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Philley. Biomedical Science graduate. I'm on the graduate route medicine voyage. This is a ~lifestyle blog~ -in which I will drop in quotes unnecessarily.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

(Not) living the graduate (medicine) dream...

(^The grumpy face of someone who hasn't got into graduate medicine...I don't even like wine.)

(^The grumpy face of someone who hasn't got into graduate medicine...I don't even like wine.)

..I didn’t get in. I’m actually super surprised that I’m so crushed, because I studied all the stats and I knew chances were low for getting in on the first attempt. I guess thinking you won’t get in, and literally not getting in are two separate feelings though. When you’ve spent 6 years of your life volunteering and doing work experience, and many more years having medicine as your dream, I guess you’re bound to be crushed despite logic.

One of the worst feelings from all this was the feeling of being lost. This time last year I had completed another summer of fascinating (no purple prose!) volunteering and shadowing opportunities. I had met the most amazing people whilst doing them. I had even got a question right at a registrars debriefing! I was so ready and elated to send off my medicine application...a few months later I had been rejected from all 4 choices and then an important relationship ended. Its such a weird feeling going from thinking you have a solid plan for the future, then all of a sudden feeling that you’ve been naive in that you’ll never make it into medicine.  

I have two choices though, wallow in self pity- which I did, for a shameful amount of time (I basically kept Sainsbury's bakery in business for 3 months)...or think of the positives. I met a guy at the respite centre I volunteered at. At that point he had already been rejected once, and sadly he was rejected in the cycle I applied for too. We spoke recently; he’s just finished a masters and is about to start a PhD. He explained these are things he had planned to do after medicine; sure he was upset about the rejections, but saw it as an opportunity to achieve everything he wants, just in a different order: ‘why not now?’’.  (NB: I cannot begin to explain the magnitude of benefits having a PhD as a medic brings)

On reflection this could be beneficial for me too. I worked all the way through my undergrad often 30 hours+; sometimes I found it distracting to my studies. So it would be ideal for me to make myself financially secure before starting medicine. I have a keen, and probably very boring interest in epidemiology-not to the extent that I want employment in the field, but to the extent that I was always intending to do a part time masters after medicine. It would be a lot easier to do it before. Perhaps a little indulgent, but I really want to travel and learn a few languages. (*cough* maybe hug a panda *cough*). I was planning to do this before F1/F2 but in the recent news of lack of F1/F2 positions surely taking a gap year then would be an awful career choice, it would be much better to do it now. But most importantly this is an opportunity to make myself the best medicine applicant I can possibly be.

Of course I would much prefer to be starting graduate medicine this month, but the alternatives aren’t that awful really. The reality though, is that I still might never get in. I touched on this in a previous post, and my sentiments still stand-I’ll never dissuade someone from following their dreams. It might never happen and yeah its the worst feeling when things don’t work out, but maybe one day they will. You won’t know unless you try!

A man at the respite centre gave me this. He's had 2 strokes resulting in only one working hand, yet he still sawed, drilled, rounded, built and etched this. It puts everything into perspective. Never give up! :)

-Philley x

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

One down, three to go. Just keep swimming...

When they say ‘no good news is good news’ in terms of graduate entry medicine, they are definitely right…I heard from one university; it wasn’t good news. So I may have been in hibernation for a few days...Making a den out of my duvet...Eating a bag of maltesers (read: family box)...I don’t know whether to feel comforted or agitated that the rejection was due to my UKCAT score, and as such they never even looked at my personal statement/rest of application. Although at least I could direct my angst at a range of things I could change, rather than that 90 minute slot of the UKCAT...

 I’m not actually in the ‘we hate UKCAT’ camp, for I’m assuming it must have some credentials as a measure of future medics aptitude for its very widely used (and theres probably a few journal articles on it or something *Scientist*) but I’m not sure it’s the right test to use. I know I’m coming at this from a very skewed and biased point of view though. Its just I’ve known people increase from 600 to 800 in a year, have they become better equipped to be a doctor in that time? Were they already able? It just seems given time anyone can get the greater marks. Maybe that’s the point though, all medics *should* be able to achieve X in the UKCAT before they can progress. Like a prerequisite. Because in all honesty it’s not the questions that are difficult, it’s the time restraints and the stress factor (I’ve clearly have had too much time to rationalise this).  Oh well, I better hope improving UKCAT score on the second attempt is true, as it looks like I’ll be reapplying…perhaps a little dramatic since I have 3 more options so far, but still! (Maybe not quite enough time to rationalise ;) )

-Philley :) x

Thursday, 24 October 2013

2014 G.E.M applicantion sent.

Scrubs are so comfy!

