Choosing to study medicine after A levels is possibly one of the biggest decisionsa student can make. You will be heading down a path that could potentially lead to making real life-or-death decisions, but while you may occasionally be terrified, the positive aspects of the course will far outnumber the negative ones.
As with any new learning experience, you should expect to be a little overwhelmed in the first few weeks. Familiarize yourself with your surroundings and remember that asking questions is not only expected but is widely encouraged. You won’t be expected to understand all of the acronyms being used by the doctors straight away, so don’t feel discouraged if you need to ask for help. In fact, many would say that if you don’t feel a little overwhelmed and unsure of yourself, you’re probably doing something wrong.
When you do start to get the hang of things, it is very important to remember that you are not yet a doctor. Medical terms may start to come easier to you, but be mindful of the fact that you are still learning. Show respect for your fellow students and those who have experience and knowledge that exceeds yours – that goes for doctors and nurses.
Reading textbooks and case studies will equip you with the knowledge and technicalities of diseases, but dealing with patients will require a new skill. Patients are people, and dealing with a person with the disease can sometimes be more of a challenge than the disease itself. Be aware of how you conduct yourself around them and think about how you would want to be treated if you were in their place.
Immersing yourself in medical terms and jargon is bound to take its toll, so you will be forgiven for wanting to take a little time out. As you progress through your chosen programme, the learning will become more intense, which will make it even more important to have an outlet that is unrelated to the field. Mingle with students on different courses from time to time, as the break will do you good.
Studying to become a doctor has always had its challenges, but in an age where so much information is readily available to the masses, prepare yourself to be doubted. Patients will question your ability at times, and undoubtedly you will too. But it is important to remind yourself why you made the choice to become a doctor in the first place. Study hard and enjoy it.
Medical School Entry Requirements 2014 2015