An interview with SJC Medic Society Founder, Tom

Posted: 21st July 2020


Last week we interviewed SJC Medic Society Founder, Tom (Year 12), to find out more about why he wants to study Medicine at university and what inspired him to write an article for Medic Mentor magazine.

What made you want to seek a career in medicine?

There are many influencing factors that made me want to study medicine. However, it was definitely not a decision I made overnight. I have always had a love for science, learning and discovering new things, so throughout my early senior school years I was keen to pursue a career as a Research Scientist – I always wanted to publish an article and have my name in a research paper. However, 2017 was the turning point for me as my Grandma, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a few years before, was taken unwell and ended up in hospital where my mum and I visited her regularly. It was here I experienced not just the medical side of the NHS but the care and support that they offer to their patients and I wanted to find out more about this pioneering field which offers a lifelong learning journey and makes a difference in other people’s lives.

What subjects are you studying and how have they supported your career choice?

I am currently studying Maths, Further Maths, Biology and Chemistry. To be able to reach your goals and succeed in a career pathway, you need to take subjects that you are passionate about and enjoy. It is not an easy career choice and you will only be able to succeed if you are able to push yourself in a subject that you enjoy. Many students feel that they need to study science and maths to pursue a career in medicine, but this isn’t the case – I have friends who are taking languages and humanity subjects and are still able to apply for Medicine courses at university.

What inspired you to write the article in Medic Mentor magazine?

I wanted to write the article about teenage opinions of the NHS as I was curious to see if their opinions matched those of the media and press. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of coverage focused on the problems surrounding the NHS and the future of our health service. I mentioned my thoughts to a consultant who I was shadowing at the time and they told me that if you ever have a question then go out and find the answer, so I did just that. After contacting the Medic Mentor team to see if they would be interested in my article, I sent out questionnaires and received over 50 replies. It was really interesting to read the responses and research the topic further. To have my article picked as ‘Editor’s Choice’ was fantastic!

What have you done to prepare for your medic application?

Firstly, I joined Medic Mentor, a medical organisation run by volunteer doctors who provide UCAS support and teach medical students how to become successful future doctors and NHS leaders. I have also done lots of research and presentations about different topics and recently attended a teachers’ conference on ‘How to start up a Medic Society’. This inspired me to set up our own society at St John’s, which is open to all students from Year 7 and above and covers a range of topics and supports students looking at any career in healthcare.

Have you done any work experience? If so, where and has this helped you to decide what medic pathway to follow?

I have taking part in a range of work experience to help support my application including working on Reception at my local doctors surgery, shadowing consultants and nurses during consultations and appointments and spent time at a surgery in Devon where I shadowed a pulmonologists and a GP. I also volunteered at my local church giving meals out to the homeless community. I was due to do volunteer work in a local nursing home. However, this was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I hope I can volunteer here again once restrictions have been lifted. These have been fantastic opportunities, seeing the care system and the role of doctors in the NHS. I am sure these experiences will influence my career pathway once I learned and experienced different sectors of the NHS a bit more at university and beyond.

Where are you hoping to study and is it a specific course?

As there are over 30 universities that offer excellent medical degrees, I am still deciding where to apply for. Even though Oxford sits top in the Complete University Guide’s rankings for 2019 with 100 points, lower ranked universities are still awarded over 95 points so I feel I will receive an excellent education and foundation for my medical career at any of these universities. I am keen to study an integrated course which combines Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Medicine.

What advice would you give other students wanting a career in medicine?

Be confident and keep going! There is a lot of work to do and it can be quite daunting at times, but if you keep working and take every opportunity offered to you, you’ll be well in reach of your dream career. I would definitely advise students to join the St John’s College Medic Society, which has gone from strength to strength this year, and Medic Mentor, who offer a wide range of conferences, courses and resources. St John’s has also been awarded a number of bursaries by Medic Mentor for students who are interested in studying Medicine, Veterinary Science or Dentistry. These will enable students to join conferences and programmes to help them with their application and is open to anyone at St John’s College in Year 10 and above.

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