Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Not as straightforward as it seemed

If you've been following my blog at all then you'll be aware that I'm not going to medical school next year.  I was pretty annoyed about the UKCAT, but I dealt with that and started looking at Postgraduate plans.  However, what I didn't account for is my friends applying for medicine this year, although I don't think some of them meet the cutoffs for the Universities they've applied for, I'm still finding it pretty tough the idea of them all starting their medicine journeys in 2013 and me being left behind.  This isn't the first time this is happening for me, I chose not to go into medicine straight from school and due to my age I'm now seeing my friends become specialists whereas I'm still trying to get my foot in the door.  I don't regret the path I've taken, I think now is the right time for me to consider medicine and I'm grateful I have other life experience behind me and I think it will stand me in good stead with appreciating just how lucky I would be to have a career in medicine.  I'm not doubting that medicine is a really difficult career, I can tell that just from my work experience placements, but the benefits certainly seem to outweigh the negatives and I think some of my friends who are my age don't appreciate it in the same way I will if I finally get there.

So onto my new plan A, my Masters.  What I didn't factor into the equation is that my other half is also planning on becoming a full time student next year, which sounds great, we've chosen locations which mean that I can apply for medicine the year after etc, but we forgot one key issue....money.  I won't be getting any funding for a taught masters, and nor will I be getting a maintenance loan for the year.  So not only will I be spending the few months applying for masters degrees, selling our house and hopefully finding somewhere really nice to live, we'll also be looking for part time jobs for both of us once we've moved! We hadn't planned on having to work part time whilst we studied and it is very very likely that I'm going to be having my ankle surgery during my summer break after I graduate so I'm really hoping that will be fixed before I start my course and job.  

I've planned for 3 years for what would happen at the end of it, and although my plan A/B is a perfectly good plan B, deep down it wasn't what I was hoping would happen I don't think. I'm sort of sad coming to terms with the whole waiting at least another year to start medicine.  However, I need to tell myself to stop moping and to get on with my uni work and GAMSAT revision ready for March!  I'm reading lots, but it doesn't feel like my "work mode" has truly kicked back in since I messed up the UKCAT!  I'll snap out of it, everyone has to fail something in their life I guess, its just never happened to me before - silly I know.  I just really really want a future in medicine, I won't give up, but I am still sulking a little bit I'm afraid to admit!  

Anyway, I'm going to get on with some uni work and write my personal statement for my MSc application!  Onwards and upwards as they say!

Friday, 5 October 2012

Enter Plan B

So this month didn't go to plan at all.  As you all know I was due to take the dreaded GAMSAT. I knew it wouldn't go well, I was incredibly unprepared and it was always going to just be a trial run.  However, the morning of the exam I woke up at about 4:00am sneezing my head off. Constantly.  Until about 6:30am when I got up, had a bath, got ready to leave, when suddenly I realised that I was being a little silly.  Not only was I feeling like death warmed up (I'm really really not a fan of colds!), my throat felt like I was swallowing razorblades, but I STILL couldn't stop sneezing. I'd taken piriton, tried hot lemon water, but nothing was working, but I realised that if I went and sneezed my way through the entire day, I would distract everyone else in the room, the people who were not there for a trial run, would be utterly aggravated by my incessant AAAACHOOOing.  I didn't want to ruin anyone else's chances of getting a med school place by being a distraction, so I went back to bed for the day.  Plus I told myself, I was only going to put George's down if I felt the day went well (which I was almost 100% sure it would not) plus I still had my UKCAT to do, excellent, right decision.

My UKCAT was a couple of days ago. I was quietly confident, I had been getting high marks in all sections aside from QR which was a touch on the low side in all of the mock questions I was answering from books and a website I subscribed to.  More importantly I completed the UKCAT mocks and they went really well, in fact in DA I was only 2 questions off 100%.  When I sat down in the actual test and started doing the VR questions I was pleased that they felt significantly easier than the practice questions I had completed, and although I was concerned that my QR may have dragged my average down a touch, I was quite calm throughout.  When I got my results however, they shocked me, I was no where near the cutoffs for any of the Unis I wanted to apply to. I smiled at the lady at reception, put on my coat, and left quickly.  I was still ok, no tears, until I spoke to my other half (who was tremendously supportive) and realised that my medicine dream was over for this year at least.  What is even more ridiculous is that DA was my lowest score, QR my highest?!  I have absolutely no idea how the UKCAT is marked, I truly can't even begin to understand it if they really believed QR was my highest section, but they seemed to! 

I was pretty angry with myself for the rest of the day, kept forgetting and then remembering and I felt horrible messaging my dad to tell him I'd messed up (even though he was very sympathetic). But after lunch with one of my best friends at Uni, I realised that my plan B was a pretty fantastic one, I now get to choose a Masters at a new Uni and do something really interesting for a year whilst increasing my medicine application portfolio.  So I've spent the last couple of days researching exactly what kind of thing I want to do an MSc in and I'm sorting out referees etc.  I now actually feel quite excited. It does come in waves however, one minute I'm really excited the next I feel a tad sad, but I believe there is a reason for everything! 

Bring on Plan B....its the new Plan A now folks!