Case Study: Serkan Hussein

'It was helpful to meet someone who motivated me to go out and achieve.'

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The Independent Online

Name of person: Serkan Hussein, 18. (19 on 21st Oct)

Name of their school: Kingsmead, Enfield

School year/years attended: Left in 2013

Profession/university: Studying Medicine at King’s College London.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I was always really creative. I thought I’d be someone kind of architect or designer. Then, from year ten onwards, I started becoming interested in science. I took GCSE triple science and I was really interested in the modules. I talked to my science teacher and got to do things outside of school time, things that were advanced but made me more interested. My inspiration to become a doctor came from my own work experience, working in a pharmacy. It was the science and the social aspect that I really enjoyed. I wanted something challenging and demanding academically and socially. I also volunteered in care homes and hospitals.

What are you hoping to do now?

I really like the clinical side of medicine and being in the hospital. It’s more diverse and you get to see a lot more. Maybe in time I’ll decide being a GP is the way forward, but that’s a whole different ball game! 

What advice do you think school students need when thinking about future careers?

Young people need to know what they are going into. They need to get a taste for what they’re interested in and how it’s all going to play out in a certain job. A lot of students don’t know it takes six years to become a doctor, plus all the admissions exams and competition for spaces. They don’t realise that you could be stuck in the same position for years. People just don’t realise this. So I guess they need exposure to what they’re interested in. I have to be pretty driven but other people just decide to do a course without researching it and end up hating it.

How important do you think it is for people to go back into their old schools to help encourage and give guidance to pupils?

Yeah, I think it is important for people to return to their old schools. Someone from my school, who specialises in psychiatry, came to talk to us. That side of medicine is really interesting to me and the talk opened up another career path and really motivated me and inspired me. It was helpful to meet someone who came from my background and was brought up in the same way as me, it motivated me to go out and achieve.

How has Future First helped you?

Future First gave me guidance and helped me find the course I wanted to do.  Attending workshops gave me an insight into other opportunities. It actually goes beyond universities, looking into training programmes and stuff. It’s important to know about the constant challenges you’ll be faced with.

They gave me confidence. If you’re undecided or unsure about what to do, they help you. You don’t just talk to people in medicine, but in other careers too. In my case it really confirmed that medicine was what I wanted to do. I heard about other people’s experiences and it was good to learn about the challenges that lie ahead socially and academically.

What was the most inspirational piece of advice you heard through Future First?

A lot of medical students come from a well off background. The best piece of advice I received was to never think of myself as below anyone just because they might have more experience than me. It doesn’t make them a better student or candidate. I was reading other people’s personal statements when I was applying and it was terrifying, but it’s important not to think of yourself as anything less than them. You stand as much of a chance as them.

What would your advice be to students/young people?

My advice for young people would be to be as proactive as possible. It’s easy to be demotivated. I was rejected from three hospitals but the fourth one accepted me. If you don’t succeed in getting a placement first time, persevere. Keep at it because you will get somewhere in the end.