That Time Embryology Made Me Cry

Yes, this actually happened.

It was last week, my PBL was on the embryology and functional anatomy of the rectum, and nothing was making sense. Hours passed and I’d not written much; I had numerous books out, embryology websites, and even Youtube videos up, but everything they said seemed like a different language. This was when I began to panic.

I was gripped with fear like I’ve never been before. And all my medical school insecurities came out in full force:

“If you can’t understand the embryology, do you really understand any other part of medicine?”

“Ofcourse you don’t get it- you had to do a foundation year so you’re not even a proper medic”

“It’s only luck that’s gotten you this far, and everyone will soon see how much of an imposter you are”

“You’re probably going to fail this year.”

All of this was going through my head, and it was awful. My room started to feel very small, looking at my blank Word document made me feel like I couldn’t breathe, and my chest felt like it was being squeezed.

So what did I do next? Hint: It’s mentioned in the title of this post. I cried.

You see, I debated blogging about this for a while, but I thought it was important to talk about this side of medical school. Obviously I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, feeling like an imposter is a huge part of my med school experience. I find it hard to shake off the feeling that everyone is much smarter than me, and that I’m just good at tricking people into thinking that I’m smart too.

That was probably why not understanding my PBL caused me to react like that. It didn’t help that earlier that day, I’d had some scary talks about third year exams and how tough they are, so that just added to my worries. It wasn’t the first time I’d come across a topic I didn’t understand, but it was definitely the first time I’d felt like I couldn’t breathe because of it. And that was what made it scarier.

A call from the Keen One a.k.a Kenny was exactly what I needed. She gave me some tough love, and reminded me of 2 Timothy 1:7. She also reminded me that of course I’m going to struggle if I try and do it all alone, and that it was by God’s grace that I got on the course in the first place, so I should stop freaking out and take things one day at a time.

She then got me to close my laptop, go to bed, and go through the embryology with a fresh mind in the morning. My sister is my rock, and I would honestly be so lost without her.

So, to anyone else who struggles with med school insecurities and fear of failure like I do, this is a post to say that you are not alone.

(P.S- If anyone was wondering, I got my PBL work done, and it was submitted two whole days before the deadline. Tai (and God’s help) 1 – 0 Embryology).


An Introduction to PBL Q

It was recently pointed out to me that I haven’t written anything about my PBL group this year. I did one about PBL M in first year, so it’s only fair that I do a similar post about my new group. So, without further ado, here’s PBL Q (Ooo that rhymes…)

Ed– The only postgrad in our group; we constantly tease him for being ‘old,’ because with being alive for almost a quarter of a century, Ed’s seen life, you know? Every teardrop is a waterfall with this guy, and even though we laugh at things he says and does, he really is the heart of our group. Fun fact: Ed used to be a choral scholar.

Flo– The queen of throwing shade- Flo’s shade throwing is subtle, with a smile, and one of the best parts of primary care placement. She once told me that when she was younger, she wanted to run away with a circus, and I wasn’t even surprised to be honest, because that’s just classic Flo. Fun fact: she can play the bagpipes.

Heena– Ahh, Heens. At the start of the year we started compiling a list of quotes from her, but gave up on that because we just couldn’t keep up. From moments like when she thought 11 written down was Roman numerals, to the bold claim that everyone will die from diabetes, there’s never a dull moment with her. Fun fact: She can do the splits.

Jay– The rugby guy and king of puns, Jay’s anecdotes are always entertaining. My favourite is the story of his house getting alcohol for pre drinks from an estate agent, because they wore shirts advertising them on a night out. The stories about his house are just funny in general- they’re really serious when it comes to food left on the edge…  Fun fact: Jay can play the guitar.

Mo– Wiz Khalifa’s biggest fan- the look on his face when our PBL tutor said she didn’t know who he was? HILARIOUS. The footballer of the group, he’s always so mysterious and refuses to tell us the film that made him cry… Fun fact: Mo has never seen High School Musical and has said he never will.

Samirah– One of the most dedicated stalkers readers of this blog, she’s even gotten a shout out in one of my posts. She’s #TeamVegan with Flo, and she’s also a walking jukebox, as she has the impressive ability of being able to name songs after only a few seconds of listening to them. Fun fact: She has a sister called Shakirah, but whether or not her hips lie remains unanswered.

Sarah– The girl who is always on it- we would be so lost without Sarah. She’s so organised, and we can always count on her to sort out patient allocations and our mock OSCEs. I’m also living with her and Flo next year, exciting times! Fun fact: Sarah is a long distance runner, and does 5km to 10km.

Simi– Last but not least is Siman, who calls me Taiwo sometimes, and it’s nice because not many people do. Even though she was born in Holland, she refuses to speak Dutch with our GP tutor, but one day she will. One day. Fun fact: She’s from Djibouti, which is an African country I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of before meeting her. My geography is shocking…

And that’s my PBL group! We have really good GP tutors, and our PBL tutor is a 4th year who intercalated, and she’s so SO great.

