The first thing you are likely to notice about Daisy Ward is the spring in her step. It’s not clear whether it has always been there or just since last month, when she received the official acceptance of her application to Anglia Ruskin medical school, but it’s unmistakable now.

After a series of rejections from other universities, Daisy is delighted to have been offered a place to go on to achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.

Daisy has been a Framlingham College pupil since Year 9, when she started the Senior school, coming from a completely different area and not knowing anyone. And while starting a new school is a scary prospect for anyone, for Daisy, it was made especially difficult thanks to a serious injury. “I was known for ages as the girl with the dislocated knee,” she tells me. “It was my first hockey match on the first weekend of a brand-new school where I didn’t know anyone and I dislocated my knee and I had to have two weeks off school. It was hard as when I came back to school, I kind of felt like everyone else had formed groups already and I was an outsider.”

But Daisy bravely felt her way into the College, where she was able to pursue her interests in drama and music. She says: “Confidence is the biggest thing I learned here. I have so much more confidence now than I did when I started. My friends say that in Year 9 I didn’t speak. But over the years, through doing different subjects and clubs after school and meeting so many people, I’m now so much more confident and have met so many great friends here.

“I wish I could tell that shy Year 9 girl who dislocated her knee that she’ll be here in Year 13 about to go and study medicine,” she says.

While Daisy has always been interested in science, she hadn’t considered that she would go on to study medicine at university until she was given the self-belief and support from the science department. She says: “Dr Noble has always been brilliant. I kind of mentioned that I was interested in it and she really gave me that belief and told me what I needed to do to stand out. So many people apply for medicine, so you need to show that you’ve got a really good depth of experience. Dr Noble set me up with a local elderly lady in Framlingham who needs help with her personal care, so I’ve got real-life caring experience. And even throughout the pandemic I have been calling her every week. I wouldn’t have done it if it wasn’t for Dr Noble.”

The odds were always stacked against Daisy as competition for places to study medicine couldn’t be tougher. For Anglia Ruskin, there were 600 interviews given out from around 1000 applications. And of those applicants, only 300 offers were given out, dependent on how the interview went. This year has already seen a 20% increase in applications to medical school. Standing out is therefore extremely important.

Dr Noble said: “Daisy has shown dedication, focus and a determination to study medicine, since she arrived at the College in Year 9 and she was worked her socks off since then to ensure that she is now in the wonderful position to have been awarded a place at Anglia Ruskin – a dream fulfilled.

“She has won prizes for her chemistry work and has completed all the necessary work experience, despite the challenges Covid-19 has brought, and has shown the resilience to be successful.”

While Daisy is beaming now that she has been accepted to university, it wasn’t always plain sailing for her. Daisy originally applied to four universities to study medicine, but after receiving lower-than-expected grades in her UCAT test back in October, she nearly lost hope once the rejection letters started coming in. She says: “The rejections I got from other universities were a huge challenge. It made me feel like giving up on medicine, almost. I remember there was one tough week when I got one rejection on the Monday and another in the same week on the Thursday. I did get an offer for biomedicine and that was my back up, but I really wanted to go straight into medicine. I was so set on it.”

While the rejections were tough for Daisy, the words of Science Teacher, Dr Noble, kept her hopeful. “Dr Noble’s mentality was so good as she would always say: ‘you only need one interview’,” she says. And in late 2020, Daisy was offered that interview from the newly formed Anglia Ruskin Medical School to show the panel her capability and commitment to becoming a doctor. She then had to wait a few agonising months for the result.

“It was a lockdown Thursday night when I heard,” she continues. “I just opened the email and burst into tears and then I sent emails to Dr Noble and Mrs Alvis and just said ‘I did it’. And when I told them they were so happy for me.” Daisy will begin her five-year course at Anglia Ruskin, in Chelmsford, in September. She adds: “I’m really happy with the course I’ve got as it’s based in a small city, close to London and it’s the only medical school in the country where you get to do full body dissection. Dissections are my favourite aspect of science.”

Daisy hopes to become a doctor specialising in paediatrics but after working with an elderly lady in Framlingham, has a newfound interest in working with elderly people too.

She concludes: “I will miss Framlingham College a lot. I’m going to spend as much time with my friends as I can this summer. It hasn’t really hit me yet that it’s coming to an end.”

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