Learning Medicine Week (#0)

So, this week marked the beginning of my career and I’ve already written this post but, because my two accounts decided to delete it, I’m going to have to start all over again.

I moved on Saturday and I was absolutely terrified. I had had a bad experience before with “ghost” flatmates so I was worried I was going to have to go through it all over again.

However, Saturday arrived and 2 hours after setting off (significantly less time than I normally used to go into uni) I arrived at Warwick University. Awkwardly, we had to buy my food before going onto campus so it resulted in a very squashed last 10 minutes of the journey but, those 72 chicken nuggets were worth it.

 

It took 4 carts to get my stuff over to my halls which was slightly embarrassing but what can you do? Maybe learn how to pack lightly but we are now in the 4th year of my degree level education and it has not happened so far so, I am going to give up on that quest.

I found out my flat was on the top floor of the block I’ll be staying in which was great news for me because it meant quiet evenings. However, it was not so great news for Mum who I think was absolutely exhausted by the time we got my stuff up to my room. I was the first one in my flat but I soon began to meet all my flatmates and they were absolutely lovely. The girl that I’m sharing with I’d actually been talking to her beforehand so it made my week to realise that I knew someone already.

Once unpacked, mum and Grandad and I walked over to the students union and had a look around the welcome fair. This was basically an excuse for me to get some free pizza. We then went over to Varsity a pub near campus to have a farewell meal. Me and Grandad had our usual meals whilst mum decided she wanted a chicken feast except she didn’t read the menu and ordered one of these big eat things and the colour drained from her face when she realised how big the portion was. At least my dog ate well that evening.

I met with the rest of my block in the evening and it was really nice to talk to everyone and get to know people. We left our flat door open so we ended up meeting a couple of the post grads from the flat next door who had wandered in because their flat was a bit quiet. We were all pretty tired so we decided to get an early night.

On Sunday we decided to walk around the Welcome fair again and score some more free pizza. We also decided to stop in the student union bar where I had a drink and some cheesy chips. After we had a wander around Campus and ended up at the medical school site and to know that I was starting medical school in the next day was quite surreal.

 

We also went over to Cannon Park which is a local shopping centre as a group and trying to track down 8 people in Wilko proved to be Mission Impossible. At 8pm we headed over to Varsity for our years meet and greet. This was basically an opportunity to meet the rest of the year and get the t-shirts that we will be wearing for our bar crawl the next day. It was lovely seeing people who I had already met and it was nice to talk to some new people as well. The noise was EXTREMELY loud as 200 medical students talking in one pub was quite a lot to handle. It was quite hard to keep up but in the end, I really enjoyed the evening. On the walk back I was reflective about what the next day would bring and how the rest of the year was going to unfold.

Monday morning arrived and we were all pretty nervous even though we knew it was a bit of a quiet week with regards to content. It was still the first time would walk through those doors as medical students and there was a strange mixture of excitement and nerves as we headed down the path to campus.

Lectures in the morning consisted of welcoming us to Warwick medical school and I really enjoyed listening to one of our lectures called Colin. I think it’s because he was a paediatric consultant and paediatrics is a field that I definitely want to pursue with the hopes of going into paediatric surgery.

Monday proved to be a long day but very enjoyable we decided to sit in the canteen at lunch and I hate my packed lunch that I bought from home. I knew that canteens on campus could be expensive and I was right as my friend bought a drink and a sandwich which ended up costing him 5 Pounds. I also met my personal tutor who is lovely and my CBL group who are incredible and we get on like a house on fire.

It soon came to the end of the day and we were all pretty exhausted. However, we knew that we had the bar crawl in the evening and what was even worse is that we had a quick turn around for it. I managed to get in have a shower and hair wash, dry my hair, straighten it, get changed, have some food and get out the door or in the space of an hour and 45 minutes.

 

We caught the bus as a group from campus to Leamington Spa which proved to be possibly the best bit of the night. I’m not used to travelling on buses to nights out so I became the mother of the group by organising which bus to catch to get there, where we need to go off, and what bus we need to get back. There was slight confusion over where we were meeting so for a solid 20 minutes there was a group of 15 lost medics wandering around Leamington spa relying on google maps to lead us in the right direction.

Tuesday morning brought a few sore heads and my stomach was not in the best condition. We had a few of the content lectures that day but again it was enjoyable and we decided to sit outside during lunch as the weather has been extremely good. During eating, we were asked if we would mind being photographed for the new Warwick medical school prospectus. I’m on the cover for my old uni ones so I only to only  have been at Warwick for 2 days and potentially already in the prospectus, I think is a record for me.

We quickly established that we need to bring in snacks as we can get quite hungry really quickly. In the afternoon we had our first CBL case. It was basically an excuse for the medical school to repeat the roots of support that we can access which in the long run is a really good idea. We had a case of a boy who had had a panic attack and even though I was dreading CBL, I really enjoyed the hour and 45-minute session. It was nice having the mixture of people from both science and art backgrounds. Whilst my mind jumped straight to the biological causes of a panic attack the Arts background students suggested about looking at social care and how to best support the student whilst not just looking at disease.

After another lecture, we were able to go home, which was appreciated as we were absolutely shattered from the night before. It was a bit more of relaxing night and I managed to cook some tea before heading back out to go and meet my medical parents. The Warwick medical society has a scheme where you’re paired with students from the second year to act as your medical Mum and Dad and it’s another method of supporting first-year students. My medical mum and dad are lovely and I’m really lucky in the fact that I’ve been talking to my medical mum for a while. It was also nice to meet my medical brothers one of whom is in my CBL group and the other one I keep bumping into everywhere. They’re both lovely and I think we’re going to have a really nice support network during this year.

