Sophie Gilmour

Dental Student, Teesside

Sector: Dentistry

Sophie Gilmour didn’t give up on her passion and after a stint selling cars in the motor industry, she followed her dream to become dentist and is now in her second year of dental school.

Where do you call home? 

Redcar! But I currently live between Teesside and Liverpool.

Tell us about your role?  

I am a dental Student at Liverpool University.

How did you get to where you are today? 

Being a very shy 16-year-old and being told ‘you’re not good enough’ and to ‘give up’ by a college teacher for something you have dreamed about since you were 11 years old wasn’t the perfect start I’d hoped for when leaving school. But that was me 10 years ago. I gave up on pursuing my dream career as a dentist and didn’t know what to do with my life.

I followed my second passion which was cars and became a car saleswoman in a male dominated industry at 17. I worked in sales for six years which I enjoyed. It wasn’t my passion, but it helped give me the confidence and developed me into the person I am today. 

After six years of sales, I kept thinking ‘why did I listen to that one person who told me I couldn’t do it?’ 

After a lot of deliberation, I thought it’s now or never so I quit my secure job and enrolled at Middlesbrough college on an access course to start the journey to becoming Dr Gilmour – I had no A-Levels and had been out of education for nearly eight years so as you can imagine stepping back into a classroom was pretty daunting but nevertheless, I sharpened my pencil and got to work!

The access year was tough and in addition to this there are many hoops you need to jump through to get a place at dental school such as interviews and exams. There are around 100,000 applications every year for only 1,100 places total so it’s extremely competitive. 

I managed to get the grades for university, and I was also awarded Access Student of the year 2020 which I am very proud of. 

Most importantly I gained my place at dental school in Liverpool, and I am currently in my second year. I am loving every minute!

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

Although my journey to where I am now seems amazing – getting to where I am today wasn’t so amazing and no one truly understand the struggles I’ve been through. I’m not ready to share all my story yet – maybe one day I will be, from the age of 19 to 21 I went through some traumatic experiences which lead me to me being the lowest of all lows, depressed, lonely, no drive or vision – I had hit rock bottom. Although this was nearly 5 years ago it has taken me until now to be able to talk about it. Being at the lowest point in my life was my turning point, I needed to change something, I focused on my career at the time and changed my life around I decided to live with no regrets and focus on me. Without this low I don’t think I would be as brave or focused or motivated to get to where I want to be – I feel unstoppable. 

This is a sign for people who may be at their lowest low know there is hope and something better is coming your way – don’t give up just keep moving forward!  Its ok not to be ok.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

There are two moments that make me proud of how much I have achieved. 

My first moment was my first day of college walking up to the building (I took a photo to remember the day). I remember feeling very emotional on my way in, holding back the tears as this journey is something I had wanted since being a child. I remember thinking ‘this is it I am now on my way’  

My second moment was receiving my acceptance email from Liverpool to get into dentistry. I cried and was in shock (I still don’t believe I’m here now I swear it’s a dream still haha) 

Out of around 12,000 people I had been picked for one of 80 spots in a top dental school I had waited most of my life for this moment and I did it. 

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females?

You can achieve anything and become anyone you want to be. Don’t listen to people who say you can’t achieve your goal or career, if you really want it and know you can achieve it – go for it and prove them wrong. 

Believe in yourself, don’t doubt yourself, don’t compare yourself to others. Everyone’s journey is different and when times get tough think back to why you are here and push through. You will have tough days, but I guarantee there are always good days to follow!

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Everything happens for a reason – good or bad. You are amazing and can do anything you put your mind to, never give up and keep learning.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Believe, determination, reflection.

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