In this series of blogs, medical students and medicine offer holders share and explain their personal statement so that you can learn from our experiences and reflections. Aleyna is a medical student at Sheffield University.
Disclaimer: Please do NOT be tempted to use our personal statements as a model/foundation/plan. UCAS is very strict about plagiarism, more information can be found here.
Please remember that there is no such thing as a model personal statement. By definition, it is supposed to be unique and there is no "golden formula".
Any role in healthcare is invaluable to the people who require care and are emotionally and physically vulnerable. The joy in the role of a doctor is that it is an ever changing, challenging career and one that I believe will be able to give to me as much as I would be able to give to it.
For me, medicine was a decision I came to later, in Year 12, and so it would not have been truthful to say it was what I always wanted to do. This is also not really what admissions want to hear because it does not give a reason for your decision so can be seen as quite a throw away phrase.
This is not a decision I have made lightly but rather one that I have given considerable thought to because the reality of this role is that it is demanding and high pressured. Despite this, it is rewarding and fulfilling. Something that I feel I am well suited to having a caring nature, analytical mind and resilience regardless of the challenge.
I thought it was important to list the pros and cons of a career in medicine so I could not only show my interest but also that I had a realistic idea of what it held. I hoped this would show the universities I understood the challenges.
The area that I am particularly drawn towards is the concerning rise in mental health problems especially among the young, the workings of the mind being intriguing; as it is intricate yet volatile. This is an even more pressing issue for young people who are under so much pressure at a vulnerable time in their lives.
It was important to me to say what had initially drawn me to medicine. For the interviews, I did research around this as well, to show my genuine interest in this area. This was part of what made my personal statement a personal thing for me and not generic.
Vulnerability is heightened in hospital, for all patients, something I have not only learnt about but observed during a volunteer placement I undertook in Turkey during the summer. This gave me a great sense of achievement that I could reassure patients in their own language, safeguarding and encouraging people to share their problems completely which is so essential in a clinician’s role. My duties were basic - to take people’s details and escort them to whichever department they needed to attend, but it did make a difference. This was highlighted to me again during the training day I undertook in preparation for a four-month volunteer placement as a ward assistant in a General Surgery Ward at our local hospital. I have learnt that in most cases there is no textbook way and that the true role of a doctor is to weigh up the pros and cons, tailoring each treatment to the patient.
This section focuses on my healthcare related work experience. Although I outline my roles it was more important to say what I had learnt during these placements and the conclusion I drew from this. This is why many universities prefer a hands-on work experience compared to just observations. I hadn’t yet completed my volunteering placement, when I was writing my personal statement so instead spoke about what I hoped to gain from it. Despite it not being a large section of my personal statement, I was asked about it a lot in my interviews
A Pre-Med course I attended gave me the opportunity to talk to doctors from the vast spectrum of medicine, confirming that diagnosing a patient is never the end and that compassion and understanding is an essential requirement to be a good doctor. Through talking to a psychiatric nurse, I am aware that a psychiatrist needs to possess tolerance in abundance and a high level of perception in order to handle and diagnose patients effectively and in a way to cause them the least amount of stress. I acknowledge there is so much breadth in medicine, and in reality, I may be better suited to another branch that I have never explored in depth.
I liked to focus on a multidisciplinary aspect of medicine slightly as part of this paragraph as it shows I had considered other healthcare roles as well and found being a clinician better suited to me. Again, I have tried to get across that it was a well thought through decision
The ability to support is a skill I have improved through tutoring in a Year 8 mathematics class, as it has brought to light the different struggles students face and challenged me to help solve problems in a way I had not previously encountered. I have enjoyed the nurturing element of tutoring. As part of the Senior Student team in Sixth Form I feel I have matured and have the ability to take on responsibility and carry through with group led decisions.
In this part of my personal statement I focused on my non-healthcare related experience and how the skills I learnt from these things can be transferred to a medical degree and career. This is important because it is where I could show my work life balance as well, which universities are interested in. It shows how you can be an asset to university life as well as the course and that you can time-manage effectively.
I have enhanced my communication skills and my resilience to work in high stress environments through undertaking paid work in a local functions venue over the past year. I hope that these skills will be applied and increased further in a healthcare environment when I carry out volunteering work in our local hospital. A work life balance is crucial, as is doing something that gives you a sense of achievement this has been a driving force in my school life as well as my commitment to dancing and music.
I had a lot of non-healthcare related experience, so I had to select what was most relevant and gave the most transferable skills. It is difficult get everything you want included and I had to leave things out. It was more beneficial to write about fewer things in more detail to show my skills
I do appreciate that a career in medicine is not an easy one, and this is something I both understand and welcome. Commitment not only to the degree course but also to a lifelong career is vital and is something for which I feel both determined and enthusiastic. If I was not completely dedicated to the lifestyle medicine offers - because being a doctor is more than a job - I would not be applying. I am looking forward to the academic challenges and being able to put into university life as much as I have during my time at school.
I used the final paragraph to sum up my commitment to medicine and that I understood and accepted the challenges, as well as how excited I was for a future including medicine