It’s no secret that I had (and still have) a lot of love for my PBL group from last year, so I was really worried I wouldn’t get on as well with my group this year. This has not been the case though, because PBL Q are lovely, and even though we’re all different, it’s a good thing because it’s a great mix of people. We spend a lot of PBL sessions and placement laughing, so I’m glad I’m in this group- our PBL ‘Circle of Trust and Safety’ time is definitely one of the highlights of my week 🙂



Module 2 Placement: Weeks 3 & 4

So we’ve come to the end of our secondary care placement, and I’m actually a bit sad. Today was our last day together as a PBL group, as we change groups next year, so goodbye, group M! I’ve been really blessed to be in such a chilled group, with people who didn’t take things too seriously, but still produced great work. Not going to lie, it’s not all been smooth sailing sometimes, but overall it’s been great.

The last two weeks have involved a lot of teaching sessions, which have all been quite good, but draining. A highlight was being drilled in a rheumatology clinic by the consultant, whose disappointed face when I got questions wrong will always remain with me. Seriously if I need motivation to revise, that’s what I will picture in my head…

I really enjoyed visiting the Children’s Physiotherapy Clinic, which only fuelled my wish to specialise in Paediatrics in the future. The kids were so cute! Taking histories from children is more challenging, especially when their parents get involved, so that was good for revision.

Another highlight was getting to clerk patients before they saw the consultants in fracture and pain clinics. I felt like a “proper” doctor, as we then had to examine the patients, present our findings to the consultant, and then come up with a diagnosis and management plan. So much fun!

In other news, our end of module OSCE in 2 days, ahhhhhhh, time has really flown by! At the moment I’m calm and doing my best not to panic, so that’s a good thing. The OSCE will consist of 6 stations, and we’re not told what they are beforehand, so it could range from joint examinations, to prescribing and giving injections, as well as consultation skills and data interpretation. Exciting times!

So I guess I should probably get back to revision then…


Module 2 Placement: Week 1

From people being left behind by the coach and having to get £40-£75 taxis instead, to inappropriate touching by consultants, as well as PBL group tension, our first week of secondary care placement was definitely not drama free! But I managed to get through it, so I thank God for that.

As we have now finished our lectures for Year 1, we have four weeks of hospital placement before our OSCEs and written exams, and the first week really flew by! The hospital I’m at is about an hour’s drive away, and we start at 9am, so I’ve been getting up around half 6 everyday. Not going to lie, the first day was really tough (probably had something to do with me only getting 6 hours of sleep…), but when you sleep earlier, you have more energy for the day, who knew?

I guess I shouldn’t really be complaining about early starts- medical students at my university have transportation provided for free, so we’re quite lucky in comparison to other healthcare students, who have to make their own way to placement. And during the drive to and from placement, I’ve been managing to get some revision done, so it’s not been too bad.

A highlight of the week was orthopaedic surgery, where I got to watch some hallux valgus corrections and bunion removals, which was quite cool. The surgeon I was with really grilled me on anatomy and carpal tunnel presentation and treatment; he put me on the spot and asked me to draw the brachial plexus! Fortunately, I was able to do it as that was the only upper limb anatomy I really went over during the Easter holidays, phew! Brachial Plexus 0-1 Tai.

Other highlights included going over examinations of the shoulder, hip, knee, cervical and lumbar spine. The consultant who went through that with us was our PBL tutor, so it was a pretty chilled, and very useful session. I’m feeling more confident with the examinations now, so I just need to practise, practise, PRACTISE. Our first aid session was also fun- I now (kind of) know how to do the Heimlich Manoeuvre, so yay for that! Here’s hoping I never have to actually use it in real life…


SAM & The End Of Module 2

We’ve come to the end of Module 2, so we’re all done with locomotion, and it’s gone by so quickly! It was also our last PBL session of year 1 this week, but I don’t feel as sad about it as I did this time last year during the foundation year, because with a month of secondary care placement coming up, I know I’ll still see my PBL group a lot.

Next week is revision week, and I plan to use that to finish my notes, so that they’ll be ready for me to revise with during placement. I won’t make the mistake I did last term by not being prepared for clinics; pretty sure I won’t get away with, “I don’t know, we haven’t learnt that yet” when we’ve finished all our teaching for the year… Yeah, I don’t think the doctors would be very impressed.

We also have a formative anatomy exam, so I have a week to learn revise the anatomy we’ve done this year. Yaaay… On a positive note, I can now draw the brachial plexus, so at least the Easter holidays weren’t totally unproductive.

