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ss nucleus - Summer 2020,  who are you?

who are you?

I was standing in A&E at 1.30pm on Tuesday, 28 April, the packing creases still in my scrubs. I stammered, 'My name is Zack; I'm one of the medical stu…um…doctors.'

Why the hesitation? Well, my answer to that question had changed dramatically at 8pm on Monday, 6 April. One minute I was Zack, the final year medical student. The next I became Zack, the graduated doctor. An integral part of my identity had been wrested from me and replaced with something that felt alien.

We display our fluctuating identities every day. We don different mantles depending on the circumstances — to my parents, I am chiefly their son, not their physician. To describe ourselves definitively, in order to combat that constant state of flux, we often reach for something more intrinsic such as gender or sexual orientation. Yet society tells us that even these are fluid, not to mention open to interpretation. Where then do we turn?

As Christians, we have an identity that cannot be replaced, that does not vary depending on the context. 'So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith…There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians 3:26,28) Any other identity we hold is superseded and transcended by our status as God's children. How do we showcase that identity as we study or as we work? That question forms the basis for this issue of Nucleus, my last as student editor. [1] Ashley Stewart lays the foundation by setting out for us the theology of identity. Rachel Owusu-Ankomah warns us of the dangers of medicine becoming an idol. We hear from several doctors at various stages in their careers about their experiences of living out their Christian identities. Laurence Crutchlow explores the tricky issue of the sacred-secular divide.

Our regular features explore some wider themes. In Back to Basics, Rebekah Rajiah gives us tips for sharing our faith at university. John Greenall continues his excellent series on how to lead, this time addressing resilient discipleship. Tobi Adeagbo shares her experiences of identity as a junior doctor. Sally Barker shows us how we can rest secure that God is in control in Distinctives. Werner McIlwaine writes about his time Crossing Cultures in India. We hear about one medical student's trip to China, Joanne Charles' time at the York Day Conference, and Matthew Amer's report on Student Conference 2020. As always, we have film reviews this time spanning rabbits / hairs, [2] book reviews on mental health and emotions, and dissections of recent news articles.

'Know, first, who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly.' Epictetus said this as the foundation of all philosophy, but I reappropriate it as the foundation to our Christian lives. Every day, I change into my shiny new doctor's uniform, but above all else I must wear my 'new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness'. (Ephesians 4:24) It has been my honour and privilege to edit this phenomenal journal, and I wish you all every blessing for the years ahead.

Zack Millar is Nucleus student editor and an interim FY1 doctor in East Anglia

A version of this article has also been published in Portuguese on the website of ACEPS Portugal at

1. See? Can't even hold on to that part of my identity any more.
2. You may regard this as my swansong pun.
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