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Showing posts from 2014

So...so lost

I love A-levels. Everything is in a textbook, there is a clear specification, what you need to know is laid out and all you have to do is read it enough times to understand it and memorise it. Then there's the fact hardly any of it is MCQ. You are graded on what you understand about a concept and what you write. Sure, it has it's faults - every examination system does, but I felt like it was fair. Or did I? Am I looking back with my rose tinted glasses firmly pushed up on my nose?

My point is, I'm so lost this time around. It's been 2 years since I had January exams, that familiar unease and daunting dread preventing you from really enjoying any christmas break. That's not the bit I mind, I love learning, I love revising and I love feeling like I am making progress with something. That's the problem this time: I have no idea how much progress I'm making, if I'm even making any progress at all.

The formative exams we're given to "give us an idea…

Tis' the season to be...dying of exam stress falalalala

It's December all ready!

I say that like this term has gone quickly... I guess it has as a whole but actually because I've done and felt so much, it really doesn't feel like it. It feels like a year of my life has been crammed into 10 weeks? The passing of time is so weird at university. It's a bit like waiting for your school day to end so you can go home, except it never ends...

A couple of things to mention:

1. About a month ago I hit a really hard place full of insecurity, self doubt and wallowing. Somewhere I knew it would get better because if there's anything I've learnt over my 19 years it's that it always gets better but I struggled to see that at the time. Now here I am, far more sure of myself, happy to be here and I already know, this is my time, yeah it's on (to quote Drake himself)

2. You have to keep making an effort. It's easy to get to uni, think you've made it and ask why aren't all the good things coming to you? You have t…

This is important

Read it

It's a fantastically written post that sums up my thoughts and feelings in an eloquent understandable manner. I am glad I am not alone.

turn shit around

I read back on my last post and saw how negatively I ended it. That's not an accurate depiction I promise, just a bad evening!

We've had my second clinical week (thank god) which is a week where you spend time on your portfolio and attend hospitals / GP clinics once or twice in the week. The idea is to get you used to speaking to patients and ease you into it... but after spending a year in a hospital, as a HCA, making light conversation while log rolling a patient as you desperately try to save the incontinence pad you've placed underneath them - I am 100% in my comfort zone. Praise the lord that I feel confident in something.

In reality this clinical week is actually catching up on the previous weeks work that you've had to skip because you've just not had the time to cover it. Clinical weeks are the times to get your shit together, fill in the blanks, file your stuff away and try to keep positive about the next 4 weeks not being quite so much information.

Anatom…

It only gets harder

I've been asked many-a-time since starting medical school, how am I finding it? Is it really hard? There's no short answer. Everything is harder when you're in a place you don't know, surrounded by people you don't know (and therefore don't trust) and you have somehow got to get on with it, love it and make it look easy.

I imagine most medical schools won't spend long faffing around and will just throw you into it as mine did. It's a lot to get used to. I know a lot of applicants might be reading this and will be thinking, "Yeah yeah, but how is the PBL?". You all know I had my reservations about the PBL course but so far and please bare in mind I've only been doing it a few weeks - I am praising the lord I am not on a lecture based course. Imagine, sitting in a stuffy, warm, cosy lecture theatre with 350 people sat in the rows in front of you and you have barely had what feels like a wink of sleep... yep. You fight your eyes to stay open …

2 weeks in

And I am so sick of the lectures on punctuality. About 9 professionals have stood in front of us telling us that if we're so much as a minute late, it's equivalent to not turning up at all and it's up to the lecturers discretion to let us stay.

I get that punctuality is important and I am sure it would do everyone a lot of good of getting into the punctual habit but I think that's just a step too far. Bearing in mind you're only allowed 3 absences a term, if one day you miss the bus, another day you oversleep and another day the fire alarm goes off - well you'll be seeing the head of the department.

The introductory lectures are pretty much soul destroying. I'm pretty sure that they are simply trying to fill in the time so that we feel like we are in uni enough. I had a lecture on PBL groups. And then another lecture on working in groups.... er?? Plus it seems pretty obvious that they are really dragging out their points....

Other wise this is taking some m…

OK it's getting surreal now

You know when you're weeing on a pregnancy test and you're feeling super weird about whether you're pregnant...? Yeah me neither, but how I imagine you feel then, is exactly how I feel now. Major stomach twists, every time I think about move in day and freshers in general I get quite hot like i'm having to watch a cringey video of me in front of everyone I know, I can't stop day dreaming about it, I sort of want to hide under a duvet until it's all over and I know everything is OK.

