The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Thursday, 11 August 2016

MAKE THE MOST OF OPPORTUNITIES



Now that I am approaching the third year of my medical degree, it feels like shit is getting real. The first two years is mostly about sleeping through lectures, going out a lot and managing to pass the science papers, which have a large emphasis on anatomy and physiology. Now everyone is talking about CVs, societies and intercalation.

I was undecided whether intercalation was for me. I haven't yet discovered an unquestionable yearning to specialise in anything. I know that the pathophysiology interests me, but that's pretty much it! The thing with intercalation is that it is a fantastic opportunity. At my university it is optional; if you want to graduate with just MBChB then that's totally fine. However, it can be argued that having an extra degree can give you a certain edge. It will get you a couple of extra FPAS points. In addition, consultants are more likely to have an extra degree compared to GPs, and right now I do feel that I would like to be some kind of hospital based physician rather than being in the community.

The other benefit of intercalating is that you can do it in a variety of places. As readers will know, I love London. Intercalating would give me the perfect opportunity to fulfil my fantasy of living in London, and so I am going to try and see if I can get myself on to a university's Bsc programme.

Whilst intercalating may seem fab, it's bloody hard work. The assessments can be very different to medical school exams. They usually involve a research project and essay writing. I have spoken to doctors who found doing their Bsc harder than doing their finals. Now THAT is saying something. It's not going to be a jolly year sight seeing around London with the odd bit of learning. Like medicine, you have to treat it like a full time job and put in the hours consistently throughout the year. In addition, you will be awarded with bachelor's ranking of first, two one etc., which does not happen when you are given your medical degrees.

The other risk is also the uncertainty. Would I really want to live in London? Isn't it going to be annoying to draw out medical school by a year? Will I enjoy leaving the clinical atmosphere and concentrating more on the academic, nitty gritty of science? After all, I went into medicine partly because I love talking to people and being in the hospital environment. It is also going to be very expensive. I don't know how hard it will affect my relationship.


However, I never want to look back wishing I had done something. I have always wanted to live in London and if I never try to pursue that then I think it will be a huge mistake.
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  1. I think it's definitely worth giving a good deal of consideration to! I chose not to intercalate, but this was mainly because I didn't like Bristol's options and I didn't want to go somewhere else for a year. The only time I've regretted it was when doing my FPAS stuff - the extra point would have gotten me into my first choice deanery. But then I wouldn't be working where I am now, at a hospital that is the perfect fit for me! Had there been an option I wanted, I would definitely have intercalated. My friends who have done have said it was a good choice and that one extra year isn't a big deal in the grand scheme of things. One of my old housemates intercalated in London and looks to have had a great time! Hard work of course, but then we wouldn't be in medicine if we weren't hard workers anyway :)
    Jennifer x
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