An Interview with an A Level Student: Mathura Kathirgamanathan
Mathura, Head Girl and RHS alumna 2021, achieved a full set of A*s and goes on to study Medicine at UCL. We asked her about her experience studying A Levels at RHS and about her bursary.
How did you find your A Level courses?
I chose Biology, Chemistry and Maths at A Level, alongside taking up the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ). I had the hope of studying Medicine at University before the start of Sixth Form, and so the subjects I chose began to complement each other very well. During Year 12, I noticed that skills taught from one subject supported learning another, which really helped me apply the knowledge that I had learned. I particularly benefited from the continuous assessments we had for each subject, as it allowed me to secure and consolidate my knowledge before moving onto more complex topics.
Overall, the courses gave me a comprehensive foundation of scientific, mathematical and research skills, which I am sure will propel me right through my journey as a prospective medic.
What skills for the future have you learnt thanks to your A Level courses?
Whilst I gained much from the A Level courses themselves, the last two years haven’t come without challenges. Managing my time between commitments such as being Head Girl, being a part of the Air Cadets alongside my studies and other hobbies have been particularly demanding. Having said this, I have learned to become more efficient with my time through the past two years, and have discovered the routines and methods that work best for me. As a result, my productivity has progressed and I shall take the study methods that work for me through to University. In addition to this, having completed an EPQ has also exposed me to the world of research, where I explored whether musical interventions could delay or improve the effects of dementia. This proved to be a great head start into scientific research, especially as I go on to take an intercalated degree within medical school in my third year.
What will you miss most about RHS Sixth Form?
Without a doubt, it will be the teachers that I miss the most. Their endless support and passion for their subject was accentuated during the pandemic, and when we did finally return for face-to-face studies, the atmosphere that they created in the Sixth Form was both welcoming and understanding. Having gone through the majority of my Sixth Form years through a pandemic, the teachers continued to support us both virtually and face-to-face, and I will miss the energy created by both staff and students in the Sixth Form as well as Danny, the Sixth Form dog!
What excites you most about the future?
What excites me most about the future is how quickly we progress, evolve and respond to challenges - especially from a medical point of view. Whilst technology is ever-changing and the importance of science and research is continuing to show, being in a medical career at this time really does excite me. I look forward to working within a hospital, but to not only make a difference to individuals but to make a positive change to bigger systems such as the NHS, which will, in turn, make a difference to several individuals. Seeing how we responded to the pandemic from a medical perspective, proves how quickly we can alter and improve things for the better. As a result, I am really looking forward to helping make those changes, so that systems work more efficiently, and the care and treatment for all improve beyond the standards we already have.
What would you say to someone considering coming to RHS Sixth Form?
The Sixth Form is like a bubble where students discover routes beyond school but are free to grow, develop and make mistakes - which are contained in this bubble. The Sixth Form really does allow you to find out what does and doesn’t work for you and provides you with a safe space to practice, learn and reflect on these things. Classes at Sixth Form are very different from Senior School, where lessons are like seminars, and your teachers are like your colleagues. This enables a great working relationship between student and teacher where you are able to easily voice your concerns, and therefore get as much support as you need to help you progress. The support on offer from the Sixth Form staff paired with the ability to be independent gives you an extra bit of confidence and that determination to excel. So, if you are the type of person who wants to enjoy the last two years of school, as well as becoming the best possible version of yourself - the RHS Sixth Form is the place to be.
How has your RHS Bursary helped you?
In short, an RHS Bursary has changed my life. Having a bursary has allowed me to attend an incredible school, where my differences are valued, and my confidence and independence has grown hugely. The opportunities are endless with a bursary and students can access events through the GDST too. An RHS Bursary has granted me so many opportunities and skills, which will stay with me and change the course of my future.