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Surviving 3rd Year of Medical School

I have cried more this year than any other year so far, fact. To say that I found year 3 difficult would definitely be an understatement, because it seriously drained me.

So when I checked my results and saw that I passed everything, I was too shocked to cry. All I could do was thank God because it was really a miracle that got me through those exams. Especially the written papers- the year 3 short answer paper still makes me cringe when I think of it.

On reflection, there are a couple of things I could have done differently to make this year a bit easier for myself…

1. Taking on a student job in the toughest year of med school, really, Tai? I did enjoy being a student caller, but I didn’t have to do as many shifts as I signed up for, and this was something that my boss only decided to tell me at the end of the campaign. Not so great.

2. Should’ve started revising earlier. I only really got into revision a couple of weeks before exams, so if I’d properly started over Easter like I’d planned, I would have been under less pressure towards the end.

3. Pastest is so much better than Pasmed for practise questions, and is so worth the money. I regret only getting it in June; so much wasted time!

4. Saying yes too much due to my fear of missing out (FOMO) cut into my revision time a lot. I need to bring back year 1 antisocial Tai during exams, because she was so much more on it.

5. Anatomy. And that’s all I have to say about that.

I’m sure there are other things I’ve missed out, but those are the main things I can think of for now. Ahh, 3rd year was definitely no joke, but it really made me trust in God’s will more, because I was comforted by the reminder that no matter what happened, He has a plan for my life.

My family and friends were also a great source of encouragement too, so I’m grateful to have them. Shout out to my housemates- from baking, to crappy TV (I genuinely enjoyed Love Island), to OSCE practise, and conversations in the kitchen, they have been so great, and I really don’t appreciate them enough.

Oh and before I forget: I was a really bad friend to someone who I really respect and count as one of my closest pals. So Samirah, here is another apology for the last day of term. It was really crap of me and I totally deserved your wrath.

So… yeah. My name is Taiwo and I’m a 4th year medical student. COOL.

P.S- I was recently informed that googling ‘manual handling’ has brought quite a few people in my year to this blog. I didn’t know what to say to that, and I still feel a bit awkward about it to be honest, but hi guys! Thanks for stopping by, I guess?

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To The Girls At Number 36

Grateful is an understatement to describe how thankful I am to you.

Not only did you open your house to me when I was stuck for somewhere to stay during exams, but your encouragement and support during revision was also much appreciated. From practising examinations to drilling each other on logbooks, and praying together before exams, revising with you guys was very helpful, because in both the written and practical assessments, remembering things we’d talked through made me able to answer questions.

I never once felt like an outsider- you made me feel very welcome. And as someone who doesn’t have many close female friends (forever ‘one of the lads’), it was so so lovely to be included in your close-knit circle.

Home now, and as I nervously await my results, I just want to say a massive thank you for your kindness. I know that whatever the outcome of the exams are, I would never have gotten through them without you.

Alice, Narki and Rochelle, you are wonderful people.

gals

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When Your House Contract Ends In The Middle of Exams

This was the situation I found myself in a couple of months ago, when our landlord told us that we wouldn’t be able to have the 10 day extension we’d asked for. The academic year hasn’t finished for me, you see; our exams don’t end till the 8th of July, and our house contract finishes at the end of this month, so I was like, CRAP.

I had no idea what to do, and was majorly panicking about having nowhere to stay during exams. When I’m worried about things I tend to keep it to myself, because I don’t like burdening people with my problems. This is a silly habit that I’m trying to break out of, because on reflection, telling more people about what was going on would have saved me from unnecessarily stressing out.

My A Level Maths teacher used to tell me, “Asking for help is not a sign of weakness,” and I definitely needed help with Maths back then, because the tears I cried because of C4 were embarrassingly real. Ahh, good times… but I digress. I should have remembered good ‘ole Mrs W’s advice earlier, because when I eventually remembered that I’m blessed with great friends, I asked them for help with my housing dilemma. Turns out a couple of them had spare rooms in their houses, and I actually had a choice of where to stay!

The moral of this story, ladies and gents, is that a problem shared is a problem halved. So don’t be too proud to tell your friends when you’re struggling with something, as they might have the solution to your problem, and save you a lot of stress and worry, and in my case, teeth grinding in your sleep. Note to future Tai: The jaw pain is not worth it, m8.

In other news, yesterday was the Module 4 (Cardiology) OSCE, and it was… okay. As always, there were stations that I’m a bit unsure about, but I’m going to be positive and hope for the best. Our written exams start on Thursday, and what’s keeping me going is that fact that I will be home in two weeks. I WILL BE HOME IN TWO WEEKS.

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Results Day Advice

To anyone getting results soon,

The ‘R’ word is something you’re probably freaking out about right now. Whether it’s GCSEs or A Levels, no one wants to be disappointed when they open their results, and if you don’t know how to deal with pressure/stress, the wait won’t be an easy one.

I can speak from experience- I didn’t sleep the night before my GCSE results, and A Levels were worse last year because I was unable to sleep properly the week before results day, so I binge read all the Harry Potter books and started to feel like I was part of them…yeah.

Don’t be like me, get some sleep. Staying up panicking won’t change your results, remember that, so you might as well get some rest. Try and keep yourself busy so that you’re not thinking about results.  For me, reading, albeit obsessively, did the job, but watching films and hanging out with friends are alternatives to that.

Friends are just great for stress relief in general to be honest. That’s another thing to remember about waiting for results, you are not alone. There are people around you going through the same anticipation, and a problem shared is a problem halved, so don’t suffer in silence.

The night before GCSE results was spent on the phone to a friend who’d gone through his own GCSEs two years before, so he had comforting words of encouragement that helped me calm down. Forever grateful to another friend, who called my sister and I the night before A Level results day, to invite us to the pub with everyone, as we were just sat in our room freaking out. Friends are great so I reiterate: You are not alone.

Finally, GOOD LUCK. No matter what that piece of paper has on it, you’ve done your best so it’s not the end of the world. I’ll admit that I was disappointed by my own GCSE and A Level results, but that’s because I’m a perfectionist and was comparing myself to others, which was silly. I hope you don’t make the same mistakes as me, and that you only cry tears of happiness on results day.

 

P.S- On an unrelated note, The Keen One a.k.a Kenny’s recent blog post deserves a shout out because I agree with her 100%, and I know exactly how she feels. You can read it here, if you want. My sister is a MUCH better writer than I am, and even though she doesn’t blog often (yupp, this is shade @ you, Ken), you should definitely follow her because her posts are great.

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Fit to Sit Policy

My university recently announced that from September, medical students will no longer be able to apply for post assessment mitigating circumstances if they attend an exam, and this has led to a lot of outrage.

These new “fit to sit” rules state that students have to file for mitigating circumstances before an exam, or not turn up and hope that their application gets approved. Apparently the reason for this change is to prepare medical students for practise in the workplace, where doctors have to judge their own fitness to attend work.

I can kind of see where they’re coming from with that, and I guess this new change will stop people from falsely claiming mitigating circumstances, just because an exam didn’t go as well as they’d hoped, but it’s still quite unfair. Sitting an exam will be very different to working on a ward, so it doesn’t make sense to me to enforce this rule to prep students for lives as doctors.

Also, what about students with mental health problems? Or those that get asthma attacks, epileptic fits and migraines? Unpredictable things can happen during exams, so denying medical students the ability to apply for mitigating circumstances after assessments could lead to massive problems.

The ‘pilot year’ of this all will begin in September, and at the moment meetings regarding the policy are still going on so who knows, maybe the decision will be reconsidered before we go back? I sure hope so.