2000 B.C.—Here, eat this root.
1000 A.D.—That root is heathen. Here, say this prayer.
1850 A.D.—That prayer is superstition. Here, drink this potion.
1920 A.D.—That potion is snake oil. Here, swallow this pill.
1945 A.D.—That pill is ineffective. Here, take this penicillin.
1955 A.D.—Oops . . . bugs mutated. Here, take this tetracycline.
1960–1999—39 more “oops.” Here, take this more powerful antibiotic.
2000 A.D.—The bugs have won! Here, eat this root.
-WHO, anonymous

I intended to be more proactive with this blog, but that’s certainly gone awry. I think I worry that what I write isn’t up to a good standard, and doesn’t get across what I want to say accurately. Not because of other people reading it, but me re-reading it. I must be my biggest critic. I just end up rewriting it until it’s definitely lost all credible meaning.  (I guess I just want to write something profound, I think I read that in a book once, Orwell maybe?) Much like my personal statement. I sent it to someone and within the 24 hours it took them to reply, it had completely changed. I think it’d still be tweaking it now if the deadline hadn’t passed.  Oh yep I’ve applied for 2014 entry :)

I’ve strengthened my application no a lot over the summer-which baffles me more why I hadn’t posted anything. In fact, I volunteered at a respite centre and it was reading someone’s blog that convinced me to jump into it. I think I will (yes will!) write dedicated posts on it all, because I find it interesting reading other peoples experiences on volunteering/work experience, besides sorting it out and getting the most out of it can be very daunting. But the tl;dr version: I had amazing times at all of the experiences, and met some great people. My close friends from my hometown aren’t applying to medicine, so don’t really know the process and the angst involved, in fact they just ask ‘Philley, are you a doctor yet?’ every now and again, so it was really nice meeting people who understand what I’m going through, and can help with things like personal statements.  But the medicine factor aside, I didn’t expect to connect with the people there, since my new friend making skills aren’t great :P but I met some lovely people- I met up with one in a Uni I’ve applied to recently as it happens.  I learnt a lot about myself, and improved myself, spending 20 hours + with people will do that I guess! I think I’m a much better person for doing it all.

I’ve since started my role as the Communication’s Secretary for my university’s medical society (more exciting than it sounds… ;)). I was actually surprised at how many people aren’t interested in G.E.M. Maybe it’s a change in trend, or maybe people just don’t know the avenues available for them. I did a quick presentation (and I despise presentations!) and a few more seemed interested, which is good to hear. I actually don’t like it when people think they can’t do something. If you want it enough will you will change your former misgivings and make yourself the ideal candidate, or at least give it a try.  I don’t want anyone to feel like they can’t apply for medicine. In fact, I was miffed when a fellow committee member post-presentation mentioned that  the competition is too high to bother. Yes the competition is high (yep I’ve studied those TSR stats) but if it’s something you want to do you’ll make yourself a good candidate. Plus G.E.M is a widening access programme, ergo allowing more time to make yourself an outstanding candidate. Yes, these people and I may never make it to medicine, but we definitely won’t if we don’t apply. I heard someone say that so and so was ‘kidding themselves’ doing work experience and volunteering etc, and how it was a waste of time. Yes, they might not make it, but applying once a year doesn’t take much time up, and it doesn’t stop you persuing another path for the time being. I know numerous people who are doing masters, and are really enjoying it, but still apply for medicine each year as it’s their dream, and they’ll have no chance otherwise. Volunteering/work experience wise, I wouldn’t call this a waste of time if you didn’t get in. If you want to do medicine, helping people/gaining an insight is something you should be interested in regardless of if it’ll get you into it. I won’t resent my experiences if I don’t get in this year, far from it, they’ll still be some of the most insightful and character building times of my life. Yes, you have to be a realist and not twiddle your thumbs for a year in-between applications, get on with life and strengthen your application. But at the same time don’t give up because your friends don’t think you’re good enough, or you were rejected once. I just really don’t like dissuading people from doing their dream, I think it’s an awful thing to do.

