To gain the stethoscope
I woke up one morning and thought, maybe I should do medicine. I’m fairly good at science, my grade average has always been high, maybe I have what it takes? This thought occurred in the summer before A-levels were to begin, perfect timing.
I had heard that you need to study sciences at A-levels, so I left the house with the intention of studying: biology, chemistry, psychology and English, and maybe consider a fifth. This thought was soon distinguished when my year tutor informed me that English was undo-able due to the classes clashing with chemistry. So I chose chemistry, biology and history in the end, my limit was reduced to only three A-levels, it was all I was apparently allowed to do in order to achieve high results.
So my A-level years went by, at the end of first year I was told the application process was to begin. At that point I had realised I didn’t even know about the non-academic criteria needed for medical school, nor did I qualify for anything near the requirements. Why didn’t anyone tell me that you’re supposed to be ready a whole year before? Why didn’t they tell me what I was supposed to do, why didn’t they guide me? Everyone knew I wanted to medicine. It was my own fault for being irresponsible. I was mad, I was upset that I didn’t even try to find out what medicine really required. I didn’t even know what the course entailed, how long it was. If somebody asked me, why you want to be a doctor, I had no reply. I had no real reason or no real interest. It was simply a whim.
So at that point I let go of medicine, I applied for medically related degrees at local universities, hoping to find some career which was right for me. Anything close to my A level subjects, I even considered taking on history as a degree as I enjoyed it so much. I guess I was going through a phase o ‘denial’. I was angry at medicine, and I thought I had no chances of getting it and I thought it was way to late. But as I left college and my A-levels were complete and graded, I simply could not leave medicine. It always called me in the back of my head. Medically related information would just come to me, opportunities were offered to me, it was crazy almost as if God had intended it for me. So then I began to research, I began to find out other ways of getting in, and what I would need.
I opened the yellow pages and called the local hospitals, and volunteering organisations. I simply rose at every opportunity in the community to help out. I went to university, joined many clubs and societies and made lots of new friends. My first year into university really infused my passions of getting into medical school, motivated me even. I also met friends with the same ideas and interests, their support was also a big factor in helping me get there.
I now knew that I really wanted to do medicine no matter what it takes. Even if it would cost me twenty years of free life I would do it. And by this time I had enough research, enough experiences to have proved to myself I could do it. Everything I did, I did myself, with no help of anyone else. I had strived all that way, sacrificed so much time, I just had do it. I would not be at peace until I wear the stethoscope in my neck and a scalpel in my hand.
Through my studies from my GCSEs to my degree itself I had many responsibilities, which sometimes hindered me. I comforted myself with the thought that medicine requires people who can handle pressure, responsibilities and long shifts. I really felt that a doctor is what I will be, what I was meant to be and is what god has intended for me.
I watched documentaries and TV series of doctors and hospital life. For a fact the TV series were absolutely nothing compared to the real life documentaries, they felt so real, I felt as though I was stood there amongst the surgeons. My mind really began to spin in the direction of surgery, wouldn’t it be fantastic to physically help someone rather than diagnose and medicate?
Sometimes I would go into two minds, and confuse myself even. I would feel unsure as to what I should do what I could do. This was mainly due to nerves and low confidence. I loved my current degree it was so interesting, studying disease at a microscopic level, learning biochemistry. But for the future, would I enjoy being a biomedical scientist? Having the same routine day in day out, no room for creative measures, no room for intuition, only a soup of logic to thrive on everyday? Limited to only what has been learnt at university not life-long learning?
Medicine or surgery would be different all the time. New faces, new people, new ideas. Acting on gut instincts and intuition, every diagnosis is always almost a gamble. In surgery precision is needed with a steady hand, but creativity forms your unique stitch. I am creative, I’m an artist and a writer and a singer too. I could not lock myself for the rest of my life behind a closed stuffy laboratory testing samples all day, and that too to provide precise data. All I would see it test tubes, pipettes and scales, never a human face apart from the test-result collector. And I love to learn, I love to study, so isn’t medicine just perfect for me?
But before my second year into my degree I had set my head straight. I was going to give it all I could for medicine, everything. I did summer jobs that year, just generally to boost my performance with individuals. I spent most of the year preparing for medical school. I took on mini-jobs at the union to add to my customer-care experiences. I worked for two hours a week at the local hospital as a volunteer all year: there, I was practically worse than a nurse, feeding patients, bathing patients, disposing toilet trays, etc. I also had to keep my grades up and attend my clubs and societies. At home I would help out with the housework too; the year was a hectic one.
Midway I had interview to work as a trainee biomedical scientist in an NHS hospital for a year in order to gain registration and experience. I thought it would have been a great backup plan if medical school rejected me. Plus it also would have shone on my application, working within the NHS for an entire year.
Unfortunately however I was rejected from the post. It was ok, now I had a few months left before I had to put my medicine application in. this motivated me more for medicine, it was all I had left. the pressure was higher now as I had lost something which could have been my golden ticket into medical school. My two best friends had got the placement. I was saddened that I didn’t get it, we had planned our entire medical degree together and hoped to be applying together. But now we would have to separate.
I applied for the UKCAT test, and had sat it by July. Over the summer I began to do my personal statement, I first listed all the crucial work experiences out on paper, listing what I had actually achieved from them. I wrote myself an essay “why I want to do medicine” I explained what I had learnt, what skills I have and why I am perfect for the job. After many proof reads and the UCAS form complete, the application was sent.
I waited so long, every day for a call, email or letter. Finally during my final year at university I was called for an interview. I could not believe I had come this far. I simply could not believe it. I put on a suit and made my way there. I was so nervous; this whole interview would decide my whole life. I was never ever good at interviews. Fortunately that day was my lucky day, the nerves showed at first but after a while I was totally great, I poured my heart out, I practically wowed them.
I got two more interviews and one rejection. I was surprised to have one interview; the one rejection didn’t put me off at all. After consideration, I finalised my place and awaited the younger students A-level results. Then the confirmation came, I was in. I was so happy, I felt so great so light. I could not believe it. I would never have dreamed it so many years ago. I was going to medical school!