Julia Walsh completed a 2+2 degree with us in 2015 and has just been awarded a Medical School PhD Scholarship. We asked her how she feels about her journey so far, how the 2+2 has helped her achieve her ambitions and what advice she has for people thinking about doing the 2+2 degree pathway.
Congratulations on being awarded a Medical School PhD Scholarship! How does it feel?
"Amazed, thrilled, excited! I've been walking around on a cloud ever since I heard! As I worked through the 2+2 and the MSc in Health Research, the dream has always been to somehow get to do a PhD, but firstly I didn't think I was anywhere near good enough, and then even after surprising myself with the 2+2 result, I knew it would never happen without finding a source of funding. I kept hearing how competitive the PhD scholarships were and didn't think that I stood any chance, but thought I had nothing to lose in applying."
What will you be researching?
"My research will be two pronged, but it is basically about harnessing the ever increasing but currently very under utilised volume of online patient reported experiences in order to improve clinical practice and patient outcomes. My research will focus on one particular drug that, although already being used for one very specific condition within the NHS, is reportedly being used very effectively on an 'off label' basis for a variety of other conditions."
How did the 2+2 help you achieve your goals?
"This journey started five years ago with the 2+2, and it would never have happened without it. The 2+2 was a great way of returning to study, and, the way it was structured, together with the support that was available, was invaluable for someone who had absolutely no confidence in her ability to undertake a degree since her brain went walkabout all those years ago. The first two years give you the chance to start to develop your learning skills in whatever area they are lacking, which in my case involved learning how to learn all over again, and gave me the confidence to make the most of the final two years at Warwick.
One aspect of the 2+2 that I really appreciated was the flexibility of module choice that we had in the final two years. I ended up choosing modules from CLL, Sociology, Politics, History and IATL, all of which which have given me insights, perspectives and ideas that may well emerge in some form or another in the PhD.
Although all the staff I have met along the way have been really supportive, a special shout out has to go to Alan Blundy at City College, and Anna Preston and Will Curtis from CLL for all their patience and encouragement."
Do you have any hints and tips for people thinking about doing the 2+2?
"Believe in yourself, do the work, get involved, and be enthusiastic. Don't be afraid to approach people. Most of them, staff and students, are really friendly. Join societies, do sport, go to talks and events if you can.
Book yourself on to any of myAdvantage courses/events that look interesting. The all day academic writing one was particularly good, but there are lots of shorter ones that are really useful too. Likewise the ITS software training if you need it and go to the Endnote sessions that the library runs. Use the Eating at Warwick scheme to put money on your University card and save 10% off drinks and food.
Try and do all these things in the college years as well, you don't have to wait until year 3. I found it was a great way of getting to know the Warwick campus and facilities which made the transition much easier.
The 2+2 course is an amazing opportunity, and although it seems like an eternity when you start it, the four years go by really quickly, so grab it and make the most of it - who knows what it could lead to!"
"The 2+2 was a great way of returning to study, and, the way it was structured, together with the support that was available, was invaluable for someone who had absolutely no confidence in her ability to undertake a degree."
"In some ways, I felt this ability to choose from such a wide range of departments gave 2+2 students a real advantage over the traditional students who seemed much more constrained in their choices."
"The 2+2 course is an amazing opportunity... grab it and make the most of it - who knows what it could lead to!"