My Prison Gap Year

21 years old, standing in Crown Court- before this day, I was a medical student studying at 

Plymouth University from a South Asian working-class family in Northwest London. It was 

surreal as the jury read my verdict, “guilty”. My world came crashing down; there was no 

hope of me graduating as a doctor now; I was sentenced to 2 years 8 months in prison for three deleted messages on my phone that associated me with the sale of cannabis. Six years of work, through school, university, and my free time taken from me in the bang of a gavel.  

Prison for me was the school of life, I had gone from a privileged medical student with a 

promising future to a convict. Given a prison number, a small cell with a toilet and some 

plastic cutlery to get by with. Due to shortages in the prison system, I remember using the same two pairs of boxer shorts over two weeks, washing them in my sink at the end of each day and leaving them to dry. Within my first month, there was a suicide, seven different violent incidents and shortages in everything from clothes to hot water.  

Each day passed, it got easier as I found acceptance and meaning in my situation. Yes, I 

had lost my hope of becoming a doctor, I had lost my freedom and felt ashamed for my 

family and friends, but it was not the end. I stood there in that moment and decided that I 

wouldn’t let a judge choose my fate. I wanted to be a doctor as I wanted to impact people’s lives using my intellect and appetite for learning. My mind searched for solutions; I deduced that I could have a much larger and significant impact by becoming an entrepreneur.  

The definition of an entrepreneur is an individual who partakes in value creation activities 

that result in social, cultural or commercial value. I aimed to embody that definition in my 

lifestyle and actions from that point on. I began teaching on the wing about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and lifelong learning. From this birthed the idea of 3T, an incubator to help empower individuals from all backgrounds. That pivotal moment where I decided to reframe my narrative and focus on finding meaning in my struggle changed my life.  

Upon release from prison, I went onto attain a BSc (Hons) Medical Biochemistry, MSc 

Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship while starting a digital marketing and 

business development agency targeting SMEs and non-profit organisations. My magnum 

opus is my community interest company, 3T Collective; a human incubator aimed at 

providing individuals from all backgrounds with the tools, skills and resources necessary to attain their professional, academic or entrepreneurial vision.  

My message to anyone out there is simple; no matter where you are, no matter how bad it feels, you have a choice. There’s power in realising that it’s all down to you. Accept what you cannot change while fighting for what you can.  

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