Confessions of a Medical Student: Dropping Out and Other Thoughts

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. Maybe it had something to do with coming to terms with the fact that I no longer had to be the same person that everyone knew me as back home. This blanket of expectation had been lifted; it was a breath of fresh air, yet I was struggling to take it in. I had a tight grip on the past and I didn’t really know how to let go.

I started off Fresher’s Week (fortnight, actually) just fine but quickly began finding all of it both overwhelming and underwhelming. Underwhelming because honestly, the whole Fresher’s Week thing kind of felt overrated and way too hyped up; but overwhelming because there was so much going on- so many new names and faces. It came to a point where I honestly had close to no interest in socialising with people in general. And this scared me. All my life, I had been tagged as the social butterfly of the bunch.

Everything seemed to keep getting worse. I felt like Alice- falling down what seemed like this unending rabbit hole of gloom. Next thing I knew- I was practically not going in for anything because the only thing I wanted to do was curl up in bed, watch Netflix and video call my boyfriend. (Long distance sucks- even though he’s only at Southampton for uni. HI JOHN, MISS YOU! Medicine at Imperial > Medicine at Southampton. Fight me.)

It reached a point where I was becoming overly demotivated and began losing interest in the one thing I had worked so hard for- Medicine. I’m struggling to put how it felt into words but it was almost like being stuck in time as everything and everyone else carried on past you. I spent days on end questioning whether I belonged at Imperial and whether I belonged at medical school. I was petrified that I was ‘burning out’ already and that maybe the best option for me was to drop out before I proved to be even more of a disappointment. Like nobody mentioned frequent breakdowns and existential crises as part of the uni life description, am I right? Or maybe I just missed the memo- huh.

As I desperately need to get back to cramming for exams, I will unfortunately have to put off elaborating on my journey to the ‘light side’ for the time being.

As a quick overview- I have since pulled myself together with the help of my boyfriend; some counselling at Imperial; seeing a GP and being put on medication; and most importantly, finding my best friends here. Shoutout to Anush, Trish, and Prak- who have so graciously put up with my bossiness and mad google sheets for our current property search. Love you guys :’)

In the GIF above, you will find footage of me being attacked by tube doors. I am actually Carrie Bradshaw.

Sending all my love (and all the luck in the world for those of you who have exams),
Alex (:

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