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From Year 10 work experience to studying medicine at Oxford University

October 18, 2017 | By |

At the time he was a pupil at Wadebridge School with a strong interest in science and, in particular, the human body. He went on to do a post 16 work experience placement at the hospital. He then gained a scholarship to Eton and is now studying medicine at Oxford University.
We caught up with Will to discover more about what sparked his interest in the medical profession, the reality of studying medicine and the advice he would offer to other young people with similar aspirations. He begins by explaining that, while his initial desire to pursue a career in medicine was sparked by watching TV documentaries, it was doing work experience that confirmed his decision.

“I saw a variety of departments, shadowed and talked to lots of the staff which meant I could see what it is really like – hard work but rewarding with dedicated teams doing their utmost to help people to live longer, more healthy lives.”

So keen was Will to pursue his dream, that he applied for a scholarship to Eton College to study A Levels, where he was offered a place and awarded a bursary to cover his fees.

He found his time at Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) very useful with the application process for university, using the experiences he gained to write his personal statement and in interviews. He believes that the biggest challenges to entering the medical profession are gaining the high grades required in exam results and the relevant experience to support an application for medical school.

When asked whether he is enjoying his course, his answer is an emphatic yes. “It’s very interesting stuff, especially dissections, and I have met an incredible bunch of people.” However, he adds “it is hard work, especially when you’re stuck in writing essays whilst other friends are going out!”

He is very undecided regarding his area of specialism but currently feels it is likely to be hospital medicine rather than working as a GP as “it is more exciting but I will need to assess this in tandem with work-life balance at the time”. He goes on to add that he “enjoyed cardiology at RCHT, so that’s what I’d say right now, but this may change considerably – I have a while until I need to decide!”

And what advice would he give to someone considering a career in medicine? He offers the following very valuable insights:

  • Talk to everyone: medical students, current doctors, nurses – they all have helpful and interesting things to say
  • Get work experience and voluntary work in a caring environment to see if you’re suited to it and like it
  • Do a wide range of things to develop your personal skills (volunteering, sports, music etc) both for interviews but also for yourself as they can help to give you a break mentally and physically from studying
  • Keep up your studies – ultimately you need solid grades to get through the door
  • Finally, do it for the right reasons – because of interest and passion. It is very hard work so you need to maintain the motivation when finishing off essays and revision in the early hours, and for the career in general.