Identical twins Will and Alex Carroll-Adams have been reunited at Swansea University as they both pursue their ambition to become doctors.
Will is in his fourth and final year of the graduate entry medicine (GEM) course but he has now been joined by Alex who has just begun his studies.
Both the 27-year-old twins discovered their passion for their future profession after completing non-medical degrees.
Will, who gained a BSc in Anthropology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, said: “I had always regretted not doing medicine and then during my degree I found I really enjoyed forensic anthropology, studying the skeleton and looking at bones.
“I hadn’t realised that anthropology might be something that could still lead me into medicine until I found out more about graduate entry medicine courses.”
Will, who also spent time as a healthcare assistant and a carer, then went on to successfully sit the Graduate Medical School Admissions Test (GAMSAT) - the exam which assesses students’ suitability for a GEM course, whatever their previous degree.
“I applied to medical schools and came to Swansea for an interview and I just loved it here immediately. I haven’t looked back since I was accepted,” he said.
During his time in Swansea, his brother has been a frequent visitor and gradually Alex began to consider following in Will’s footsteps.
“After spending so much time together growing up, we never planned to end up in the same place but coincidentally we both did our first degrees in Canterbury – although at different universities – and we are both here Swansea,” said Alex, who gained a BA in primary education.
“By the time I finished my degree I realised teaching wasn’t for me so I ended up in recruitment and also went travelling as well as working as a healthcare assistant.”
After spending time with patients and seeing his brother enjoy his studies, Alex also decided on a medical career. During his frequent visits to Swansea to see Will he even attended some lectures to find out more about the course as he prepared for his own GAMSAT.
He said: “I know this is what I want to do now. I’m under no illusion that I may not have the same scientific background as some students but I really think the people skills I have built up working in industry and my life experience will stand me in good stead when it comes to dealing with patients and their families.”
Both brothers say Swansea University Medical School’s approach to the course and its students was instrumental in their choice.
Alex said: “I applied to three medical schools but I was always hoping that I would be accepted here because Swansea seemed the best fit for me.
“Having my brother here opened up my eyes to not just what medicine can offer but also to what studying medicine in Swansea has to offer.”
Although back in the same city and united by their love of keeping fit - particularly out on the Gower coast - the twins won’t be able to spend too much time together at the moment.
While Alex gets down to his new studies Will will be on various placements in hospitals and practices across Wales.
He added: “I am very interested in either oncology or general practice. I definitely plan to stay in Wales after I qualify – I now think of Wales as my home.”
Interim head of Graduate Entry Medicine at Swansea University Medical School Professor Kamila Hawthorne said: “We’re so pleased Alex has now joined his brother here and wish him every success with his studies.
“Both Will and Alex are excellent examples of the kind of student we are proud to have on our course and demonstrate that there is more than one way to become a doctor.
“One of the most important thing medical students can learn is the art of listening to and really caring for, the patients they meet with respect, and compassion. Encouraging students with different life experiences and people skills is a real advantage of our GEM programme.”