To this day the question ‘Why do you want to do Medicine?’ sends shivers down my spine.Aatqa’s lucid thoughts at 2:31 in the morning
Wow, this time last year I was just kicking of on this journey; little could I have imagined the situation I currently find myself in. As I wait for my results to roll in on August 13th and having submitted my firm and insurance options on my UCAS application the other day, I thought now would be a good time to update the blog with my reflections thus far .
From sitting my UCAT, where I ended part 1, this journey has been an absolute roller coaster where each step of the way I was convinced that my medical aspirations were over. With slightly above average UCAT score (295 average and SJT band 1) and rather demoralizing BMAT scores ( Section 1: 5.2 Section 2:4.8 Section 3: 3A), I was worried that interviews may not come hard and fast despite the hours I spent slogging over past papers and Medify. It was really the first time I had properly felt that the work I had put in hadn’t come to fruition and I took it quite hard on myself despite knowing in my heart of hearts that I had invested my best effort.
My worries turned out to be groundless, as I was called to interview for all 4 medical schools that I had applied for in December. The process of preparing for interview felt like a massive dress rehearsal. I found it rather ironic that interviewing candidates is the process they use to find out whether someone will genuinely be a good medical student. when really there are right ways and wrong ways to conduct yourself and if you condition your self presentation smartly enough it is possible to force yourself into the former band. To this day the question ‘Why do you want to do Medicine?’ sends shivers down my spine. What a question! Which sane 18 year old knows what they want to do with their life: in reality I think most of us make an educated guess which genuinely revolves around the text book answer- I like science and want to help people- but that isn’t what they want to her, that doesn’t make you stand out from the crowd.
Long story short, I hated the interview part of the selection process. The MMI set up at KCL and SGUL, was like a stressful form of speed dating where failing to woo the interviewers meant your cutting people open and getting snot blown into your face dreams of practice were over. In more than one station I froze up then started spouting absolute BS, and frankly I’m surprised the interviewers listened to everything that came out my mouth because I sure wouldn’t.
But by far the most humiliating experience was my UCL interview. Oh my. I should have packed up and left half way through. This was the interview I had most prepared for,the medical school that was my first choice, yet on the day something was off. As I was sitting in the Wellcome Collection to burn sometime before my interview slot, I felt that I wasn’t myself, I was feeling tight and highly sprung ( more than usual haha). This resulted in an incoherent interview, and the perspective of hindsight a firm belief that what is meant to be is meant to be- some things you can’t control even if you’ve tied your camel with a naval grade knot.
The most ‘fun’ I had was at Cambridge. Partly because I essentially had a sleepover in the same building in which Sylvia Plath once lived. But also due to the problem solving thinking on your feet type questions they asked, I didn’t feel rehearsed and for better or worse I was just my walking mess self. Despite being unable to do simple division, and sheepishly laughing ‘melanin’ halfway through my second interview, I got through the other side. And then proceeded to wallow in self pity on my 2 hour journey back to London. I have never been so obsessed about something in my life. Until the 15th of January I kept replaying the embarrassing cuts of that interview so when I received the decision it was more relief from those thoughts than anything. But yeah sometimes I do think about how I could literally tell the interviewers two things about the spinal cord.
Bringing us full circle to today. With two medical offers and a shed load of time between results day to receive grades from exams I’ve never sat:) Everything is up in the air, I don’t know how my results are going to look but what I can say is that I’ve come away from this process with more mental flexibility around failure and facing adversity. I hope that this was enjoyable, even mildly useful for some of you.
Please do feel free to get in contact if you would like any advice for applications or would like to share some interview horror stories:)