1. Briefly outline your journey from leaving school to where you are today
Straight after leaving school and finishing my A-Level exams in Biology, Chemistry and Psychology I took on a full time job at Boots Gatwick Airport. As much as I enjoyed the money and friends I gained from it, the incredibly early starts and monotonous days cemented in my mind why I had worked so hard towards doing well in my exams and achieving my ultimate goal. After the obligatory post-A-Level trip to Malia with my friends, and a couple of family holidays, results day came and I had my place at Newcastle University confirmed to study medicine… ecstatic! Then came the real work, learning how to cook in preparation for moving out of home in September.
2. One piece of advice you would give your 16 year old self
Don’t underestimate the importance of the ‘little’ module exams, such as those in January. Even when they’re only worth what seems like a small proportion, consistently doing well in those meant that I only needed poor grades in the summer exams to achieve my desired grades overall. It massively took the pressure off doing well in the summer
3. Any stand-out moments of your progression from school to now (interviews, moving away from home etc.)
All the little things that make you realise you’re actually growing up… Learning how to separate clothes between dark and light loads, being able to actually use a washing machine, looking for houses to rent, and signing a contract for a house next year!
4. Best and Worst parts of the job or course you are doing now
Studying medicine, the best moments come when you are able to do things in your first year that people on other courses would never dream of doing. Taking blood from your friends, and being able to chat to hospital patients for half an hour knowing you’ve made a real difference to their day. We are also in a very privileged position to be able to go out into the community and talk to patients, sometimes in their own homes. We get to see inside the lives of real people, something which most students aren’t able to do.
However, when your flatmates are in uni for 2-3 days a week and don’t have any starts before 12pm, and you’re in 9am-5pm every day, it often feels unfair! But it definitely helps to think about it in terms of getting value for your £9,000
5. Describe a normal day in your working or studying life
I usually get up around 7:15am, shower and have breakfast before wrapping myself up to brave the 2 mile walk into University in the cold Northern English winds – believe it or not I choose to do this, there are buses. In first year we would usually have a series of 1 hour lectures in the mornings, punctuated by seminars on social topics such as family structures. After a break for lunch in the afternoon we might have a few hours learning anatomy in the dissection room or practicing our clinical skills on dummies and each other.
Occasionally we will have the whole day to do a hospital visit, getting sent out of the city into smaller hospitals to shadow different types of doctor and take histories from various patients. We also have GP visits, sitting in on clinics and discussing notable cases, and regular visits to a local pregnant mother, on whom we have to complete a case study.
Finishing after 5 I will get back home and rustle up some sort of dinner for myself, most likely cereal. A few hours will pass chatting and messing about with my flatmates, and then I’ll settle down and do some work before preparing for the next day!
6. Fondest memory from school
Being able to genuinely thank my teachers for their help in getting me my grades and getting into University.