An Aberdeen student has fulfilled his long-held dream of becoming a doctor after nine years of relentless effort.
When he left school in 2012, Thomas Lumsden hoped to be accepted onto Aberdeen University’s medical course to pursue his dream career.
However, in a very competitive field where there are thousands of applicants each year, he was twice unsuccessful in his application.
Undeterred, Mr Lumsden instead enrolled on a degree in biomedical science where he was able to demonstrate his academic prowess – graduating in 2016 with first class honours and winning the Anatomy Prize for achieving the highest grades in his cohort.
Now, after years of hard work and dedication to break the glass ceiling, the 28-year-old is celebrating his second graduation as a proud holder of a medical degree and a job as a doctor for the NHS.
Mr Lumsden, who is originally from Fife but has now settled in Aberdeen, said his passion for medicine and determination to become a doctor never faded away.
‘My passion to help people kept me going’
He said: “The enjoyment of having that human interaction and caring for people, as well as the learning and science behind is what kept my motivation to persevere alive.
“But also making my mum and dad proud – they have always believed in me and have had my back from the very start, trying their best to help me achieve my dream.”
During his studies, Mr Lumsden also developed a passion for research in the medical field and has already had an article published in a journal. He also won the Elizabeth Lockhart Prize in Medical Humanities.
However, he added that the care side of medicine and being able to help people is the key factor that keeps him going.
He said: “One of the greatest things about medicine is having that interaction with so many people from different backgrounds with loads of different stories.
“And even if you get to speak to them just briefly, you get that short insight into their life and hopefully make things a little better for them.”
‘Grateful to start working for the NHS’
During his final year, Mr Lumsden successfully applied for the Academic Foundation Programme in Aberdeen – a competitive training programme for junior doctors with an interest in research and teaching.
He will start in August, and hopes to put the “invaluable” experience he gained during his placement this year, during Covid, to good use.
He added: “It was great to have this opportunity as a final-year medical student, to really get involved, become trusted members of the team and almost be at the level of a junior doctor.
“People might think that because of Covid and the difficult year we’ve had, junior doctors don’t feel ready to graduate, but I definitely do.
“I feel like the medical school stepped up and facilitated our learning really well and drove us to get involved, to get stuck in and really be part of the team, and it’s worked out really well.
“It has been a very challenging time for everyone, and it is a shame that we are unable to hold a traditional graduation ceremony.
“But I am grateful for the opportunity to start working for the NHS, and very appreciative of the amazing level of support from my friends, family, and fiance Sara.”