Lessons from applying to Medical School: Part 1

I am beginning the process to apply to Medicine this year, kicking it all of with my UCAT exam on the 20th of August. I thought I would record my journey for my own personal ple(pain)asure or for anyone who wants to know these kinds of things.

It has been a rollercoaster so far, which I believe began in preparation for my End of Year 12 exams. To put it simply I had to pull my socks up. Contrary to what I would have thought, the process wasn’t soul-destroying. Rather, seeing the progress I was making motivated me to continue. Preparing for the UCAT was a completely different kettle of fish. As an academically privileged individual, being average ( and sometimes below average) was a complete shock to the system. I had planned everything out. Watched the videos. Researched the optimum revision time (6 weeks for those of you into those things). Organised a revision schedule on Notion ( Thanks @aliabdaal).

I didn’t realise how much I was being affected by this. Unlike prior experience, my methodical preparation plan wasn’t doing me justice. Football practice stunk. I stopped running more than 2 miles in on the session. I wasn’t reading as much. I was generally in a bad mood. These are some of the reasons I believe my wellbeing became so affected.

1. Lack of reflection

In my experience in preparing for the UCAT, mood highly affects your score. Hence in one section you score 900 and in another, you score 570; I wasn’t seeing the consistent results I wanted. By not reflecting and becoming stressed, I had no control over my emotions or test scores.

2. Social Media

I have a love-hate relationship with social media. But the scale definitely slipped to the latter half of the spectrum at this occasion. Spending time on Twitter instead of sleeping or journalling cut down on my reflection time and left me very tired.

3. Focusing on the end goal

I am a big advocate for having goals as I find that they give direction to the panic of life. However, fretting over getting a bad UCAT score than not being able to apply to the medical schools I want to so have to apply to other medical school and still being rejected, is not good spiral of thought to descend into. I thought logically about it and adopted a mantra:

It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to get there, I’m going to work hard and get somewhere.

My UCAT exam is coming up and I still don’t feel magnificently prepared. However, the main take away point for me from this experience was the importance of reflection in aiding perseverance. I’ve learnt something and even if I don’t get the results I want I can be content with my development as an individual.

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