The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Monday, 15 September 2014

Pre-Freshers Feelings

Okay, so I've got four days until I head off to Medical School. Up until this point, I had no apprehensions about starting university. However, the emotional roller coaster that some of friends appear to be on is starting to rub off on me. A handful of my friends, some of whom I've known for a good seven years, have already left for uni. There were many tears, any compliment or cuddle would cause a chain reaction of sobs all round, except me. I thought I was made of stone! Now, it's finally sunk in that I am going to university.

I always tend to find that in any even I'm faced with, I never get nervous until just before it's about to happen. Whether it's a musical I'm in, an A level exam or a piano recital; it doesn't faze me until 30 seconds before it's about to happen.

At first, it just felt like a physical reaction to the idea of uni; I just felt anxious and scared but I wasn't sure why or what about specifically.

Now, I realise the only part of moving away that I am truly worried about is friendship. For the last seven years I have been phenomenally blessed in having the most wonderful group of friends anyone could ask for. It is a group of possibly 30-40 people (my college was very large), and they're all bloody brilliant. All equally witty, spontaneous and supportive. I couldn't ask for more from a friend. And with this group, I am forever busy in my social calendar. The thought of not having that safety net of beautiful companions whom I already know understand me and get on brilliantly with is quite daunting. At university, it may be hard to build a group of friends who all are so like-minded and loving.

As an extrovert, I feel like my friendships are invaluable. A day without speaking to a friend feels void. I really hope I make a good bunch of friends on the Medicine course as well as the people I will be sharing a floor with. I thought to myself: How can I maximise my friend-making probabilities? And I concluded that all I need to do I is just stand tall, keep a smile permanently plastered on my face, be open and complimentary, and join in in all social activities.

Academically speaking, I have no qualms. I fully understand that Medical School is going to be the toughest academic experience I have yet to experience, I'm not underestimating that at all. But personally, I feel that because this is my greatest passion and I am so utterly convinced this is the vocation for me, my enthusiasm to practice medicine will carry me through. I am naturally very organised and I wouldn't be accepted into the Medical School if the university didn't have hope in me.

I'm fine with the new found independence aspect, too. I am in catered accommodation anyways, and so it's a very secure and sociable way of living. Although  I have to catch a bus to get to my university, this does not worry me as hundreds of students in the student village will be doing the exact same thing.


I'll let you know how I get on.


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Monday, 8 September 2014

I got into Medical School!

So, results day came and went, and what a turbulent yet exhaustingly exciting few weeks it's been!


Come results day, I didn't have a place at Medical School. I got the following results:

A - Biology
A - French (5 UMS off an A*)
A - General Studies
B - Chemistry

My firm choice, UCL Medical School, had rejected me two days prior to the actual results day according to UCAS. My insurance Medical School had also rejected me.

I rang up both Medical Schools, pleading to let me in, but the kind staff I spoke to told me that the decision was final. I honestly wasn't particularly disappointed on the day; I knew my F324 OCR chemistry exam went horrendously badly, which showed in my modular result. I didn't feel that bad simply because I knew this wasn't the end of the road. Somehow, someday, I will become a doctor, I told myself. I just don't know by what means it will require to get that. I think this is something incredibly important that not just medical applicants should remember, but all students hoping to attend university and be successful in any personal endeavour.
Just because you are not successful the first time around doesn't mean you're a failure by any means. 
For me, it was just one bad day filled with dread and fear that scuppered my chemistry grade. The pressure got to me and I cracked. However, that doesn't mean I can't be successful and become a great doctor. If you want something bad enough and you have the drive and passion, I truly believe you can achieve.

For me, the only thing that mattered was the end result: becoming a doctor. Given that I still knew I could get into Medical School by reapplying, I did not feel disheartened. I kept myself busy that day, met up with friends, and then had the best night of my life clubbing. The particular club I went to was crammed full of all my friends from college, some of whom I admit I probably will never see again now. It was so emotional to see all these people I cared so much, practically all of them getting their 1st choice. I was delighted for them. Being surrounded by these teenagers I loved so much was truly wonderful.

The day after was when it really hit me. I felt numb and didn't want to speak to anyone. UCL had been my dream; this university was in my favourite city in the entire world, I loved the course, and UCL Medical School was ranked 3rd in the Guardian 2014 League Table. It was hard to accept that UCL was not for me, clearly. I rang up my insurance Medical School again, and they told me once again that their decision was final. I then emailed the admissions team and grovelled. I wrote about how much I loved the university, why I chose to apply there, what I liked about the course and how I truly believed medicine was my vocation and I was not going to stop until I got to fulfil my dream. I didn't get a response.

Then, on 18th August I was at my college filling out forms for a French remark and to pay for the BMAT. I had no service and needed the course code for my remark so walked out to the college to find service. I then got a call from a withheld number, and it was the admissions tutor at my insurance Medical School, who gave me an offer right there and then to start in September 2014. Naturally I accepted, whilst trying to stop myself from screaming at her down the phone. After hanging up, my Mum rushed over, I told her the good news and we both burst into tears right in front of the college football academy who were warming up on the field.

It was a wonderful day, and only hours later I got on a plane for a holiday to Barcelona with friends. It was the perfect way to celebrate, and I'm just glad that the admissions tutor rang before I got on the plane!

In forthcoming blogposts I am going to reviewing my experience at Medical School. However, for personal reasons I am not going to state the Medical School I am attending.
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