July 30, 2021, by School of Medicine

50 at 50: A message from the incoming MedSoc President

Sanjana Mamidapli smiling in a wicker chairMy name is Sanjana Mamidipalli and I will be your incoming MedSoc President for the year, recently taking over from the amazing Pascal Vogiaridis. This September I’ll be in my third year of medical school, and my third year living in the UK! I’m originally from Mumbai, India, and I moved to the UK in 2019 to begin my journey at Nottingham Medical School.

First year for me was just before the pandemic drama began (ages ago!) – the walks where we’d make friends on the way to university, every friend group’s iconic spots in the lecture hall, and the queues for the microwave at Oasis (you didn’t hear about it from me). And of course, the mystery of LT2! I was so lost, and I still think I’m just a bit oblivious to basic things – way back in first year, my friends taught me how to use the self-checkout tills in Lidl, and I only learned the difference between cayenne and bell peppers last September (my salsa is still unquestionably delicious either way). I also did spend the majority of my first year convincing everyone that Greek yoghurt is a great source of protein and that my vegetarian lifestyle could never result in me wasting away, but I guess my delusions do result in funny stories – I accidentally bought 400 cupcake cases this year, so I’m not sure I’ve grown up that much since 2019!

I didn’t even realise it when 8 months had passed and the world went into lockdown – all I was thinking was our first year got cut short! And then many months later we were all reunited on MS Teams. I was really fortunate to find the housemates I have now – every morning we’d groggily rush downstairs to watch our lectures on the TV, and then cook meals and plan themed drinks nights after. Our only form of structure was our fortnightly dissections – big shoutout to our wonderful anatomy lecturers for everything this year! I tried out many societies in first year, but a highlight for me was playing for Medic’s Badminton at our annual Varsity against Leicester (hopefully we can bring it home this year…). I was just really amused to have been chosen as one of the Social Secretaries for Medic’s Badminton in a year where socials and indoor sport could not even occur. But things are looking better, and this summer I’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to help in the vaccine roll-out – and I’m loving every minute of my job! I’ve been so grateful for all my experiences here in Nottingham, and I’m really excited for the next year and the rest of my time here.

One thing I’ve noticed, however, is that I find it quite difficult to correct someone when they’ve said my name wrong (it’s SANJ-ana not San-JAAN-a). My name is actually very common in India, so it was really surprising when I found myself having to correct people all the time – new people I’ve met, people at my work – and after a while I found that it was quite exhausting. At one point I gave up! I completely understand that it’s not a common name here, and I’m more than happy to teach anyone how to say it – but to be completely honest, it’s frustrating when someone mispronounces your name even when you’ve taken the time to teach them how to say it.  So I’ve decided I’m going to practice correcting, because in this tiny act I’d be advocating for myself.

And on that note, I’d like to tell you all a bit more about MedSoc! MedSoc is a student-led society that is responsible for looking after you, and ADVOCATING for you, in your time here. I personally would say that we’re home to the nation’s finest medic sports teams and infamous socials – but I might be biased. Our goal is to ensure that every single medical student has a wonderful experience here – and to support the whole community in whatever they may need. While I’ve got this platform, I’d like to use this to encourage you all to USE MedSoc. We’re here to throw amazing events, yes, but we’re also here to support you. We represent the entire medical student body, and we constantly have meetings with staff members, the SU, and external contacts, for you! We’re over 20 signatures, and we are all committed to implementing any changes to make the Nottingham medical student experience the best one possible. Like I’ve mentioned, it is quite difficult to advocate for yourself or something you’d like to change, but if you turn to the right people – and we are the right people – we can definitely point you in the right direction. So if you ever have ideas or suggestions on how MedSoc can support you further, please please please do get in touch!

It’s still so strange to me that everything went online over a year ago – during OSCE practice I’d still introduce myself as a first year student (guess I’m just stuck in 2020)! Video calls went to groups of 6, and we all began dressing up to wear coats in the rain in outdoor seating. While the situation regarding COVID-19 restrictions may keep changing, our committee is on top of it and is working tirelessly this summer to prepare for the upcoming year and to make it MedSoc’s best one yet. If you have any questions, now or throughout the year, please do not hesitate to contact us!

I hope this wasn’t too long of a read! There’s been ups and downs, but I’m really lucky to say I’ve had a wonderful experience here so far – and I’d like for us to maintain the same for you all. Filled with me doing silly things, I’m glad that I still made it here – hopefully the BMedSci doesn’t take me out entirely! While we might be online for a bit longer and OSCEs might still be a series of us informing mannequins that our stethoscopes might be cold, I look forward to the upcoming year and hope you all have a lovely holiday!

By Sanjana Mamidipalli (she/her), MedSoc President

Posted in 50 Years of Medicine