How to deal with stress, when you’re already anxious.

It’s a little ironic that I’m writing this now; it’s the penultimate night before my exams, and I’m desperately seeking something to distract me from my impending assessments. But I felt that, given the relationship I have with exam terms, and the toll they routinely take on my mental health, I’d speak a little bit about what I’ve learnt over time.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt, it’s the importance of your support structures. My family, friends, and boyfriend, are all aware of my exam related anxiety, which makes it so much easier for me to reach out to them when I’m stressed. From little things, like popping your favourite treats in the post, to even sitting by on FaceTime, to keep you company, and help you relax as you revise, the impact of my support system is beyond words.

I also think it’s important to be honest with those around you. There’s no shame in admitting that certain situations trigger your anxiety, so long as your clear that you’ll do you’re best to continue to work despite this. Relating to my situation specifically, telling my college that I was suffering during exam term, improved my situation tremendously; they put me in contact with a college counsellor for me to see if things were too difficult, and arranged for me to sit my exams in a smaller room separate to the large exam hall.

Now, the steps above rely little on the people around us, but it’s also important to be proactive yourself in managing your stress. It took me a very long time to realise that my anxiety, and mental health in general, were things I’d have to continuously work on. Particularly when you’re surround by people for whom ‘normal’ stress reactions require absolutely no effort, it can feel odd to take the time out to work on things that come so naturally to others; but this will make all the difference when those stressful times come. Practice mindfulness, see therapist or counsellor, take up jogging or a sport, find SOMETHING that can take you out of those awful panic-filled moments.

I hope these tips were useful, I think I’ll be doing a YouTube video on this in the future, as it is something I get a lot of questions on. Please share in the comments, if you have any tips for managing anxiety, you never know who you may help!

Work Experience For Medical School?! What You Actually Need To Know!

Hello hello!

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I get a lot of questions about the sort of work experience that is necessary to help build a successful medical school application. There are a variety of different ways that you can prove a commitment to medicine and science, and the development of characteristics necessary to make a good doctor. Below are a few ideas that I think could help you with this, and certainly helped with my application!

1. Hospital work: This is fairly obvious, but it is important to try and get some sort of shadowing experience in a hospital. Particularly because, when applying for a degree that can last up to 6 years, it’s important to prove to yourself, and to the universities you’re are applying to, that you understand what you are committing to. During your time in a hospital, try to get some exposure to as many different specialities as possible, so you can get some idea of the variety within medicine.

2. Volunteering: Volunteering at somewhere like an old people’s home, or a hospice, is a great way of demonstrating you possess the empathy and selflessness needed to be a good doctor. These are great places to gain experience, as you are often given a lot more responsibility, and there is more scope for long term involvement; I volunteered at a local home for two years.

3. Tutoring/mentoring: Leadership, reliability and a passion for education, are characteristics expected of a doctor, and can be displayed by taking it upon yourself to teach younger students. It’s a great way of showing your commitment to helping others, and ability to undertake responsibility, while making a little money as well!

4. Research: When applying to a university that offers an intercalated medical degree, it’s important to show a dedication to science. A great way of doing this, is to get involved with some research. You can do this by contacting professors, or researchers, at local universities, involved in areas you are interested in. I shadowed a PhD student, working in cognitive neuroscience, over one on my summer holidays, and really enjoyed the experience.

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This may seem like a long list, but do not worry if you feel like you can’t manage everything! So long as you feel that your extra-curricular activities show that you are developing the skills and characteristics that will help you be a good doctor, you’re on the right track!

The 5 Hardest Things About Studying Medicine

  1. No rest for the wicked! As a medical student, you will have one of the densest timetables at your university. At Cambridge, while some friends may have 2-3 hours of lectures a week, you can easily have double that in day, not to mention the supervisions, reading, and essays that also need to be completed. You can often feel like you’re missing out on some of the social events, that most of your friends have time to do!
  2. When studying medicine, it’s too easy to feel guilty when taking time off; there’s always a new disease you could look up, another practical skill you could polish. When there’s a never-ending list of skills and knowledge you need to acquire, it can often feel like doing anything other than work is slacking. Creating a work-life balance is incredibly difficult mentally, even is you have set personal time aside.
  3. Medicine, while a science, can also be incredibly emotional. Often you are dealing with, not only sick (or even dying) patients, but their family and friends. Even outside of the hospital, often we may have lectures that may strike a chord, particularly if you are dealing with things in your personal life. Having to remain strong, in what may be an emotionally draining setting, requires a hell of a lot of resilience!
  4. Competition! While I love my medic friends, sometimes it can feel as if we are all competing against each other; for a better exam result, for a place on paper, or the attention of a consultant. This can sometimes make it hard to completely relax around these friends, and be open about times that you are struggling, or even about success!!
  5. The uncertainty: in the current, British, political climate, the future of the NHS is not very clear. As medical students, this uncertainty about what the future holds for us, and for our patients, can be a great concern. Attitudes of hospital staff, and those they treat, have been affected by the instability and disorganisation of the NHS, and lack of support by the government, and this can sometimes make it a difficult environment to work in.


However, do not let this put you off! There are plenty of reasons to love and appreciate medical school, and my top 5 will be revealed in my next blog post!

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!