Countdown

“Hello, my name is Rebecca. I’m a final year medical student”

Tomorrow marks the start of (hopefully) my final academic year, and I’m not sure I completely believe it. 11 years have gone by since I told myself that I would one day be a doctor, and now… we’re 11 months from that being a reality.

The path to this point has by no means been an easy one. I’ve broken, lost myself, crumbled under the strain of it all… picked up the pieces and made myself into the woman I am today. I’m not that 17 year old applying for med school, and I am thankful for that. She was naive, unable to face rejection, allowing herself to feel less than she was worth… all for a university place. If only she had known who she would become, who she would meet along the way… maybe things would have taken a different turn. Now, the 24 year old me is by no means ‘perfect’, I still allow myself to feel small, and less than myself, doubting my abilities and my sanity… trust me I’m working on it..It’s easy for me to sit here and say ‘everything happens for a reason’, ‘I wouldn’t change the way I did med school for the world’, because that is the way it has happened. I have no idea what undergraduate medicine would be like. But what I do know is that despite the overwhelming fear that lingers in the back of my mind, I am much more prepared now, to be a doctor, than I would have been had I begun med school at 18. Not for the knowledge I have gained, but for the experiences I have had.

I may not be able to change the way it happened, but I am so glad it happened this way. The next 11 months are going to fly by, just like the last 11 and I want to savour it.

15 weeks ’til finals, 31 weeks ’til elective, 47 weeks ’til graduation and 48 ’til I become Dr Jones. Final year – I’m ready for you.

 

Advertisements

Letter to Summer | # 4

As usual when I come back to this I’m astounded by how long I’ve managed to leave it before writing. Life has consumed me: work, uni, placement, work, sleep. It feel like I’ve been on go since December and no-one has hit stop yet.

Now this isn’t me trying to blame anyone for my crazy life; it’s all my doing. I do it to myself; I like to keep myself busy but I need to learn when to say no. Two nights a week I work, two nights I play netball, the remaining three get filled with dinners, other to-do’s and work wanting me to work more. It feels like it never stops. On top of that I decided it would be a good idea to organise a conference, write some case reports and submit abstracts. My foot has been on the accelerator, and I don’t know when I’m going to get to let it go. Exams have been and gone, and once again (as always) are fast approaching and summer, you’ve all but gone.

Recently I’ve taken a step back to attempt to look at myself and my life. The factors that make me, me; the pros and the cons of myself. Now this isn’t some self deprecating post, it’s purely and exercise to try and help my understand my own mind. So often do I worry and panic that I’m a bad friend or terrible human for no reason at all. I am trying to get into the workings of my brain to understand what makes me anxious and sad, why I end up feeling the way I do. I hope that the more I explore this, the less anxious I’ll become and more at ease I’ll be. It’s never going to be easy, it’s tough to break a habit of a lifetime.

So summer – as your comforting embrace leaves us once more for the final time (hopefully) before I am officially Dr Jones; just know that by next year I should be more at ease.

R x

Letter to Summer | #3

Summer,

It only feels like yesterday that I was comforted by your warm embrace, but time been snatched away from us and exams have drawn themselves closer. Now your friend winter is nipping at our toes, discouraging an escape from bed. Frost begins to grace the windows, breath making itself known, scarves and gloves reappearing from their hideaway.

Since you left us Autumn has been caring for us, don’t you worry. In the last moments of your visit, a wedding occurred and you gifted us glorious sunshine. I can’t believe I’m already at the point where my best friends are getting married and starting to settle down in their lives. I have at least two more summers of student-hood before life even starts to settle; entering my 6th year of student life plays its own strange tricks. To me it feels like I’m stuck in a limbo between wanting to be an ‘adult’ making steps to buy and decorate my own home, but being restricted by the lack of income that comes with student life. Only a few more visits from you, before hopefully, this would be a reality. I’m sure we’ll talk again…

Two placements, have been and gone in your disappearance; both of which only made me beg to return to your warmth. All I can hope is the next round are more worthwhile; and that the exam that precedes them does not throw them into a disarray… Summer, why couldn’t you stay longer, delaying the stress and worry? Yourย retreat has also resulted in a slowing of exercise, which only adds to the angst. With the decrease in warmth, comes an increase in work, increase in stress and decrease in time. Lack of time, means lack of motivation or room to run… Throwing me into a cycle of madness, feeling guilty for not running but then guilty for taking the time to run. Once again Summer, this is where I crave for your presence.

Like most things we only appreciate your presence when you’re gone… I’m sure I’ll write again, but until then, I look forward to your return…

R

Why Paediatrics? A Medical Studentโ€™s View โ€” beyond the tick box

A lovely bunch of Paediatrician’s featured me on their blog… happy Reb ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you want to be when you grow up? Just like Daddy, a teacher, a ballerina, a gymnast, a doctor, a sportswoman. โ€“ Sophia, 8 years old The list continues; from a very young age we are quizzed and questioned about our future career choices. For some the original idea sticks, but for most theย [โ€ฆ]

via Why Paediatrics? A Medical Studentโ€™s View โ€” beyond the tick box

Results day

5 years ago today, I walked solemnly up to my school to collect my A level results. I knew I hadn’t achieved what I was expected, I hadn’t put the effort in I needed to put in and I had given up. All because four medical schools perceived that I was ‘not up to standard’. I had let the opinion of strangers define me and allow me to feel less than I was.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Had I risen above their opinions and strove to prove them wrong, smashing my A levels, taking a year out and reapplying for medicine, life would have travelled down a very different path. But I didn’t, I let them ‘defeat’ me, ABBCa. I couldn’t reapply, I couldn’t re-sit (I was told that medical schools wouldn’t accept re-sits), I resigned myself to the thought that the dream of becoming a doctor was dead. Biology teacher, that’s what I’ll do; or maybe I’ll emigrate, go teach scuba diving abroad. I let them make me feel like I was worthless.