But yeah, re: not getting on first time. If I think realistically I don’t think I’ll get in this cycle. Although I did my best work experience/volunteering wise, my UKCAT grade wasn’t amazing, it wasn’t bad, it was merely ‘alright’. In the end I didn’t sit the GAMSAT as I wanted to concentrate on volunteering/work experience this cycle, I really wish I had though, I could’ve made it work. But I still applied, it’s given me experience of applying and really geared up me up. Its got me into personal statement writing mode too, and who knows, by the next cycle I might be 100% happy with it! ;)I’ve looked into some routes for if I don’t get in: masters, travelling, HCA work. All I’ll be pretty happy with, so it the inevitable hopefully won’t be that much of a downer!

I’ve also since entered my final year of university. Things generally feel different this year. I’m more enthused about the university work side of it for once! Its a funny feeling, hard to elucidate really. But on the course side of things I’m really motivated, all the modules are looking interesting, and I recently had a meeting with the head lecturer who has informed me she thinks I have the capability for a first. It would be very nice to come out with that grade, but we shall see! :)

(Here’s hoping I keep my promise to myself and keep up with posting!)

-Philley :) 

Friday, 8 March 2013

En route to medicine! :)

 “Wherever the art of Medicine is loved, there is also a love of Humanity.
~ Hippocrates

I have been made Communications Secretary of my university's medical society for next university year! :)

(4/5ths) Medical Society Committee 2013/2014! (I'm the girl on the left)

Ergo, my voyage to medicine is so much closer! Yep I'm on the graduate route entry medicine adventure. I'm unsure about a lot of things; I second guess myself at all opportunities, and worry an magnitude of things. But the one thing I am sure of, is that I want to study medicine, and I want to help an abundance of people anyway I can.

 Lots of people on my degree came because they missed out on their medicine offer. It’s a harsh but true reality for biomedical sciences. It’s a shame because the degree is so substantial in itself. Consequently many of my peers have realised the potential of the biomedical sciences route as opposed to medicine. First year it was mostly medicine talk, now it’s: taught masters, research masters, PhDs pharmaceutical companies, gaining BMS status and labs… labs labs labs. Then there’s the few who want to get as far away from science as possible.  Even though I appreciate all the amazing routes my degree allows, I still haven’t wavered from medicine. 

So this month I’ve paid to go on a course that informs hopefully graduates on the graduate medicine route. I’m also going to crack down with UKCAT and GAMSAT revision and sorting work experience.

I follow a great deal of undergrad- grad medicine success stories (http://takeupthystethoscopeandwalk.blogspot.co.uk/,http://grumpybiomed.blogspot.co.uk/,http://thegraduatemedic.blogspot.com/), they're all really inspiring.  I'm not saying this blog will just be about G.E.M, but I'm not saying it won't. This is a 'me' blog :) and medicine is something that important to me.

-Philley x

Sunday, 1 July 2012

What Philley did...

This is me ^
The What Katy did series by Susan Coolidge was my favourite childhood book. In fact, it’d probably still be if Catcher in the Rye hadn’t graced my life, made me don a hunting hat and jump upon its (well deserved) bandwagon . For those who haven’t come across it, it’s a tale of self-reflection; it follows a young girl whom is forced to re-evaluate herself after a tragic occurrence. I’m not saying I agree with all the ideas I presented, don’t worry Amner I’m not adding more insult to (literal) injury, for obedient ‘heart of the house’ I shall never be. Nevertheless the prevalent idea of self-improvement has always inspired me. Whenever I read this series, it makes me want to improve on myself. Perfect some of the lessons from the ‘school of pain’: patience, cheerfulness, hopefulness, neatness, and making the best of things. Moreover achieving my own personal ‘lessons’: being more creative; healthier; reading more; improving my lexis; taking more photos ~actually learning how to take a photo on my DSLR~; stop inappropriately using semi colons…

I'm quite shy in real life, and as such I don't really express my opinions on things. And truth be told I read a lot of articles and discussion boards so have a lot of opinions. I’m hoping this can be a platform for such thoughts too. 

And there is nothing like the internet to guilt trip you into persevering with these goals! ;)

As you can see I do ramble a fair bit, I must work on that too!

Onto the introduction. I'm Phillipa, although most people call me Philley, or any slice of 'Philleydelphia' (Slice, philleydelphia...Oh my, remind me to work on my wit!). I'm currently studying Biomedical Sciences at a University in a disclosed location (I'm ever so mysterious me). I'm 20 years old but I look around 14. And, I'm really happy you've taken the time to read this :)
-Philley x