Promises To Myself, For My Final Year Of Medicine

This Monday I start my final year of medicine. My last year of SIX. At the beginning of each year I like to set aside some time to think about my goals for the months ahead, and this is all the more important as I enter the final stage of my education.

Firstly, my focus is going to be on my mental health. Medicine has always, and will always, be stressful, and it’s important that I really learn to deal with that, before I leave the safe space that is Cambridge, and enter the scary reality of the NHS.

I also desperately need to focus on my physical health and fitness. It’s very easy to use my workload and many commitments as an excuse for not getting to the gym, or eating out instead of making a healthy meal, and things will only get worse when my work hours increase. It’s important for me to create a routine where health and fitness are a steady part of my routine, before my foundation year starts.

However, my primary focus is going to be on ensuring that I am the best junior doctor I can be. Quite frankly, the idea of being let loose in a hospital is terrifying. I still don’t feel ready to diagnose and treat patients on my own, and, in reality, I wont be alone; I’ll always be working as part of team. But, I want to make sure that I’m an asset, as opposed to dead weight. I’m going to target most of my energy towards improving my clinical knowledge and reasoning, so I can best serve my patients when I FINALLY get that title.

What are your goals and targets for the upcoming academic year?

Staying Motivated, When You Feel Like You’re Falling Behind

So, as many of you may know, I’m in the middle of my exams, hence my noticeable absence from social media and my blog.

One of the parts I’ve really struggled with,  is motivation. I’m in my fifth year now, and though I’m near the end of my degree, I often feel a little like I’m stagnating. Most of my friends have graduated, and are fully in the swing of ‘adult life’: graduate jobs, apartments, and lives that no longer revolve around studying and exams.

Not only this, but, as a result of starting my blog, I’ve begun to spend more time on social media, and if there is ever a medium that will make you feel like your life is inadequate, social media is the one!

With time, I’ve developed a few patterns of thought, to help me deal with the feeling of being ‘left behind’; hopefully they can help you!

  1. Visualise you end goal: it’s always important to remember why it is that you’re doing, what you’re doing. It’s very easy to look at where you are now, and forget that it’s a part of a greater journey, so take the time to really think about how all of your hard work, will be worth it in the end
  2. Appreciate small goals: often when you’re surrounded by people making huge leaps, you can ignore the little achievements that you make your self. It’s important to realise when you allow others to skew your perspective, and take a moment to reset.
  3. Have a social media purge: limiting the amount of time you can spend obsessing about everyone else’s life, can often be very healthy! And when you do use social media, remember that what you see are the highlights, and not the whole picture.
  4. Plan: writing down my short, and long, term goals, is a great way of reminding you that you ARE working towards something, and highlighting your achievements. Ticking things of lists always makes me feel accomplished!

Hopefully these tips help you, the way they have helped me! I hope you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out my others, and comment below with any tips you have.

Frequently Asked Questions!

Hi Guys, This video is collection of a few of the questions that I get asked regularly, about being a medical student, at the University of Cambridge. I thought it would be more efficient to answer them in one go, instead of sending the same reply individually. Hopefully this is useful, if there are any questions I’ve missed out, post them below!

My Favourite Places In Cambridge

In this video, I take you around my favorite places in Cambridge; the places I go to when I want to wind down, and forget about all of the work I have to do!

  1. St John’s College: This is the college I am at! I’ve never quite gotten over how beautiful it is, and I’ve been here for almost 5 years.
  2. The market: I’ve always loved the market, particularly the food stalls. In a city as small as Cambridge, I’m very luck to have access to fresh food, and produce, from all over the world. My favorites are the falafel stand and, of course, the Nigerian food stall.
  3. The Botanic Gardens are just so stunning. Even in the winter, there is still such a bright mixture of different plants, flowers and trees. I’m always amazed at the ability of the gardeners here to grow such diverse and tropical plants, in England, of all places.
  4. The Fitzwilliam Museum is one of my favourite places to just wander, and waste a few hours. They also hold great events, such as ‘Love After Dark’, where you can spend the evening amongst amazing works of art.

I hope you found this video fun, and got an insight into the world of Cambridge, outside of lecture theaters. Let me know if you’ve been to visit, and the different places that you loved!

5 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Medical School | Cambridge University

Hi Guys! This video is about 5 things I wish I’d known before I started University. The fact that I’m at medical school, puts a bit of a unique spin on it. Hopefully this gives those of you thinking about applying to medical school, some idea of what it’s like here!

If you have any questions, please comment below, and I’ll get back to you, as soon as possible!

Vlog | Day In The Life Of A Cambridge Medical Student | General Practice

Hi Guys! I thought I’d try something new, and vlog for a day! I’m a bit worried about how helpful/fun this will be, as I can’t film in certain buildings, to protect patient privacy. But hopefully (!!!) this video gives you some insight into what goes on in a General Practice placement.

Let me know if you enjoy it, and would like to see some more examples of different days, in different placements!

How To Pick the Right Medical School?

In the UK, there are a multitude of medical schools, each with unique selling points (and drawbacks!) This can make it hard to select just four, for your UCAS application. When it came to picking the universities I applied to, here are a few things I considered.

  1. Entrance exams: when it came to picking the universities I applied to, one thing that became immediately obvious, was the split between BMAT and UKCAT universities. I quickly realised that I wasn’t ready to add preparation for two entrance examinations, to my already very large workload. I decided to only take one, the BMAT, which quickly narrowed down my choices.
  2. Location: This isn’t the most important criterion, but I personally felt that I didn’t want to travel too far from home. I had always dreamed of living in London, and also liked that Cambridge wasn’t miles away (around two hour in a car), so focused on universities in these areas.
  3. Opportunity to intercalate: I had always like science, and loved the idea of being able to work towards a separate bachelors degree, while studying for medicine. I wanted to go to a university where, not only, was there the option to intercalate, but that most of the students, if not all, did. I wasn’t too keen on being left behind by the rest of my classmates, so chose universities where this was common.
  4. Traditional course: When I initially started looking at medical schools, I really liked the look of the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) course, as it seemed to be very hands on, and have a clinical focus, from the very beginning. However after speaking to my father (who is also a doctor), I quickly realised that, perhaps, a more traditional course, with basic science to begin with, followed by more clinical teaching, would suit me more. It’s important to consider the way that you learn, and the kind of doctor you want to be, particularly with regards to research, in order to work out which of these approaches, is right for you.
  5. Dissection: I decided very early on that I probably wanted to be a surgeon. Therefore, the focus anatomy teaching, particularly the opportunity to learn from dissection, as opposed to prosections, was very important to me. Again, this is something that very few universities offered, helping to narrow my choices.
  6. Where I felt most at home: This was the most important factor of deciding where I applied. Medicine is a long degree, so it’s important to pick a university that you can see yourself loving for a long time. This was the ultimate deciding point for me, and the reason that I chose to apply to only 3 universities. Make sure you go to open days, and meet as many students and lecturers, as you can, at the universities you’re considering.

These are just a few of things that helped me decided where I would apply. Hopefully they help you! If there are other points that you have considered, let me know in the comments below!