I set off just after 5 o clock this morning to catch a train to Manchester, in order to attend the Becoming A Doctor Conference at the Bowler Exhibition Centre. Because of this website and blog, I was contacted some time ago by the founder of the Becoming A Doctor programme, which aims to widen participation to medicine by providing workshops and application advice for free. I offered my services writing and assisting with the graduate entry side of things, in exchange for getting involved with the events.
The conference was enormously busy, with upwards of 1000 people attending, including prospective medical applicants, their parents and families, as well has healthcare professionals delivering workshops and manning stands. While waiting in the queue outside, I talked to a few A-level students about their goals and ideas with regards to medicine. Having just finished my first week of med school proper, I was in a good position to discuss applications and offer advice (alongside plugging this website of course).
It was also a fantastic learning opportunity for me with regards to my own career - there were several foundation doctors on the team, and I sought advice from each of them on how to approach OSCEs (clinical skills assessments), as well as the kind of things I should be doing with my time to ensure I have a well-developed portfolio. Everyone was extremely welcoming despite my very lowly status as a brand new student in a very hierarchical environment.
It's been an extremely long and tiring day on my feet, and I got home around 9. My housemates were in the midst of an anatomy revision session in the kitchen, and had very kindly saved me some sushi from their takeaway order which was vastly appreciated. I'd chosen to obtain a few hours of uncomfortable sleep on the train journey home as opposed to eating.
I've returned home with a wealth of promotional materials (including some very spiffy syringe pens) to take into local schools - I'm planning on organising some outreach events myself for medical applicants using materials from the Becoming A Doctor Brand, in conjunction with other nearby efforts. I think it's a fantastic way of providing some reassurance during what can be a very stressful process and making sure that everyone has a fair shot.