Student Profiles – Lorna, Medicine

Lorna is a fourth-year clinical Medicine student from Surrey. At A Level, she studied Biology, Chemistry, Maths, and English Literature.

Why did you choose Trinity Hall?
I couldn’t make it to the Cambridge Open Days because I was doing my Duke of Edinburgh expedition, and I only knew one person (a family friend) at Cambridge, so I asked her to show me her college, which just so happened to be Trinity Hall! I fell in love with the gardens, the riverside wall, and the general small friendly vibe.

How did you prepare for the application process and interviews? Was it what you expected?
It was a lot of hoops to jump through. I had to revise for the BMAT, which mostly consisted of going through a book of 700 practice questions, revising my basic GCSE science knowledge, and making sure I could do the questions to time. For interviews, there wasn’t really much prep I could do besides just revise all the A-Level content I’d covered so far in case they asked me about it!
My interviews were definitely harder than I expected, and involved a lot of left field questions, some unrelated to medicine. I ended up crying after one of them, and I thought I wouldn’t get in for sure. Obviously I did, so it goes to show that it’s impossible to tell how well you’ve done!

Why did you choose your course?
At school I was always really into science. My parents dissuaded me from the pure sciences and research in particular (as researchers they know the struggle), so I ended up applying to medicine as it seemed like a good way to combine my natural interest in science with an intrinsically morally good and useful profession!

How does your course compare to your expectations?
Everyone says medicine is hard, but you only realise when you get here just how enormous the volume of knowledge you’re expected to learn is. The first two years, second year especially, are extremely demanding and I never felt like I was truly able to keep on top of work during term time. Everyone’s in the same boat, though, so it ends up not being so bad – especially when exams are over and you can actually enjoy Cambridge for the wonderful place it is! Clinical School (the last three years of the course) is also a lot more relaxed than the undergrad portion (the first three years) of the course which has been a pleasant surprise.

How are you taught?
In the first three years: 5 or so lectures a week, 4 supervisions a week, 2 practicals a week. In total, it’s maybe 20 hours of contact time a week. Clinical school is a lot more self-directed with the course based around placements in hospitals/GPs, and teaching organised individually by these.

What is your favourite part of your course?
The people! I’ve grown to love the other medics (and you kind of have to when you spend six years together) and there’s such a strong sense of solidarity among our group.

How do you manage your workload?
Aggressive time management and efficient learning strategies (spaced repetition!). Doing Anki flashcards in the queue for hall, planning my work around my social life so I don’t burn out, and so on.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Gaming, DJing, hanging out with friends, reading for fun.

What are your plans for the future? Do you have any reflections/advice about your time at Cambridge and Trinity Hall?
Wait to see where I get sent for junior doctor rotations and pray it’s somewhere near London/Cambridge! I’ve absolutely loved my time in Cambridge despite how difficult it was in the first few years – don’t let imposter syndrome discourage you!