Picking my Degree: Round 2

Graduation cap and diploma with a stack of books on a wood background

Most people choose which degree they want to study in sixth form and then don’t need to think about another one until they graduate. Medicine at Imperial is a little bit different. One, in my opinion, asset of the medical programme at Imperial is that it gives us the opportunity to undertake an intercalated BSc. This basically means that our fourth year at university is spent studying another subject within which we then receive a BSc (Hons) degree. Seems like a pretty good deal for just one extra year of work.

However, I’m discovering one problem with studying for an MBBS (BSc) programme. You need to decide which BSc to study. Back when I was a sixth form student, I thought that by the time I got to third-year I would know exactly which BSc would be my top choice. I thought that surely by the time I was that old, I’d have my life planned out, know which speciality I wanted to pursue and choose a BSc accordingly. I had clearly overestimated my 21-year-old self. Now, with the BSc deadline coming up this week, I can’t truthfully say I’ve made up my mind.

This is unchartered territory for me. I had known I wanted to be a doctor for several years before submitting my UCAS application. I always listened to my friends’ angsts over which degree they wanted to study, quietly glad I didn’t need to go through that myself. It seems like degree indecisiveness is something we all need to go through at some stage.

The trouble is that, back at school, Medicine felt like the complete package for me. It was absolutely, 100%, the degree I wanted to study. However, what I’ve realised after pursuing the BSc options for the 27th time is that none of them are absolutely, 100%, what I want to study. The subjects on offer are extortionately varied ranging from Bioengineering to Philosophy. They are all interesting in their own rights, but none of them have a piece of my heart in the same way Medicine does.

I’ve tried pros and cons lists. I’ve tried hounding older years for advice. I’ve even attended the BSc Science fair put on by the College last week. This gave us the opportunity to speak with the course leads and current students to get a taste of what their programme was about. Naturally, every stand I went to assured me that their course was the best and that I’d have an excellent time studying it. They were all telling the truth, just from their own perspectives. I scurried between the stalls hoping I’d get my eureka moment at some point but it just never came around. Maybe it will catch up with me the moment before I need to submit my decision.

What I’ve realised is that it makes sense that none of the BSc pathways feel like exactly what I want to study because I’m already studying the degree which holds that title. The BSc year is simply an opportunity to do something different and develop academic research skills, which you will do regardless of the stream you choose. Like I said, all of the subjects are uniquely fascinating, which means it’s likely I’ll enjoy whichever pathway I follow. For the moment, I’ve made my peace with the fact that my decision will likely be based on how I’m feeling the day before the submission deadline. And you know what, I’m okay with a bit of spontaneity now and again. Let’s see where the BSc universe takes me and join me back here next year to find out what I chose and how I’m getting on!

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