Monthly Archives: April 2009

Crunch Time

I’m sitting at home, having a cup of tea and checking email after a morning of sleep and church and wandering along Dumbarton Road in the sunshine.

This last week has been intense. I do the bulk of my exam revision with two friends, and we’ve been saying for the whole year that we were planning to start our revision period on Easter Monday, but I don’t think any of us believed that we would actually do it until Monday morning when we sat down with large folders that needed to be put into small brains. That first day was an enormous mental struggle for me. It’s not like it would ever have been easy, but it was also embryology, and, besides that, I was still drained from Easter Day (which had started at half past five in the morning and lasted for the better part of fourteen hours and was a wonderful, wonderful day, but, by the end of it, I was exhausted to the point of incoherence). But we got through it, and every day has been a little bit easier. I’m ridiculously proud of how much we’ve accomplished this week. By the end of today, we’ll have finished the whole of Block 7. I’ll have to come back to it, of course, there’s less than no chance that I’ll remember the salient details of placenta formation by the time the exams actually come round in six weeks, but I understand it and I’ve really, properly learned it and it feels terrific.

However, one thing that I’m sticking to this year is that my life is as important as my exams.

I think one of my friends is a bit bewildered by the fact that now and all the way up to the day before my first exam, I’m taking Sunday mornings off to go to church and I’m taking Tuesday evenings off to go to choir practice and I have three or four other evenings dotted around the place when I’ll be going somewhere or doing something that isn’t revision, but these things are hugely important to my mental health. I figured that out last year, when my stress levels went through the roof and I started having random breakdowns in the cafeteria.

The last five hours have been my first decent chunk of time away from my desk since the beginning of the week. It’s not been a lot of time and I’ve still been up and doing things, but I feel rejuvenated and like a whole new person.

43 days to go —

— and, amazingly, that isn’t scaring me.


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Posted by on April 19, 2009 in Blog, Medicine


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A Week in the Life (Friday)

This is the final part of my Week In The Life.

07.45am: The alarm goes off, and I make it out of bed without too much abuse of the snooze button.

08.10am: I consider staying in the SL this afternoon and getting started on the PBL that we’re getting this morning and feeding back on after Easter, but not for long. It’s the beginning of the Easter holidays! This means that I’m not taking my laptop in, which means I need to get my coursework off it, so I boot it up while I’m eating breakfast.

08.55am: A few minutes to get a cup of coffee before heading into PBL.

09.10am: In something of a desultory manner, my group starts doing our feedback. It’s pretty clear that we’ve all done as little as each other for this one, and we stumble around but manage to get through it amid promises to our facilitator that we’ll revisit the subject over Easter.

09.55am: Our new scenario is on chronic pancreatitis. We generate a list of main issues without too many problems: the anatomy and histology of the pancreas, the functions of the pancreas, the control of the pancreas, what we call the Kumar and Clarke of chronic pancreatitis, and issues with patient compliance. A mention is made in the scenario of referring the patient to a dietitian, so I jokingly suggest that we need to look at the role of the dietitian in the management of chronic pancreatitis — it’s a joke because we had a practically identical objective just last week, and when our faciltiator says that we need to do it again, I bang my head on the table.

10.30am: The only thing we really know about the pancreas is how it is involved in the control of blood glucose (which is irrelevant), so the brainstorm sort of fizzles out. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to know anything to come up with learning objectives…

10.55am: Leaving PBL, I get roped into doing my travel agent gig for a friend who is travelling to her parents’ today. I worked in public transport in my previous life, and, since I let that slip to people early on in first year, I often find myself doing my old job but for free.

11.30am: Although the coursework is done, it still needs to be printed. It goes smoothly until the last page, when it refuses to print. I’m not sure if this is my lack of print credit or a problem with the colour printer, so I go looking for people I know who might be able to help. I try three separate accounts with no luck, and eventually end up going begging at the office.

11.55am: Signed, stapled, and posted into drop box! My last obligation of the term is fulfilled!

12.45pm: Lunch.

1.30pm: Nap.

4pm: One of our friends arrives, bearing Pyrex containers. Her family are not entirely convinced that my flatmate and I won’t starve, and occasionally they send us food. We love them for this. Today, we have chicken with a sort of vegetable risotto thing, and cake. The cake is amazing.

4.50pm: My flatmate starts packing for her trip home, and I start watching the Law and Order: UK episodes that I’ve missed due to the crazy deadlines these last couple of weeks.

7.05pm: I help my flatmate take her stuff to the bus and we both wonder if she might not possibly need a forklift truck at the other end. You wouldn’t think so much weight would fit into so small a bag, but laptops and textbooks are heavy.

7.55pm: Home. I have dinner (the chicken and risotto thing is also very delicious, probably made more so by the fact that I didn’t have to cook it) and collapse on the sofa and read, and generally enjoy having the flat to myself for a bit.

11.30pm: I take a shower, go to bed, and take great pleasure in turning the alarm off!

I’m leaving at the crack of dawn to travel down to Newcastle for my holiday. The whole concept of a holiday at Easter is sort of a myth, and I’ve packed a ginormous pile of notes and Tortora, but it’ll be nice to relax for a little bit and to see my parents for a while. I haven’t got an internet connection down there, so be excellent to each other and I’ll be back in a week.

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Posted by on April 2, 2009 in Blog, Medicine


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