Monday, 23 September 2013

My first week at Medical School

My first day at Barts as a real medic. I pre-booked an enrolment session because I had experienced QMUL's enrolment process before. After enrolment I headed over to Whitechapel for an introductory lecture and then the opportunity to meet my new Barts 'mum' and 'dad'. This is a brilliant scheme where two older students will take a fresher under their wing. I was unfortunately abandoned by my originally assigned parents, but was quickly adopted by two amazing third years. They took me under their wing and we headed off to Spoons. After several free drinks, we made a pit stop at someone's house for shots then headed over to the student union (The Griffin). More alcohol ensued. Good night. Bed.

Waking up with a slight hangover, I grabbed Sunday lunch with my housemates, which also turned out to be a hangout of one of my Barts parents. Freshers never stop so it wouldn't be Sunday without going out to The Griffin. Black and white are the colours of Barts, subsequently the night is called Black and White. Obviously you have to wear a certain colour.

It's finally Monday. After another night out, I get the morning to lay in. Except I went to central to meet a friend for a McDonald breakfast. She's been out of the country during summer, so it was the only chance we had. Naturally I was so nervous about the first real day, I could barely eat my delicious McBacon Roll. Come one o'clock we had a series of introductory lectures about how amazing Barts is.
Once our first day of lectures finished, I headed over to the union after grabbing food. I watched my Barts mum and dad partake in a sketch show. It was funny with lots of in-jokes that I will come to know and love. After that I had intended to head to Ministry of Sound, but I got roped into the Griffin Quiz. We ended up doing very well and winning a round of drinks for the team! All credit goes to my family member who knew all the Norse gods. After that, the Griffin kicked us out at 10:30 (outrageous I know) so we headed to a pub called Good Sams near the Royal London hospital. Stayed till the last tube, then headed back to Leyton with my new parents.

Another day of lectures. Although this one ended with a twist. This is a tradition at Barts and I won't go into much detail as I don't want to ruin it for future Bartians.

More lectures introducing us to the Prehospital Care Programme (helicopters and ambulances). Then the afternoon was filled with a tour of the Freshers Fayre before I headed out in the evening for a curry with a sports club. Barts Freshers Fayre was very different to my previous experience at QM. While smaller, it had a much better community feel and people were desperate to get you to join their club or society. I signed up for everything, mainly for the free stuff.

This was a light day in comparison to the rest. An hour and half in the morning on how to search for journals AKA netskills. As someone who holds a dissertation graded as a first, it was slightly dull.

Probably the best day so far in regards to lecture content. PBL process, something I'm familiar with at QM, was more clinically focussed and has a much more exciting method of execution. We then moved onto SSCs where I had to listen for an hour on how to make a poster. Again, the definition of a poster varies from the day-to-day use of the word. They are more like artistically displayed essays on size A1 paper. I don't think I've ever dealt with that size paper before. Performing Medicine was the my favourite lecture. It's run by a Drama Company who were established to teach medical students key skills such as public speaking and body language. The lecture was very engaging and ultimately very funny.
After a day of lectures, I grabbed some food then headed to the union for TOGA night. Another tradition at Barts (there are quite a few). I also found out on the way where my GP placement will be next Thursday. Things are moving quickly and getting clinical fast.

It's been an intense week. Little sleep and lots of contact time. But that's what has made this amazing! I've excited for the future and also a little apprehensive of the work load. Wish me luck.

Friday, 23 August 2013

NEETs, GCSEs and dispair

Yesterday, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released the stats on Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs).

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Official Reading List for Medicine at Barts and the Royal London 2012/2013

Things are starting to move quickly now. I've just completed my pre-enrolment requirements online and I've received an induction timetable. I've booked some fresher events (we get a boat ball and a toga party!) I've also been given a reading list. I'm excited and surprised at some of the choices. See below (all links are to Amazon, I tried to do some fancy pictures but the formatting threw it all over the place).

Thursday, 15 August 2013

A-Level Results Day 2013

So today is A-Level Results Day. It's also the day that Barts told UCAS that I now hold an unconditional offer to study Medicine at Barts. This is the epitome of official. UCAS knows. Barts knows. Everyone I've ever spoken to knows.

Congratulations to everyone who got what they wanted today. It's a wonderful feeling to know that your hard work paid off!

Monday, 12 August 2013

My First Medical Student Timetable: FunMed

So after the vague details I got a few weeks ago, I've been updated by a friend at Barts with a more detailed timetable for the first part of my degree, FunMed. FunMed is short for Fundamental Medicine and appears to be aimed at getting everyone to a level playing field. It's a ten week period right at the beginning of the course where you are bombarded with overviews of every part of medicine and expected to pass a two-part test (written and spotter) at the end. This is where I'll have my second opportunity to use the dissection labs at Queen Mary and was a key reason in choosing Barts as my medical school.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Moving house and other stuff

So I have officially moved house. As I have mentioned before, this always fills me with fear. Yet I have struck gold. I found a private landlord who is organised, responsible and not going to screw me over. Me and two of my housemates have moved to Leyton to a house that is B-E-A-utiful.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Can I see some ID?

