Good things come to those who…Wait? Pray? Cry?
I didn’t get into medicine.
Until I did.
(Original post here: https://www.bma.org.uk/connecting-doctors/community_focus/b/roadtomedschool/posts/my-fears-for-medical-school)
As results day dawned, I was convinced that whatever grades I got, I would be fine. And I was. When I saw I’d got AAB, the letters that effectively tossed all chances of studying undergraduate medicine out the conveniently placed window, I shrugged and told myself I’d never wanted to be a doctor anyway. I promptly proceeded to research Anthropology degrees (my original fifth choice) and write a new personal statement. I signed up for open days and planned my gap year.
I moved on.
So when I got an email from my first choice, informing me that I was on an ‘extended waiting list’, I was understandably conflicted. This ‘waiting list’ was a guarantee of a place, either this year or next year.
Because I’m inherently a pessimist, or maybe just too self-deprecating, I refused to acknowledge what this email meant. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, to believe that the impossible had become possible. I had got into medicine. I, in possession of A-Level grades that didn’t quite measure up, had managed to get in. But I did. The person writing this is leaving for medical school in two days. The person writing this has boxes of kitchen equipment and pillow cases filling every imaginable space in my room. The person writing this is terrified.
When you apply to medicine, you rarely give much thought to what studying the actual degree will be like (or at least, I didn’t). I was fairly sure I’d enjoy being a doctor, and that I could give it a pretty good shot of getting in. Whether my subconscious always doubted my ability to get in to medical school, I don’t know, but I do know that I’m finding adjusting to the idea of properly-actually-really studying medicine difficult.
I had no real plan for this post, other than announcing my undeserved success, but I’m kind of feeling writing a list.*
*I say ‘no real plan’ but there was always a 94% chance I’d end up writing a list.
My Fears for Medical School (and why they’re hopefully unfounded):
1. I won’t be able to keep up academically.
This is a tricky one because yes, medicine is a hard degree but I have already got this far. My A2 grades and two tiny UMS marks (my B off an A) don’t get to define my intelligence, what I choose to do with them does.
2. I’m not compassionate enough to want to touch someone’s poo.
I’m not sure any doctor actually wants to touch someone’s poo, even if it is out of love. Doctors do their job because of compassion, and they do the less nice bits because it’s all-or-nothing.
3. I won’t make any friends.
I know I sound like a five year old about to start primary school but – well, actually that’s what I feel like. When this fear clouds up any potential excitement, I try and remind myself of times I have adjusted to change before. I’ve moved city three times and each time has been flipping scary. But at the end of it, or I guess after a few weeks, it is a million times better. However, I will probably feel lonely for the first week or so and that is natural.
4. I won’t get over my needle phobia.
This is a HUGE one for me because it has been a hurdle I have repeatedly had to push aside when applying for this course. Until now, it hasn’t presented such an urgent issue because you don’t need to administer an injection to write a personal statement. You don’t have to slice someone’s skin open during your interview. But I will need to do both of these things potentially in the next few months. I have to believe I will get over it. Surely there will be at least one other person on my course not hugely keen to stab someone? Or maybe not. Maybe they’re all huge aichmophiliacs and go to sleep dreaming peacefully of cannulas and blood tests.
5. I won’t enjoy it.
I love science. I love being useful. I need to feel useful. Studying medicine will, almost narcissistically, cater to both of these interests in a practical and intertwined way. I won’t like all of it but no-one ever does like every single part of their course, especially not when it’s five years long.
So there we go. This part of the ‘road’ is over. See you on the other side.
hey! i'm an 21 year old medical student (currently intercalating in anthropology) living it up in east london! i spend my spare time playing dixie chicks on guitar (badly), attempting to do yoga and turning it up at my church.