How telling jokes changed my life

Picture by Tim Cuff 29 4 2004 GP Vik Mohan at Exeter University's Student Health Centre, in Devon.

Dr Vik Mohan
GP at Exeter Student Health Centre
and Trustee for YAHT

How telling jokes changed my life

I was about 14 years old when I discovered drama. Up until that point school wasn’t easy. I was enthusiastic and loved to learn, but that made me unpopular. Outside of the classroom I was shy and careworn, with a limited number of friends. Having dabbled in “performance” in one way or another for many years (I daren’t call it “performing art”!) I auditioned for the big school play, and landed quite an important male role.
Life changed. Dramatically! I immersed myself in the creative process of preparing for the play. I felt alive and excited, I grew immeasurably in confidence, I developed wonderful lasting friendships and without really realising it I had developed all sorts of transferrable skills.

As university approached, my love affair with drama was such that I was genuinely tempted to apply to drama school. “Good sense” got the better of me and I found myself studying medicine. Feeling like a small fish in a very big pond, I was once again at risk of retreating into my shell, and becoming an overly conscientious medical student.  I saw an audition for a comedy show, and secured a place in the comedy troupe.

The change was once again dramatic. I had found an outlet for my creative side, and I had a ball! During the time I was at university we created all sorts of comedy, went on to perform in lots of different venues, and probably had the most fun I’ve had, ever! And of course, no doubt all of that “building confidence/developing new skills/realising potential” stuff was happening too, but I was focussed on performing comedy.
Had I not discovered drama, I would have been on a very different journey to the one I’m on now.

YAHT is about supporting other young people who would benefit from the sorts of opportunities that were so pivotal for me. I’m excited to be a part of this important initiative, and to see what amazing journeys our young people will embark upon.