Eventually, I got home and after collapsing into bed, I realised I seriously need an early night. On Wednesday we had a lecture on value laws and ethics. Basically looking at medical health care from the patient’s point of view, your point of view and the legal point of view. Group work was especially thought-provoking as we had a case of a woman who wanted to withdraw their life support but doctors were not happy to do it so we had to look at things like patient autonomy, doctors autonomy and the dilemma of trying to do what is best for the patient whilst also respecting the patient’s wishes. It was again a stimulating session and the group worked extremely well together, despite having opposing views on some of the subjects.

Wednesday afternoon we had off and I think most of the year was grateful for it. We headed to Main Campus and had a look around the food fair which was there. I bought some Chinese food with some dumplings and we sat outside in the sun it was a lovely afternoon. We then headed to halls until Freshers Fair when I did some work for my CBL case as I agreed that I would look at the biological basis of panic attacks. I regretted this as it was such a large field to cover but, in the end, I found some really useful information and I got to try out the OneNote app on my computer. In the evening we went back up to the medical school and I looked around the Freshers Fair. I wanted to join a sport as I know that constant studying is not helpful in losing weight. I knew that I wanted to join both the Neuroscience Society and Surgical Society as these as my two passions in life. I also joined Paediatric Society and the Warwick chamber choir Society as well as tea and empathy which is a great way of just some winding and chatting to fellow classmates over a cup of tea.

 

The surgical Society had a plastic arms where we could practice putting in stitches. I decided that this was a must and I waited for a space to become free. At this particular moment though I was very high on caffeine as I crashed a bit earlier in the day so I had an energy drink and as a result my hands were shaking. However, I think I did a good job.

Thursday brought another 9 a.m. and I think we’re slowly getting used to them even though more of us look dead every day. We had our second CBL case I presented my findings on the biological basis of panic attacks. My group gave me really good feedback about how I presented , we use a screen casting assistant to project whats on our laptops on to the main screen so I took them through my mind map. I think I might stick with this method for out the next CBL and see how it works.

We will also introduce to wellbeing and we had our first mindfulness session. our facilitator was lovely and she talked us through a mindfulness session as well as getting us to highlight are worried about medical school which actually turned out to be pretty common across the board.

Thursday we also had a night out which was Where’s Wally. I had to convince quite a lot of my block out as at one point I was the only person going out dressed up (and I had bought the costume so there was no way I wasn’t using it). Again, it was a lovely evening and then seeing everyone dressed up brought home the fact that we were at medical school. I also learnt my lesson not to trust bus timetables as I was waiting for a bus for half an hour to try and get home in time to wake up early the next day.

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Friday quickly arrived and we were treated to our first day in the hospital. I live on campus so we had to get a bus from campus the hospital which involved getting a 7:20 bus to get there for 8:20 for a lecture that started at 9. I actually enjoyed the morning journey as we were talking about the week and how he felt about going into hospital that day.

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Note how tired I am. This was also a staged image as we didn’t need stethoscopes this week.

Our first lecture was on cell signalling and I tried out a few new note-taking techniques as this was a topic but I was well rehearsed in. We also then had a lecture by one of the big names at Warwick medical school about anatomy. I did need to pay close attention to this lecture as we were looking at the structure of cells in general and epithelial layers. After lunch in which we had a wander around the hospital we had a clinical skills session. This was one of the best lectures I have been in. It was like watching a comedy duo as the lecturer and his student bounced off each other…… like the medical version of Ant and Dec. We were highlighted to the beginnings of how to take history and how to present ourselves to patients.

Finally, it was the end of the week. We climbed on the bus back home and virtually collapsed. It has been a long week but every single one of us had enjoyed it and we were looking forward to Saturday when we had our welcome ball.

Saturday I tried to have a bit of a sleep in because I was tired however, my brain decided that 7:30 a.m. was a good time to wake up. We had a trip to cannon park just to get a few last bits and ended up having to rush back in time to get changed for the ball.

It took us over an hour to try and tie a bow tie with about five medical students around one person. However, we eventually got there and we were treated to an amazing evening. We had little table decorations which were specimen pots filled with Jelly Beans (I’m just hoping these were unused specimen pots). The food was incredible and we were sat with our CBL groups. It was really nice to get to know these people outside of a CBL setting and we grabbed a quick group photo whilst we all looked alive. It then turned into the disco section of the evening to which most of the medical students had decided to go outside and talk but I am not one of those people. At one point there were two of us on the dance floor while the lecturers watched on. Not awkward at all. Two sore feet later and I collapsed into bed grinning from the lovely evening we’ve had.

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Sunday proved to be a very lazy day with catching up on notes and food prep for the next week. Me and my friend made some breakfast burritos for the next month so we could just get up and microwave some food for the early Friday mornings.

So, overall medical school has been absolutely incredible so far. Obviously we haven’t got to the hard content yet and I know that I will be 10 times as tired as I am at the minute next week and probably not quite as enthusiastic. However, it’s been lovely to finally meet my course mates and develop close friendships with my flatmates already. The two post-grad students we have with us are lovely and we have been chatting about their home countries and generally mucking around in the kitchen. So far we have established the oldest one in our flat has no idea how to cook and that we have a good ratio of morning:evening shower preferences. My course have also decided to come up with a not so original nickname for us campus lot who live in Tocil halls. Let me introduce myself …. I am ….. A tosser 😉

Note to self : Double check blog post when using a voice dictator to write it before you publish….

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