Hype prides ourself on having some amazing students in our circle. So much so, that we’ve dedicated this month’s showcases to highlighting the amazing projects that they’ve been working on recently. This week, we spoke to Arian, a 5th year medicine student at Imperial College London. Last year, Arian co-edited and co-wrote ‘The Essential Guide to the OSPE assessments’, a textbook that aimed to help educate students on an area of their degree that has very little literature/advice to pass it. We were lucky enough to catch him, so that he could talk to us about his journey with writing the textbook, and how he started working with Hype.
Hype: Hi Arian, thanks for sitting down with us. How did you get involved with Hype Collective?
Arian: I got involved with Hype three years ago. One campaign wanted me to sign up societies, and because I managed to get the most registrations, I won a prize. Through Hype, I’ve had the chance to go to Barcelona on a trip, and won beats headphones with my friends. I was also a part of 13 societies at the time, which A) taught me a LOT about organisational skills and B) helped me with my networking for the tasks I was assigned by Hype.
Hype: Great! So tell us about your book. What is it about and how did you get involved in writing it?
Arian: The book I wrote with my colleagues is a textbook that details the process of the OSPE’s – a clinical examination that bridges the gap between book and physical clinical physiology. We wrote it because the exam was new, and students don’t really have an abundance of guidance on how to pass, apart from advice given by older peers/people who are already in the field. There aren’t many text books in medicine really, as things/treatments are constantly developing. We hoped that this book could act as a reference point of knowledge you need towards the OSPE.
At Imperial, there’s an unspoken respect and care the older and younger medicine students have for one another. We wanted to contribute to the understanding of the younger students who had yet to take the exam, so they could do as best as possible.
Hype: How was the process of writing it as a student? Surely it was difficult to manage it alongside your studies?
Arian: It was hard, we actually did each process by ourselves, without a publisher. We did have a sponsor though, which thankfully brought the prices of our book down incredibly low, so that students could easily afford it.
There were a lot of stages to the process, and we learned everything as we went along. One of the first things we did, was going to the library, looking at other textbooks to see what styles we liked. We all divided out chapters, and everyone wrote a couple each, then we peer-reviewed them. After writing, it was all about the graphics. We found a German company who sent us £50k worth of graphics for free, all we had to do was put their logo on the front of the book as payment. Another step that was interesting, was finding specialists, to accredit what we had written. It was great networking with experts in the field. We published it ourselves, and it took about a year from start to finish to complete.
Our next goal is to get it printed through a publisher, so that we can distribute it on an even wider scale. We sold a lot around Imperial, various universities in the UK, even Singapore.
Hype: What was the most challenging part of creating this textbook for you?
Arian: There’s not one aspect which prevailed over the other in terms of difficulty as each step leads onto another and every step has the same level of importance. Nevertheless, one of the key elements for us was making sure that the information we were providing within the book was of the highest quality and that no knowledge mistakes were present. Thus, we had to get many experts on board to ensure that everything was correct. I believe recruiting experts to review our work in a timely fashion can be challenging.
Hype: Do you have any advice for students who want to go out and write their own book?
Arian: Make sure you have a clear plan from the start, you have a strong team who works towards a common goal, as in the end it is all a team work job. Writing a book can be very lengthy and the process has many up and downs, make sure you keep focused and keep your objectives always in front of you. Also, from the start make sure you identify your value proposition and the key audience of the book.