The Lancet Student

Taking the scenic route

This blog was submitted by Safiya on 14th December 2012.
Tagged with unclassified

As this is not my personal statement, I think it's sufficient to explain that from a young age I have always had a passion for medicine and empirical investigation, so have catered my education and career plans to allow me to pursue that. My decision to become a doctor was cemented about ten years ago, so why, you ask, am I now a second year Biomed student...?

Well, planning can only get you so far sometimes.

I left college with a good overall score in the International Baccalaureate but only secured a place for a foundation biological science course at a sister university to one of my medical school application choices. So I didn't quite make the cut and was left with an opportunity to study in a location I had no desire to be in: in some ways my decision was made for me that I wasn't going to start medicine just then. After a short period of disappointment I started planning how this set back would be turned into a new opportunity, and what I could do to ensure I'd make it the next time.

As it turns out a biomedical science degree was the perfect fit. But why stick it out when I could just transfer in my first year or try a medical application instead? During my first developmental biology practical was pivotal to me realising that it was an insightful and deeply interesting course and not one to take for granted. I observed zebra fish eggs growing and multiplying from fertilization—the beginning of it all, and a beautiful thing to see as it happens. To witness a process that is so crucial to all later developments in organisms demonstrated that I was increasing my knowledge and understanding from the core foundation, preparing me for the field of medicine.

This part of my journey has not only given me the opportunity to learn about the diagnostic aspects of medicine, but I've developed a strong sense of how research into fields such as genetics, biochemistry, and microbiology all contribute to a greater understanding of how to recognise and treat disease. I've learned how to balance intense exams, work routines, and the occasional social outlet (we all know the joys of a fresher’s life) which will prepare my clinical, communication, and study skills for my further medical career.
In my case this route was an opportunity rather than a 'back-up plan' and though it's not the best way for everyone, I've enjoyed the sights and the hidden treasures along the way. It may not be as cost effective, and I'll be little older than some undergrads will be when they qualify as doctors, but I'll be ready and I'll be at my best. I've got to say that if this is the scenic route, then the main road can never compare.

1 comment

Norman L. Beatty on 26th December 2012 7:37pm

It sounds like you will be well prepared for medical school when that day comes. Thanks for your post and best of luck with your studies!