Hi I’m Anusha and I’m Matthew and we are your wellbeing officers on the VMS Student Committee. Approximately every fortnight we will be posting blogs up about different topics related to mental health and wellbeing as well as discussing some in the weekly Virtual Medical Society meetings. We know that applying to medical school/dental school/ veterinary school can be very stressful and are here to help you all achieve the shared dream of becoming a qualified doctor, dentist or vet! We would love it if you could get involved by asking questions or suggesting topics you would like to see in future blog posts in the comments section at the end of each blog post. Please be respectful of each other- everyone is entitled to their own opinions even if they are different to some of yours! 


This week we are informally discussing how Year 11 is going with Ashleigh Hughes, one of the winners in our wellbeing competition. From the challenges of lockdown to advice for current Year 11s and Year 10s, there is sure to be something that is relevant to everyone in this post. We hope you enjoy!


What is your involvement with Medic Mentor?

I became involved with Medic Mentor over the initial lockdown by attending the Medic Mentor “Get Into Medicine Conference”. Then I signed up to the Virtual Medical Society and The Book Club. I am currently working towards my Bronze Award in the Medical Awards Programme and am also going to be attending the Medic Mentor Summer School in 2022.


What GCSEs are you doing and what A-Levels are you taking?

For GCSE, I am taking Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, Further Maths, English Language, English Literature, German, Art and History. I am the most confident in Biology and History and next year for A-Levels I am thinking of taking Biology, Chemistry and History with Physics as my back-up option. 


How did you find the first national lockdown back in March?

I found lockdown hard as I couldn’t see my friends and was not able to go out. However, we had lots of FaceTime calls where we revised together. This helped me to stay in touch with my friends whilst spending some of my time productively revising together! I also partook in extracurricular activities on Zoom which was great as I still got to participate in them even during a national lockdown!


So on the subject of extracurriculars, what extracurriculars do you do?

I speak german, play the piano and do slalom ski racing all of which I really enjoy and hope to continue with as long as possible. During lockdown I took the time to start learning Portuguese which I have always wanted to do, but had never previously got round to doing so. I also run a study account on Instagram in which I post tips and advice as I want to help people with issues they face such as stress. I hope that by running this account people will be able to reach out to me if they are struggling. I recognise that I may not be a professional or know all of the best ways to learn but I hope that people feel they can contact me for advice on a personal level. I also post daily updates on the account to keep others motivated, let them know that I am active and that they can reach out to me for help if and when they need it.


What advice would you give to others in Year 11 and people in Year 10?

My biggest piece of advice is to not work too long and to take regular breaks. Obviously schoolwork is a priority but it is also important to know when you need to step back from studying and go and relax! Also make sure you don’t stress too much and work too late into the night as this can have a potentially negative impact on your grades. 


And more specifically are you moving for sixth form next year? And what is your advice for people who are considering this?

I have also decided I am not going to be moving sixth form next year but I have friends who are. They are currently struggling between picking right now. My advice on that is to just choose what you think is best for you however, if grades are a deciding factor go with the school that has the better grades as this improves your chances of getting into medicine on an academic level.


And last question, why do you want to be a doctor specifically?

When I was younger my dream was to be a vet but when I went to a practice to shadow, I realised that it was not the career for me. My mum actually works in a hospital so I was lucky enough to have some insight into what working as a doctor is like. My main reasoning for becoming a doctor is that I really enjoy helping people- I was always the one settling conflicts in primary school! Once I realised this and did some further research, I knew I wanted to be a doctor.