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doc2doc interviews... dotvicky
What made you want to study medicine?
I'm an 'older' entrant to medicine with a long career in business analysis behind me. I was the first in my family to go to university so lofty ambitions such as studying medicine at 18 didn't even occur to me. I've always been a healthy and lucky person so I'd had very little exposure to the medical profession until I started trying for a family. Then it all got rather complicated! Fortunately, I'm now a very happy mum to two little boys; through a combination of them making me want to 'try to make the world a little bit better' and me getting to see the hugely cool job that doctors do, I decided to go for it. A couple of A levels in my 'spare' time, a couple of attempts at applying and here I am and so far, it's definitely one of the best decisions I've ever made.
What specialties are you interested in?
I came to medical school with a strong interest in Obstetrics (and Gynaecology) but almost every specialty I experience seems fascinating. I hope my final choice will be one with a huge amount of variety every day and enough flexibility (in both hours and geography) to allow me to still vaguely be a mother and wife as well!
What’s been the most important lesson you've learnt as a medical student?
Start projects, revision and tutorial prep early and build in a lot of contingency. (Although don't start so early that you end up having to redo some of it when the inevitable 'extra' or 'revised' guidelines and support come out!)
What has been your best moment at medical school?
There have been many - I genuinely really enjoy going to 'work' everyday. One of the best moments was the first week of my second year; after the first year, which had been almost 100% academic lectures, I got to do a *very* basic history and examination and start guessing at investigations, diagnosis and treatment. It was a lightbulb moment when I could suddenly see the road towards F1-dom and beyond.
And your worst?
That would probably be the very first term when I was caught in the perfect storm of youngest-at-new-nursery-bugs, eldest-at-new-school-bugs, and the infamous fresher-flu; it left me horribly ill and exhausted for the entire term. On top of that, we were struggling financially as we couldn't sell our money-pit of a house and I also felt I was playing academic 'catchup' with all the bright, young things who'd come straight out of school. To put it in perspective, I was briefly hospitalised in the second term with suspected viral meningitis and that term was actually *much* better!
What advice would you give students considering applying to medical school?
Think very seriously if it's what you want; *really* find out what the life of a doctor entails (the hours, the pay, the politics, the heartache and the body fluids to name just a few!) and make sure you don't see it through rose-tinted lenses. If you're still really sure, go for it and don't let anyone put you off. On specifics - try to make sure your Personal Statement really tells a story about who *you* are, don't just string together the buzzwords that you think will tick boxes. At the interview, make sure that you've done some background research into the article you'll have read to prepare.
What’s been your favourite doc2doc discussion of all time?
I really enjoyed the 'Surviving as a Medical Student' ebook which I think started as a discussion, yes? (Editor - mbillingsley: Yes, it did!)
What do you do with your time when you when not studying?
I used to have loads of hobbies but now my life revolves mostly around medicine and my family. If I do get some spare time, I try to read the book for my Book Group and I have just restarted the Mature Medics society at my university. If I'm not too shattered, I love to go running at my local weekly "ParkRun" although I'm definitely built for comfort rather than speed!