Has anyone else been in a studying slump lately? I have been finding it hard to motivate myself to do revision or even to attend lectures and make notes. Time to reset to work out what study techniques are working for you. I did not change the way I studied until I got to university. I used to just look over my class notes, highlight important parts and attempt practice questions. After I got into medicine, I quickly realised those methods would not serve me as well as they did in high school.
Here is a list of some tangible tips I been trying over the past year (with links to apps and resources):
Stop spending more time planning studying and study!
I am currently in my third year of medical school and the road has definitely been up and down in terms of enthusiasm for the course. In all honesty I at times envy those who seem to have this consistent and unbreakable passion for Medicine and its extracurriculars. There have been times I’m in love with it; I see this being what I need to do. I meet patients and I just can’t imagine doing anything else with my days from the conversations had and the gratitude received. The way we navigate conversations with individuals opening a side many people maybe rarely ever see.
During this pandemic specifically I think it’s important we all recognise a certain practice we can do to free up our mind when we become too emotional or overwhelmed. That practice will work differently between people but to have something to take you very much out of a stressful situation is so important – for anyone. If we consider some ideas, some of my friends like reading, working out, watching Netflix, going on Instagram (careful here haha), dancing, prayer… for me, it’s to make art.
Making art does several things for me. To start with, it’s physically a very soothing practice when I’m overthinking a situation.
Hospital placement. The experience that the majority of prospective medical students will tell you they are looking forward to the most. It was certainly the case for me. In fact, one of the reasons why I applied to Imperial was because, unlike many medical schools, it gives us the opportunity to go on hospital placement during the early years of our degree. In addition, alongside a fascination for science, what equally compelled me to study medicine was the opportunity to interact with patients. Hence, you can imagine my excitement when I found out the last two weeks of this term had been set aside for our first hospital placement.
My name is Laura and I am currently a third year student on the Graduate Medicine course at Imperial College London. I believe if being a doctor is really what you envision for yourself, no number of rejections will stop you – take it from me! I’m enjoying this process and wish all medical students out there the courage and wisdom to finish the course and remember why you started in the first place.
Unfortunately, to practice in the field of Medicine, good grades are a must. But for those of us who didn’t quite get there the first time, it’s not something to give up on.
I’m starting my first hospital placement in the following days and I’ve been very excited for it. A week placement was arranged for summer term last year which was unfortunately, but of course understandably, cancelled. It feels like this is what I decided to study medicine for. All the knowledge, time spent studying, making flashcards, reviewing lectures will be put into practice in a clinical environment. I’ll see the patients being treated, doctors in their environment, nurses providing care on wards and all the behind the scenes you probably won’t see on TV (the only medical show I used to watch was Scrubs, definitely not a realistic portrayal of a hospital setting, I’d rate a 4/5 for the funny moments interspersed with poignant parts/ethical dilemmas, great for re-runs).
It has been a fantastic few days here in Malawi. We travelled up to Nkhata Bay hospital and saw first hand how a hospital functions with only one employed doctor. We visited Lake Malawi and also enjoyed being welcomed into the local church for a lively Sunday Morning service! We have also tried the traditional Malawi food kindly cooked by our hospital guide and served at his family home.
In ward rounds, we observed what it was like to not have curtains and privacy between patients. We saw how patients had to bring their own linen in as there was none in the hospital.
Finals are done! Now we get the exciting task of going on our medical electives to finish off med school. Imperial have kindly funded partial bits of it and first stop: Malawi.
I am travelling with my good friend in my year, Emma Larsson. We are joining an e-health research project here in Malawi. To put it into perspective on the Human Development Index, Malawi is placed 171 out of 189 countries.
We travelled around the local hospitals today, meeting the teams we will be working with. I have done 2000+ days of med school but today was the most important day of them all.
We are now a week away from finals, and revision is at it’s peak. But before we headed off into this revision hole the faculty made sure that we were all feeling confident about our practical skills. This is really key, as so much emphasis is put on by students about written exams when really we need to also be preparing to practically be a doctor!
We have great clinical skills teams across each of our different hospital sites here at Imperial. I was based at West Middlesex Hospital for my final placement and we had a session to ensure we were safe to administer IV drugs and take blood culture samples properly.
It has been a busy end to the term and it really is getting close to the end now- I only have 4 weeks of clinical time left on the wards after Christmas before finals. There is so much going on right now. I have been busy at interviews for my foundation programme, getting my final competencies done on wards and we recently did the Situational Judgement Exam (which counts 50% to allocations for junior doctor training)! However, this term I have also been feeling how close we are to becoming actual doctors (hopefully). This was made even more clear a few weeks ago when I did CPR for the first time.