My name is Nadia, I am a second-year medical student at Imperial College London, and this is my Access Project journey! I wanted to share an insight into my life, my tutoring with The Access project, and what I learnt from the experience. 

My road to medical school didn’t come without its challenges, with the numerous entrance exams and daunting interviews, but I can safely say that completing The Access Project for 3 years made a massive difference.

What I learnt from my Access Project journey.

My journey began in Year 10, where I was encouraged by my University Access Officer to get involved and see where it would take me. Little did I know then, that I would end up benefitting immensely. I picked up many skills throughout my tutoring. Not only did I have a better understanding of difficult concepts in my academic studies (I was tutored in Biology in Years 10 and 13; Chemistry in Year 12), I also acquired many ‘softer’ skills that are vital in the working world. 

Arranging weekly tutorials improved my time management skills, as I learnt to prioritise tasks. I became more motivated and sought further opportunities to expand my learning. I learnt the importance of initiative and actively trying to increase my knowledge. 

Thanks to The Access Project, I also developed my professional communication skills via email (and I can’t stress enough just how useful this skill is!). At university, where you are constantly caught up by deadlines and extra-curricular activities, and balancing this with part-time work and family commitments, excellent time management is key.

Moreover, the experience was incredibly beneficial as I had the opportunity to regularly visit the amazing workplaces of my tutors! These included consulting company McKinsey, The Department for Education, and Imperial College. In year 12, in particular, my tutor was a PhD student in Chemistry at Imperial College meaning I visited their South Kensington campus for my tutorials – little did I know that 2 years later it would be the exact building where I now have my lectures!

Time for some advice and reflections!

If I had to tell my 16-year-old self-one thing it would be – all the hard work is worth it. So often we become immersed in working hard to get through our exams and we forget to enjoy the journey. When it all seems overwhelming, it can help to take a step back and think about why we are doing it. This puts life in perspective and helps to increase motivation.  

Thanks to my experience on The Access Project I learnt to build the habits that I wanted to continue into the future. From learning a new language, an instrument, a sport or whatever it maybe I would tell any teenager on the programme to start now. 

My final piece advice for my 16-year-old self would be, explore different learning techniques, and figure out what works for you. Read books and watch videos online – this will help to maximise efficiency when revising!

I learnt a lot from my experience on The Access Project which has shaped where I am today, and I hope you can take something from this for yourself or to share during tutorials.