In other news, we had a talk on SAM on Tuesday, and I am so excited for it. What is SAM, you ask? Well SAM stands for Studies Allied to Medicine, and for the first time in my medical school’s history, it is being offered from second year. SAM is 10 weeks of 2 hour sessions that gives students a break from lectures, as we get the  chance to study something outside the course.  The options available for next year range from languages like French, Spanish, German, British Sign Language, to Politics and Global Health, as well as Art, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, and more randomly, Clowning. Yupp, you read right- clowning. As in, learning the skills involved in becoming a clown. We choose our top three and get allocated one to do.

So guess what’s going to be my number one choice?

Yupp, you guess right… Clowning ofcourse! I think it sounds so fun! I want to go into Paediatrics when I’m older, so it’ll be a good way to develop skills like improvisation, communication and comedy, which can later on be applied to consultations with children. Also, I can live out my lifelong dream of being a clown… Win-WIN situation to be honest. I know I’m already a #TOPjoka, but working on my mad skillz to be more hilarious than I already am will be fun, right?


Challenge of the Month: Being Quiet

My PBL group think that I’m incapable of keeping quiet, and a GP tutor refers to me as one of the “loud ones,” so ofcourse I was determined to prove them wrong. The challenge was to go a day of primary care placement without talking to anyone. I was only allowed to talk if our GP tutor directly asked me a question, and ofcourse in patient consultations, but apart from that, not a word.

How was it then? Well exactly how I thought it would be, quite easy!

A lot of people seem to be under the impression that I can’t stop talking, but it’s really not hard. Yes, I like socialising and being part of conversations, but I also like keeping to myself too. I don’t label myself as an “extrovert” or “introvert,” because I see myself as being a bit of both, and just because my “louder” side is seen more, doesn’t mean I don’t have times when I prefer to be left alone. (I don’t think there’s anything wrong with labelling yourself as an introvert or extrovert by the way, I just personally think I don’t fit into one category.)

If I’m to be honest, socialising can be draining and #longforman sometimes, so actually having an excuse to not talk for a whole day was great! I could read while sat with a group of people, and not be accused of being “anti-social,” so I liked that. Also when you don’t say much, you can listen and observe more, and I actually noticed new things about my PBL group and GP tutor. I am now conscious of the fact that I might annoy people with my seemingly incessant chatter (if you’re one of those people, I’m sorry), and I will make more of an effort to listen more and talk less in the future.



Shout out to my very nosy PBL group, who found this blog through Google because they are STALKERS. You guys are the worst…

…Just kidding, I guess you’re not too bad, even though you call me keen, and laugh at me, and think I’m “too happy,” and upload your PBL work late to annoy me (Yeah I’m talking to you, Ben, grrr).

Since you all now know more about me from reading my posts, it’s only fair that I write about you guys in return. So, here’s the lowdown on PBL group M:

Badushi– a.k.a. “The Controlling One”. Ba-Dushi (like sushi with a ‘d’) was in my PBL group last year, so it’s great that I get to be with her again. She’s such a ‘sly dog’ and never fails to make me laugh with her old school expressions like “Wicked!” and “Funky!”

Ben– a.ka. “The Mean One”. Tom Ben is one of the most sarcastic people I’ve ever met, and he’s also one of the main people that thinks I’m too optimistic. But when you’re happy you can make other people happy, Ben!

Johnny– a.k.a. “Mr Muscle”. Johnny is the youngest in our group, as he started med school aged 17! He’s from Hong Kong and a dedicated gym enthusiast, fitting in sessions before 9am PBL, such a beast.

Kaylan– a.k.a. “The Lad”. Kaylan is one of those people who looks nice on the outside, but is actually mean, Laveeza would know! Haha just kidding (I’m not…)

Kiren– a.k.a. “The One With The Best Laugh”. Kiren is a Gravesend gal, which I thought was Grovesend the first of the many times she mentioned it. She is a Potterhead, half of the dynamic duo that is ‘Kaveeza,’ and has a great laugh that always puts a smile on my face.

Laveeza– a.k.a. “Mrs Potato Head/The Talkative One”. Lav is the celebrity of our group and if you haven’t heard about her, you’ve clearly been living under a rock for a while. She’s so down to earth and really cares about her fans, so nice!

Mehar (Mia)– a.k.a. “The Honest One”. Mia calls me Taiwan because she finds it funny, and she’s the oldest one of us, as she’s postgrad. I’m not too sure where she went or what she studied though, UCL I think? She doesn’t really talk about it…

Olu– a.k.a. “Silent But Deadly”. The first part of Olu’s nickname came about because she’s a gal of few words, but not many people know that she has an amazing singing voice, hence the “deadly” aspect. Olu does Glee like me, and fun fact, she’s had malaria many times! #sicklecelltraitcrew

Rebecca– a.k.a. “The Shakes”. Last but not least is Rebecca, and she and I are ‘The Dream Team’! We’ve had great times like getting lost during home visits to patients, the longest consultation EVER (embrels lol), and doing ear examinations for the first time, fun times!

And that’s my PBL group! Not going to lie they are a weird bunch, but I’m very blessed to have them, because they are simply the best.

PBL Group M