I am currently a first year medic at Peninsula Medical School.
As trite as it may sound, I have wanted to be a doctor ever since I can remember. And although now, I am pursuing my dream, eighteen months ago… it was a much different story.
In the second year of my A levels, I held offers to study Medicine at two of the best Medical schools in London (I was even recommended for an academic scholarship at one of them!). So you can understand my sheer disappointment when I learned that I had very narrowly missed the grades of my offers when the A level results were published in August.
In retrospect, all I remember of “that” summer and the months preceding it were tears, disappointment and an overwhelming fear that my dreams of becoming a doctor had been destroyed.
I had become a recluse. I didn’t have any motivation anymore. It didn’t help when people around me kept making comments such as “never mind dear” or “who cares, just study something else”. At that time, my grades meant that I could have well taken heed of that advice and opted into an alternative course. But I didn’t want to. Medicine is what I wanted to study!
So one morning, as I got out of bed, I decided enough was enough. I came to the realisation that this event, as heartbreaking as it was, was just a little slip in the road. It was recoverable. I just had to reapply. And boy am I glad I did!
One thing I would recommend for those of you who have decided to reapply is be realistic, and above be clear of what you want. If Medicine is truly what you want to do, then do not be put off by the odds against you or by what people say. I am living proof that it can be done!
As a re-applicant, you need to individually contact the medical schools and see exactly what their policy is on reapplications. You then make your choices wisely. Unfortunately, as a re-applicant, you have less choice on which medical schools you can apply to. But don’t let this put you off. There will be a suitable medical school for you and for your style of learning.
The next thing to do is to perfect your personal statement, which is no easy feat by any means. The best advice that I can give on this matter is to be honest but above all sell yourself as if you were on sale at a meat market! Your personal statement needs to be as individual as possible. You should include your motivation for studying medicine as well as a little bit about why you are reapplying. This can be a good selling point to illustrate your determination and drive.
Many people feel that they are “forced” to take a gap year due to unforeseen circumstances (such as missing grades/ failing to get any offers first time round etc). But often, gap years are blessings in disguise, given that you use them in a productive manner. They allow you to have time for “character building experiences” such as self reflection, travelling, working and saving money. I would take ten more gap years if I could!
Once you have applied, all you can do is be patient. Providing you have applied to a medical school that accepts resit candidates/re-applicants, there is all the chance in the world that you will be called to interview.
The important thing to remember is that you should be preparing for interview from the minute you send off your application. Try to read about current “hot” medical topics leading up to your interview for example. Above all, enter the interviewing room calm, confident and relaxed. Remember that all your dedication and hard work is paying off. This is your time to shine!
For those of you who need to retake exams to boost grades, make sure that you start your revision early. Make a timetable for yourself. By starting early, you not only make time for other (more fun) activities, but you also eliminate the chance of burnout before your exams. Remember, cramming is never the answer!
Remember that nothing is achieved without drive, dedication and hard work. If medicine is what you really want to do, then go for it. Don’t let anything stand in your way… remember that I, along with many others am living proof that it can be done, and that dreams really can come true!
I wish you all the best of luck with your future successes