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The human body is something we take for granted. It can take an unexpected turn, suffering from diseases or disorders, sometimes rare or unknown. Being able to make critical decisions about people’s health and to make a profoundly positive effect on the community are what drives me to pursue a career in medicine.
Over the summer, I arranged work experience in three contrasting specialities. Whilst shadowing orthopaedic doctors in a major trauma centre, I noticed the spontaneous aspect of medicine. It is a real challenge not knowing what will walk through the door. Then, to be able to make immediate clinical decisions is intellectually challenging. For instance, I witnessed a multi-disciplinary team responding to trauma calls and then surveying for any injuries of the girl. They drew up a treatment plan within minutes. The complexity and uncertainty of her spinal injuries would require the doctor to monitor her for the rest of the day, showing his genuine concern in her recovery. Moreover, at the Eye Hospital, while observing patients with lifelong conditions such as glaucoma, I learned that strong rapport between the doctor and the patients is important to ensure the best quality of care over a long period of time. I also saw first-hand how grateful the patients were, and made me realise that being a doctor is a privileged job. In my third placement at the neonatal ward, seeing the registrars on their thirteen-hour shifts made me appreciate that, at times, clinical work can be physically draining. I also noted the intense emotional stress they faced when they tried to save one of the premature babies. Similarly, I volunteer weekly at the oncology ward, and encounter patients coming to the end of their palliative care. Communication skills are clearly important to be able to convey the unfortunate news in the most empathetic way.
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To explore how research contributes to medical advancement, I was attached to an epigenetics research laboratory to see how alternative treatments for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia were being explored. By understanding intracellular activity, a drug could be developed to prevent the interaction of a specific protein with DNA, which is believed to cause cancerous cells. I was truly inspired by how the work of researchers could potentially make a significant impact on clinical practice. I was also intrigued by the ethical issues in drug development and trials. “Bad Pharma” by Ben Goldacre revealed that clinical trials can be misleading if drug companies only choose to publish positive results and hide any undesirable data.
In Sri Lanka, I taught at special educational needs schools. Being faced with a class of twenty children who spoke minimal English meant I had to collaborate with my peers to think of creative activities to engage them. As each lesson was a new topic, with new pupils, I had to adapt to ensure each lesson was a success. As well, at school, as Head of House, I have developed organisation and leadership skills, coordinating events like House Song and Sports Day for over eighty pupils. I am also a mentor, which has developed my listening skills and the ability to explain complex scientific concepts in a way that is digestible.
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Music and dance are my creative outputs and my way to unwind after stressful school days. I have achieved grade eight in ballet and piano and represented my region at the RAD [Regional] Awards. Both of these, I believe, highlight my commitment for the past thirteen years and my ability to use time effectively. Competitions and examinations bring tremendous pressure, but I remain composed and thrive under it to perform to my best. At university, I hope to continue my passion for music and dance.
Becoming a doctor has been my life long ambition. I recognise the challenges of medicine but also believe I have the passion and determination to excel. I look forward to explore the breath of opportunities medicine has to offer, at university and beyond.
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University of Oxford (Exeter College)
Queen Mary’s University (Bart’s)
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