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What made me apply to be a doctor

July 8, 2013

I had been at a pedestrian comprehensive where  the vast majority of people left as soon as they could. Some would go to tech, but very few aspired to University. My sister had been one of only three people in the upper sixth, so you can see there was not a huge stimulating debate to be had in the common room.

I had enjoyed school – cruising along doing very little and spending most evenings and weekends doing paid work in shops, hotels and bars. Played hockey, learnt some instruments, did some acting and messed about with boys. That was about the sum of it.  I wanted to leave school at 16 and either do hotel and catering or act.
My parents (particularly mother) were not keen. They had both been to University and expected me to go too. But I couldn’t think of anything I wanted to study. And anyway, I wanted to leave school.
However, that changed after spending a couple of months in hospital during the fifth form (year 11). I had to have lots of physiotherapy and I thought that looked quite a fun job and it might keep mother off my back about going to University. Unfortunately it meant staying on to get A levels but I kind of resigned myself to that.
I don’t remember being keen to go away to sixth form college, but the initial application process meant a day off school so what’s not to like? I turned up for interview with the Director of Education along with about ten other hopefuls. We were being given a preliminary interview to see if the county would fund one of us to go to an international sixth form college which at the time cost about £10,000 a year.

The other applicants were all in their prissy school unforms and eager to please. I, on the otherhand, was wearing a midi length flared brown skirt with button pockets, a brown and cream striped, ribbed V-neck jumper from Van Allan, a brown fake sude jacket with faux fur collar, huge brown platform shoes from Lilly and Skinner and black painted nails. I used to love that outfit, disgusting as it sounds.

I got in to the sixth form college and from there it became an assumption that I would go to university. Much to my parent’s relief. But still I thought I might do Physio or Drama. Until my mother had a long talk with me. Firstly, you can do acting as a hobby and if you really like it, do it after University. Secondly, although physiotherapy is a great profession, she felt I had the brains to be a doctor. The academic requirements were higher for doctors than physios, so if I were able enough I should apply for medicine because otherwise I would be taking a physio place that someone else could have had. And the chances are that the person whose place I had taken would have been someone whose dream it was to be a physio, who had worked hard and strived to get the neccessary A levels, but because I didn’t feel like pushing myself I had stolen their dreams when I could easily do something else. Something that lots of other people couldn’t do. I had to aim higher or it wouldn’t be fair.

She appealed to the altruism of a sixteen year old – and it worked.
It was very clever of her. I didn’t realise she had done it till much later. It never occurred to me to say “But I WANT to do physio, or I WANT to act.” And I don’t hold it against her. I had a great time doing my degree and have enjoyed my career ever since.
And there’s still time to take up acting………………… 🙂

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4 Responses to “What made me apply to be a doctor”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    what with the recent hair antics, I think richmond panto is definitely calling you…..

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Fond memories of being in some of the same plays as you… I too think that there will always be time to get involved in drama again


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