By Luise Werner
I interviewed a fifth year medical student who has been writing articles and short stories for some time and recently wrote two plays for the university. Too modest to say so herself, she might be the upcoming debut author–if her medical work gives her time to do so.
What sort of pieces have you written so far?
This year I’ve written two plays as part of a group but before that I’d mostly written articles for student newspapers. I mainly wrote for a mental health based magazine where I started a series called “Book Of The Month”. There I reviewed and recommended a variety of mental-health themed books which I thought were suited for the time of year. In February, for instance, I read a romance novel for Valentine’s Day and as it got to spring I read more about new beginnings, and so on. Those articles were really interesting to write and I would like to try to start that back up again now that I have a bit more time.
What inspired you to write a theatre play alongside your medical studies?
I joined a student society where every year the fourth year medical students put on a play. It has been an 80 year tradition, so it was really cool to be part of something that goes back to 1940. The society consisted of 30 people who all had a role in producing the pantomimes. As part of that, four of us were writers who worked on the two plays together. They were both medical comedies starring pop culture characters, hospital consultants and doctors that we know, our lecturers, and original characters. The first play – Nightsweats At The Museum – was about a couple of junior doctors on their first ever night shift in a hospital where everything goes wrong. The second one – Doctor Flu – was about some medical students who travelled back in time to before Covid-19. The profit we made from the plays and other activities all went to charities (Oxford Hospitals Charity and Calon Hearts Screening and Defibrillators Wales). We ended up raising about £41,000 over the course of the year which was amazing!
Who and/or what inspires you to keep writing?
I think, partly it’s that I find writing to be a really good stress-reliever. Obviously, studying medicine is not the easiest subject and I love to destress by being a bit creative. That is probably my main motivator. But I also promised myself and my English teacher that if I studied medicine, instead of English, I would try and keep writing and I am glad that I managed to do that this year. I hope that will also be the case once I am a junior doctor, so that I could achieve a career that could somehow combine writing and medicine, but we’ll see if I can keep it up.
What two tips would you give to people who are considering writing, but can’t quite take that first step?
- Work with somebody. It is so much fun to have people to bounce ideas off of and I think that it gives writing a whole new meaning when you get to brainstorm with people.
- Just write. You don’t know what you’re going to say or how you’re going to say it until you actually start.