Beth Gwyther

Beth highlights the impact her practical medical experience has had. ‘Having spoken to people since, it’s by far the thing that stood out most on my personal statement,’ she says.

‘Time in an adult environment gave me so much that I can apply to anything – I still don’t know anyone else who had an opportunity like that. I did it over Easter, with some extra time away from school, and the UTC was so supportive in helping me fit it around studying.’

When she talks to prospective new students, she tells them to make the most of their opportunities. ‘If you’re offered something, just do it,’ she says, smiling.

‘I was offered a month’s work experience and worried about how I’d catch up. But it really made the difference for me, and the UTC was really supportive.

If you’re interested in something, give it a go. You’ll grow up a lot faster, and there are so many more opportunities. You’ll be able to make a really balanced decision about what you want to do…’

Beth took into account university courses, facilities and their wider appeal and plumped for a place at St Andrew’s in Scotland, before heading to London to complete her medical degree. ‘We looked at league tables and courses, but were also encouraged to make decisions about what we
wanted from university. We thought about where we’d like to live, the cost of living, and how far we wanted to be from home.’

The former UTC student graduated from St Andrews in summer 2018 at the end of her BSc, before moving to Queen Mary, where she’s finished her first year of clinical studies. A year of general medical rotation has seen her take on placements in Bart’s and the Royal London – the biggest hospital in western Europe – alongside some small district general hospitals, experiencing a variety of different working environments. ‘They cover both some of the richest areas in London, and also the 1% most deprived area of the country. It’s a chance to work with such a variety of people and living in a tower block in east London has been very different. But you only get a chance to be a young person living in London once!

‘It’s nice to go from lecture-based learning to actually doing what you want to be doing,’ she says. ‘Next year I start medical specialisms, like haematology and gynae, and eventually, I’d like to either work in oncology or palliative care. I worked on a research project at St Andrew’s on
oncology and palliative care, which was really eye-opening. This year I presented at Bart’s clinical day on a chemo regimen and will do another dissertation next year – and I’d like to get some more research under my belt. Back in Edinburgh I was working on a paper with some consultants and hopefully it’ll get published – we don’t know yet…’

After her final year, Beth will have to choose where to spend her F1 year, as she becomes a Foundation Doctor. ‘It’s a chance to do what you want to do,’ she says. ‘I might come back to Liverpool – it would be nice to go back and work in the hospitals I went to at 16!’