Found out PBL groups today. Haven't found anyone else in mine... no-one to call "daddy" yet. (That's not as weird as it sounds for MMS)

Also got a million things to do tomorrow as I spent the whole of today in pyjamas trying to stop feeling sick at the thought I am moving out on Sat.

tick tock tick tock

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So, under a week remains till both me and my mother make our journey in our respective cars up to Manchester as a new chapter begins. Suddenly I am overwhelmed with the number of things I need to do and the people I must see before I leave.

Opening up a student bank account with HSBC is far more trouble than I thought. At Nationwide, you rang up, talked to "Darren" for half an hour and before you knew it your debit card had arrived in the post and you were trying to buy half of Topshop because you can. So that's probably top of my priority list, opening up a student account.

I must also get my tyres checked. It seems I have a leaking tyre as I have to put more air into it every 3 weeks. I mean OK, so I filled it with air and drove it to London and back last week and nothing tragic happened but let's not risk it on the journey to Manchester with a car full of clothes, duvets and boxes full of pots and pans.

I must see my main gals before I go. I'll see them all so…

10 days to go

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Officially 10 days, 11 sleeps to go before I move into university and I am so. frickin. excited.

Sure, i'm anxious and all that too but I think I have been out of work for so long it will be nice to finally do something.

My only (ha, I say only: what I mean is, these are the things keeping me awake at night) concerns are

The workload. I recently found out that someone I once knew very well (we're talking, 4 offers, 750+ UKCAT, attained AAA barely flinching) got kicked out of this very medical school. She failed semester 2, resat, failed again and was given the boot. This has scared the living daylights out of me, if my genius pal couldn't do it, why oh why am I even bothering? Yes, I realise this is a pretty poor attitude to have, as there could be many reasons behind this but this does not stop the ever lasting thought that I am just not good enough for this. I scraped my way in and may be I got 7 good rejections for a reason.The money. So I was worried a few weeks ago abo…

A letter to those getting results tomorrow,

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Dear 18-year-old medic wannabe's:

I hope you get the results you wanted, I hope you made your offer - and if not, I hope you manage to work your way in anyway (I know a couple of people who missed their grades a mile off and have finished their first year!). I hope it goes the way you planned.

For many of you though, it won't. Some of you don't have offers but are still pissy because you got the grades, some of you won't make the grades either, some of you with the offers miss the grades. It will be a long and emotional day  and you will have to make some pretty serious decisions if you haven't already got your mind set on them.

Regardless - I want you guys, the fighters, the ones that really wanted it badly, the one's who the grades didn't just come to, to know that if you really want it, you will get it. It might take a little longer than planned, it might no be where you planned but if you can give up enough - and you know it's all you want to do and…

My Last Day

I finally came to terms with my early departure from work that took place on Sunday. I guess I was never really going to be emotionally ready and yes, it has had a knock on effect to my plans for the rest of the summer but in the grand scheme of things, it was time to move on somewhat. I say somewhat because it's been about 3 days and i've already e-mailed the hospital agency to get the forms in order to work as an external HCA. I can't seem to stay away!

For one thing, it's a good safety net: I'll at least be able to consider taking some shifts up in September or around christmas time as and when I get strapped for cash. The only reason I wouldn't like to continue working as a HCA during the holidays is because I feel uneasy about working on another ward. I've seen how shit the agency staff can be treated - and whilst I know I'm at least a half decent HCA, I wouldn't want to put myself through that. So as a half-hearted compromise, i'll only be…

Idiots

Why can't everyone just be competent at their job? Why? HR have managed to fuck up my resignation in spectacular style. You will see from the post below that in my letter of resignation there are 2 clear sentences which must be adhered to:
The week beginning 4th August will be my final working week. I hope to take any outstanding annual leave after this date.  Who then, in their right mind thought "Oh, so we'll give her all her annual leave before the week beginning 4th August so actually that week is her final non-working week,". WHO? Please, tell me if my wording is too ambiguous because I am really struggling.
But, I get it. We're all are human. Mistakes are made, words are being misunderstood (I don't possibly understand how in this situation, but let's ignore that) and there could always be some confusion. So pick up the fucking phone.COMMUNICATE. Query it, ask me, ask anyone just don't carry on as you are making it up as you go along and hope tha…

2 months to go

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This week I have been driving everywhere. I went to see my brother in Leeds (had the most horrendous journey coming back - what should have been a 2 / 2.5 hour journey turned into a 3.5 hour crawl), then went to Sheffield to help my friend move into her new digs and now later this week I'm going back to London! The array of night shifts haven't helped - I was awake from 00:00 to 06:00 earlier, cultivating in a McMuffin, watching BBC bitesize on BBC2 and an unhealthy amount of cheese and crackers.

