By Ahmed Fazili
Having just completed my 3rd year and got through half of my journey as a medical student, my time at St George’s University of London has allowed me to appreciate and reflect on my experiences, from being a fresher all the way through to taking my first steps into the world of clinical medicine. Being a relatively small university compared to other medical colleges in London, St George’s offers a wholesome community feeling, much required for many students leaving their family homes for the first time. Further adding to this sense of family, the university ensures an excellent network amongst the students through the ‘Mums and Dads’ system, in which every fresher is given the opportunity to become friends with and speak to a 2nd year student, ‘parent’, who help them get to grips with student life and offer advice about the course or general aspects of university. In addition to this, all cultural, medical, educational and sports societies regularly host events throughout the academic year, offering multiple opportunities for everyone to mingle, familiarise themselves with one another and form friendships immediately.
Another aspect of St George’s that differentiates the university from others is that all courses offered revolve around the basic principles of healthcare. From Medicine and Biomedical sciences through to Physiotherapy and Pharmacology, every student has learnt not only to immerse themselves in the wealth of societies and cultural diversity, but also to appreciate the unique lifestyle of healthcare workers. This, coupled with a very welcoming and tight knit campus, allows every student to easily connect with and seek advice from multiple avenues, whether it be for educational purposes or simply to share personal experiences about their life as a medical student.
In terms of the course itself, St George’s ensures every medical student has a strong pre-clinical foundation in the first 2 years of the degree. In these first 2 years, students are examined regularly at the end of each semester on various aspects of pre-clinical medicine, as well as having first-hand experience with cadavers in dissection rooms. This being a rare privilege compared to other colleges where it is more common to use prosections. The latter 3 years focus more on the clinical aspects of the medical field, in which students shadow doctors in well renowned hospitals, fully immersing themselves into the decision making process and the realistic lifestyle of a healthcare professional.
Alongside an impressive personal statement highlighting an applicants work experience, volunteering and strong desire to study medicine, successful students reflect their passion and achievements in a clear but non-boastful manner. This really intrigues the university recruiting team to see more of what the student has to offer. A standard MMI based interview attempts to distinguish those who are best suited for not only the degree, but also specifically for this university. This is done through testing of critical thinking, learning experiences from healthcare settings and through establishing how the student plans to develop themselves through their contributions to the university during their 5 years. Although the latter may seem like a strange concept, it is one that, in my opinion, weighs heavily. It determines which few students have truly considered their future at St George’s during the application process, which in turn reflects whether their mindset is suited for a career in medicine. It is certainly a vocation with no education boundaries, that requires the devoted to constantly plan ahead and think of their development in the long run. In the event of a successful interview, prospective medical students receive a conditional offer of AAA.
Located in southwest London, Tooting is well known for its cultural diversity and the wide range of cuisines it has to offer. With shops almost specifically designed for students, the town caters well for the university life, from reasonable food prices to clothing outlets. A social hub, Tooting Market is a mere 10-minute walk from the university, and numerous bus stops positioned all along the high street make the whole of Tooting is made easily accessible. Tube stations Tooting Broadway and Tooting Bec make central London an easy 25-minute tube journey away, meaning students can easily enjoy the benefits of central London nightlife, whilst simultaneously avoiding its expensive living expenses.