A BBC documentary on Antibiotic Resistance first set me on this path: I was mesmerised by the intricacy behind science and research. The documentary brought home to me that the human body is an amazingly complex machine, and that medical doctors have the opportunity to be engineers of health. Medicine, in particular, satisfies my curiosity for scientific research, where the latest discoveries have huge impacts on well-being and longevity. Furthermore, I am inspired by the prospect of being able to apply my knowledge of the sciences to make a profound impact on the lives of patients.
Eager to learn more about the science behind medicine, I arranged work experience in a university cancer research lab where it was exhilarating to see medical research happening first-hand. I learned about the science behind using zebrafish as model cells to study melanoma progression and the possible development of new therapies to combat the disease. This highlighted to me that medicine is a career that allows for constant academic development and life-long learning.
Aware of the scholarship aspect of medicine, I have also begun to gain an insight into its application in a clinical setting. I have undertaken work experience in various specialities – from paediatric surgery and GP clinics to radiology – all of which have highlighted to me the essential skills required of today’s doctors. I learnt the importance of good interpersonal skills during a particular GP consultation: the patient came in evidently distressed and emotional, unable to communicate across her concerns to the doctor. I was able to appreciate how the doctor stayed empathetic and composed, making sure the patient was comfortable throughout the consultation. It also exemplified to me the importance of doctors being able to empathise with both a patient’s physical pain and psychological struggles.
The patient interactions I witnessed from work experience led me to seek opportunities to develop my own interpersonal skills. At school, my teamwork and leadership skills have been developed through my participation in a dance leadership course and running a peer-reading program and break time social club. Through interacting with the younger pupils, with various physical and mental barriers to learning, I have been able to refine and progress my own communication skills, discovering the importance of tone, pace and positive body language when engaging with others. Outside of school, being a dedicated volunteer at my local elderly care home for over two years has given me the opportunity to form personal connections with the residents there, developing the qualities of patience and compassion within myself.
Volunteering at a children’s hospital this past year has meant I have been able to further test these two qualities. Additionally, I remain committed to my wider community and I am currently a Youth Culture Ambassador, helping to promote Chinese culture. I have worked on various shows – helping to host in both Mandarin and English – and volunteered as a translator and guide in the disability conference ‘Rehabilitation International’. This led me to become a translator for a health magazine in the US called ‘Ability’ which has given me the chance to learn about the stigma connected to disability and mental health issues in China. Through further reading and my own work placements, I am constantly developing an awareness of the current dilemmas facing the NHS and clinicians across the world.
Lastly, my life-long dedication to pursuing ballet to Grade Eight and personal artistic pursuits demonstrates that I have an ability to maintain a good work-life balance, essential for a life-long medical career. It is my firm belief that my journey so far successfully shows I possess the correct conviction and capacity to be able to make a lasting contribution to my chosen speciality one day and prosper as part of tomorrow’s doctors.
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