It was so exciting to see my brothers flat for final year and also my friends house whom she is sharing with 5 others is so cool. SO cool. Makes me buzz for second year and I haven't even gotten to first year yet! Speaking of first year, it's about 2 months to go, 5 weeks till I stop working... was reading through my old blog entries and feeling really nostalgic last night. Also felt that huge gaping hole which should be filled with friends and going out... but recently is jus…

I resign

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I finally write my letter of resignation and hand in my notice. My working life is coming to a temporary close. And this is what I write: 
In accordance with the terms of my written contract, I hereby give you over 4 weeks notice of my intention to resign from my current role as an Auxiliary Nurse. The week beginning 4th August will be my final working week. I hope to take any outstanding annual leave after this date.I am immensely excited to take up my place at the University of Manchester to study Medicine and Surgery having successfully gained the offer earlier this year. I am under no doubt that the vital clinical skills, beside manner and knowledge of ward life will continue to benefit me throughout medical school and even the rest of my career. I feel privileged to have worked with some of the most hard working, hilarious and outstanding practitioners - which quite frankly sets the bar very high for my future colleagues. It is with many thanks to the w…

Turning 19, shit off duty, 3 months to go

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Turned 19 this week WAHEY! Sadly, this wasn't the big all-nighter party I desperately wanted for 2 reasons:
a) a lot of my friends are still finishing off their Uni exams and so aren't even in the city
b) the 2 days I strongly requested off to celebrate, they booked me for 3 nights in a row

I kicked up a little bit of a fuss and the sister did do everything she could to apologise and see if there was a reasonable way to rectify the situation but alas, there was none and tbh she really did try so I can't complain too much.

Now - everybody and anybody knows night shifts aren't my favourite. I don't mind having to do my fair share, every couple of weeks or so that's fine I get it - I mean you have to cover them somehow right? Then these past 4 weeks have been a little on the difficult side because I've had at least 1 night shift every week and 8 nights all together, which has been a struggle but bearable in the hope that the next off-duty will be better. So im…

Having problems?

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Work for 12.5 hours a day for the next few days. Honestly, nothing works so well.

There is something slightly tragic about coming off a stint of shifts though. When we were at school and we'd been to a great party or whatever climax it was that month, we'd all be grieving in what we called the "come down" period together. It's similar to that in a way, if you don't have anything planned you literally don't know what to do with yourself. This is pretty much a testament to how much I love my job and what with time flying to my leaving date, I am even more appreciative of the opportunity i've had. I went back to read of one of my favourite graduate medic blogs and read some of his posts (about 6 years old now, christ!) about what it was like to work as a HCA... particularly his post about finally leaving and his first week at medical school. Highly worth a read, even if he has graduated now! I was also going back through some of my own posts, like my vou…

Summer plans

I drove to London and stayed with my Aunty last week. Despite some scarier moments when the rain chucked it down in buckets, all in all it was a doddle. Quite loving the idea of summer drives down there on a hot weekend...

I've also gotten off my backside and sorted out what my abroad plans are:

1. To take all my paid leave from the mid August - end of August. This means I am present for the hoo-har of my uncles wedding in the earlier weeks of the month and I sort of escape the crazy prep of back-to-schoolness (since my mums a teacher and all) in the later weeks of the month. Also means I don't have to go to work all bummed out that i'm working during the summer because i'll be on a beach in Marrakech sipping fresh Mango juice.
2. Go to Morocco and backpack around for 3 - 4 weeks. This also means that I'll get my final(ish - I'll be getting all my tax back too once I have P45 YAY!) pay check on the last Weds of August so if I start getting short of cash while I…

Got to make 'em count

All too often I sit back and think about how I've gotten to where I am right now, this moment, in this day. We are in May. May. The end of Spring and the start of Summer.

Previously I've always associated May with so-little-time-to-my-birthday, the half-term break which means only 1 last half-term till we break up for summer, lunch-times spent lying in the middle of our school field with my girlfriends bored out of our brains, sitting in the sixth-form block discussing how disgusting the boys are in our school.  I used to love the summer term, how relaxed it used to be, the wind down for the end of the year where neither students or teachers were taking it quite so seriously. Then GCSE's and A-levels came around and whilst I still cherished it and was infinitely excited, it was also tinged with that quiet trepidation about our exams and later, the results. I would long for the summer where I didn't have to deal with school drama or cram for revision.

