August 5, 2017, by studentcontributor
Third year of medical school
My name is Hayley and I’m a fourth-year medical student. So, third year is quite a drastic change compared to the first two years at Nottingham- you’re no longer stuck in the lecture theatres! Third year is essentially split into two halves, the first half (September- February) is working on your BMedSci project; the second half is the first phase of clinical placements.
I’m going to talk a bit about my experience of my project as many students find the idea of doing a research project quite daunting! Trust me, it’s not that bad and most students enjoy the experience and get a lot out of it.
For me, I had a laboratory-based project, of which I’m glad to have got as I had no prior experience of lab work and wanted to try something new and challenging.
Initially, I was worried that would not be able to perform the techniques required for my project, as did many other students. But you should not let this put you off, the lab technicians are very friendly and guide you through methods, for me this was immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. They look after you and ensure that you are confident in doing the procedures before letting you do them by yourself.
Working in the lab was an eye-opening experience, as I could see what research entails and how it is undertaken; as well as the importance of teamwork within a research faculty.
Lab work is usually finished around early-mid December time and the rest of the time is mainly used to write up your dissertation. At first, it may seem like a daunting task to write up a 10,000-word essay on your project. You should not let this faze you, as students generally write one section up at a time to make it more manageable. Additionally, your supervisor will be there to give you tips on how to write it up and they will also be able to give you feedback for each section.
Reflecting on my experience of my project, I found that it was a valuable experience as I could do hands-on tasks, be familiar with how research works and being able to write up a dissertation which will be a very important skill for the future.
Overall, I would say just enjoy the experience and don’t let third year scare you, everyone is in the same boat and hopefully you’ll enjoy your project!
Contributor: Hayley Cheung, 4th Year medical student
(WAMs Committee 2017)