The journey into medicine is rarely easy… and if anyone tells you it is, they’re not being honest. Did I always want to study medicine? Absolutely not, and I’m not ashamed or embarrassed to say this and if you are the same, you shouldn’t be either.
So how did I end up with a place at medical school? After studying biology, psychology and history at A level, I knew I enjoyed science and learning about the human body. I didn’t think about going into medicine at the time and instead applied for four biomedical science courses. After starting my course, I realised more and more that I had an interest in medicine, for patient contact and for translating medical research to the patients’ bedside. I applied to my universities ‘transfer to medicine scheme’ where they interviewed 18 of the top scoring students for 8 places on the medicine course. The day I found out I hadn’t got this place I was purely devastated.
“It’s ok to fail: once, twice, three times- who cares, it teaches you resilience.”
Did it affect my mental health, self-belief and resilience? Absolutely. From here, I felt a bit lost, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue with my degree and I believed I wasn’t good enough for medicine. I applied for four midwifery courses and I am sure I would have loved it, however I turned down my offers as they had a year-delayed start date due to applying late in the application cycle. I stuck with my course and actually I am so thankful. By the time I graduated, I had fallen in love with the modules I was able to choose, the research I had been involved in and the extra-curricular opportunities I had.
By now, I had managed to ‘put myself off of medicine’. I had convinced myself it wasn’t the path for me and was forcing it to the back of my mind. With a dad that had always worked in finance and the stock market, I was lucky to have some connections and knowledge in this field and landed myself a job as a healthcare equity research analyst. This is actually the job I am still doing today but it is just not for me. After a few months of starting I could not forget about medicine, the thing I had been trying to push to the back of my mind and ignore so badly. So I took the leap, bit the bullet and applied for graduate entry medicine and am so thankful to have received an offer to study and finally be on the path I deep down knew I should have always been on.
My message for you after having been through this is to know it’s ok to fail: once, twice, three times- who cares, it teaches you resilience. It’s ok to take your time to make a decision, if you don’t know right away exactly what you want to do- who cares, whatever opportunities you take on you’ll never lose anything. Whatever happens, its ok to have a down moment (we are human after all), but please don’t let it define or defeat you. Trust me, you will come out of the other side stronger than you ever thought you could be.
My Tips for You!
- Choose universities that play to your strengths- you might have your heart set on a particular place e.g. London but it is worth researching each university and looking into the entry requirements. This way you can choose universities you are most likely to get a place with.
- Believe in yourself! See the vision, write it down on a sparkly piece of paper, stay motivated and you will get there- it is achievable despite it being hard. I have heard so many people say, “I’m not clever enough for medicine”- what a myth!. I believe there is a difference between being clever and being willing to put hard work towards a dream.
Rosie – The Female Medic
I too felt intimidated going into graduate medicine, Sophie has highlighted this so well. I was scared that I wouldnt be good enough, scared that I wouldn’t enjoy it. If you want to find out more about my fears going into medicine and the reality, read my blog post on this topic linked here.