Friday, January 6, 2012

Doctor to be?


As all of you who have read my profile or the blog description will know, I aspire to go to medical school and then become a doctor. However, I've been thinking about the future, as you do when a new year starts, and started asking my self some probing questions. Why do I want to be a doctor? Well, the honest answer is that I want a job that challenges me daily and will push my academic abilities to their limits. The thing that shocked me was that money came (all be it low down) on the list above wanting to help people. I hadn't realised that wanting to help people wasn't actually very high on my list. Money is not going to be what I base my future career on as I want to be happy in my job more than I want to be paid for a job I'm not happy in. The fact was that I needed to rethink.

So, I got out my 'Getting into medical school 2012 entry' book and flicked through the pages until I found a page titled 'Commitment' on page 30. On the page was a list of things I should have done or be in the process of doing if I seriously want to become a doctor or go to medical school. Granted the first 3 questions I answered yes. The fourth question 'have you attended a first-aid course?' I answered 'only if one I did when I was 10 counts'. The fifth question 'have you arranged a visit to your local GP?' I could answer yes, but I only did so because I had to to have any chance of getting into medical school. The next questions 'Have you arranged a visit to your local hospital to see the work of doctors first hand?', 'What day of the week does your favourite newspaper publish a health section?', 'Do you know what the main causes of death are in this country?', my answer to those were No, Don't know, I only know because I studied them in school respectively. Doesn't bode well, does it.

By this point I realised that I seriously needed to think about my future career, so I sat down and asked 'What is my favourite subject?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What am I most interested in out of all the subjects I've ever studied?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject am I best at?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject do I really want  to take further?' Answer:  Chemistry. 'What subject should, therefore I be thinking about taking at  uni?' Answer:  Chemistry.

Well, I think that little session was fairly conclusive in where my interests actually lie. So, I dug out some old (well, 2010/2011) university prospectuses and looked up Chemistry. To my surprise there were actually a number of different Chemistry courses including one that immediately caught my eye. MChem Chemistry with Pharmaceutical Chemistry including 1 year in industry. Well, that is pretty much exactly what I would love to study at university. It has my passion for Chemistry, my interest in chemical side of medicine and a years placement to help get into a career at the end of it. I did a bit of digging on the university website and found that the requirements were AAB, so it wasn't going to be a course people did because they had bad grades. I also found that the final year is actually a big research project within a real research group. Perfect!

Of course, finding this out is all well and good, but I am not going to get ahead of myself yet. I couldn't clearly find out what the university wanted on top of the grades. What work experience is expected? What external interests are they looking for?

There are certain ideas for answers to those question I came up with my self. I know that I read around science out of school so if they need someone interested and knowledgeable about Chemistry I would fit the bill. I also know that online collaboration in science is becoming increasingly popular with projects such as PolyMath being so successful and  other fields becoming increasingly interested. So, how does this help me? Well, although completely different in so many ways, I do run an online fantasy writing group with around 95 members. I delegate responsibility to certain members, I keep others in check and on the whole I keep the whole thing running. The reason this is good is that I am no stranger to online communication and organisation. It shows leadership skills in both an online environment and of a large number of people.

Ever since I first started enjoying science at an early age, I knew I wanted to 'be a scientist when I grow up'. Well, now I am at the stage where I need to make the decisions which will very likely dictate what I will be. Medicine may have sounded a good option for a while, but when I got down to thinking seriously I knew where I wanted to go. I know I want to research and hold an academic position. I also know I want a PhD and, although you need one to specialise in certain areas of medicine, that I want one in an area I am interested in. A four year Chemistry degree including industrial experience followed by a 2-3 year PhD in something Chemistry related all ending with me getting a job in Pharmaceutical/Chemical research would be my dream future.

And, also to prove that I am keeping to my new year's resolution of learning new words here is a paragraph including all the new words I have learned so far:

Ab ovo of 2012 I have been striving to improve myself without turning into a bit of a popinjay. Of course if I improve myself to the point of getting a high paid job then I will need to ensure my relation with the bank remains a professional, fiduciary one, without causeries becoming unheard of. I can assure that any bank manager wishing to steal my money can expect to be keelhauled. In a way this blog has become an omnium-gatherum of random, somewhat connected things.

In easier speak this translates to:

From the beginning of 2012 I have been striving to improve myself without turning into a bit of an arrogant, vain person who struts about. Of course if I improve myself to the point of getting a high paid job then I will need to ensure my relation with the bank remains a professional, trusting one, without informal chats becoming unheard of. I can assure that any bank manager wishing to steal my money can expect to be severely rebuked (or hauled under the keel of a ship). In a way this blog has become an miscellaneous collection of random, somewhat connected things.

I'm well on the way to becoming a literary master of words no one uses any more!


Matt B


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