I have been fascinated by the workings of the human body since I first studied Biology. By becoming a doctor I believe that I could apply this scientific knowledge in a socially useful way: helping to combat ill health and promote good-health. I am strongly committed to the idea of teamwork and believe I have the right mix of social and intellectual skills for the demanding but very fulfilling role of the modern doctor.
To find out about a medical career, I have talked to GPs at my local practice and attended a residential Medlink course at Nottingham University. Amongst the specialisms presented, Oncology particularly engaged my interest, for the sheer scale of its challenges. I followed this up in my week’s work experience at St George’s Hospital, where I shadowed a Respiratory Consultant, specialising in lung cancer. I observed bronchoscopies and biopsies and was struck by the skill of the staff, as well as the sophistication of the new ultrasound technology (EBUS). What also impressed me was the sensitive and empathetic way in which the consultant discussed difficult treatment choices with patients. I visited other departments, viewing CT scans in Radiology and identifying lung cancer nodules in the Pathology laboratory. I learnt the harrowing statistic that only 30% of lung cancer patients survive the first year, which confirmed my decision to study medicine in the hope of contributing towards better outcomes.
Voluntary work has offered me additional, relevant experience. For two years I have been visiting a severely autistic child every week. The aim of my visits is to interact and communicate with him without speech, as a part of the ‘Son-rise programme.’ It is fulfilling to see him respond positively to shared play and music therapy. To enhance my contribution I have researched the nature of Autism and the kinds of support offered to children and their families. I have found New Scientist magazine, to which I subscribe, a helpful source of information on this and other topical, medical issues.
My favourite school subjects are Chemistry and Biology. In organic Chemistry I have enjoyed exploring the potential uses of carbon nanotubes in drug delivery, while a key unit of Biology has dealt with the intriguing human immune system and its response to disease. Also relevant to a medical course are my current Maths studies which have sharpened up my approach to solving problems, while my AS English course has helped me communicate clearly, in speech and writing. I have participated fully in school life, being appointed Chemistry prefect and class representative, and receiving numerous prizes, including last year’s prestigious Rosa Bassett award for academic excellence. I also managed and trained a Year 7 football side, which included a boy with Asperger’s Syndrome and gained the Duke of Edinburgh bronze award, which underlined the value of teamwork. This was reinforced by my two years as a Wimbledon ballboy, for which mutual awareness and support were key to a good team performance on court, as I believe they are in clinical situations.
Tennis is my main leisure activity. This year I represented my borough in the London Youth Games. I have a Saturday job as a qualified assistant coach, helping improve young players’ technique and their self-confidence. My idea for an all-night charity tennis match raised over £1000 for Sport Relief. I also get great pleasure and relaxation from music: I have learnt and played the piano for the past 6 years, the saxophone for two years, performing in classical and jazz concerts at school.
I am very keen to have a gap year in order to obtain some further work experience, in community medicine at my local health centre, before spending time abroad in Latin America. Learning a new language and living in a different culture will challenge my assumptions and broaden my experience so I will be able to approach my medical studies with a greater maturity and gain the most from the course.