Medicine combines the practical application of the sciences, the need for lifelong learning and close interaction with people, aptitudes that I have and want to use. The responsibilities of a doctor attract me. I have tried to experience as many aspects of medicine as possible. Shadowing a senior registrar in Oncology seeing post-operative patients at the Royal Free Hospital London and time in the Medical Physics department of East Dulwich Hospital showed me different views of hospital work. Two days with the Paediatric ENT specialist at St Helier Hospital made me realise the difficulties encountered and skills required in dealing with children. Visits to the haemodialysis and cardiology departments during a week's course for prospective medical students at the Royal Berkshire Hospital particularly interested me. The three months voluntary work I did at the Berkshire Independent Hospital, talking to patients and assisting with administration, started me thinking about how a hospital is run.
Attending the Medlink course confirmed my conviction that I want to be a doctor - I found the problem-solving aspect of diagnosis incredibly satisfying. All the lectures from different doctors on the areas they worked in gave me a perspective of the medical career structure and the different specialities needed.
I have thoroughly enjoyed the voluntary work that I have done as it allows me to meet and work with a wide range of people. I started by visiting an old people's home for six months and am now working at the Berkshire Multiple Sclerosis Centre where I assist with a physiotherapy class. I have found this particularly rewarding and my individual support and help with specific exercises allows more people to take part effectively. It has also helped me to appreciate that not all illnesses can be cured and that sometimes all that can be done is to improve the quality of life as much as possible.
Performing music has been an important part of my life for the last 6 years; it has helped me develop teamwork, concentration and perseverance. I am now principal French horn in the Berkshire Youth Orchestra; in 2002 we toured Italy and France including La Madeleine Summer Concerts in Paris. I have toured Ireland with the Central Berkshire Concert Band in which I am also first horn. I play solo tenor horn in Holst Brass Band; we will be touring Germany in 2003. I hope to carry on playing at University to a high standard.
My other main interest is the Air Training Corps, which I have belonged to for 4 years. I have taken several leadership courses and proficiency exams and am now the senior cadet in my unit. I am responsible for teaching younger cadets and organising events; this has developed my communication and problem solving skills. I regularly attend survival camps, hikes, problem-solving exercises and Duke of Edinburgh Award training. I have completed an RAF gliding scholarship by flying solo and am building up my light aircraft flying experience.
ATC has given me the opportunity to develop my physical and mental stamina.
I have extended my interest in science outside the school curriculum: I was chosen to attend Mathematics Master classes at Reading University, achieved silver in a Physics Olympiad, represented my school at a Salter's Chemistry Week at Birmingham University and won a Foster Wheeler Engineering competition.
By nature I am a determined individual and have achieved my goals. For example, I studied Mathematics AS at home as I wanted to continue with five subjects. My ability to manage my time efficiently and work independently has enabled me to take part in a wide range of activities, in and out of school. I am confident that I would make a good doctor.