The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Sunday, 2 March 2014

The future

At the moment it seems that I am really questioning the rest of my life.

It all started when I was talking to a close friend who is currently applying to read psychology as well as applying to ballet school. So far she has an offer at a prestigious London university as well as an offer at a highly competitive contemporary dance school, also in London. She was telling me all about how excited she was to live there, and I am absolutely ecstatic for her. All her hard work has paid off. However, it reminded me how much I adore London, too. I've always yearned to study there, and each visit I make there consolidates this desire in me. However, I have only applied to one London university, UCL, to which they haven't yet replied to me. Given that interviews started in December there I am 99% certain a rejection is looming.

So far, London isn't on the cards. I wondered how the others around me would react if I purposefully took a gap year just so I could apply to London universities. They'd probably think I was mad and a little selfish. But then I thought, "Well why would I care what they thought! This is my life, my journey."
My mum was fairly apprehensive; she thought that surely if I wanted to go to medical school that much I wouldn't care where I got in. Every medical applicant has the opportunity to choose the place where they want to study, not just based on the medical education but also the lifestyle attached to the geography of the institution. Medicine at UCL/Imperial is a 6 year course, including a compulsory intercalated Bsc. Six years is a long time for a person to live in one place, and with the probability to continue studying the Foundation years there, too, plus specialist training afterwards. I know I love London. We have friends and family living in different areas that we meet up with all the time, to the point where London already feels homely to me.

There's also an aspect of what the London medical schools may offer that the others cannot. Studying in London gives the opportunity to work in the most famous UK hospitals, not to mention some of the best specialists and surgeons. I still don't know what kind of doctor I would like to be, however I would like to have the opportunity to really sink my teeth into testing out the specialities on offer. London gives me the opportunity to do that in the best places, to see the most up to date and revolutionary of modern medicine.

It doesn't mean I don't want to be a doctor that much that I am prepared to waste a year I could have been at medical school. It's all I've been thinking about since I was 15 and I cannot be more certain that this is the profession for me. I will stop at nothing to one day be a doctor. It's just medicine isn't the only dream I have, but nevertheless the biggest.

Now I'm trying to think of ways I can enhance my medical application. I've been volunteering at a residential home for over a year now as well as working at a GP surgery for over a year, too. I will continue these placements into next year, should I choose to reapply. So far I could only get w/e at a community hospital, so I am currently in the process of attaining some more in some of the larger hospitals in Gloucestershire. I'm looking out for a GP shadowing placement as well. This year I am planning on running a half marathon.  Most universities seek evidence of teamwork/leadership/communication skills, so I am trying to brainstorm as many ways I can broaden this area, however I already feel I have developed this section well.
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