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Derby Moor aspiring Medic, Saira Ashraf attends a residential at the University of Southampton.

 Aspiring medic Saira Ashraf attended a residential course at the University of Southampton during the Easter break. Here Saira tells us about the experience in the hope that it will encourage others to do the same.

 During Easter break I participated in a Medicine residential at the University of Southampton. I was encouraged to apply for the residential after a friend had recommended it to me, and the application process required a reference from Mr. Brewer.

At the residential there were aspiring medics from all over the country which meant we all had similar interests and it was very easy to communicate with each other. On the first day we were assigned to groups led by medical students studying at the university. We were then able to ask questions about the course, UKCAT, application process etc. We were also introduced to the different medicine courses that are offered at the University e.g. BM6, BM5.

During activities organized e.g. bowling and dinner I was able to interact with other Year 12 students. Everyone was able to discuss what subjects they were studying and the different specialties of medicine they wanted to go into. These friendships continued even after the residential, and I found it to be useful that I was in contact with people my age who also wanted to study Medicine.

On the 2nd day of the residential we were given the chance to visit Southampton General Hospital, which is a huge part of helping to train medical students. For the first part of the day we were able to work on basic clinical care. This involved taking blood, cannulation and suture. I found this incredibly interesting as we were able to explore the more practical side of medicine and also learn more about the teaching style at the University.

The next part of the day involved being able to meet different specialists. I was able to talk to a GP, Psychiatrist and Paediatrician. Work experience in the health sector is extremely hard to find and this was a valuable experience as I was able to speak to three professionals in the space of an hour. It was incredibly intriguing to learn about the differences between the jobs e.g. handling a devastated family as a paediatrician. This also made me think more about what I would like to specialize in at the end of University, which I hadn’t thought about before. The final part of the day was being able to witness how an air ambulance carries out their role of urgent care. They taught us how to communicate in a group and the procedures you must go through while caring for someone who may have gone into cardiac arrest etc. This involved learning about the different algorithms involved in helping to resuscitate someone.

The last day of the residential was spent in 3 different seminars and we then had a lecture on student finance and also the admissions process into Medicine. The seminars involved lessons on biochemistry, the brain and interviews for Medicine. The entire residential was a very valuable experience for me, as I now have decided to apply to the University of Southampton. It has also meant I have a lot of support and advice from current medical students who I am in contact with, via e mentoring. I would recommend other students to take part in a residential for their chosen career path as it helps to motivate you to study and also widens your opportunities.