SOAMS testimony Student F I have always wanted to be a doctor. The thought of interacting with people, teasing out information and using my own knowledge and judgment to make an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan excited me. What better way to make a positive impact on a life? Yet having never met anyone who’d been to university before, I just didn’t know where to start. When I heard about SOAMS (Sheffield Outreach and Access to Medicine Scheme) I knew this was something that I could use to help me reach my goal, this was my big break. SOAMS is a scheme that helps build the aspirations of young people from backgrounds that don’t traditionally enter medicine. They help to tackle the obstacles that these young people face by providing positive role models, encouragement and advice. Through this scheme I gained valuable information about becoming a medical student. From guidance about writing my personal statement to advice about what crockery I would need to take into halls of residence. This scheme really opened my eyes to a different way of life. I was in direct contact with medical students and suddenly my dream of being a doctor didn’t seem so unrealistic after all. SOAMS also helped me to organise work experience in a hospital working alongside nursing staff and doctors. This ‘hands on’ experience really encouraged me to further myself and gave me the motivation and confidence to go out and volunteer at a local nursing home. The work experience that I gained was the most influential in cementing my career path. I would encourage anybody who is thinking about studying medicine to look into gaining some experience in a caring environment as early as possible. It helps build an essential understanding of personal qualities needed to study medicine. Looking back I am so grateful to everybody who raised my aspirations and helped me get to where I am today. I’m currently in my 4 th year and absolutely love being on clinical placements. No longer do I have to learn just by reading books, but I can do all the fun, practical things on a daily basis. The skills I learnt during my work experience have stayed with me; already being able to confidently start conversation with patients has definitely given me a head start!