Anatomy of a mentee

7th November 2008 at 00:00

Katherine McKenzie, who went to Oban High, is studying anatomical sciences at Dundee University.

"I decided when I was in third or fourth year that I wanted to do medicine. I didn't do biology for Standard grade but found it easy to pick up in Higher. My science and maths marks were always much higher than literary stuff.

My school took part in the Working in Health Access Programme and we got to tour different departments in our local hospital to see different sides of medicine and took part in workshops at Glasgow University medical school.

I signed up for WHAN to get a perspective from a medical student - on which universities offered what and what modules you would have to take and so on. It turned out that we had a lot in common, which I liked because I thought all medics would be way smarter than me and a bit stuck up. She did similarly in her grades and took similar subjects to me.

I got a C in my Higher English, which dragged my UCAS points down and meant I couldn't apply to any medical schools directly. I spoke to my mentor and she was really helpful in finding alternative routes. That is why I chose anatomy, because you can apply to graduate medical courses after you graduate with any BSc degree.

My mentor was different from a careers adviser, because she was nearer my age and had experienced what I wanted to do, and knew about the different rules in the system that meant I could do a pre-med degree or look into other ways of getting in.

It was weird not having any contact other than the mentoring site - having profile pictures would be a good idea.

If I hadn't done the scheme, I wouldn't have chosen medicine. I'd probably still have taken chemistry and physics and gone into some sort of scientific field of study or teaching of some sort, but I wouldn't have thought about medicine."

Photograph: Alistair Linford.

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