Finding my route
Working in medicine wasn’t actually my goal when I was growing up. I definitely wasn't thinking that I wanted to be a doctor or anything like that when I was in school.
Even when teachers were asking me what I was going to do after my A-Levels, I wasn’t 100% sure. I knew I wanted to do something in sport, like biomechanics, originally, but I hadn’t decided. At that time, I was swimming for the Welsh national and British junior swimming teams, so I saw Sport and Exercise Science at Bath as a good option. I was thinking ‘great, I’m set’.
Discovering a passion for medicine
I really loved doing the practical lab sessions on my course. When I started those, my interest was piqued by physiology and the clinical side of things. I really liked those areas of my course and it made me start to think about studying medicine.
When I was first toying with the idea, I spoke to my personal tutor (we all got assigned one on the course). He talked through different options with me and spoke about what other graduates had gone on to do. That led me to apply for Graduate Entry Medicine at Swansea University, which I’m doing now.
A different perspective
A lot of people on my current course have come from biomedical or biochemical courses, or programmes in medical science.
Being from a sports science background, I think I have a different way of looking at things and good knowledge on areas like musculoskeletal anatomy. I’d say it’s given me a different perspective to some of my coursemates.
Preparing for a career
Studying at Bath, I learnt lots about scientific writing and how to critically analyse data to answer the ‘so what?’ questions. Those things are massive at Bath as a whole, not just in Sport and Exercise Science. I feel like I’m more well-rounded and better at looking at the big picture.
In my final year, I did a multidisciplinary study unit. Multidisciplinary team working with other experts is such a big part of working in medicine, which I’m experiencing now on a placement in A&E at a hospital.
Balancing sport and study
I was swimming competitively during the first year of my degree, so the sports facilities were a big thing for me.
Bath is set up for sportspeople studying. I always felt like I had a good safety net and support around me in case something went wrong, either in studying or swimming.
I wanted a degree that would allow me to train and compete, as well as gain solid scientific knowledge so I could choose my next steps with confidence. The course ticked the boxes; It had the biomechanics, it had the physiology, and it was really research-based.
Learning from sports experience
I knew I’d be able to apply what I was doing every day in the pool to what I was studying. That felt almost like a cheat code!
The sports medicine module we did sticks in my mind for this. We covered the causes of sports injuries, and prevention and rehabilitation. I did my report on breaststrokers’ knee; it was really good to take my own knowledge and experience and use it.
It’d happen all the time in lectures that something would come up and I'd be like ‘oh yeah, that applies to me’, or ‘I’ve experienced that’. It was always interesting to learn more.
My advice for Sport and Exercise Science students is...
If you find something interesting in a lecture, speak to the lecturer about it or jump on a bit of research. It will make you want to work that bit harder, and even open you up to things that may help you in your future.
Studying sports medicine, physiology and immunology the way I did, and going to the labs and doing the practical things, was what made me want to do medicine.