The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Saturday, 29 April 2017

EXAM SEASON



Just like that, Easter has come and gone. If you're a student that only means one thing - exam season has begun!

I had a fantastic week off placement where I got to spend quality time with my family. In terms of work, I only did a few flashcards. It was bliss. However, this week has been intense to say the least! I felt I was thrown straight into the deep end at my hospital placement. Annoyingly, it's a one hour commute each way, which does tire me out. I now have 7 weeks of hospital left, 1 week of lectures and then my written exams. Oh, and my OSCE is right in the middle of all that.

I'm splitting my time between a cardiology and a gastroenterology ward. I do love being on the medicine rotation, but I can't help but feel like I need to be in the library rather than the wards.

I am desperate not to resit this year. However, I don't want to be a slave to revision. So, my plan of action is to give my placements 100%, but also prioritise healthy eating and exercise. Luckily my weekends are mostly free, so I'm going to try and do fun things then. Like today, I went and got my haircut and I've been on a run. I'm still having to do work, but it isn't the be all and end all of my day. 

My feeling is that if I've got a lifetime of exams ahead of me, I may as well not get too bogged down with them. If I did, I would burn out. I'm working hard and I'm giving it 100%, but I'm also allowing myself to live. If I'm not happy, then none of this is worth anything. And that's what I'm trying to remember throughout this exam season. 
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Thursday, 6 April 2017

HIATUS



First of all, apologies for the hiatus!

I started this blog because I was applying to medical school and really enjoyed reading other medics’ blogs. It was nice to learn about what medical school was really like. However, I haven’t felt like blogging recently. The reason for this is that I feel like I can’t, or rather I don’t want, to share the ugly bits about medicine.

I wish it wasn’t true, but I have been struggling with my mental health. I’ve also been taught by some rude doctors and not had very good teaching from them. I don’t really want to share these issues for two reasons: I feel bad complaining about how lucky I am, and I don’t want to shatter any illusions that hopeful medics have about the course.

I’ve always been honest about my struggle with depression, and towards the end of 2016 I truly believed it was in my past. I was off medication completely and self discharged from counselling. It has now started to come back, or parts of it have.  Until now I have been in denial that it was coming back, because I don’t want to have depression. I don’t want to have a mental health problem, but the truth is I did, and bits of it are resurfacing now.

What made me see things weren’t right, was noticing all the previous symptoms I used to have: awful sleep, constant fatigue, crying daily, bingeing, not exercising, not playing the piano, being rude to my friends and avoiding social interaction.

Studying medicine has been fantastic, a real privilege. And simultaneously, it has been so punishing and unfair. I can see that the sadness I feel currently is being caused directly from the course. Deadlines are looming and I resent being on placement when all my non-medic friends are enjoying their holidays.

I love studying this course, but sometimes the combination of the self-inflicted pressure and the (at times) ferocious environment really tests me. I have never wanted to do medicine more, and I have never questioned it more. That may not make sense, but it is true.


I want to share this publicly, because I know this is not something I should be ashamed of. Having times where I may feel down or overwhelmed is not an embarrassment - it is part of being human. And particularly, it is part of medicine.
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