Over a year before I start, already Murray Edwards is investing in my future. I wouldn’t have had the courage to choose a gap year; I thought I was ready for university and after a taste at the College’s overnight stay I couldn’t wait to start! But luckily MEC offered me a window onto the bigger picture and now I can’t believe I almost missed out on this incredible opportunity.
Applying to medical school, sandwiched between AS and A levels, made a relentless and tough couple of years, with no time for non-scientific interests – particularly languages, art and novels. But it was definitely worth it for the extraordinary privilege of a year free from obligations, to broaden my self-development in ways completely determined by me. It’s amazingly liberating. And it’s made even more so by having the next stage of my life secured, with a place at Cambridge there waiting for me when the gap year is over!
I’m writing in the lovely sunshine of the south of France, where I’m an Au pair for four months. It’s true that being immersed in another language and getting to know another culture is an incredibly enriching experience. It took a few weeks to detach myself from my old life, family and friends, and at first, concentrating so much for every basic conversation was exhausting. I arrived with only rusty, GCSE-level French, causing me to have my accent totally mocked, take ridiculous numbers of minutes to deliver a single sentence, and even be corrected by a two-year-old!
I’m learning (the hard way!) many key things about communication; a crucial and often underestimated skill for a doctor. I’m also being taught plenty from the challenges of looking after and teaching English to two small children. With all the unfamiliarity, independence and self-organisation involved, I can see that I’ve already grown and matured in a matter of weeks. I’ve got the time to read books and get drawing again, reflect on and enjoy life, and I’ve already made friends of all different ages and backgrounds, from across the globe. The difficulty lies in choosing and organising what to do and where to go next!
For a year, I have been given ‘the world’. I’m so grateful to MEC for giving me this most incredible gift, in the form of time and money, so I can develop skills that I really want to learn. I’m sure that what I get from this year will be incredibly beneficial to my studies and my future, and I’ll arrive at Murray Edwards refreshed, inspired, and better prepared for the hard work of the next six years and beyond.
For more information on Gateway Gap Year Scholarships, visit our website: