KUMAS Mentorship Reflective Essay Prize Winners
We are delighted to announce the KUMAS Mentorship Reflective Essay Prize winners, an exclusive opportunity for those who attended the KUMA-KUMAS Mentor-Mentee Networking Day.
Starting from medical school to becoming a consultant, becoming a doctor is a long and challenging journey that requires hard work, motivation, and perseverance. Around thirteen years of training is required to build the practical skills and knowledge to qualify as a consultant, which is a calculation that excludes intercalations, additional foundation year
training, or PhD programmes that often many students and doctors will have to undertake to build on their experiences. On this long journey, students and even doctors need to have mentors who can guide them through different stages of their careers. From providing valuable advice on navigating the speciality programs to simply offering words of affirmation, mentors provide immense value to medical students and doctors so that they can succeed in their chosen fields and reach their full potential.
Recently, I had the privilege of attending a joint mentorship event hosted by the Korean UK Medical Association for doctors and students, where students and doctors with different levels of experience were able to share their achievements and difficulties encountered on the way. The talks included a variety of topics, such as life as an F1 doctor and working as a
doctor in Korea. I was able to listen to talks that best fit my interest in Internal Medicine and network with doctors in similar fields. I also had the opportunity to ask several doctors for advice regarding electives and foundation year applications so that I can set realistic expectations and prepare for the upcoming year. Although approaching the doctors was
initially intimidating, I felt comforted when a doctor described mentorship as a symbiotic relationship. Often, as a student, it may seem difficult to reciprocate the useful advice and guidance given by seniors but comments like this are reminders that mentorship is a two-way street with both parties benefitting from these interactions.
While advice on career progression is helpful, talking to my seniors and mentors always provides a great sense of community, especially in times when medical school feels stressful and isolating. Seniors with similar cultural backgrounds and career paths often provide more relatable advice that is not limited to just the academic aspect of medical school. Because it is easy to get fixated on the academic aspect of medical school, I found in-person events like this a great opportunity to also reflect on managing life outside of medicine. Talking to mentors who also had to navigate the line between personal life and medicine provided reassurance that I too could find my own boundaries.
Although it can be a daunting journey to navigate, medical school and training come with meaningful and fruitful relationships that we build with our peers and seniors along the way. Out of the many relationships formed, mentorship is a powerful tool that can significantly impact an individual’s personal and career trajectory. I hope that through these
experiences, I will also be able to be in the position of a mentor and give back to the community that provided many opportunities.
As a medical student, I am constantly reminded of the importance of mentorship and guidance not only throughout the degree, but also beyond graduation. Thus, I decided to attend the KUMA-KUMAS Mentor-Mentee Networking Social which provided the amazing opportunity for me to connect with not only other medical students, but with doctors who were keen on supporting and guiding medical students.
The event was organised to give students as well as doctors a wide range of talks to provide deeper insight into the life of a doctor at certain stages of medical training. Talks were also organised to introduce certain specialties and what the application and training process looked like. Attendees were given autonomy in deciding where they wanted to allocate more time. Networking was occurring alongside the scheduled talks, allowing us to spend our time networking when we preferred. The talks were of high quality, with esteemed doctors giving up their time to personally deliver talks during the event. Attendees were also accommodated for well, with the event being in a well-chosen comfortable venue and free
beverages being provided throughout the event.
Attending this event allowed me to gain a deeper and more realistic insight into how medical training after graduation will look like. As a medical student, it can be difficult to obtain information and advice on career pathways and training schemes, which I was able to obtain from attending this event. Having conversations with doctors of different specialties, stages
and backgrounds allowed me to gain a variety of valued opinions and advice on my future plans, which have definitely influenced my thought process. Events where KUMA and KUMAS come together always provide a warm, friendly, and close-
knit environment where I feel a sense of belonging. These events make me feel that I have a support system I can turn to as a medical student from Korea in London. The geniality of the doctors allowed me to feel comfortable approaching them and asking questions which I sincerely appreciated.
Mentorship truly aids our development as students and doctors at all stages of our training, yet it is something that can be hard to find. The time and effort the mentors put into aiding the mentees through the difficult times of studying and training is something I will always appreciate and find warmth in.