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Life as a pre-medical student: Getting started

vicky hargest medical pre-medical studentVicky Hargest shares her experiences as a pre-medical student. So now that Fresher’s week is over how will she settle into university life, and where do 'Sesame Street' costumes come into it? Read on to find out.

After the build up over the summer and the excitement of Freshers’ week it was finally time to be introduced to the tutors, the rest of my course mates and the lectures.

On Monday morning I was raring to go, watching the clock for the generous 10am start. I have to admit I was slightly apprehensive about what lay ahead, however as I had already met many of my fellow students I knew I would have a sympathetic ear if it all became too much. I needn’t have feared as we were gently guided into the first week.

'Like learning a new language'

As a pre-med student I knew that the next few months would consist of medical biology, medical physics and chemistry! Although I had studied AS-level human biology last year in prep for the course, I hadn’t touched chemistry or the dreaded physics since GCSE.

So far it has been like learning a new language: Van der Waals forces, Newton’s 3rd Law, the Mole! As a group of non-science students I hope the tutors knew what they were letting themselves in for.

Be prepared for a full schedule

A 24-hour week may seem like a bit of a holiday to all those that work full time; however compared to many other university courses this is actually quite intense. I quickly realised that on top of contact time it was really important to do additional study.

I made sure I found time to look over my notes and check that I understood everything as well as doing any work that was set. I naively thought that going back to uni would give me more free time; however I am definitely working as hard as before.

Power Rangers at the pub?

Whilst studying is without doubt the number one priority, getting involved in the social scene is seemingly a close second. One of the main events in the medical school social calendar is the fancy dress four-legged pub crawl.

Over 1380 people registered and which meant over 460 different themed costumes! I was amazed at the effort people had gone to. As well as the odd hired outfit there were some great home made attempts (papier mache and charity shop delights). There were Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and a Jamaican Bob sleigh team to name but a few.

Walking with both legs tied to two friends was no easy task, but I can honestly say I hadn’t laughed that much in ages. It took us 25 minutes to stumble and fall in between two pubs when on arrival we realised we were one of the few taking the job seriously. In fact the more experienced students just strolled in unattached, smirking ever so slightly at us first-years. I must remember that for next year!

The first couple of weeks have been better than I could have hoped for. I am enjoying learning new subjects and am looking forward to being introduced to dissection and clinical skills later in the year. This is what we had all been waiting for.

About Vicky

Vicky Hargest is a medical student at the University of Sheffield. Although she has an arts degree (health studies) she has taken the pre-med route (six year course) in order to learn foundation sciences.

She is the first in her family to enter higher education - proving that medicine is for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Having worked in medical education for the last six years she is now seeing things from the other side of the fence.

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