I studied BSc Pharmacology at Newcastle University before coming to York as a mature student. I applied for medicine the first time round, but I didn’t get in so I went with my backup option which was Biomedical Sciences at Newcastle University. In my second year there, I specialised in pharmacology. I applied to transfer to medicine at the end of first year but I was unsuccessful again so I continued with my degree. In my final year, I applied via UCAS after doing the same medicine entrance examinations (the UKAT) as other undergraduate students. I knew that medicine was my end goal and the career for me so I kept going and persevered.
Writing my personal statement
My personal statement was different to a school leaver. As a mature student, I focused more on what I had learned from my previous degree and the relevance to a medical degree. I applied to Hull York Medical School (HYMS). The problem based learning (PBL) structure appealed to me, especially because I learn better from discussion than listening to lectures. Furthermore, they provide early clinical experience from year one. This appealed to me because I loved talking to patients during my work experience and in my previous employment as a GP receptionist.
When you apply to HYMS, you can either be placed in York or Hull. You’re usually allocated randomly unless you have a sibling at one university or you are commuting and nearer to one than the other. I had my medicine interview in December time on Hull campus, where I got to meet so many other students. The new Medical School building in Hull looked amazing when I went there on my interview day. Hull is also a lot cheaper than York in terms of living and accommodation costs.
Receiving my offer
In Easter time, I received an offer from HYMS. If I achieved a 2:1 or higher in my degree then I would get a place there! In June, I got my results and excitedly emailed the Medical School to find I got a place at York. I was delighted that I received York, I was excited about the college system and the campus looked amazing. Furthermore, York is a very safe city to live in and very scenic. Everyone at the Medical School is really friendly and welcoming and they made it really easy to settle in!
Studying at York as a mature student
Even though I started university again, as a 21 year old, I didn’t feel out of place at all. We were all in the same boat and I met a lot of other graduates in the same position. I attended the mature students open day where I made friends. Throughout the year there are many events for mature students, such as Zumba and coffee breaks, where you can socialise and meet people of a similar age.
I’ve made friends who are younger than me, the same age and older. So honestly, age does not matter at the University of York!
The day to day varies as a medical student in phase I (the first two years). We usually have PBL twice a week where we meet in a team of 10 people, including medical students and one doctor, to discuss clinical cases together. Furthermore, we have anatomy once a week in the anatomy lab, where we look at prosections. We also have lectures one day a week which we can watch in our own time as they’re all recorded. Throughout the year we have clinical placement, usually one day a week, where we write reflective essays on what we have learnt. We also have SSIP, which is a research module allowing us to learn more about a certain topic with the help of researchers.
In phase II, we are on placement and are allocated to different sites for example Hull, Scarborough, York, Grimbsy, Scunthorpe etc. The University provide accommodation at all sites other than your base site. In the final year, you have the opportunity to go abroad for your elective which is very exciting! The course structure appeals to me so much and it is an exciting journey! The Medical School have student support and are always there if you need help or are worried about anything!
I’m glad that I came to York because I have had so many memorable experiences, for example on campus events and going out with friends in the city of York. I’ve felt welcome and safe in York. I love my course structure and the new Medical School that has been built on York campus. I have enjoyed the last 2 years and I am excited for placement to start next year!
It took me a little longer than most people to get into my degree of choice but I made it in the end. I would encourage everyone to keep trying and if you are passionate about something then don’t give up! 🙂