Monica finds a mentor

Monica is a Year 12 student at Langley Park School for Girls in Kent. Monica is an aspiring doctor and she spoke to us about the impact of Future First workshops and what it meant to be mentored by a relatable role model in the profession she hopes to join.

I’m in Year 12 now and while I was quite interested in pursuing a career in Medicine, the tutor time talks and mentoring sessions with alumni have made me even more determined to follow this route.

Both of these initiatives, which my school organised with the help of Future First, have been so important because I didn’t really know much about different careers until I took part in them. It’s easy to just think you go to school and then you go to university and that’s it. But I have learned that there are lots of other pathways to successful careers.

The alumni who have come to talk to us have also told us about what went wrong for them, how they didn’t give up and how they got to where they are now. One of the former students that came to speak to us was a consultant Histopathologist at St George’s Hospital in London - Jackie. She offered to mentor any of us who were interested in a career in medicine, so I took her up on the offer.

What was interesting about Jackie’s career path was that she had gone into medicine in her 30s. I wasn’t really aware you could do that and I’d been worried about applying to medical school because I knew how difficult it was to get in. I was a bit concerned about what would happen if I wasn’t successful. But Jackie has shown me that the door is always open. Even if you aren’t successful straight away, there are lots of things you can do and if you’re still interested later on you can apply again.

There were about five or six of us that met up with Jackie and she’d get us to do things like read sections of a book and then come back together to discuss what we had learned. One of the books she gave us to read was called ‘My Life in Your Hands’ which was about the life of a junior doctor. It talked about late night shifts, all the challenges you face and the fact that you can’t save everyone’s life. It was good because a lot of people think that it will be easy once you qualify and the reality is very different. That’s something that is so important to know so it isn’t a shock when the time comes. It certainly hasn’t put me off wanting to be a doctor.

The whole experience of being mentored by Jackie has been wonderful. Without the mentoring sessions, I think I’d have been much more unsure about a career in medicine. I now know what it entails and what to expect. She’s talked to us about what we may be asked in interviews for medical schools, what may come up in exams and even what to revise.

It’s also interesting how much we have changed as students as the sessions have gone on. To begin with we were all quite quiet and nervous but now we are more confident, full of questions and much more prepared to speak up! All in all we’re much better prepared for life after school - whatever that may look like.

Contact us to discuss how we can support your school to work with former students.