MBChB Medicine and Surgery - Sam Arfield (Year 3)

Sam Arfield


In 2010 Sam gained a medical school place at Leeds thanks to a partnership between Leeds and Bradford Universities. This was set up in 2002 to provide a route into medicine and other health related university programmes for talented and determined students like Sam. He doesn’t come from a wealthy background. He doesn’t have family members that are doctors. After leaving school, he spent five years doing manual work before he undertook the Foundation Year in Clinical Sciences at the University of Bradford with the hope of transferring to Leeds to study medicine.

Sam initially took up a place at the University of Edinburgh in the Geology Department, switched to Mechanical Engineering, then, when he couldn’t cope with the assignments, dropped out. His university studies only lasted a few weeks. He’d hoped to find like-minded people, to fit in, and to excel. But instead “I left with my tail between my legs.”

Over the next five years Sam undertook casual and contract work in the events industry where he developed skills in assembling and dismantling structures such as stages, lighting rigs, and scaffolding for outdoor events. This work involved solving practical problems and team working - important skills in healthcare work.

When he was aged 22 Sam set his heart on a career in medicine. With luck and persistence he managed to obtain nine days of shadowing experience with an endocrinologist. He applied for a place on the Clinical Sciences Foundation Year at the University of Bradford and was delighted when he was accepted. In 2009 he
became one of over 80 students taking the Clinical Sciences Foundation Year. After 9 months, he was one of the few that had achieved high enough grades to be considered for entry to medicine at Leeds.

The next hurdle was the medical school interview. Then there was an agonising two-day wait for the outcome. When a large letter thumped onto the mat ‘I tore down the stairs and ripped it open. I knew that the thickness of the envelope was a good sign but I still needed to see with my own eyes that I was being offered a place.’
Sam’s enthusiastic about medical school. ‘It’s a real privilege to meet patients'. Then adds: ‘I’m lucky to have my girlfriend’s support. She keeps me sane'.