February 16, 2021, by School of Medicine

50 at 50: Utilising your opportunities

Pradipta Debnath smiling at the camera

Working with several societies over the past couple years in Medical School has not only given me a bunch of new skills but also helped me get acquainted with some great people in Nottingham and beyond! My main takeaway is irrespective of which stage year you are in, there is always something to get involved with! 

As a part of MedSoc, I have been responsible for organising an online fresher’s fair! We have interviewed almost 50 different societies mainly catering for medical students! Everything from sports to academia to culture to volunteering, there was literally something for everyone. The organising it was how enthusiastic each and every society’s representative was while filming it (despite being in the middle of a global pandemic)! We’ve tried to cover the basic aims and activities the societies covered and sign-posted them to more information via their social media channels! We amassed over 4000 views in total over first week of term! If you are interested in having a look at the videos, check out our website (click on the name of the society you are interested in): https://www.nottsmedsoc.co.uk/freshers-fair  

Nottingham INSPIRE, which is the academic medicine society, is a group that I was particularly interested in! Coming from a country with a lack of research facilities, especially in the field of medicine, participating in their events was a no-brainer. With inspirational talks from academics in their lecture series, research projects over summer, art competitions for the creatively gifted, hosting conferences are just some of the things that really made me a lot more interested in academia. Also, before COVID the free pizza was a big motivator! Going to their events have allowed me to get to know like-minded individuals in all years and forge lasting friendships! If you are interested in knowing more, check out our beautifully designed website: https://www.inspirenottingham.co.uk/! 

Dharma Medical Association (DMA) is another student group I am lucky enough to be involved with. Even though we could not host as many social events as we would like due to the pandemic, we tried our best to host academic events to help fellow medics. We partnered with INSPIRE for a BMedSci project selection webinar for third years and arranged mock vivas (for their dissertations) with the help of some brilliant Fourth and Fifth Year volunteers. Working with my colleagues for events that are helpful to a wider audience is definitely one of the best feelings I had in medical school. We have also collaborated with another society which I will mention below for a special project! 

Last year in February, I went to the National Quality Improvement Conference organised by a society in Cambridge. Over there, I was lucky enough to network with a few individuals and got to know more about Medical Leadership and how important it is for the future of the NHS! So with the help of some of my friends, we set up the Nottingham Medical Leadership Society in July 2020. So far, we have hosted the Dean of the medical school (Prof Brigitte Scammell) and the current chair of the Faculty of Medical Leadership and Management (Prof Mayur Lakhani) for two insightful talks. As I am writing this, we are also planning talking on a wide range of topics in the next few months including Quality Improvement projects! Additionally, in the beginning of this academic year, we partnered with DMA to produce a booklet named: “How to survive first year of medical school” for incoming first-years which include tips on how to make the most of the year (due to their lack of in person contact). It consisted of tips ranging from study techniques to mental health to making recipes. We had a webinar to summarise its content as well. This project was also selected for an oral presentation in the Healthcare Leadership Academy Conference a few months ago. Judging from feedback, people really liked it!

View How to survive first year of medical school book

Similarly, you can start off your own society if it isn’t there already. All you need is some determination! 

I have also had a fantastic experience in committee roles in MedSoc Support, MedSoc Teaching, SCRUBS Surgical Society, Neurological & Neurosurgical Society (NUNNS), etc. At this point, I honestly think I can write a novel about all the experiences I had being involved in student groups! This doesn’t mean I am a part of every society! In fact, I am not that involved in sporting societies (which is something I will try to change after COVID subsides). People often ask me why I am involved in so many things and the honest answer is I like being pre-occupied. In the beginning of first year, I was feeling quite homesick even though I had some great friends. Being involved in a lot of things made me feel more at home in Nottingham, to say the least! Please remember that this does not mean you should get involved in a hundred societies at once. The best advice I can give you, is if you are truly passionate about something, you can definitely make the time for it! In order to know what you are passionate in, it’s important to test the waters from time to time as well. I have worked with my peers at MedSoc to create “Nottingham Medical Student Opportunities”, a Facebook group to act as a hub for all the opportunities that are on offer for medical students at Nottingham. Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/349665309505806  

Lastly, I would like to express my gratitude to Nottingham Medical School for making so many opportunities available to students and a special thank you to Dr William Atiomo, the lead for international students. He may not remember this, but he gave me the best tip of all and that is: to try your best to integrate! In the next 50 years, I hope there will be even more opportunities! 

If you have any questions regarding any of the societies I have mentioned here or any general queries, feel free to drop me an email at mzypd3@nottingham.ac.uk

By Pradipta Debnath, Third Year Medical Student 

Posted in 50 Years of MedicineStudent Life