My journey into medicine: Chloe Webb

Entering her final year of medicine at the University of Plymouth, Chloe reflects on how she pursued her ambition to become a doctor

5 min read

Being accepted at Plymouth was one of the most amazing and proud moments of my life.


 

A couple of years ago I was looking through my very early school reports, and written in my reception report was ‘When I am older I want to be a doctor’. I think my main reason for wanting this, as cliché as it sounds, is my desire to care for people.

I’m the oldest of three children, and when my newly single mum had to go to work when I was eight, I was proud to partly take on the role of looking after my younger siblings.

Throughout school, I hoped people would come to me if they were having a tough time, and was pleased to find I could naturally offer the right words of kindness or reassurance, which only enhanced my ambition.

Some might be interested to hear that I only took biology A level for one year. You can do that to get into medicine, but if you are thinking of doing so, look very carefully at the entry requirements to each medical school that you apply for, as it narrows down your choices.

For the rest of my A levels, I chose to take chemistry, physics, maths, and further maths because those were the subjects I enjoyed most – which is always the advice I give all my mentees: pick what you like as that’s what you’re most likely to do best in.

I volunteered in my secondary school years from about year 10 onwards. I was lucky that my school organised some volunteering opportunities, so I got to do all sorts, including working in nurseries, primary schools and care homes.

You need some volunteering or work experience to get into medicine, and care homes are a nice one to have on your personal statement, but there are many other places you can consider.

My main tip would be to try and stick at one place for a long time, as it shows you are consistent and reliable.

Once I had all the pieces together, it was time to apply. I was hopeless at applying the first time – I only roughly read through the entry requirements and applied for places that were close to home instead of based on the type of course they offered. Not only that, but I’d only heard of the University Clinical Aptitude Test (UCAT) a few months before I had to do it, so it’s safe to say I was very unprepared and only just managed to book the last slot of the year.

Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get in the first time, but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was lucky enough to spend my gap year earning a good wage as a laboratory technician in a school, and I honestly had the best year of my life there, working with fantastic people and laughing every day. This also meant I had a bit more worldly experience as an adult before going to university.

I was much more sensible with my choices when I applied for the second time. My first interview was with Plymouth in November, and I was accepted in December. I loved the place so much that even when I received offers for other universities, I attended them without actually wanting to get in.

Being accepted at Plymouth was one of the most amazing and proud moments of my life. 

I remember I was actually in shock at reading the message, but my mum had read it over my shoulder and screamed and danced around the office – it was a very un-mum-like thing to do! That’s when it finally sunk in: I was going to be a doctor.

So now I have just completed my fourth year of medicine. It’s been hard going at times, but everyone here has always been incredibly understanding and kind. Now, in just one year I’m going to have the career I have always wanted!

I want to be a GP as I love the personal one-on-one nature of the job, meaning that you can make it whatever you wish and are likely to be most patients’ only contact with their health care – their gateway to becoming better.

To anyone who wants to do medicine, I’d say all you need to be is caring, determined and a hard worker. Go for it, and if it doesn’t work the first time, go for it again, and who knows, maybe I’ll see you on the ward sometime in the future!

Access and Participation: supporting your journey into healthcare professions

The University of Plymouth Faculty of Health has a regional and national reputation for its widening participation work, and as part of our commitment to widening participation to medicine, dentistry and health courses, we undertake a series of initiatives in order to raise aspirations and healthcare.

We aim to help target and support the least likely but most able students, regardless of their background.

Read more about starting your journey into medicine and dentistry