a recent total hip replacement, I was lucky enough to obtain a conditional offer to study at the University of Cambridge, an achievement furthered by the fact that I am the first in my family to go to university.

Crowd Scholars offers me the possibility of being able to attend university without having to worry about student debt, and thus make the most out of the six years ahead. This scholarship can give me the platform to not just fulfil my dream of becoming a doctor, but take it further so that I can benefit wider society and the people around m



Biology (A*)

A Level

Chemistry (A*)

A Level

Economics (A*)

A Level

Mathematics (A*)

A Level

Arabic (A*)

GCSE

Biology (A*)

GCSE

Business Studies (A*)

GCSE

Chemistry (A*)

GCSE

Economics (A*)

GCSE

English Language (A*)

GCSE

English Literature (A*)

GCSE

Further Mathematics (A*)

GCSE

Geography (A*)

GCSE

Mathematics (A*)

GCSE

Mathematics Numeracy (A*)

GCSE

Physics (A*)

GCSE

Religious Studies (A*)

GCSE

Welsh (A*)

GCSE

Teacher Recommendation

Buraq is a student at CSFC and I have had the pleasure of being his Head of House. Buraq has overcome tremendous difficulties, some of which he deals with on a daily basis, and it is a testament to his tenacious nature that he joined college from a local comprehensive on full scholarship.

Originally from Iraq, Buraq travelled to the UK with his grandmother when he was 3 years old. Towards the end of the Iraq War Buraq’s family sold their home to finance the trip in order for Buraq to access medical services for his congenital hip dysplasia which was diagnosed at birth. It astounds me that despite the traumatic start to his life, his continued separation from his parents, and strong medication that he uses daily to manage pain, Buraq does not allow himself to dwell on these difficulties, instead this has made him resilient, determined to succeed, embracing every opportunity that is available to him.

Buraq is one of the brightest and committed students that I have encountered as a teacher. Hisphenomenal AS Level grades are reflective of this, achieving 4 As and an average of 99% UMS across examinations. He has a desire to fully understand every topic he studies, to comprehend the theory behind a principal. He asks excellent questions, demonstrating the extent to which he has reads around all subjects. When in discussions with peers, Buraq speaks with the required level of detail to make complex processes accessible whilst retaining the necessary detail. He proceeds through problems logically, quickly grasping new concepts and understanding their relevance to current affairs.

Buraq is certain of his career choice of medicine, borne from his own medical experiences and his desire to give back to a system that he continues to experience as a patient; admirably, Buraq has sought out a wide range of experiences that have helped to consolidate his desire to pursue a career in medicine. For example, Buraq independently attended the Young Doctor’s Programme in London, and gained insight into studying medicine at university while attending lectures at the Physiology and Neuroscience Masterclass in Cambridge. This summer Buraq was selected to participate in the Medical Work Observation Programme, where he spent a week observing within the orthopaedic department, both ward rounds and surgeries.

As President of the college’s NASA Club, Buraq has utilised his leadership and organisational skills, relishing organising activities for like-minded students, enjoying high-level discussions about current issues, developing the knowledge and understanding of younger students. Buraq is a committed Prefect, always willing to positively represent the college. With both of these roles, Buraq leads and inspires others, but always with empathy, encouragement and objectivity.

His outstanding academic ability and exceptional interpersonal skills make Buraq’s future look very bright in terms of his own potential but also in what he can offer others, particularly within the field of medicine. Buraq’s calm and caring nature, coupled with his inherent ability to succeed, make him an exemplary candidate for this scholarship.

Head of House, Cardiff Sixth Form College

Other students

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Warwick  |  Economics

The 2020 John Bennett Trust Crowd Scholar

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Ruby Chesney-Spedding

Imperial  |  Biology

The 2020 Crowd Scholar

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