Surely I can’t be a doctor?

Medicine was always a dream of mine that I thought would remain just that, a dream. I found myself in Cantonian high school enjoying both creative and academic studies however, during early education I feel we are thrust into one or the other with me going down the creative path. I always dreamt of going to university, from a young age we would always drive past a local university and I would loudly exclaim “I’m going there!” with always dreaming of putting that cap and gown on. From high school, I then moved to Coleg Glan Hafren where during the day I studied a national diploma in music full time, but something was missing. I didn’t feel like I was using my brain and with a love of academia I knew music wouldn’t fulfil me. From here I enrolled into night school to study law and business at A-level which I fast tracked over 6 months. I had attained a place at University to study Music Law however, I never felt excited considering how much I’ve always wanted to go to university.

One night when university was approaching and it was time for me to pack up and leave, I was sitting in my room thinking how this was all I ever wanted, why wasn’t I happy? What else do I want to do? The first thing that came to my mind was medicine. I’d always been so fascinated with science and applying it to a healthcare setting but this is me we’re talking about… surely, I can’t be a doctor! From this point, I decided that once and for all I would look to see if I had the grades, from here I found myself looking at Swansea University for postgraduate entry medicine and as the entry requirement list went on I found myself repeating to myself “check… check… check” I had everything I needed to apply except one thing, a degree. I quickly found their associated BSc Medical Sciences and Humanities degree which I was interested in but I decided before applying to see if this course was elsewhere as I’d never actually heard of the course before. Top of my google search came University of South Wales BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences. After looking at what the course entailed and the feeder scheme it had into postgraduate medicine at Cardiff University I was sold.

That exact week I cancelled my university place and dropped everything to do all I could to ensure I was a student on this course. I learnt AS Biology in two months so I had a bit of biology behind me, volunteered relentlessly with St John Ambulance before moving onto the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, working in a rapid response vehicle and in my spare time as a rapid responder attending 999 calls to initiate lifesaving interventions such as CPR. Everything I did that year revolved around Medical Sciences at USW and although I had to complete a short foundation course as I wasn’t from a science background, I feel it only made me stronger in my scientific capabilities and also allowed me more time to mature and grow into the doctor I want to be.

Four years on I can happily confirm I am about to start postgraduate medicine at Cardiff University after having just graduated from BSc (Hons) Medical Sciences and it was undoubtedly the best four years of my life so far. I will always look back to that night I decided to finally see once and for all was I good enough for medicine and now here I am, a second-year medical student.

Sophie Simmonds

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Elliot is a St George’s graduate currently working as an F1 Doctor in East London. As the first in his family to apply to university, Elliot is well aware of the barriers that can be faced in trying to get to medical school. He is passionate about widening access to medicine for underrepresented groups.
 He was the representative for St George’s on the BMA Medical Students Committee, and has done lots of work with local schools and colleges to raise awareness of medicine as a career, as well as working on admissions policies with the widening participation team St George’s. Elliot is part of the @BecomingaDr outreach team and National Health Careers Conference Team.