But 5 years later, on A level results day, I sit writing up notes for medical school ready for my third year with a 2.1 degree in Biology in my back pocket. I made it. Eventually, the voice inside my head that told me that medicine was a pointless venture and ‘if they don’t want you, why should you want them’, caved. Who had I been kidding? I realised, I was afraid of rejection again; afraid that once again I would be told that I was ‘not up to standard’. But medicine was the dream, all I had ever wanted to be, I had to give it a shot. So I studied and I worked to gain as much experience as I could within the world of medicine to improve my chances of getting in.ย It worked, I got in. This time I didn’t allow my fear of rejection, stop me from achieving what I wanted; or let the opinion of strangers influence my choices.

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something is more important than fear. The brave may not live forever, but the cautious do not live at all. –ย The Princess Diaries

If you are currently sat, wondering why you bothered with A levels, or believing that your chosen career is nothing but a pipe dream. I want you to know that nothing is impossible. Don’t let the fear of rejection or it being a tough road stop you from achieving what you want to achieve. You have done fantastically to get to this point. Don’t let one, or two, or ten, blips in the road stop you. If you want something, don’t let anyone make you feel like you can’t.

When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first. – Kelly Cutrone, If You Have to Cry, Go Outside: And Other Things Your Mother Never Told You

Letter to Summer | #2

Summer,

Since we last spoke two months have passed, we’re now in the middle of August and the weather resembles that of October. Somehow, there are only two weeks left of the holidays, which means you’ll be disappearing soon and year three will begin.ย Thankfully, I have successfully passed my exams and will be progressing with only 18 months left until finals. Once again, I’m left pondering the concept of time; three weeks of the break have passed and it really doesn’t feel that way. My holiday’s have been filled with a necessary evil,ย work, which has disguised your passing. We’ve been like two ships in the night, and I’ve not had a moment to truly relax in your presence.

We talked last time about it feeling like an age since we last met, and now our meeting is flying past too quickly. Time is playing cruel tricks.ย In four weeks my best friend of twenty years gets married, it makes me feel old, makes me further question if time is really a constant, or is time in flux? We’ve all been in situations where we’ve looked at the watch and thought “really is it only 1pm?!” a favourite pastime of mine on a quiet day in work, but the same perceived length of time on a busy day results in it being 5pm before you know it. It doesn’t seem fair that the moments we wish to cherish and savour fly past us in an instant; maybe it’s times way of forcing us to make the most of the present.

When we were young we wished for time to pass us by, so that we could be adults and enjoy adult things. But now, with lessons learnt from your many visits, I wish for you to stay a little longer. Stay and keep us warm, for some extra time so that uni does not have to start again and I can find myself among your warm rays. I’m not sure I’m ready for the drawn in nights again, and for your friend Autumn’s arrival. Time is moving by so rapidly, I’m not sure I can keep up anymore.

How did it get so late so soon? Its night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon? ย – Dr Seuss

So if you can summer, just stay a littler longer or even let us cherish these last few weeks of your protective warmth.

R x

Letter to Summer | #1

Summer,

June is here and your friend Spring is slowly moving away. Your foot is gently appearing in the doorway, and we gain a glimpse of you between the sporadic bursts of rain. As usual, you make your presence known just as deadlines and exams approach, tempting us outside to make the most of the sunshine and warmth… some much needed vitamin D. It seems like it’s been forever since we last met, nearly a year ago.

If I’m honest, your arrival is a double edged sword. On the one hand it means that a much needed break is just around the corner and I can enjoy your warmth without the guilt of revision and assignment’s calling me. I can finally feel like in this crazy second year I have the time to ‘relax’. But then again, your nearing arrival also means that exams are close, those dreaded exams; where the temptation of the sun certainly seems preferable to revision. I am not sure I’m prepared, but let’s have faith and hope that it’s merely those mind games again.

A lot has changed since our last meeting. To think this time last year I didn’t believe I could complete first year, and now second year is coming to a close and (hopefully) third year is around the corner. I am certainly in a more stable place now, even if exam stress disguises that. But this stress is only temporary, not permanent. Relationships have changed, my niece and nephew have grown, as have I. I am beginning to gain a sense of perspective on my friendships, and realise that I am not the bad friend I continually believe I am. Anxiety does not grip me as it did last year, it niggles in the back of my brain but it is not permitted to take over as often any more.

So hopefully as you settle in, and make your home for the next few months, things will be even calmer, and I can truly enjoy your presence.

R