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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


  1. I couldn't even apply for medicine in the final year of my BSc (wasn't predicted a 2:1) - taking a gap year is so common, in my year comparatively few students started GEM straight after their BSc. Please don't be downhearted, take some time to consider why you weren't successful last year and make the necessary changes for this year (I'm sure you've already done this tbh!). All the best.

    1. Thank-you for your kind words! :) How are you finding med school? Still enjoying the med way of life? x