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? Your 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 Student’s View — beyond the tick box

A lovely bunch of Paediatrician’s featured me on their blog… happy Reb 🙂

What do you want to be when you grow up? Just like Daddy, a teacher, a ballerina, a gymnast, a doctor, a sportswoman. – 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 the […]

via Why Paediatrics? A Medical Student’s View — 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. 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. – 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. 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, 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. 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?  – 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

A ‘Break’

Some how were are at the end of April, and once again I’ve neglected to blog, and that has possibly been a good thing. I’ve been struggling since the beginning of the year to get back to some level of balance and calm; so now that May is here, things have definitely settled… to an extent. 2016 did not begin with the positive bang we all hope from a new year; the UK as whole has lost many icons in the past months; I began the year struggling with illness, exams and the loss of my grandmother. Safe to say 2016 did not begin the way I wanted it too.

But now that May is approaching, things are finally starting to settle. As much as they can for a year without a proper ‘break’; we have one more major assignment hand in to do, and then it’s OSCEs. June will roll around faster than I know it and I’ll be in my final placement of second year. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed, but I’m certainly less stressed than at the beginning of the year. A lot of that is down to the support I’ve had from my friends and family; I’m slowly beginning to realise that it’s okay to be stressed. It’s okay to worry that you won’t do well in an assignment, or in your exams, or in other areas in life; it’s just a part of caring about what you do. The problem comes when it takes over your life. Medicine is such an important part of my life, and who I am as a person; of course I’m going to worry and stress about results, I want to do well and achieve my dream. What I’m slowly learning, is that I can’t let it take over who I am. I don’t like that I’ve been a stressed and anxious human. I don’t like that I cry at random intervals. I don’t like that I haven’t felt like me. But that’s okay, and if you’re feeling the same way then you’re not alone.

Over the last few months I’ve slowly ‘allowed’ myself to be happy, it is possible to be both happy and stressed you know?! I’m understanding my own feelings, that I will be stressed, but I need to get on with what I’m trying to achieve and it will all work out for the best. There’s not going to be a time in my life where I don’t have things I need to achieve, so I need to learn how to manage my stress, manage my time. I don’t give myself enough credit for all that I already do and have accomplished thus far. Sometimes all you need is a small break to gain some insight into how well you’re doing.

So that’s where I am now, we have our week ‘break’ from medicine; with a deadline in three weeks and exams after that it doesn’t seem like a proper break. But it’s enough. Enough to get away for a few days, and enjoy the dance show I’m performing in on the weekend. Second year has been a blur, our Christmas break was tainted with the prospect of exams, our ‘Easter’ break with the looming deadline. I’m looking forward to the summer and our final placement of the year, where there will be no deadlines, no academic stresses and no pressure to medic.

 

 

Hello 2016

The festive season is coming to an end and in theory, I should have had a relaxing Christmas & New Year. In reality, with the term restarting on the 4th January and exams a mere three weeks away, this is most certainly was not the case. With working to earn money, revising to hopefully pass med school and attempting to see all the family and friends it’s turned out to be a pretty stressful  season and my immune system took the hit – I’m ill.

It’s this art of balance again, balancing the need to work with the necessity of relaxing and enjoying time with family. A task that seems near impossible when your view is clouded with exam fear (and congested sinuses). The most important thing is to stay calm and use your support network; stay happy and balanced. My number one piece of advice, and something I thought I had managed to do; but looking back at 2015 I realised that this was not the case.

So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains. – Dr Seuss

The start of 2015 saw me returning from China and continuing on with first year, I had realised that the major barrier to my happiness had been my inability to be comfortable with myself (this post). I worked hard on confronting my own insecurities and working on making myself feel happier in life; this worked for a while. As the year progressed and certain things in my life changed this negative side of me began to creep back in, those insecurities started biting at my heels slowly regaining their control. ‘You’re not good enough’ ‘You will fail’ ‘ You’re not a very good friend’ ‘Why are you even trying? You will never be enough’ – all gnawing away at my confidence, making me question everything I had worked so hard to tell myself was true… I became anxious, stressed and emotional. Three feelings that are not conducive to a happy Bec, or to a balanced life. The scales began to tip, and that balance was lost; all my time was spent worrying or stressing rather than being productive and proving those feelings wrong.

So as 2015 came to a close, I decided to sit back and look back on the year to persuade myself that these insecurities are not necessary… and hopefully begin to chip away at the concrete they’ve set in my mind. 2015 saw me complete my first half marathon, run a 10k sub 60mins, go down a dress size, I took control of my happiness and made changes to improve, I passed first year, I got good feedback on an assignment that I was terrified about, I spent 4 days in Paris, my best friend got engaged and I was asked to be a bridesmaid and so much more. When I stop and think, I have so much to be happy and grateful for; but it is easy to get dragged down by those hard rooted insecurities and worries. I am a self confessed over thinker, I worry about everything – but I am aware of this. It is my job now to be in control of my own feelings and ensure that negativity and my overthinking nature doesn’t engulf me. As I said at the start of last year… It is our choice how we view our lives, we can focus on the positives or the negatives, and once again this year I’m choosing the positives… hopefully this time it will stick.

This year I don’t resolve to just ‘be happy in myself’; I resolve to make the life changes that will help me become happier and box away those insecurities. I choose to be happy.

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose! – Dr Seuss