What is it like to do a Foundation Year?
Why did you want to study medicine?
The decision came in stages, really. At first I realised that I really loved science. I was always fairly curious about things and I really enjoyed getting answers to my questions. The more I learnt, the more I enjoyed learning. When I got to the age of 14-15, and the time came to seriously consider what I wanted to do, I looked into different careers and occupations within science. A lot of jobs were very passive. You would work in a lab, or an office, and the days would be mostly the same. You also don’t often get to see how your work impacts people as directly as you do in medicine. Seeing my work affect people and also the depth of the knowledge you get to learn and use made medicine appealing to me. I arranged work experience at a hospital at 15, and only a day or two into it, I had decided that I wanted to be a doctor.
What’s the best thing about student life?
The people you meet. There are so many fantastic people I’ve met and great conversations I’ve had. I don’t think there is anywhere quite like university to meet such interesting people.The nightlife is pretty good too, if you’re into that sort of thing. Which I’m not. Nope. Me? Never.
What does a typical week look like?
The best thing about the Foundation Year is by far the fact that, in most weeks, we only have 3 days of lectures. Usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. We do have placements (which can be in Surgeries, Hospitals and many different healthcare environments). The placements are usually Mondays or Wednesdays. A lot of learning is also required to be done outside of contact hours, so I try to make time for personal studying. We also had a 6-aside football team called BM6Aside (I know - genius) where some of us BM6ers would get together and play on Sundays.
What has been the highlight of medical school?
I would definitely say that the placements have been the best part of my experience here. Speaking to doctors and seeing them at work is really inspiring and reminds me of why I spend the hours in the library, and why I (mostly) hop out of bed for my 9am lectures.
What are you looking forward to the most?
Growing as a person and a professional. You learn a lot of skills in medical school. Of course you learn how to suture a wound, or what antibiotic to use to counter a particular strain of bacteria. But you also learn how to communicate better, how to work in a team of people efficiently and how to give a presentation to an audience. You learn things that will help you not only as a clinician, but also as a person.
If you could give advice to a younger you what would it be?
Try and pick up a work ethic early. At university there’s a lot less pressure from teachers/parents regarding work, and it’s therefore really easy to slack off and fall behind. Picking up good habits is important. Time management and organisational skills remain a mystery, and I’m no Sherlock Holmes.