I have written and deleted multiple versions of this blog post because even when typing feels louder than speaking, I don’t know if I can always find the words that really reflect what I want to say. Regardless, this has been the thread running through my life at the moment: my voice has been taking a backseat and my texts have been getting longer (sorry to all my friends). Things have felt a bit existential, but we’ll get into all of that.
Here’s an update on my life.
Where I’ve Been
I am officially finished with my assigned placements this year. We have another one in June that we get to choose ourselves, but the bulk of clinical learning for this year is complete.
Where has the time gone?
I’ve slipped in and out of three different hospitals over the past seven months, making friends with security guards, memorising more door codes than I’ve ever needed to, and it’s all come to an end. It’s been simultaneously the longest and shortest year of my life, but I probably say that every year. The only way I could accurately describe the passage of time is that the days are long, but the years are short.
Moreover, clinical placements have taught me lessons that theory and rote learning could never do in a million years. It initially felt like I was trying to keep my head above water in the sea of general medicine, cardiology, and the start of my third block of endocrinology too, but I think I’ve finally learnt how to swim in my third and fourth blocks (urology surgery being the last and one of my favourites). Unfortunately, the nature of coming into one’s element means the discomfort slips away and you’re left to deal with the raw essence of what you’re doing – cue my surprise at medicine being mentally taxing when you strip away the menial checkboxes you need to tick off.
Beyond that, we also had the formative OSCE, which was an experience in itself. For me, the OSCE went from this completely unattainable exam to something that felt a lot more in reach. And in reach, I should hope it is, because the summative one is in approximately two weeks.
Where I am Now
Placements have given way to the Easter break where we have two weeks of respite before we have the summative OSCE.
I’m just coming off my urology surgery placement which I’ve alluded to above as being a particularly good one, and it really has. Theatres have been something new and the whole placement has offered a variety that the others have lacked. For what it’s worth, I never even considered surgery as an option before, but I’m quickly realising that even going in with what I thought was an open mind, every decision and opinion has been borne from preconceived ideas. I’m coming to terms with the concept that there is no such thing as an ‘open mind’.
Where I’m Going
If there’s a lesson I still haven’t learned after multiple attempts of life’s circumstances to teach me it, it’s to believe in myself more. I succeeded in my application for the BMJ Clegg Scholarship 2021 which was unexpected but a hugely exciting accomplishment. It offers students the opportunity to spend time over summer working with the BMJ and its student subdivision to gain an insight into the inner workings of a medical journal. Beyond my obvious enthusiasm for such an opportunity, it’s a good reminder for me to give myself the credit I deserve and believe in my ability more. Looking forward to having a new experience and learning new things.
In the shorter term, after the OSCE, we have an eight-week research project to undertake that I’ll be doing remotely from home. I’ll have the Progress Test sometime in between that project and after it’s complete, I’ll go back on placement for the final block that we get to choose soon. And that will bring third year to a close. It’s far from over but I know the remaining time will fly.
I hope life has been going well for you and 2021 has been good to you so far. My inconsistency with my blog has been weighing heavy on me and although I can make no promises about regular posts, I hope you know I’m thinking of all of you.