Hello my friends, hope you’re all doing great and living your best life in 2020!
I have been saying for the past month that my new year doesn’t start until I finish my exams, because I didn’t have the time to reflect on my past year during this exam season, which has been one of the busiest and most stressful that I’ve experienced.
However, all things (bad and good) come to an end, and I am very relieved to say that my semester 3 exams are now complete, as of the 20th of January, and I had 7 days (including the day of my last exam) to reset my life in preparation for semester 4 and just generally sort myself out after what feels like weeks of being stuck in a study rut. I thought I’d document my 7 days of freedom from any sort of academic-related activity because this kind of luxury doesn’t come around very often.
Day 1 – 20/01/2020
The dreaded semester 3 OSCE day, upon us at last. This OSCE has been the least anticipated events of this exam season for me, and in all honesty, I don’t want to relive my memories of it; all I can say is that I’m so glad it’s finished.
More importantly, I finished my OSCE by 1pm and I exited Stopford building to the most beautiful, dazzling sun. A perfect reflection of my mood, knowing that I finally had some time to myself and didn’t have to think about medicine for a whole week. I made the long commute home and savoured every minute of it.
Now, I won’t lie, I had every intention of coming home and having a little nap, because I knew I had plans for the evening, and the post-exam headache is so real, so that’s exactly what I did. I left my curtains open so the sun could stream in and I lay in bed, basking in the present moment and appreciating my good fortune.
It didn’t last long however, between the time I spent scrolling on my phone and lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, contemplating life, I only slept for half an hour or so, but it was rejuvenating regardless.
My university friends and I had plans to go to Inflatanation at 6pm that evening, which is an inflatable theme park of sorts, kind of like those places you go to as a kid but on a much bigger and more exciting scale. It was incredibly fun but also surprisingly eye-opening because we were exhausted about 10 minutes in and that was the moment I realised how shockingly unfit I am. We had the best time there, but I would expect nothing less, since we could go to the most boring places and I would still have fun because I have the luck of being surrounded by such lovely people in my life.
Monday ended with KFC and I can’t imagine any better way to end an exam day.
Day 2 – 21/01/2020
The goal for Tuesday was to deep clean my room but spoiler alert, it never ended up happening. What actually happened was that I lounged around and chilled basically all day. I did make two trips to Tesco (classic Malaikah) which were very enjoyable and I also made a quick trip to Aldi! Spicing up the grocery shop sometimes is nice.
I’m not sure why I find such pleasure in going to supermarkets and grocery shops, but I could fully spend a whole day doing mundane shopping tasks. I’ve proposed whole day shopping tours where we visit every popular chain supermarket and put them head-to-head against each other. Going to supermarkets is one of my favourite things to do when travelling abroad as well, there’s something so interesting about it.
I did, however, manage to organise all my semester three content and put it away neatly, so I could properly clear up my desk. Sitting at such a beautifully neat and clean desk has been so lovely but very short-lived.
Day 3 – 22/01/2020
Look at all the 2s in that date! I think one of the weirdest things about education beyond high school is that we no longer have to put dates on anything?! I never dated any of my work in college and certainly don’t in uni, but there’s something so satisfying about looking through old work and seeing exactly what you did on this day many years prior.
What an unnecessary tangent. I guess I’ve really let myself indulge in useless thoughts.
More to the point, we got our hair cut on day 3! Now I’ve been toying with the idea of a fringe since last September now, but I could never commit because that’s just the kind of person I am. I think this haircut was what I needed to get out of the rut that I’ve been stuck in for a while, which I guess is kind of silly, but physical changes can manifest big changes in your emotional health. It’s the kind of fringe that I can almost disguise so it looks as it did before so I always have that option for when I’m not feeling it. I know it’s quite a high-maintenance hairstyle, but it’s still early days so I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to impact on my no-nonsense way of living.
Besides the haircut, I didn’t do much at all on Wednesday and spent an unhealthy time in bed, relaxing and taking advantage of my free time. I will, however, point out that I downloaded Duolingo on my phone again on Wednesday and started working learning Arabic alongside the French course that I’ve been doing on-and-off over the years. I came to the conclusion that I really wanted to learn a new language this year (Arabic) and I wanted to keep up with my French skills because learning and speaking different languages is a huge passion of mine.
Day 4 – 23/01/2020
Thursday already! This week off has flown by.
Thursday was a nice day because my mum had a doctor’s appointment in a nearby town, so we made a day-trip out of it and went shopping and eating after her appointment.
It was really lovely spending the day outside, doing nice things together. I ended up buying a pair of pyjamas and the most beautiful notebook because I have zero self-control when it comes to stationery. There are a few other items of stationery that I need to buy at some point soon as well, like a bigger pencil case for all my highlighters and coloured pens and post-it notes, but I think I’ll need to really dedicate a shopping trip for all the various bits and pieces I need to buy.
We ended up going to Nando’s afterwards as well, which was such a decadent treat seeing as I spent most of exam season living off Morrison’s meal deals.
I spent most of the day outside so I had a very chill evening watching YouTube videos and planning my tasks for the next day.
Day 5 – 24/01/2020
Friday was not a super exciting day in all honesty. I woke up pretty late, which was nice, and went for a long shower in the afternoon when things got slow, but I didn’t leave the house for any reason, which I ended up regretting.
I did, however, manage to clean my room and vacuum the place up a little bit, so it’s nice that my room feels so clean now. Other than that, I well and truly just moped around the house, annoying anyone who showed any semblance of interest in having a conversation with me.
I can’t believe the week has ended so quick, and I have all of two days left to sort myself out for the next semester.
Day 6 – 25/01/2020
So basically Saturdays are the only day that my eyebrow lady works that I can actually go get my eyebrows done, so that was my main goal for this day. I had a very chill afternoon getting my eyebrows done, doing some grocery shopping & eating samosas (!) with my parents, which was a very lovely way to spend my day. The evening was quiet while I did some preparation for starting uni on Monday again.
I also downloaded a new book (And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini) which I spent most of my late evening lying in bed and reading. Something about lying in bed and reading a good book just screams the ultimate level of relaxation to me.
Day 7 – 26/01/2020
The last day of true freedom for the next few months and it felt horribly bitter. As much as I vow to incorporate activities I actually enjoy into my life during uni, it rarely happens as often as I hope to.
My Sunday, however, was a really lovely day. I spent all morning and afternoon lying in bed reading the book I downloaded they day before, and went on the rollercoaster of emotions often associated with every Khaled Hosseini book. I also went on a quick Tesco trip before it closed to get some odd bits and pieces that we needed at home.
The evening was as slow and chill as all my evenings have been, and my mum made steak at home, which was delicious.
And thus, my brief escape from the hectic university lifestyle comes to a startling end. Semester four is all about preparing for the next phase of the course which is all clinical and based in hospitals, so I guess it gets properly real from there. In the meantime, I will enjoy my last semester as a proper university student and make the most of the opportunities I have.
Let’s get at it, sem 4!