Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Reflecting on medical school

Today was my last ever day as a medical student! I honestly can't believe how fast the last 5 years have gone, and yet it feels like I have been in Liverpool for a long time.

I still remember the day that I found out that I had got a place at medical school, and how much my mum and I cried after all of the time and effort we had put into interviews and work experience, and how happy I was. I remember my very first induction day, where I had to attend a meeting in a hall in the Guild with around 200 other students. We were told about student life and how to make the most of it. I remember first moving into student halls, and how terrified I was. First year seemed really hard, with a ridiculous amount of things to learn on top of settling into life in a city away from my family.

I remember the excitement of getting my first stethoscope as a present off my Nan, and my first NHS ID card in 2nd year when my hospital placements started. I was so scared of patients at first, and so hesitant about talking to them and saying the wrong thing. Now small talk just comes natural to me, and I feel as comfortable talking to a patient about rectal bleeding as I do talking to a friend about my Aldi shopping list.

3rd year quickly brought along the halfway mark, and our mid-course ball seemed like such a huge achievement. We started to learn about the specialties, such as paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology, and psychiatry. My love for GP bloomed as I spent a few weeks at a GP practice. As quickly as 3rd year was over, 4th year started and our final exams were looming. Last year seemed like a blur of revision and constantly listening to each others' hearts and feeling as many abdomens as possible in preparation for exams. But 4th year also brought my elective placement, where I travelled to Fiji to shadow the doctors in a hospital there for a while. Thinking about the day that we found out that we had passed finals still gives me goosebumps - we celebrating by partying the night away on a beach in the Pacific Ocean. I was also lucky enough to be able to travel to Australia and Bali.

Being a medical student blog

And then came 5th year. Oh 5th year, how I have enjoyed you (and possibly taken you for granted). As our finals were taken last year, we did not have any major exams this year, and I found that I had a lot more time on my hands. This year I feel like I have really learnt how to be a doctor. I have learnt about the ins and outs of a hospital, and what my job next year will actually entail. I have been on the wards a lot more, and have had much more patient contact (mainly because I haven't been in the library revising constantly), and I have enjoyed it so much. I honestly cannot tell you how lucky I feel to be in my position, and to be able to have an insight into peoples' lives that others usually do not. Patients automatically trust you and open up to you, and allow you to examine them. I can give suggestions for treatments that will drastically improve a patient's life. As much a cliche as it is, I get to help people. And if that's not a privileged position to be in, I don't know what is.

5th year has been very relaxed, and I haven't had the pressure of exams or studying to worry about. I have enjoyed my time in hospital and on placement, but I have also really enjoyed my own time and my social life. That's one thing that I think I have taken for granted, and that I will miss when I start working.

Medical school has brought lots of ups and downs, but I have had such an amazing experience, and have especially enjoyed the last 3 years. I have made friends that I know will be in my life for a long time to come, and I have also found a new home in Liverpool that I am excited to explore more over the next couple of years. I am sad that medical school is over, but I'm also so excited for what is to come, and for all of the adventures that the next few years will bring.
Whatever makes your soul happy - do that.

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