Kinan Wihba shares his inspiring story of how hard work and determination helped him achieve his dream of studying medicine, having fled Syria’s civil war as a refugee.
I am coming to the end of my first year at Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) and still cannot believe I made it this far. Applying for medicine, although exciting, is a challenging and stressful experience and current medical students would echo this statement. My path to medical school was a little different; I never thought it was feasible for me having arrived in the UK as a Syrian refugee with very little English and limited understanding of the application process. Nevertheless, I did my best and it was good enough.
With every day I survived during the civil war, I grew more accustomed to the fact that I was facing death on a daily basis. I accepted that I might die very soon. So, I was beyond elated when I was reunited with my mother and older brother in the UK, where it was and still is considerably safer to live. However, with the luxury of feeling safe came the loss of my sense of belonging as I moved into this strange new place. Even though I was feeling safe, I did not feel secure; how was I going to communicate with people using a language I had never spoken before? Would I be able to find a school to continue my studies? What if I did not fit in? As much as I was excited, I was terrified and overwhelmed with the uncertainties of starting afresh. But amongst all these uncertainties, I enjoyed the solace of a few certainties one of which was my determination to become a doctor. (more…)
Medical student Stephen Naulls shares his experience from attending his first international academic conference and offers some tips on making the most out of it.
As a medical student, I felt apprehensive but excited about presenting at my first international conference in California. Since I had never been to the USA before, my surroundings – both geographically and scientifically – were very alien to me! I thought it would be useful to reflect on my experience and offer some tip for future conference first-timers.
Which conference was I attending?
Neuroscience 2018 is the annual international meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN). Bringing together scientists and researchers from across the globe, it provides an opportunity to share knowledge and learn about the latest advances in brain research. It is considered to be the most important annual forum for the neuroscience community – and this was certainly evident on first arrival at the convention centre! (more…)
In celebration of Black History Month, medical student Yasmin Adelekan-Kamara shares her story on how she pursued her passion for medicine.
I still vividly remember the moment I decided to apply to medical school. It was not a decision that was easy for me, and this worried me having seen how natural it was for some of my peers to pursue medicine. Despite my genuine interest and passion there was always a doubt in my mind that I could never be the ‘ideal’ medical student I thought a university like Imperial wanted.
Rethinking medical school
Whilst I loved medicine, I also had a love for other vocations; journalism and architecture especially. This caused a great internal conflict for me. I believed to be the ‘ideal’ medical student, you had to initially be solely devoted to and have an unwavering commitment to medicine. Did the fact that I was questioning my decision mean I was not dedicated enough? (more…)
Dr James Moss debunks some of the myths around medical school interviews and shares his personal perspective as a member of the interviewing panel for Imperial College School of Medicine.
Interviewing prospective students is a privilege that our staff and student panel members really enjoy. It makes us the custodians of the medical school, gatekeeping passage into our community. Our panels include staff and students, and every panel member has an equal say (and we don’t always agree!). We have about 20 minutes to interview each candidate and decide if we want to make them an offer. (more…)
One year on from receiving her A-level results, Eva Tadros reflects on her first year of medical school.
How did you feel when you opened your A-level results last year?
It was all such an incredible adrenaline rush, to be perfectly honest. I experienced a whole spectrum of emotions – anxious, excited, worried, thrilled and petrified – all at once! I had built up that moment in my head for so long and I had envisioned every possible scenario and every single way it could work out – how I’d feel if I actually got the grades and got into my dream university and how it’d feel if I didn’t and what steps I would take afterwards. It was a little exhausting waiting for results day for so long and then it’s a little underwhelming after you open them because you’re just like – okay so what’s next? (more…)
Three Imperial College London medical graduates reflect on how their final-year elective in medical outreach inspired local school children to aim higher and spark scientific curiosity.
Going on a medical elective is one of the highlights of medical school. During our final year of the MBBS programme at Imperial, we completed our elective in medical education with the Imperial College Primary Health Care Department.
Throughout our elective, one of the concepts we focused on was social accountability; how we could better our approach as medical students and as a university to improve medical outreach. (more…)
My name is James Moss and this is my second blog post (the first is here). I’m a Senior Teaching Fellow in the Faculty of Medicine and I focus on teaching physiology – the body and how it works – to our medical and science students. These posts will be my own thoughts and reflections, and will hopefully give you a (non-invasive) look inside my head at different times of the year.
After a long summer of tumbleweeds rolling through the foyer of the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, our Freshers arrived and second years returned, and the building regained its usual hustle and bustle. There were downsides, however: much longer queues for lunch and much more difficult to book a room at short notice! That said, the buzz is totally worth it. (more…)
James Moss, a Teaching Fellow, provides an insight into his role, from exam marking to supporting research projects.
Not quite a million-dollar question, but one I am often asked by students I bump into over the summer months, who seem perplexed to see me on College premises. “But there’s no teaching” they’ll say, which is a fair and accurate statement. My job title is Teaching Fellow, which means I’m employed to design and deliver teaching sessions for our students. Fortunately for me, variety is the spice of life, and there are lots of different ways I spend my time. (more…)
Here, Vinay Mandagere a medical student, reflects on his journey through medical school, from initial rejection to researching TB.
It was extremely challenging for me to stare back at the four rejections that faced me. Four rejections from four separate medical schools. Four independent reviewers telling me I was not to be a doctor. I had to endure seemingly unending encouragements and sympathies from friends and family. Their attempts were well-meaning, but often repetitive. My particular favourite was “I believe Edward Jenner didn’t get into medical school the first time round”. This, of course, was a complete fabrication. I think I always had this naïve cockiness about me, an artless assumption that I had the necessary experiences to stroll into medical school. Perhaps rejection had a subduing effect on my ego, though, I probably would presume most of those who know me would thoroughly disagree.
Nevertheless, it occurred to me that I had a year to convince the doctors of now that I could be a doctor of the future. But then I thought again. I had an entire year to do what I wanted. I found myself avoiding medical work of any sort, and take up a job in a bakery. I normally stop here when I want to impress people, to give the impression that I mastered the art of conjuring delicious, enticing pastries. In fact, it is due to my semi-duplicitous nature that many people still think of me as a great baker. But I’m not. In reality, my primary role was to serve customers, clean and wash up (as well as outline the difference between spelt bread and gluten-free bread: a distinction I still don’t understand to this day). It was an enjoyable job, and it provided me with some money to fuel some travelling later on. Moreover, I had the blessing of taking home two full bags of artisan breads untouched by the day’s customers — a perk which became more and more hedonistic as the year went on. (more…)