You’re a student. You don’t have enough time! Or money?
I recently went on a weekend trip to Dublin, Ireland with friends and it was amazing. The weather was decent for mid-February, atmosphere was chilled and loads of cool sights to see all within walking distance of the city centre.
I thought I’d share my experiences travelling and give a couple tips that you may (hopefully?!) find useful.
This usually determines whether you’ll actually end up going abroad or not. Flights can be notoriously expensive, but the key is to be more flexible with your dates and book way in advance.
After a long and cold term of lectures in second year Medicine, you have this new and exciting thing called a Firm. The light at the end of the Pharm-Endo-Neuro-MCD tunnel. Basically, it’s an introductory three week placement in an allocated speciality in a hospital in London (is Hounslow really London?!) You are assigned in groups of five or so, and are given NHS ID cards for your respective hospital (major perk here). I’m going to run you through my time on my firm in the Acute Medical Unit at my hospital.
The first thing to do is get lost in your chosen hospital.
It has been a busy end to the term and it really is getting close to the end now- I only have 4 weeks of clinical time left on the wards after Christmas before finals. There is so much going on right now. I have been busy at interviews for my foundation programme, getting my final competencies done on wards and we recently did the Situational Judgement Exam (which counts 50% to allocations for junior doctor training)! However, this term I have also been feeling how close we are to becoming actual doctors (hopefully). This was made even more clear a few weeks ago when I did CPR for the first time.
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.
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.
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.
I don’t come from a background in science – my Bachelor’s is in History and I’ve spent the past five years working in marketing – so I often get asked how I’m coping with doing a science degree like Public Health.
And the answer is: not too badly, so far. At least judging from my results for term 1, especially statistics and epidemiology.
Part of this is definitely down to pure elbow grease: extra hours rewatching lectures, consulting YouTube tutorials and making sure I got all the homework done. But thankfully, it’s also because postgrad education is more about the application of technical knowledge to the real world than whether you can memorise formulas.
The St Mary’s pool has been a fixture of the campus for 80 years and now, for very vague reasons, it’s shutting down. The last day for the pool (and the staff who run it), is on 16 July 2018.
If you’re a regular at St Mary’s you’ll know how much this pool means to the people who work and study here. There are few other ways to clear your head after long hospital rounds or a session of disease modelling. What’s more, the facilities at South Ken are too far for us to access easily.
That’s why we’ve set up a petition to try and save our little pool.
When I first found out I’d be based at the St Mary’s campus instead of the main Imperial College stamping ground of South Kensington, I was apprehensive.
“I’m going to miss out on college life.” was my first thought.
“Does this mean they only serve hospital food?” was the other.
After a term here, I can happily say that I have not had any cause for FOMO, nor had to eat from any hospital canteens. I am also a bit better qualified to give you an insider’s look at life at St Mary’s. If you’re going to be starting a term here soon, this is your jam.