This week marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS and the celebrations are really inspiring. A couple of years ago when the junior doctor contract strikes occurred in my 3rd year the outlook felt quite bleak for a career in the NHS. Many of my friends considered switching career paths and I think we all felt quite unsure of how our working life would be shaped by the changes. However, 2 years on and now about to start final year…there really is a different mood in the air.
We know that the life of a junior doctor is going to be hard, and we know that it will be a shock from medical school life.
As you know, Imperial gives all of us medical students an iPad which we use to get a whole range of resources. This includes eBooks for modules, we complete our sign offs for hospital placements on it and even have revision tools on it. However, this was the first time I have completed an actual end-of-year summative exam on the iPad and it was really interesting.
So the exam was the Pathology exam (5th year exam) on Monday which covered Microbiology, Immunology, Haematology, Histopathology, Chemical Pathology and Ethics & Law. It was 175 questions with 50 of them being very short answer questions (vsa).
As the academic year comes to an end, I thought I’d reflect on my first year at university.
Here’s the thing- we all have a tendency to sugarcoat. We share all the good, but seldom the ‘bad’ times. Sure, there’s the occasional (or frequent) posts about workload and stress; but how many of us actually openly share our experiences when the goings get really tough? Following my last blogpost, I’d really like to keep the honesty streak going.
First term was a bit of a nightmare for me- it was almost a process of trying to rediscover myself in a sense.
“Imposter syndrome is a recognised phenomenon, first identified by psychologists in 1978, and describes a feeling that your achievements are undeserved and the fear of being exposed as a fraud. Those with imposter syndrome tend to feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes.”(1)
Getting into Imperial was a massive deal for me. I had not planned to apply at all- but I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life looking back with what ifs.
I didn’t think I was smart enough. I’ve always had a fluctuating impression of myself; ranging from borderline conceited to possessing a pretty low self esteem.
It really is that time of year again…the stress levels are rising and 5th year exams are approaching. We have about 6 weeks left until our first exam and although that sounds a while away still, there is a lot to cover. On top of this, we are still attending our hospital attachments daily.
I wanted to share with you a few resources that I am using to help me through this revision period this year, hopefully it can help anyone else revising for clinical exams and not sure where to start!
Brainscape: Imperial Medicine students past and present have made flashcards on this amazing app that is a great revision tool.
As the holidays came to a start- my initial mindset was, “Oh, I’ve got looaaddss of time. I definitely deserve a break. One more season of this show on Netflix won’t hurt.” It must have slipped my mind that the exam on the day I go back is not a mock. Now that I’m about 70% through my Easter/Spring break, I am filled with regret and drowning in revision. :’)
Watching a season of Hell’s Kitchen
The first thing I did was binge watch as soon as the term ended. Personally a big Gordon Ramsay fan, even though he’s not a believer in Vegetarianism/Veganism cries.
Picking up where I left off in the last blog post; as the Autumn Play was happening, Freshers’ Play was also a thing! So each year, older years in drama get together to direct (and sometimes even write) 3 short plays featuring the freshers. I remember genuinely freaking out because one of the plays were improv meaning the audition would be too. Honestly ended up having an absolute blast- and got one of the leads. I played a (largely-drunken) drama fresher who was couch-surfing because she had been kicked out of halls. Good times.
Drama is the macrophage, and I the pathogen. It has engulfed and destroyed me. (In all the best possible ways)
Welcome to part one of your insight into Imperial College School of Medicine (ICSM) Drama– the best medic society at Imperial. I promise I’m not biased.
The start of the journey brings us back to Freshers at Freshers’ Fair- where 370+ clubs and societies are showcased across campus to try and spark your interest in joining them. Standing right by the entrance to the medicine building was Gen, who is all types of lovely plus she’s also president of the society.
Before I jump right in- kindly note that it’s pronounced dis-section, and not di-(s)section. Literally the one thing I can recall from the intro to anatomy lecture from Freshers’ week.
Safe to say our very first dissection session was highly anticipated amongst my cohort. We’re currently learning about the thorax- part of the body between the neck and abdomen. At Imperial, we do full-body dissections rather than prosections. Each group consists of 10-11 students and we are assigned a cadaver per group for the whole of the anatomy course, which lasts into year 2. The dissections are done at our Charing Cross campus.
It is always a very humbling experience being the student panel member at interviews for the MBBS 6 year Medicine course here at Imperial. Candidates come from a range of backgrounds with really interesting and unique passions and skills. I was lucky enough to sit on the panel again this Tuesday and had such a great day!
Behind the scenes a lot of work is done to ensure that the day runs as smoothly as possible. I was called in a bit earlier than my afternoon slot so that I could run some tours for the candidates.