Three medical students reflect on how they navigated and completed their intercalated BSc research projects remotely amid the pandemic.
Ioannis Panselinas, BSc Translational Respiratory Medicine
Had someone told me back at the start of 2020 what the year would have in store, I would have probably said that they had stolen ideas from an Orwellian dystopia. Yet the world is currently in the grips of one of the most terrible pandemics in living memory. And among all the global disruption were us 4th year Imperial medics having to face a transition to remote working in the middle of project period. Unsurprisingly, lab work cannot be done from the comfort of our homes. So, as COVID-19 hit the UK, we were forced to cut short our experiments and were ultimately left with a looming deadline and a project to complete. In retrospect, I think I can sum up my experience with the 5 stages of COVID disruption:
Thivyaa reflects on taking time out of medical school and how it gave her the opportunity to refresh her perspective and gain valuable life experiences.
To say that medicine is intense is an understatement. Sometimes it is so overwhelming that even pausing to take a breath can feel like a luxury we cannot afford. But as I have learnt over the past few years, the consequences of neglecting our minds and bodies are too dire – for both ourselves and our patients – for us to continue in this way. Here, I would like to share what I have learnt during my journey of recovering from depression, reflect on what it is like to take an interruption of studies (IoS), and highlight the importance of self-care.
During the academic year of 2018-2019, I took time out of medical school. The previous few years had been a disaster with regards to my mental health. I had become too unwell, but in an attempt to ‘be strong’ I had continued with second year, only to then fail. And so I was advised to have a ‘break’ and come back to repeat the year in 2019-2020. (more…)
The 75th anniversary of our students volunteering in the war.
In April 1945, just before the Second World War ended, nearly 100 medical students from across London volunteered to support the British army. In this group, there were students from St Mary’s Medical School and Westminster Medical School, two of the schools that formed Imperial College School of Medicine. 75 years on, we want to share their stories and celebrate their courage.(more…)
Last August, medical student Paulina took part in the Summer Institute for Medical Students at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation Addiction Treatment Center in Minnesota.
The SIMS program has a reputation of being a life-changing and eye-opening experience. Thanks to the generosity of the scholarship itself, along with Imperial’s support that covered the cost of my visa, I was able to take part in the programme with minimal personal expenses. (more…)
Khadija Mahmoud reflects on the highlights from the past year of medical school – from a virtual reality project that sparked an interest in refugee health to attending One Young World Summit.
I never imagined that my medical degree would involve a project working with chemical engineers to study the effects of a virtual reality (VR) application! During the second year of MBBS Medicine at Imperial College School of Medicine, we undertake a three-week research experience called Clinical Research Innovation (CRI).
I worked with our Digital Learning Hub and the Matar Fluid Group to study the effects of using 3D virtual reality in learning. Our research focused on transforming medical education in classrooms by increasing interactivity. Working with two others, we managed to plan, design and conduct a study of 36 participants, producing a poster to present our findings at Imperial’s annual science festival for second-year medical students. The VR application showed fluid dynamics within a liquid flow with real-time feedback and could easily replicate blood flow in an artery to allow exploration of pathologies in relation to this. (more…)
Eva Tadros reflects on the highs and lows of second year of medical school, from the first taste of clinical placements to undertaking a research project in Thailand.
Ending the first year of medical school on a high, I dedicated my summer to relaxing and forgetting about all things medical-related – but little did I know second year was going to hit fast, and it was going to hit hard.
Second year, along with fifth year, are supposedly the hardest two years of your academic medical school journey, but I don’t think anyone quite prepares you for the range of emotions you’re bound to experience throughout the year. From that sense of pride you get when you finally take a proper patient history, to that indescribable feeling of familiarity as your shoes stick onto the Reynolds café floor on Thursday morning following sports night, to being on the verge of tears after not being to elicit a reflex despite trying for a whole term – second year is an absolute rollercoaster. (more…)
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…)