This month’s feature is of a first year medical student studying at the University of Nottingham. She wanted to remain anonymous but she is more than happy for you to contact her through her blog (Details can be found at the bottom of this post).
What made you want to pursue medicine?
Truth be told, I didn’t particularly want to study medicine until the age of about 16. Before this, I had imagined being a lawyer or even an engineer. However, History GCSE and Physics A-Level put those dreams to rest (quite literally – I was bored to the point of sleeping in some lessons!) so I decided to change my ideas completely. I signed up for hospital work experience and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The feeling of being able to connect with people and hear their stories had me hooked, so I ended up applying to medical school.
How was the process of applying?
I actually really enjoyed it! Well, most of it anyway. The part I liked the least was writing my personal statement. It took me about 11 drafts to get to the final version; writing and rewriting it until it felt like ‘me’. After this, I had to do my UKCAT. I actually really loved this, since it was an aptitude test and not a science exam. There was very little knowledge to remember, you just went in and had to work it out. I decided not to do the BMAT because I wasn’t applying to any BMAT universities and come on, who wants to do more exams than they have to?! Next up were the interviews, which became my favourite part of the process. I had one in December, and three in January. I think that Lady Luck must have been smiling down on me in my interviews, because although I made some disastrous mistakes, I received four offers by the end of March. I then made my firm and insurance choices, did my exams and waited nervously for results day. August rolled around (painfully slowly) and said ‘Congratulations! Your place to study medicine is confirmed!’. As soon as I read that, I think that I exhaled a sigh of relief that I’d been holding for about two years…
What is your medical school like?
Without wanting to sound completely and utterly biased, I think it’s brilliant! The course itself is an integrated style of teaching. Lectures take up most of the week, but then we also get the fun part – full body dissection! For four hours a week, we get to stand around a cadaver, learning anatomy, whilst trying not to faint! My other favourite part of the course is placement. Every other week, I get to go to a local GP surgery and observe consultations and/or interview patients. The early patient contact is definitely a perk of the course, and I think that more med schools should do it. The first few months tend to be filled with science lectures! Seminars and practicals are scattered throughout the year, giving us an opportunity to work in smaller groups and get to know each other better.
Do you have any plans for the future?
As a first year, I would quite like to just survive the next few years of medical school! Aside from this, I want to get more involved with helping prospective applicants through outreach programmes and also continue my blog. Oh, and another thing – I don’t know what kind of doctor I want to be yet, so hopefully I can figure that out somewhere along the way!
Any comments/ tips for future medical students?
Work with others! In such a competitive field, it is very easy to only think about yourself and how YOU are going to do well. Just remember, everyone else is in the same position as you. Do your interview practice together, share resources and how you’re going to improve. Chances are, you’ll learn from them, and they will learn from you. You’ll also end up making some brilliant friends, feel less stressed and enjoy the application process a lot more (what’s not to love?!).
Check out Doctor2be’s blog here!
If you’d like to share your experience of medical school, please get in touch!