An award-winning graduate is poised to take aim at cancer after walking away with his degree.
Fearghas Middleton, of Lumphanan, was capped yesterday, graduating with a degree in medicine after six years of hard work.
The 25-year-old graduated after a decorated university career.
He said: “It’s been an ambition of mine for so long, and it’s so surreal that it’s actually happening.”
The night before his graduation Fearghas was awarded the Elective Advisors Medal, for work that he did researching a new cancer drug and its side effects.
Fearghas described the award as the “cherry on top” of his six-year degree.
He said: “I can’t believe that I got one of these medals.
“It’s something that I really enjoyed doing, and something I’m interested in.”
Ever studious Fearghas took on extra work in the middle of his course, in what is called an “intercalated degree”.
The future doctor took a year away from his usual programme in order to study for an intense degree in immunology and pharmacology, studying how drugs and treatments interact with the body.
He said: “It was tough going and, during the extra year that I did, I was put into the final year of a course that I was not familiar with.
“It was a completely new experience for me, which was very stressful.
“The nature of the examinations changed to be more essay writing, which I wasn’t used to.”
Despite the stress and effort, Fearghas said that he most enjoyed the year-long degree that he undertook.
He said: “During that year I had taken a bit of a gamble, it was something that I had never done before, and I had also joined the Aberdeen University Medical Society, as a committee member, which was a huge undertaking as well.
“That year was extremely stressful, but it made me really close with my friends.
“When I had come out of the other side, I was really happy that I had managed to get a degree.”
On the six years as a whole, Fearghas said: “Overall, it progressively got more challenging. But the other side of it is, it becomes a lot more interesting because you can challenge yourself and get stuck in a bit more.
“Certainly in the last two years you’re on placement most of the time, so you get the chance to work with patients and colleagues a lot more, and apply what you’ve learned to real life.”
Fearghas, who is due to take up a research post in Dundee for the next two years, was recognised with an invitation to a medical conference in Valencia.
He said: “It was a fantastic experience and it can only be attributed to the fact I did my intercalated degree.”
As part of a thesis that he was writing, Fearghas applied to be accepted on to a summer school in Valencia, taken by doctors and researchers from across the globe and aimed at future doctors interested in oncology, the study of cancer.
At the Valencia summer school Fearghas was invited by a professor to a conference in Vienna.
He said: “It was probably more geared towards people who were established in the field, but it was great to get a glimpse into what your career could turn out to be.”