My First Impressions of Graduate Entry Medicine (UK)

The Beginning…

So, this September I started graduate entry medicine at The University of Warwick. It’s a 4 year course, only for graduates, and at Warwick they accept people from any degree background. The way they make it work is that they fit the first two years of the undergraduate medicine course into one year, which only means one thing, it’s A LOT of work.

Before I arrived I read and watched a lot of youtube videos about post grad medicine, and I kept of hearing the same thing – that the work load is intense. During our first few days we had several talks from some older students and when they were all saying the same thing, I have to admit I was pretty worried. I work hard and i’ve always been good at putting in the work when necessary but this time it felt different. All the work I had put in in the past was for this exact moment, for medical school. I knew that everyone around me had put in a lot of work too, to get here, and if they were saying it was a lot of work surely that meant it would be like nothing we’ve experienced before?

Anyway spoiler alert….IT’S A LOT OF DAMN WORK (but i love it).

First Impressions

Obviously due to coronavirus uni is a little different this year. All of our lectures, CBL and group work is online but we have anatomy and clinical skills face to face once a week. For this year I decided to get a studio on my own as I didn’t know anyone moving and to be honest, I was kind of excited to have my own space. There are definitely pros and cons to living alone but I think that having most of our learning online made it harder at the beginning. After about a month I got used to it and started to really enjoy having a whole kitchen space, experimenting with cooking and having my own bathroom etc.

In first year we have five blocks and in each of the blocks we have lectures on different themes like Anatomy, Values and Ethics and clinical skills etc (there are eight in total). Before the first block there is a learning medicine week, where we basically just have preparatory lectures to get everyone up to speed and introduce basic scientific concepts. Learning medicine week was quite chilled as I have done most of the topics before in my previous degree BUT let me tell you… The jump from learning medicine week to block 1 week 1 was crazy. The lectures ramped up a lot, anatomy was so confusing to me at the time. I remember in one of the very first anatomy lectures not being able to keep up at all even though the lecturer had said that they were going to go slowly as it was the first one. I couldn’t imagine a day where this would make sense to me.

The Teaching

I’ve find the teaching at Warwick really good. All the staff have been so nice and accommodating during the pandemic and I really feel like they are trying their best with what they’ve got. The anatomy teaching is also amazing! We learn with plastinated specimens which are like real human tissue specimens but they’ve been preserved using different chemicals. They are usually preserved to allow you to see specific anatomical structures so they are really great to learn from as everything can be seen clearly. Having finished the first block now and started a second i’m honestly shocked and proud of how far i’ve come. Everything does just seem to fall into place and you find your way of learning. Obviously I still have a long way to go, but at the start I didn’t trust that it would make sense. Now, even if i’m not learning in the best way, I trust that I will get there by the end of the year.

Meeting New People

This is a tricky one! When I had started they had just introduced the rule about only meeting in a maximum group of 6. Considering all our lectures were online I definitely had to put myself out of my comfort zone and really go out of my way to meet people but I’m so glad I did. I’ve met such lovely people on my course and everyone is so friendly. I joined athletics and medics hockey and met more people there which was great. It’s sad that we are in a lockdown now so I don’t get to meet people anymore but i’m so excited for the day the lockdown is over and I can get back to normal life and see my friends. Where I’m living there are a lot of restaurants, bars and pubs nearby so it was really easy to find somewhere to go with people. The one thing it definitely does lack though, is parks and big green spaces.

Final Thoughts

So, to finish off, I’m so happy that I’m finally here. It has been a LONG road to get my place in medical school but I know now that it was worth it. Of course, there are things which have been hard. I never imagined the year I would start medical school there would be a pandemic, uni would be online, and I would have to go home after just two months but I know its temporary. It’s temporary and i’m excited for everything to return to normal, for the day I can go into uni, see my friends and actually go on hospital placements!

Anyway hope that was in some way useful to you guys 🙂

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