Hello world!

So; this is my first ever blog post, and part of my first step towards a future in either medical research or neuroscience. On Saturday 28th January this year, I attended the MedlinkX conference at the Friends’ Meeting House in London, and what I learnt there captured my enthusiasm. As a year 10 student, it may seem a little strange that I have been devising various ‘life plans’ throughout the past two years. However, these are by no means your usual ‘I want to help others’ or even ‘I want to go to ‘Oxbridge’. Let me begin with life plan one (decided about half way through year eight)

  • Do a Violin diploma by the time I’ve left school
  • Study for a BMus(Hons) at Royal College of Music
  • Specialise in psychology of music and chamber music in my fourth year
  • Join a baroque orchestra (preferably Amsterdam) doing part time music therapy

Not particularly plausible, I know (especially the last bit…), and it didn’t last long. But then, in year 9, I established a love for chemistry and biology. Not knowing an awful lot about universities and careers, this seemed the obvious option…

  • Do both of these subjects for A level
  • Do a biochemistry degree at Oxford
  • Become a molecular biologist

Getting closer to the medicine path, but still not quite there. I soon realised, though, that I wanted a course that gave me deeper understanding of how the Human Body works, especially at a neurological level. I cannot pretend that I have a deep and expansive knowledge of how the nervous system but, hopefully, I shall be able to research this further as I ‘surf’ (in the words of one of the lecturers) my way to a career in neurology. So, the present life plan is:

  • Do Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Music at A level
  • Do medicine at Cambridge (!)
  • Two years foundation training
  • Between 4 and 10 years specialist training
  • Become a medical researcher, esp.  looking into neurology.

So, what do I want to do once I’ve finished at least a further 15 years of education, consisting of school, university, and up to 12 more years of training after that? Well, I want to dedicate my life to broaden both my, and others’, understanding of mental illness and degenerative diseases. When studying the nervous system in Biology, we skimmed only the surface of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, a field in which there are still a huge number of developments to be made. Just the idea that I could at some point in my life be a part of a research team that identifies a new method of treatment for a type of mental illness, or help promote the understanding and acceptance of one of these astounds me. Of course, many of my friends and family have advised me against studying medicine- the most common reason is they it’s ‘Too competitive’. But whilst sitting in a conference hall at the Friends’ Meeting House in London, on Saturday 28th January, something occurred to me: How can I win the race if I never start running? Athletes certainly don’t refuse to run because of the sheer number of competitors. So, I’ve begun the race now, and hopefully I’ll be one of those who reach the finish line…