2:1. It’s official. The confirmation email came through on Wednesday and my university cannot take my grade away from me now. With my degree sorted and my place at Barts and the London Medical School (pretty much) confirmed, it’s triggered a number of things for me to do.

First, with my result confirmed I know that I am staying in London so I need to house hunt. I hate house hunting. With a passion. It figuratively/literally fills me with dread. Renting a property has so many issues and finding a good landlord is like a needle in a London haystack. Plus one of my housemates is off to Colombia next week until September. This adds stress that I’m trying to ignore right now. I’m looking at Whitechapel and Stratford if anyone knows any good three beds (Do I sound desperate?).

Secondly, meeting the academic requirement is just part of the offer. I have to divulge my criminal and medical status so that I can get GMC approval and the medical school can make adjustments for any disabilities etc. What this means is I need to undergo a CRB check and show my vaccination history. Sound straightforward right? Wrong. Pre-empting my acceptance to Barts (risky I know), I gave my GP the vaccination form nearly three weeks ago to complete. She said it would be a simple job and done by the next day. Several phone calls later and a visit to Glastonbury festival, it was still not done. Finally after three weeks I get the phone call saying its ready. Turns out I’d only had the MMR jab and chicken pops so I’m not even sure what took so long. The plot thickens. Barts would like me to start a Hep B vaccination course. But living in a small town, means everything takes time. Apparently my town has run out of vaccinations this week and I should phone back next week for an appointment. I forgave them though because they gave me a lollypop. Seriously.

Moving on to the CRB check. Not only is it going to cost £50 (can someone confirm this right, I feel like I’m being ripped off), it requires me to show three forms of ID. I thought at first that it was some error. That they meant I had to show one of three forms of ID. Nope. Phoned up and checked. They need to see my birth certificate, passport and driving licence. Bit over the top in my opinion. I’m not even applying for a job, but I guess I’ll be working in a hospital/GP clinic from the get go so they need to check this stuff.

So it’s a bit of a busy time at the moment. Graduation is next Friday. I finally get to throw my mortar cap into the air. I cannot wait! My parents are going to come and stay the night. They’ve booked a hotel and we’ve got tickets for the Shard’s viewing platform. It’ll be a day to remember and it marks the start of an exciting new journey in my life.

Glastonbury '13

Glastonbury is my favourite festival. This is the third time I’ve gone. It is the pinnacle festival and represents music (both undiscovered and cliche) to me.  With the unbelievable headliners The Rolling Stones, I felt the excitement build in the weeks before hand. I live in a very small seaside town in the West Country so Glastonbury is a hop, skip and jump away from me.

This time I went to Glastonbury with three of my friends from university. We camped in Bushy Ground. It’s my favourite field and the best in my opinion. You’ve got a slope; you’re close to John Peel and the Dance Village (now renamed but I refuse to call it anything but the Dance Village); and some of the nicest toilets around.

I won’t bore you with a blow by blow account of who I saw but I will mention some highlights. Haim were the first act I saw on the pyramid stage, a justified decision. They had a brilliant stage presence even after their bassist had a diabetic attack. MS MR, a favourite band of mine, played on John Peel and gave an intimate set. Their vocals held strong and I’m glad that they can sing live. Lastly, Rolling Stones. I would never declare myself a super fan, or even a fan. For a pub quiz I could only name a handful of songs. Yet as they churned out the set list, I realised that the Rolling Stones are so systemic in British society that I’ve heard all the songs and most, enough to sing along. I was definitely there to say I had seen them. Judging by the size of the crowd, I wasn’t the only one. The atmosphere was electric. I was dancing around with strangers and chatting to long lost friends. This is Glastonbury. This is why I go. When I compare it to more commercial festivals (cough Reading), I can’t imagine going anywhere else now.
South West's largest twister board
I say I go for the music, but in reality its really food. It’s like a mecca for food options. I always have the hog roast. I always go to the place that gives free garlic bread with its pasta. Recently I’ve added ostrich burger to must eat. This year I discovered a Spanish tapas bar. For £7 you get a tray bigger than a baby loaded with my favourite Spanish foods: chorizo, potato bravos, chicken skewer, couscous, garlic mayo dip, salsa, olives, pasta with parmesan and grilled red peppers. Mouth watering? We walked past this place so many times that I started to have dreams about it before we finally passed at a mealtime. To top it off, I found a place open at 4am selling churros and chocolate. My Spanish day of food could only be topped by my evening spent in a Mexican day of the dead nightclub.

Glastonbury is amazing. If you haven’t been, you should.