Medicine – The Big Picture
Posted by MichealH Alexander on May 20th, 2021
So you’re going into your final year of schooling, and you’re super duper set on being a doctor. There are lots of ways you can keep hold of medicine as a big picture throughout this long and sometimes arduous year. By putting some of these points into action now, you will increase your chances of getting straight into med, pump up your motivation over the year, and be an awesome doctor in the future!
People – get amongst them!
Medicine is all about the people. In your career you will interact with others from diverse backgrounds, and it is crucial that you are able to relate to them. Wherever you can, get involved and try to connect with the full range of people around you. See your part time job, your volunteer work or your sporting team as a chance to learn people’s stories and to appreciate their differences. Work on your emotional intelligence: your ability to understand, appreciate and to act on emotions, in real life situations! It will make you a better doctor, and a better friend. Not to mention increase your chances of performing well in the SJT subtest of UCAT, as well as interviews. UCAT Sample Questions
Find mentors and role models anywhere, and everywhere.
You might identify role models online, in magazines, in books or in person. Recognise what it is about them that inspires you. How can you implement these qualities on your journey towards medicine? Draw inspiration from everywhere. Write or speak to these people, wherever you can! Doctors in the community around you really want to help you out, so ask about them about their tips for the future, or if you could shadow them for some work experience. You've got nothing to lose!
Keep up to date with current affairs – especially in relation to health.
As a doctor, it is important to recognise key and current issues in the media as these will be at the forefront of your patients’ minds. Get into the habit of staying up to date now, and think critically about what you are reading. If an issue in the media strikes you, look further into it and see if you can examine the evidence and get both sides of the story. Practice making opinions based on the reading you are conducting, not blindly according to what is being presented in the press.
Bond with other hopeful medics, wherever you find them.
These peers present such valuable support, which will be crucial in your final year of schooling. It can get pretty lonely if you are one of the only people in a group of friends who is obsessed with being a doctor. In my final year of schooling I found it so helpful to band together with others like me, with whom I could rant on for hours about the UCAT, the various medical schools or my hopes for the future. Don’t get me wrong, it is super important to connect with and reach out to a range of people during year twelve, but it is particularly nice to have a few who really understand the path you are on. Organise UCAT or interview study sessions with your fellow aspiring doctors: being accountable for your revision time is so helpful for staying on track, and any collaborative points raised are of incredible value. Keep connections going with those who you, say, meet at a science conference, an open day, or a MedEntry workshop! This support is also great in the form of online communities - try Med Entry forum.
Start sussing out your motivation for medicine. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses, and start putting strategies in place to make the most of these strengths and improve upon your weaknesses. As a doctor, you need to be able to reassess your personal attributes and make changes where necessary; so why not start now? Understand your values: what do you care about, what drives you? Start to form some sort of an answer to the question… who are you? It sounds like an impossible task, but it can be done simply and gradually. Techniques like starting a journal will help! Knowing yourself will enable you to stay in touch with who you truly are during a year that demands you to be a lot of things. It will also help you in your interview. UCAT Questions
Keep a balance.
Don't sacrifice the awesome things you are already into for the sake of year twelve. Keeping a balance is about learning to say no to some things, learning how to find the time for others, and being able to compromise responsibly where required. It is so important to stay in touch with the ‘pie of life’, and as a well rounded person you will be in a better position to help people as a doctor. For more information, check out my other blog ‘Keeping the balance.’
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About the AuthorMichealH Alexander
Joined: September 11th, 2019
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