SOAMS testimony Student D - Female I am from Parson Cross in Sheffield and attended Chaucer Technology School, Sheffield. Only a handful of students from my school attended university, I am the only one to study medicine. When I was at school, I didn’t really know what university was about. Nobody in my circle of family and friends had been to university so we never really spoke about what it was. The only thing I did know was that in order to become a doctor, I had to go to university, but never thought that I would actually get there! When I was in primary school I was always told how good I was at science. That’s when I started to think about medicine. When I started meeting and talking to students as part of the SOAMS scheme that’s when I realised that I actually had the potential to become a doctor. When I started doing some work experience I decided I was going to commit myself to a career in medicine and do whatever I needed to do to study medicine. I’m the youngest in my family and nobody else has been to university. One of my tutors at college had heard of the SOAMS scheme and encouraged me to apply. I think he was the first person to really believe in me. I was ecstatic when I learned of my acceptance onto the scheme for phase 2. I remember thinking about what a great opportunity I had been given. I really enjoyed the summer school. The work experience placement that I did was the deciding factor for me. It really helped motivate me to work hard at college and get the grades that I needed. Also meeting other medical students gave me positive role models, I really wanted to be just like them. When I visited the University of Sheffield, although I had lived in Sheffield for a long time, I had never been to the part of the city where the University is. When I walked onto the concourse everything was so exciting, I think it must have been RAG week as there were students about collecting money for charity, a DJ set up outside and leaflets being handed out. The atmosphere was amazing and I remember thinking to myself how ‘cool’ it was. It was completely unexpected. Studying at Sheffield meant being able to study at a good university which was local. Initially I stayed at home, however after my first year I moved into a house with my friends. At this time I felt ready for more independence. By getting a part-time job I managed to balance my finances. However now I’m in my final year it’s getting harder to work. Luckily, through money that I have saved I will be able to support myself in my final year. I love studying. It really has changed my life. Studying medicine has enabled me to break that cycle of having a mundane and non stimulating job. I feel so grateful that I will have a financially secure future and from a job that I love - something that I have never known my family members to have. Throughout medical school I have met some amazing friends, and to some extent I feel like I fit in more than I did when I was at school. Being with like minded friends who had the same future ambitions was so refreshing and made me ever more determined to succeed. Never have I felt that I am any less off than any of my peers. The amazing thing about Sheffield is that it has such a diverse population of students, and I add to that diversity. I hope to continue being happy. I am currently starting to apply for jobs (which is just so exciting!). I can’t wait to finally be earning a crust as a doctor. I am just really looking forward to my future; the only bad thing is that it is all happening too quickly! I feel so grateful for everything the SOAMS scheme has done for me, and I feel really privileged to have had the opportunity. This has driven me to continue to be involved with the scheme throughout medical school as a SOAMS Student Ambassador and also encouraged me to get involved on a national scale with the BMA to contribute more towards widening participation in Medicine.