504 days later

It’s been 504 days since I started Phase Two of my medical degree. 504 days. On day 506 , I will finally finish the phase.

Tonight is the night before the biggest exam of our lives, it is worth 60% of my EPM, and I am sitting it at home.

It feels weird to finally be here. Since I began my second year all the way back in September 2019, I never thought that I would have to go through three lockdowns and a global pandemic to finally reach this exam. 

I should’ve only have had 30 weeks of clinical education. Instead, I’ve had more than I bargained for through working in A&E over the first lockdown period. This taught me more than any lecture or passmed question ever could.

I know talking to other members of my year we are all very demotivated and are very keen to progress on with our medical degrees. I should have been in my first rotation of my final phase of medical school. Instead, I’ve spent the past month and a bit revising for an exam I should’ve taken back in September 2020. Having to give up a Christmas in what was already a tough year to get through, was the final straw in my patience, and I was keen just to get my head down and get through this period no matter what it took.

We’ve all worked so hard to get to where we are today, but even still it doesn’t feel like we’ve done enough. Nerves are running high and I know no one in this year group wants to stay as a second year any longer then we have to.

I’m not sure how I feel about tomorrow. I’ve had periods this week when I’m almost cocky in thinking that I’ve done enough and periods where I have frozen still out of complete terror that I won’t ever pass this exam.

Considering it’s the last week before the biggest exam it’s my medical career you think I would be super focused, but I found that I have been revising for the sake of revising this week.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and I don’t think anyone will be able to tell me either. Thanks to the pandemic and the current lockdown in the UK we have had our exam moved online. This is a first and as far as I know we are the first cohort in Warwick to ever take a WMS exam away from the medical school. It feels weird that my end of second year won’t be a big celebration but the simple act of me closing my laptop and driving to get a Nando’s.

There are obviously a lot of fears about taking such an important exam online. We’ve all seen this week to the absolute horrors of the UKFPO situational judgement test and the chaos that resulted out of the online proctoring system used. So if we weren’t nervous before about using an online system ourselves, then we would be now.

It feels strange that some stranger behind a screen that I can’t even see is going to be staring at me doing an exam in my home. Granted, isnt the most fabulous of homes but for me it’s a place that I go to escape. The medical school have offered the opportunity for people who haven’t got the correct equipment or environment to go up and take the exam inside the building however, I don’t qualify for this. So, I’ll be taking the biggest exam of my medical career so far in a student residential block with undergraduates. Gulp.

I’m excited to get this over and done with. I just want to move on and start being more useful on the wards. I’m sick of driving all the way to placements and doing a couple of bloods and thinking that’s a good day. Essentially, I want to start being a doctor now rather than a slightly incompetent medical student.

I’m nervous about tomorrow and I’m sure that my nerves will just increase as the night goes on. I’ve put so much work into this exam. I have lever arch files full of notes that I’ve made, I’ve done all the questions that I can possibly get my hands on and drilled in some ethics and soc/pop.

I still can’t help feeling that I haven’t done enough and if I fail this exam, although it will all be my fault, I will still feel cheated as we’ve done so much work to get to where we are today.

The pandemic has taken a lot away from my medical degree that I was initially looking forward to. My SSC2 got changed from a survey looking at social media use in undergraduate medics, to a systematic review on medical podcasts which made me want to fall asleep. I also won’t get a proper elective as my finals have been moved. We will have a four-week period after our finals in which we could theoretically have an elective however, if we fail we have to resit within that four week period so there’s not a huge point in actually planning. My final phase modules have all been reduced by a week and potentially could be reduced even further if anything else happens. However, we still have my grandad, and he is FULLY vaccinated, we are all healthy so there is plenty to feel grateful for.

I think by getting this exam done, myself and some people in my year group will be able to move on from 2020 and the horror and destruction it brought on everyone’s lives. We maybe in a lockdown but we have a light at the end of the tunnel with this vaccine, and I am optimistic about the future of my degree. As soon as I shut my laptop on Tuesday it will feel like New Year’s Day for me and I can finally relax and find out what all the fuss is about Bridgeton.

So all I can say is , wish us luck. 2018 cohort, we’ve got to where we are, let’s smash next week.

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