|6 Oct 2022
Lara studied medicine at UCL after being encouraged to pursue her childhood dream by teachers and careers advisors at LEH. She has just completed six years of study and started her first placement as a junior doctor in Leeds in August.
The prestigious competition has been running since 1903, and was won, most notably, by Alexander Fleming in 1908. Each year, London medical schools are invited to nominate their top five performing students to take part in the competition.
During the competition, students are questioned by a panel of experts - external to the London universities - covering core specialties such as general medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, clinical pharmacology, emergency medicine, and psychiatry. The winner is decided by the panel, based on the answers the candidates give to these questions.
Lara is very much enjoying her first job: “It’s been a brilliant, albeit stressful, experience so far. I have enjoyed translating the skills and knowledge that I accumulated over six years of medical school into the clinical environment and have particularly enjoyed the critical problem solving that is required for complex cases. Despite the initial steep learning curve, finally starting work after so many years of studying has been very rewarding!”
Speaking of her lifelong ambition, Lara said: “I have wanted to be a doctor since I religiously watched Casualty from the age of 10. I remember looking forward to Sunday nights where I would sit down and revel over the very dramatic (and very unrealistic) ups and downs of medicine. However, it was not until my years at Lady Eleanor Holles that my dream of becoming a doctor felt increasingly attainable.
“Through the LEH career coaching sessions, the meticulous combing through of personal statements, and rigorous mock interviews I felt prepared for the competitive medical school application process.
“It was, however, the holistic approach to wellbeing at LEH that most prepared me for the years of training ahead. Mrs Ndongong, my English teacher at the time, encouraged me to keep my love for English literature alive alongside my medical studies; the sports coaches pushed us to keep training and performing competitively despite our academic commitments; and my science teachers allowed us to laugh through lessons alongside achieving the grades we required.
“The well-rounded education I received, and the personal confidence I developed, at LEH underpinned my studies at medical school and without a doubt contributed towards my success at the University of London Gold Medal examination earlier this year. I am looking forward to returning to London after my foundation programme to pursue my joint interests in public health and clinical medicine and I am hoping to specialise in neurology, cardiology, or rheumatology.”