What a time to be a doctor. What a time to begin a new job.

Those were my thoughts as I chatted with Jazmin Daniells, the 71st person I’ve met on my quest to meet 500 strangers.

Jaz explained that she had started her new job with the Public Health Unit on that very day. Her job involves tracking and tracing the coronavirus to prevent its spread and offering initial medical advice over the phone to potential carriers.

Earlier this year, Jaz moved to Sydney to complete her masters in international public health, but as the crisis started, she found it hard to focus on her studies. So she moved briefly to Tamworth for a temporary placement, before moving again to Newcastle to take up her new role.

Jaz said she had mixed feelings about working in the midst of a pandemic. On the one hand, it’s nerve-wracking to be surrounded by disease. On the other hand, it’s rewarding to be able to perform such important work.

One of the reasons Jaz became a doctor was because she loves connecting with people. Being able to build emotional connections with people when they’re feeling vulnerable – as so many are right now – is such a valuable skill.