My Career Journey

The 5 years I spent at Malet Lambert as a student, set the foundation for both professionalism and confidence to support my progression through higher education. Whilst at Malet, I partook many extracurricular activities alongside my academic studies including; Head Girl, Language leaders, Young Enterprise, Badminton England ambassador and much more. These extracurricular activities provided the building blocks for my character development in college and my personal statement for university admission.

My post-secondary school education consisted of A Levels in human biology, mathematics, physical education and general studies at Wyke College. Here, I got to delve into different career prospects and pick universities and courses that suited to my life goals. I choose to study BSc Human Biology (Hons) at the University of Birmingham due to its Russell Group title and its postgraduate career success. When picking a university, I believe visiting the campus is very important to envision whether you wish to spend the next part of your education there. Many factors come into play, not just the academic or specialist nature of your chosen colleges and universities, for example, sports facilities, laboratory facilities, living quarters and social aspects of your prospective stay.

In workshops I have run across the country, I stress that moving away from home can be challenging but very rewarding. Living away from home gives you independence, money management skills and life experience. Funding is often a scary prospect of moving away to university. Government funding through student finance covers your basic cost and part-time work would be able to cover your living fees. Studentships, scholarships and sponsorships are also available and worth considering, often awarded by income means testing and/or academic and sports prowess.

I am fortunate to have found a pathway whilst at my university that I am extremely passionate about- medicine. After graduating this July with a first class honours degree I will be starting my postgraduate degree in Sleep Medicine at the University of Oxford, something I had only ever dreamed of. This course enables me to work as a sleep clinician and researcher across Europe and the United States. However, this career pathway was first suggested to me whilst having conversations with teachers at Malet Lambert. Talking to professionals about what it takes in the career, work experience and advice from teachers and staff at the school would enable narrowing of prospective career fields to allow the correct higher education choices.

For those who wish to apply for Oxbridge (University of Oxford or University of Cambridge), the application process can be lengthy and daunting. My experience of postgraduate applications saw me complete: an application, a 3000-word research proposal, two rounds of interviews and a seminar. However, undergraduate applicants are expected to complete an application, one interview and sometimes (dependant on the course) an entrance exam. A strong applicant is proactive throughout their life, not just the months leading up to the application submission.

The most common statements I get from students are:

“I could never go to Oxford, I’m not smart enough.”

“No-one from here could be a doctor”

You should never write yourself off before your journey has begun. Stay proactive, ask for help and information from teachers and professionals and one day you’ll be living the dream I am now.

About the Author

Emma Gale (ex-Head Girl 2011-2012, student 2007-2012)