A trip to The University of Manchester at age 15 has led to a career in medicine for Salford school boy Emmanuel Oladipo who graduates today (8 July).
Former Salford City Academy pupil Emmanuel, known as Manny, came away from the taster day at Manchester Medical School with a photograph of himself with a stethoscope around his neck after and decided one day he would be wearing one for real.
Fast-forward nine years and the 24-year-old is now about to begin a career as a doctor in Oldham.
“My life could have turned out very differently,” said Manny, as he celebrated his graduation this week. “I loved science and drama as a school boy. A teacher saw how much I wanted to do medicine and put him in touch with the University of Manchester.
“At the University, I got to look at a stethoscope and use a simulator – a sort of fake body – where you can practice treatments. I came away thinking ‘this is what I want to do’ – but I don’t think then I realised quite how difficult it was going to be.
“I didn’t have anyone close to me that had been to university who could talk to me about what I should expect or what to do.”
Manny was put on a mentoring scheme and met up regularly with current medical students who told him about what the course was like, what you needed to do in terms of subjects and work experience to get on the course and kept him determined to work hard.
“I don’t think I would have got into University if it hadn’t been for the mentoring,” he said. “You have to be very motivated and work hard yourself but the mentoring put me in touch with people who had done what I wanted to do and that really kept me focused.”
But Manny’s challenge to become a doctor didn’t end once he secured his University place. “The course is very hard and, not having had any family members who were doctors at time, I did feel like I didn’t fit at first and they’d made a mistake giving me my place,” he said. “But with the support of my supervisors and once I’d been here for a little while, knuckled down and was passing my exams it boosted my confidence made a real difference. I also got a lot of support from my friends at Holy Trinity Platt church in Rusholme.”
After a difficult third year, Manny’s final two years training in medicine saw all his hard work begin to click into place. “I’ve had lots of practical experience including assisting during two C-sections. It was fascinating to see new life as it comes into the world,” he said. “I’ve also treated people who have had suicide attempts which had a profound impact on me in terms of being able to help with their treatment and given me an immense motivation. As a doctor you get to meet people in a vulnerable situation and seeing you can help them is very rewarding.”
Manny, who graduates with a MBChB in Medicine, has also made a difference mentoring pupils from Longsight School in Moss Side to let them know about the benefits of studying medicine. “I hope I can inspire other students from non-traditional backgrounds to study medicine and really make a difference,” he said. “My family are very proud. My mother has now graduated as a mature student and my sister is graduating in criminology this summer too.”
Professor Tony Freemont, Head of Manchester Medical School, said: “Emmanuel has helped with consultation skills teaching during his course, and students and I really enjoyed his enthusiastic input into teaching. It was also great having him present to year 9 school children at a gateways mentoring event a few months ago, having been on a similar programme when he was at school. His determination to get to into Medical School and to succeed at the course is inspiring.”