In 2013 I went to visit a friend studying medicine in Poznan, Poland. We had previously studied Biomedical Science together in the UK and both wanted to pursue medicine in the future. Before going I had some thoughts on how the trip would be. How cold it was going to be, how I would be treated as a black young woman travelling alone, the language barrier, but I was pleasantly surprised. So impressed that I also applied to the same medical school that academic year. When unfortunately, I did not receive any medical school offers in the UK, I made the decision to accept the offer from Poznan.
I started medical school at the age of 23. It would often cross my mind that at this age a lot of people would be graduating from medicine by that age. The next four years were definitely a challenge and the course was not easy, but I honestly believe it has been the career best decision I have ever made! When I graduated, I was most nervous about not being able to carry out basic clinic procedures as my course was more theoretically based, and learning how to take bloods and insert cannulas were not included in our curriculum. I also worried about medical documentation, what if I write too much or too little. To be honest after talking to friends who did not study abroad, I realised we all had the same thoughts when we started, but thankfully, there were always people around willing to help and teach.
Whether your journey to medicine is tradition or a non-traditional pathway, everyone’s journey is special and unique. Here are some tips for the journey:
Obtain guidance and advice from someone who has been on the same journey
Continue taking part in volunteering and work experience opportunities to help towards future medical school applications
Look at all of your options and weigh them up
Do not lose focus and be ready for hard work
Do not lose hope
Remember the end goal
Believe in yourself
Written by Dr Mobola Odukale FY3 doctor working in Kent