Most people associate medicine with white coats, stethoscopes and hospital wards. Whilst clinical medicine certainly is a big part of the subject it is not the only one. Today, alongside their clinical duties, doctors are also expected to engage in teaching or mentoring, and many choose to undertake research of their own.
Research skills are fundamental in medicine. Their utility is not restricted to those who conduct their own research but extends to every practicing doctor. Doctors need to ensure the care they provide is evidence based and constantly evolves in line with new data that emerges. Appraising scientific literature is crucial but is also a learnt skill.
As the city of London (hopefully) begins to warm up as the long-awaited summer holidays draw closer and closer, it comes with no surprise that some of us, despite feeling very much relieved after barely making it through a year of deadlines and exams, would feel lost and empty as to how their now empty schedule can be filled.
Whilst the often-popular definition of a productive summer break would be trying to win an internship at a firm or laboratory (bonus points if it is “prestigious”) – whether it is for the sake of trying to secure a “better” future, or simply to have a prettier-looking CV – I reckon there are so many other options that we tend to overlook.
Summer has arrived! I just completed my last summative presentation for the year yesterday and am finally looking forwards to lie ins, ice cream and picnics. I love to read and it’s something I am doing more of now so I’ve listed some recommendations 🙂
A friend from my research experience recommended that I read Circe by Madeline Miller, I have already read The Song of Achilles by the same author and enjoyed it, so I jumped right in. Circe is an adaptation of Greek myths like the Odyssey from Circe’s perspective, and I just finished it, it is fantastic.
In one of my previous blogs, I mentioned that due to the pandemic, clubs and societies have been finding creative ways to maintain active in a remote environment. Throughout the year, my A Cappella group – The Scopes have been searching for creative way to release content throughout the year. This includes releasing different music videos throughout the past two terms, while also engaging in different social sessions with other A Cappella groups around the UK.
After not being able to see one another for more than a year, we are now finally able to rehearse outdoors together and sing live for the first time with our new members.
As I finished up my last Design Project Exhibition through Microsoft Teams, the sun greeted me with its warm embrace as I finally let my laptop go to rest. This signifies the start of the summer break, and this is an especially exciting year for me because it will be the first summer break that I will be spending in London instead of in Malaysia! Even though I miss my family and my friends back home tremendously, I decided to not travel back home this summer after careful discussion with my family. Travelling back home this summer proved to be quite risky as Malaysia is still struggling with its fight against the pandemic.
They always said that my university days are meant to be the best moments of my life back then, and I held on to that belief throughout my years in high school and college because it gave me one simple yet powerful thing – hope. Though the catch was that they never really warned me about the initial shock that I might experience once I landed at London Heathrow Airport for the first time.
Put simply, I was told:
“You are on your own now. Take care and be smart about it.”
Fly away home
I would say that I am in a relatively privileged position where living with my family at home meant that I was occasionally spared from certain household duties.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought new challenges. Among these is a complete upheaval of the education system. In years gone by the university application process had been largely predictable. I had taken this for granted during my time. You applied via UCAS with your GCSE grades, wrote a personal statement, sat any admissions tests, took interviews if necessary and received offers or rejections based upon them. Then you sat your A-Level exams and hoped you got the grades needed to meet your offer requirements on results day. I’m not saying the process wasn’t stressful or hard work, and I certainly did my fair share of complaining, but compared to the situation now I realise we had it easy.
In case you are new to this space – hi, I’m Bianca. In the final term of my MSc Management degree at the point of writing. The workload’s tough (would even dare say it has been way more intense than my Biochemistry degree), and you can imagine me as a swan paddling hard beneath the waters to stay afloat whilst trying my absolute best to appear like everything’s going fine on the surface.
Nah I’m joking. I can be more of a sinking ship at times.
But as much as how hectic and messy my life probably sounds like, I thought of sharing a little bit about how I try to introduce order (and calm) amid the chaos.
Medicine is not always a using a stethoscope and learning anatomy. I think a lot of people have the perception that that is all we do for the entirety of the degree. For the summer term of my 2nd year, I am doing a CRI module which stands for Clinical Research and Innovation, in which students complete different research opportunities and we come together at the end to share our experiences at our individual placements.
I am fortunate to be at the Parkinson’s UK Brain Bank at Imperial’s campus next to Hammersmith Hospital. I still have a few days left here but I was excited to tell you about it.
I tried to start a diary at least five times in my life.
I can’t quite remember why, but I’m willing to bet that it was most probably because I drew a lot of inspiration from the Diary of Anne Frank. They all failed, miserably, in the sense that I tend to either (1) forget to write a paragraph after a week or two since getting started, or (2) I’m just a perfectionist and I often find myself cringing at my own work ten minutes after writing.
That clearly went well.
But if I were to look back at those years after spending some time “growing up”, I guess the mistake I (again, probably) have made is that I was trying to write a diary not exactly for myself, and therefore, it became hard for me to sustain that habit over a long period of time.