Summer :)

HELLO ALL!!!!!!!! Hope everyone’s having a fantastic summer 🙂

The blog’s been a bit quiet for the past couple of months (actually silent). So far the holidays haven’t been a chance to relax, but overall they’ve been pretty good fun.

The last two weeks of term after exams were finished were filled with plans with my friends for pure fun, but in reality were filled with evil estate agents and looking at house after house (if we didn’t find anywhere we planned to camp out in the basement of Charing Cross Hospital with the vampire who lives there – long story…) We eventually found a house – really close to Charing Cross campus, which is where a lot of our 2nd year teaching will be. Many ICSM Clubs & Societies are based there too, so it’ll be great to only have to walk a few minutes to get home after clubs in the evenings – when I was living in Evelyn Gardens I had to get a bus. I’ll also be able to stay in bed for an extra 15 minutes in the morning (or alternatively get up at the same time and not be late to lectures…)

Speaking of Evelyn Gardens, there’s been a recent update. Bernard Sunley and Fisher will continue to house students this year due to a particularly large intake of freshers (It is really weird referring to others as freshers now that I no longer am one – hopefully (see below)). Furthermore, there is going to be ‘a feasibility study to consider the cost of future refurbishment works to secure the long term use of [Evelyn Gardens] as student accommodation’. I’m really pleased to hear this – many people, myself included, were sad to hear of its closure. I had a great time living in Willis Jackson, as did my aunt and uncle who met whilst living there in the 70s! Here’s hoping that many more IC students will have the chance to live there in the future.

I’m so excited for living with my best friends – unlike a lot of people who didn’t really know who they were going to live with until second or third term, my friends and I decided during first term. We’re lucky in that we don’t have to take the house on (and pay) for 12 months – we move in just before first term starts, and as we have a break-clause we can move out just after third term ends, saving us 3 months of rent. If this wasn’t the case, we’d have had to find somewhere cheaper. As it is, due to a change in financial circumstance I’m getting a lot less from student finance in this coming year, something I hadn’t realised when considering what my maximum budget for a house would be. Split over 9 months, my loan comes to £50 less than my rent per week, and that isn’t taking into account other expenses such as bills, travel and food. I’m going to be heavily relying on my savings and the Bank of Mum & Dad for the next year, and for third year I’ll have to think a lot more carefully over housing arrangements. London is definitely not the cheapest place to live and I’ve never learnt to budget before, so this next year will teach me a lot.

It was a relief to have housing sorted out (except sorting out things like guarantors and contacts) so for the next week I had a bit of time to relax after a hectic few months. Then I was off to Budapest with some people from Light Opera society. I’d wanted to visit Budapest for ages, and had an amazing time with some amazing people. We went to the thermal baths, went on a tour of the city, visited the Hospital in the Rock Museum (a secret emergency hospital dating back to WWII, in the interconnected caves beneath Buda Castle Hill), and listened to live traditional Hungarian Folk Music (absolutely beautiful!). I also visited a Cat Café near the hostel a couple of times 🙂 The holiday was a great opportunity to get to know some other Operites better (over vast quantities of cheap booze) and it was especially good as a couple of final years came before going off to start their doctoring – sadly we won’t get to see them as much from now on 🙁

Second year results came out on our second day in Budapest, and they’d all passed (yay!) Ours came out a week later and everyone had passed – except me. I’d expected it, but it was still a disappointment, and I was lucky to be surrounded by such lovely, supportive people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Opera’s a family, and we’re all there for one another.

So when I got home the revision started, with just over three weeks to go until the exams. I’d only failed LSS2 – however as the mark for Life Support Systems is an average of LSS1 and LSS2, I had to resit both papers. Although it wasn’t much fun revising I think it’s put me into a better place for second year, and I now have a much better set of notes for LSS! My anatomy notes are especially good – probably because they’re a copy of my friend Beth’s…

During that period of revision I was in London every Monday so each week I met up with my personal tutor. He has supported me both academically and from a welfare perspective, and in all honesty I could not have got through first year without his support. He was so helpful with my revision – explaining to me the bits of LSS I didn’t understand and spending hours going over things with me. He taught a lot of the first year respiratory course, and after his tutoring I’d definitely say I know more respiratory than anything else.

I know a lot of people who would have been far more upset than I was if they’d failed, and even have friends who would have been hugely disappointed with not getting a distinction (not that there was ever any doubt that they would….) I, on the other hand, am extremely proud that I only failed one exam and passed everything else. The past year has been difficult for me due to a long-term health condition. Furthermore, during the past term the faculty has put me under a lot of pressure about accommodation for next year. Simply put, they want me to spend another year in halls and I don’t. I understand that this suggestion was made entirely with my welfare in mind, but I think I have a better idea about what’s good for me than they do. The idea that I should live in halls appeared to mainly be based on past experiences the faculty had had with other ‘welfare students’ – simply put, I felt as though I wasn’t being considered as an individual.

All of this was going on during third term, when we were learning the stuff for our LSS2 exam as well as trying to revise everything from second term as well. The pressure I was under was making it difficult to concentrate, so unsurprisingly it was LSS2 that I failed. Although I probably should have done a bit more revision too….

Resit results come out on 9th September and I’m feeling fairly confident. I have mitigating circumstances meaning that if I fail I get to redo first year rather than being kicked out, but I’ve fought so hard not to have to take an interruption of study that it would be a huge disappointment to have to redo first year anyway.

I’m looking forward to starting second year in a far better place than I did first; my health has improved a lot lately and I feel better than I have in a long time; also, I’ll already have all my friends around me.

After two hectic months it will be good to have a more relaxed month before diving head-first into second year – which is apparently a tough one. So before going back I’m planning to learn to sew properly before being costume mistress for 24 Hour Opera next May, and I’m going to read lots (thank you to those who commented on my last post with book suggestions!) And most importantly, I’m going to spend time with both my cats (who are my best friends and my babies and I’m going to miss them so much when I’m back in London!) I got my kitten Jemima just after exams, and she is the cuddliest cat ever – I’m definitely going to miss her snuggles in the mornings! (As I write this, she’s trying to destroy the curtains.)


Jemima (left) and Poppy
Jemima (left) and Poppy

So I think that’s pretty much everything that’s been going on (other than a family holiday to France where it was either really hot, or cold with torrential rain…)

And finally…


If you missed out on a place, don’t give up! With medicine, there’s always the option of doing an undergraduate degree in a related subject and then going on to doing a 4-year graduate-entry medicine course. You can do it, I believe in you!!!

Much love,

Em xx

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