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?


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.



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…


My First Committee Position

I’m the new Charities Co-ordinator for a society that raises money to improve the lives of children overseas. We choose different organisations to send money to each year, and it is my job to keep in contact with charities the society is supporting, update on how funds are being spent, and research new charities to get involved with.

We had our first committee meeting this week, and it was great to meet everyone properly and pitch ideas for next year. Not going to lie, it did worry me a bit that what people seem to care most about is the fashion show that the society puts on. Yes, that’s the most well known means of fundraising, but surely we should also focus on raising awareness of the charities and not just modelling? Well it’s still early days, so maybe I’m worrying for nothing.

In other news, Friday’s anatomy exam was… okay. I didn’t do too bad in it, and for that I thank God! I now know the areas I need to revise more, so I’ll be working on those for the summative exams in June. Celebrated getting through anatomy with a foundation year medics reunion BBQ, and it was super cute:

foundation meds BBQ
Module 2 secondary care placement starts on Monday, BUZZING.


Down With Negativity

Today was my Med exam and it sure was tough. Like, so tough that tears were shed, calls were made to our course director asking what will happen if we don’t get the 75% needed to move on to year 1, and a formal complaint is being drafted to send to the medical school. We found it hard because things we were told we didn’t need to know came up, and it was nothing like the mock exam, which had questions purely based on stuff we’d covered in lectures. It just sucked.

So as you can imagine, most of us are feeling quite low at the moment, and people are preparing themselves for the worst. I’m trying not to be negative or upset because that really accomplishes nothing. What’s the point in wallowing, feeling sorry for yourself, and wasting your energy worrying about something that’s already happened? I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, so I’m trusting in God because I know He has a plan for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 is my favourite Bible verse, and it is very appropriate right now. Jesus, take the wheel.

Here are my top tips for what to do when an exam doesn’t go smoothly;

– Try not to discuss answers afterwards with people, that’ll just lead to panic.
– Take down and put away any revision notes you might have around, you don’t need reminders of the exam.
– Try not to go through your notes as you put them away as again, that could cause panicking.
– Avoid talking to pessimistic, negative people. They will make you feel worse.
– Surround yourself with optimistic peeps instead. (Shout out to Starbucks Gal for being great, as always. I’m blessed to have her as a friend)
– Be positive and compose a ‘Reasons To Be Cheerful List.’ That should make you realise how a bad exam isn’t the end of the world.
– Take a break from revision for a bit. You’ll need a fresh mind before continuing with work, so why not watch a film or something?
– Finally, CHEER UP. You’ve probably not done as bad as you think.

Exams end next week so I will be going HAM with revision from tomorrow. I am now off to watch Pride & Prejudice (2005) to take my mind off things. Ahh, Mr Darcy…


No Pain, No Gain

… But what if you couldn’t feel pain?

Revising pain pathways at the moment, and I found this rare case very interesting. Ashlyn Blocker has mutations in the SCN9A gene, which belongs to a set of genes that give instructions for making sodium channels, and influence a cell’s ability to transmit and generate signals. Our reactions to pain are caused by nociceptors (pain receptors) in the skin, which are activated by tissue damage, and send signals via peripheral nerves to the brain through the spinal chord. These signals are generated by molecular channels produced by the SCN9A gene, so Ashlyn’s mutation stops the gene from making the channel, meaning that electrical impulses aren’t produced.

At first I was like “Being unable to feel pain would be AWESOME,” but reading more about it, it really isn’t awesome. People with these mutations could literally be dying and not know due to not feeling any symptoms… whoa.


Heckert, J. (2012). The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly. Available: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/magazine/ashlyn-blocker-feels-no-pain.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0. Last accessed Tuesday 20th May.

Genetics Home Reference. (2014). SCN9A. Available: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/gene/SCN9A. Last accessed Tuesday 20th May.


Half of a Yellow Sun

I am very very excited because I booked one of my holidays for summer this evening! This isn’t my first holiday without my family but it IS the first time I’m going abroad without my twin sister, so this is all super duper exciting and a bit scary but still very very exciting, BUZZING.

Anyways I’m back at uni, and it’s like I never left because I’ve settled back into my #studentlyf routine. I’m done with lectures for the year so all I’ve got left is my clinical placement next week and my exams in a couple of weeks. I have even MORE free time than I did last term, so I made a revision timetable to make sure I make the most of it. I realised last term that I wasted a lot of time by taking naps, so that definitely won’t be happening this term. I revise by making notes and going through lectures, because I’m a reader/writer learner, so that’s what I will be doing. Fun fun fun!

In other news I’m reading Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie right now, and it’s made me realise that I really don’t know much about the history of Nigeria. The plot is based around the Biafran Civil war after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, and I came across the book when I saw the trailer for the film adaptation a couple of months ago. Before reading the book I knew nothing about this war, didn’t even know it’d actually happened, and that made me think, “Wait a minute, apart from the ‘big’ events like Independence Day, what do I actually know about Nigeria’s history…?” The answer? Not much. This made me feel bad because I claim to be proud of my dual citizenship, but I’m slacking in the Nigerian side of it even though I was born there! Absolutely TAI-rrible.

I guess as a kid I was never really interested in history (I was a pretty self-absorbed kid to be honest), and I left Nigeria just before starting secondary school there, which is when the curriculum really goes into the history of the country. So it’s not really my fault I suppose, I just feel bad for not caring back then because I really took having my grandma around to give a first hand account for granted. Found out that granddad actually fought in the Biafran War, which is pretty cool!

Half of a Yellow Sun is a really really good book though; it’s taught me so much about Igbo culture, which is very different from that of the Yorubas, my family’s ethnic group. I can understand how comparisons can be made between Half of a Yellow Sun and Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, because both are about the Igbo and discuss the impact of British colonialism on Nigeria. A quote that’s stayed with me from the book is something Odenigbo says during one of his rants, “I am Nigerian because a white man created Nigeria and gave me that identity. I am black because the white man constructed black to be as different as possible from his white. But I was Igbo before the white man came.” So so interesting.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is brill and her talk on why we should all be feminists is worth listening to.