Competition is something that follows you every day as a medical student. It all starts at the beginning when you decide that you want to go into the field of medicine. You say good bye to a social life as you try not to cry at how your A levels are going. Once you complete your UCAS application to your chosen universities, you’re hoping that you stand out from the thousands of other candidates who are probably just as good as you or even better.

If you’re lucky enough to get an interview then the excitement precedes the panic that follows as you begin to realise that your future depends on the impression you leave on the interviewers. Even at the interview, you’re competing against the hundreds of students that made the cut to make it that far. Through the smiles that you portray to other students, you can’t deny the fact that you’re secretly hoping that they don’t get in and you do.

If you manage to get even further and actually get an offer, you’re competing to make sure that you get the highest grades in your sixth form so that you meet the offer of the university.

Now let’s say you get the grades and you see the phrase “Congratulations! Your place at ….. University to study Medicine and Surgery has been confirmed” pop up on your UCAS and you don’t know whether to cry or yell with excitement, the competition doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s only just beginning…

Many don’t like to admit that they’re competitive once at medical school. Some even get very defensive if they’re described as competitive. But many fail to recognise that if we didn’t have that trait, you wouldn’t be resilient enough to get into medical school. But I guess everyone’s true colours will start to show as we’re in our final year…

 It’s a shame that there is this competitive nature within medicine. Don’t get me wrong, I think a bit of competition is good. It’s what spurs each individual on to work harder which in turn ensures that we’re the best doctors we can possibly be. But on the other hand, it seems almost contradictory that we don’t aim to ensure that everyone is on the same intellectual level so that our future patients get the best care that they possibly can. I guess if you can’t join them, beat them.


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