In stark contrast,…

Offer Holders Day

I'm quite a wild character, I am a bit in-your-face, laugh loudly and nothing is too inappropriate or embarrassing to discuss. I could tell a lot of people were being quite reserved, keen to make friends and appear to be decent people.

There were the usual droning, dull talks about "Why Manchester?" but you know, I've already firmed it so it was of no interest to me. I did get talking to the medics in their 3rd years and am glad they were open, honest and frank about their thoughts on the course.

I naturally found the most outrageously gay (Think Jack from Will&Grace) guy walk into the room with a cardigan propped over his shoulders and a leopard print scarf, called him over (KOOEEE!!), pulled the seat down next to me and introduced myself. Along came his even gayer best friend and I found myself head-over-heels in love. They mostly wanted discuss 2 Broke Girls and Keeping Up with the Kardashians :') - I miss them already.

That job...current news and looking forwards.

I walked in, greeted Lou, sat down

"So, when do you go to Medical school?" she asked straight faced, dead on in the eyes but not unfriendly, just curious.

This was how my interview for that 'Junior Admin' post I mentioned in my last post began. I froze, confused as to whether I had given in my C.V. or personal statement. Eventually she said, "It's OK. I'm very good at reading C.V.'s. I figured given the prestigious school you went to, the excellent grades you've gotten and the work you're currently doing you had either crashed and burnt and were looking for a whole new career or you've taken some time to relax and you're going back to education shortly. I can see right now in front of me you haven't crashed so it must be the latter".

Blimey, she is good, I thought. Anyway, we had a great interview which was more like a chat about how we both got to where we are now and she said she'd be in touch. She has, just to say that…

Gone by in a blink of an eye

I can't believe we are nearing the end of March already. Another 3 months and it will be my birthday, all my friends will be coming back home for the holidays and it'll be summer! 3 months after that and i'll be a fresher! Can't believe it. I wouldn't say the past 6 months have gone quick - some weeks have been a total blur whilst others have seemingly dragged on for months (hello January I am looking at you) but I am totally buzzing for the next few months.

I always go through days where I can't stand thinking about having to return to work when I've had a couple of days off which is when I just blast through loads of job applications for jobs with more sitting and better social hours. I do miss having a routine like I did at school. As a result, I have been invited to interview for this "Junior Administrator," post. It's at a small accountancy firm about 7 minutes walk from my house and involves the usual "office" type duties you w…

Working a 0 hour contract

Since last summer during the cricket season, I have been working at my local cricket ground. They offer 0 hour contracts, you take the shifts you want, when you want and you get paid weekly. The pay isn't that great but then what is?

Why am I working there when I've got a job as a HCA that pays much nicer? You never know who you're going to work with. Essentially it's a bunch of older teens and younger tweens working in catering for what could be anything between 4 hours to 16 hours. Sometimes it's dull as fuck but providing you're working with people you like it is so much fun. One of the joys about this is that you can not have a clue who someone is at the beginning of your shift and by the end, practically be best friends. That's what happened last night and it's honestly such a pleasure to be around people my age, completely laid back, where nothing is about medicine and is just about getting through the shift and having a good time.

The only real d…

This is where I'm at

2 weeks ago, after that horrendous set of nights I woke up for my day shift feeling like I'd had my head kicked in. I love day shifts, but I called in sick. I then called in sick for the duration of the week - and after last weeks vouch to never do night shifts again, I decided to be sick for the whole of this week too. Now I literally can't face going back to work on Wednesday.

I know I would be completely and utterly bored mindless without it, but it's a real struggle. I have to get some sort of sick note now too...how an earth? I don't know what to do. I've been thinking about resigning but I sort of need the money now for my car insurance so I can't just quit without having something else... urgh.

My Profile

Something that helped me loads as a prospective medicine applicant was this thread on the student room, and since UCAS 2014 is over once more - I can share this years profile with you. Here is last years profile.

