In this series of articles, medical students from across the UK speak about their personal journey to medicine. Aparnaa is a graduate medical student at Brighton and Sussex Medical School who started medicine after getting her BSc Biomedical Science Degree
Who am I?
‘If anyone tells you that you are not good enough, never stop trying to prove them wrong!’
During my 4 years at medical school I have been a part of the BSMS surgical society, created my own fund raising project to support the Alzheimer’s society, drawn art for medical education and am currently the president of the Association of Medical Education and Clinical Skills (a peer tutoring program at BSMS led by medical students).
What was your medical school application journey like?
I applied for medical school after high school but didn’t manage to get any offers. High school wasn’t a great experience and I was even told that I was aiming too high and should be more realistic with my goals. I did however receive an offer to study Biomedical Science, so I decided that instead of being miserable and giving up on my chances of becoming a doctor I would get a degree in a subject that I like and try again. So, after 3 years of hard work, tons of coffee and countless hours in the lab- it was in early 2016 whilst leaving the lab at 7pm that I retrieved my UCAS notification of an offer to study medicine at Brighton and Sussex Medical School and a few days later another offer from Southampton. I can’t put into words what that felt like, the fact that they actually saw me on interview day and believed that I was good enough. They saw something in me that I had never seen in myself.
Did having a degree help you at medical school?
It definitely helped in the first 2 years of medical school particularly when studying cell biology and signalling pathways. However, clinical years are completely different to any degree and the skills you learn there are unique to medical school and are at a much higher level. I do feel that a degree gave me the multitasking skills I needed for medical school and also gave me the confidence to push myself and get involved in societies and different education panels as well as conferences. I was very shy in high school but my Biomedical Science degree gave me a good sense of accomplishment and made me realise that I should step out of my comfort zone.
What have you enjoyed most during your 4 years of medical school?
I have learnt that I truly enjoy working in the hospital and doing procedures. Sometimes you will have to be at the ward by 7am so that you can attend surgeries or teaching sessions and I cannot stress enough how valuable this is. The amount you learn in such a short space of time is remarkable. I am a visual learner and have found the more time I spend on placements and the more practice I get with talking to patients the more confident I become. The skills you gain soon become second nature and you truly enjoy every day. I don’t see it as a job because it is what I love to do.
Do you have any advice for students considering applying to medical school?
I am quite honest about the fact that I didn’t get into medical school first time round because I want people to be able to believe in second chances. If life is not going your way, you can always change it by changing your mindset, make the most of the cards you have been dealt. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.
What is ‘The Brush on a Mission’?
‘The Brush on a Mission’ is my official art account on Instagram. I post art based on my time at medical school so far and everything I have learnt, especially anatomy! I hope to grow the page further and will always donate a percentage of funds raised from competitions and product sales to different charities that are close to my heart. It is an entirely self-funded project and has taken a year to get off the ground. This year I have raised a significant amount for the Alzheimer’s society by selling notebooks designed by me at BSMS. I will be continuing the project even after I qualify as a doctor because I think that if we want changes to be made in society, we need to take matters into our own hands and help in any way we can.