Ella – Clinical Sciences student at the University of Bradford

Hi everyone! My name is Ella and I’m a third year Clinical Sciences student at the University of Bradford. I’m also an estranged student.

Although I love my degree, it was not my original plan to study Clinical Sciences. During my time of studying A Levels at college, I applied to medicine and gained an offer. After a difficult year, I didn’t end up getting my grades for medicine and my offer was retracted. At the time, I felt like it was the end of the world and I didn’t know what to do next. I eventually decided to take a year out of study and reapply to some alternative courses, and one of these was Foundation in Clinical Sciences/Medicine at the University of Bradford. I was initially drawn to the course because I liked that it contained a foundation year with chemistry, biology and lab and study skills modules. After gaining an offer for this course, I started studying it in September 2017.

The first two years of my degree, including the foundation year, were quite intense. I found that I did not have as much free time as my friends who were studying other courses, but I now realise that this intensity has helped me prepare for future careers and has enabled me to develop a healthy work-life balance. Now I am in my third year, my timetable has become more relaxed and enabled me to focus my spare time on independent study and writing my dissertation. I have also become involved with other extracurricular activities such as becoming a PAL leader for foundation year clinical sciences students, becoming a student ambassador, and starting the Amnesty International university society with my flatmate. I’m aware this sounds like a lot of commitments, but I’ve become great at time-management so I still have days where I can relax completely and catch up on a Netflix series!

Throughout my years of studying clinical sciences, I have gained a huge amount of personal and professional confidence. From completing full cadaveric dissections to interviewing patients, my degree has never been monotonous or unfulfilling. I have really enjoyed gaining knowledge in anatomy and physiology and being able to apply this to clinical scenarios and anatomy spot tests. I have also had constant support from my personal academic tutor and other lecturers if I have ever struggled with keeping up with my workload or personal issues. I would not change my university experience for the world, and I would not be the confident person I am today had I not started this course.

In terms of future plans, I would still love to study medicine, and I think that completing this undergraduate degree beforehand has enabled me to develop the necessary skills for doing well in an intense postgraduate course. I applied for graduate-entry medicine (GEM) in October 2020, and (to my complete surprise) gained a place to study GEM at the University of Oxford, starting in October 2021. I didn’t want to apply to this course originally, because I thought it was too competitive and too “prestigious”, but this long process has allowed me to realise that you truly can achieve anything you put your mind to and that you are good enough, despite your insecurities. I’m now looking forward to finishing my degree and graduating in the summer!