GCSE's:  1.5A* 7A's 3B's
A-Levels: AAAa (Chemistry, Biology, Maths and RS)
UKCAT: 702.5
Work Experience:
I did do a lot of work experience but in order to illustrate that it is quality not quantity I will only point out the things that I wrote about in my personal statement

1 week volunteering at vitalise hospice1 week cardiovascular surgery1 day A&EWorking as a HCA for several monthsExtra-Cirriculars: I was one of those rebellious losers who was "too cool for school," and didn't believe in going to any sort of club or school EC's and then when I was applying I realised how vital it was. To all future applicants I would say take up every opportunity you can during main school. From the age old phrase of "you'll regret what you don't d…

UCAS is over and a vouch

As you can assume by the title, I was rejected by Sheffield pre-interview. It did tear me apart, i'm not going to kid you but it also made crystal clear just how lucky I am to have gotten into medical school this year. The very possibility of applying to Manchester Medical School was put into jeopardy when UKCAT announced the average score had jumped up to 660 - where previously I was certain I would be above the cut off, it was suddenly no longer a sure thing. Their cut off was 702.5. My score was...702.5. So literally by the skin of my teeth. Moreover the other choices I was comfortable applying to - Leeds and UEA's admission policy seemed suddenly vague and unclear. Where Leeds changed their goalposts in the middle of the cycle having deceived every reapplicant, UEA's grading system for GCSE's wasn't as clear as I first thought - that was 2/4 of my choices gone in an instant.

Sheffield was a hit and miss as it was entirely dependant on my personal statement...bu…

Excitement building

I spent £60 on 3 glorified plastic boxes from Muji this week. I don't care what you say - they are fabulous. They're "clothes cupboards," that you can stack on top of one another and since I know for sure that I'll have more clothes than can possibly fit into that tiny wardrobe - these will be essential. I'm thinking I can slot them under my desk as I don't want them just lazing around taking up floor space. As well as that, I'm looking to buy their vanity cases so that I can have all my make up stuff hidden and organised, and also a little trolley / small stack of cupboards / trays / boxes where I can put the vanity cases along with hair dryer and other essential "getting ready" stuff.

Also been looking at stationary and the compulsory kitchenware. I am a moleskine girl through and through, their diaries are just fabulous. Quality, hard wearing and look wicked. I've been thinking about how I might organise my files though and if i'l…

February

So I've still been living off the high that was my Manchester Medical School offer - still can't quite believe the way things have worked out.

I have been rejected by Leeds and UEA (and praise the lord I got an offer before I got those rejections) and the only one I am still keenly waiting to hear from is Sheffield. I am desperate to hear from them soon as they've tweeted that they hope to have all the invitations to interview out by mid-feb, and I love Sheffield. Don't get me wrong I am chuffed to pieces to have an offer in the first place and I know it! I also withdrew from my 5th choice.

Today I bought my new MacBook Pro to last me through Uni! Needless to say I'm in love. We are definitely an Apple family and those classic consumerists that know they're paying a ridiculous amount for something that could be bought much much cheaper - but IMO there is no price on piece of mind.

Later on this month I'm going to spend some of my hard earned cash on boxes a…

Something has changed on track

1930: My phone buzzes. It's an e-mail from track.
1931: I try to make sure I am reading it correctly. Having just got home that morning from a night shift, I get as delirious as some of the patients.
1932: I now know something has definitely changed on track.
1938: I give myself a serious talking to, about how if it's a rejection everything will be OK.
1945: Trying to calm myself down achieved nothing. I am having heart palpitations as I whip out the Macbook.
1946: I am suddenly dying for a wee. I try to put it off, but I am seriously on the verge of wetting myself, and how horrid would it be if I was a medical school reject and suddenly incontinent of my urine?!
1948: Back at the laptop post-wee. Shaking and typing.
...
...
I scream. Properly scream. A scream that only mom would recognise as a scream of joy. I basically don't bother running down the stairs, but more...aim to fly...as I take the steps 6 at a time.

I GOT AN OFFER MOM, I'M IN!!! I MADE IT!!!!!

Cue ringin…

Spoilt

I finally passed my driving test yesterday. I've had about 100 (yes, I know) lessons, and 3 tests all together, finally I scraped a pass!!

Then today I bought my car.

I am feeling so spoilt.

And that's all I wanted to say. I am so lucky to have everything I've ever wanted. I am spoilt.

Happy New Year

When I think 2014 - unlike any other year ever in my life, the first thing I think is potential. This year could turn out to be anything, I can go anywhere in the world, I can do anything I like, I am 18 years young and I am so, damn, free.

Before, I've had school or college to think about so there wasn't really a great deal of possibility that lay before me. Now I don't have to plan around anything or anyone but me - talk about liberating!! There is a bit of anxiety too, where will I be attending university, what will I be studying, where in the world should I choose to visit, when should I pack the job in, should I even pack the job in, would I like to try working in a different sector? But it's all exciting, because aside the whole university thing, for once - I have total control over my life, and I am totally in love with it.

So to other gap-year re-applicants, fall in love with life. Get excited over knowing you have every choice before you right now and you can …