As always I've been working with more schools within and around Waltham Forest. I have continued to arrange more career talks as well as participating in a 'Professional Interview Day' at Walthamstow School for Girls.
I have met with very enthusiastic students who are keen to be doctors. However, from what I have seen these students have a lot of work to do and I aim to help as much as possible. But, I cannot do it alone.
I have often found it difficult to work with a number of schools due to lack of engagement with my services. Emails, phone calls and messages have not been returned. I am offering a very specialist service for students who may not have any doctors in their family or may be the first generation in their family that has the opportunity to go to university. I am met with such obstacles and why? Teachers and careers advisers who do not seize opportunities such as these means that the students are losing out on a valuable contact- me. I can offer the students so much help and support but the 'gatekeepers' are not letting me through and it is a shame.
I have seen very few students so far who demonstrate both the qualifications AND the additional skills, qualities and extra-curricular activities to be accepted into top medical schools. A lot of schools do encourage students to pursue 'top' professions and I must say I have been impressed by a number of students who partake in additional activities run by the schools for example- The Duke of Edinburgh Award', 'The Jack Petchy Speak Out Challenge', 'The Lionheart Challenge' in addition to sporting and musical schemes and events. This is invaluable for the students as they are developing skills and experience that will put them in good stead for their future careers. When I was at school there was very little going on but I made the best out of the situation and did what I could in school, (librarian, prefect etc) and outside of it.
The other issue I have found is that a lot of capable students have little confidence in themselves or their abilities. They doubt themselves constantly. It is heartbreaking to see that these students who have such enthusiasm, intelligence and potential believe that they are not good or clever enough. I was not very confident at school even though I was producing amazing work and passing all my exams to a high standard. The environment has a lot to do with it and you really notice the comparison with students in independent schools.
I would love to help these students increase their chances of getting into medicine or any career but I need help from the students themselves, the parents and the teachers. More students from ethnically diverse backgrounds are needed in top professions but there needs to be a unity and an investment in these bright kids. More needs to be done from those in top professions, especially those who succeeded from local comprehensive schools. There just isn't enough. If I can contribute in changing the status quo just a little bit I will be pleased.
Featured image via Penoyre&Prasad