Saturday, 31 October 2015

My Fresher Fortnight - Part 2 (Medic Series)

I feel the Scavenger Hunt deserves a post all to itself. Right in the middle of Fresher Fortnight, the longest event falls on the middle Sunday each year.

I didn't do it the first year because I think there was an F1 race on but I also just needed a day to recover! This year I did do it and sure did my body know about it!

It was a really good way to meet people and see the majority of things in the city, if you hadn't already so it was a really good Fresher event. I happened to be in a group with some of the most competitive boys so they insisted on getting every item ticked off the list and walking almost everywhere! It was a nightmare and I have blisters all over my feet. I definitely did not pick the right shoes!

So while I did get in some pretty images of London...

...we also had a mission to complete.

I've made a video of all our funny clips and embarrassing challenges we did!

We somehow managed to loose the condom clips and the serrious interview but it's still a good laugh :)

Friday, 30 October 2015

My Fresher Fortnight - Part 1 (Medic Series)

As I've now completed two Fresher Fortnight's, I feel I have an unusual perspective on the whole event. The first year I did most of the RUMS events as well as the UCLU events. This year I did a few of the RUMS I hadn't previously done, had a new view on some events and got a chance to have the experience of a fresher all over again. I feel like I've now almost done all the events.

I may be a little biased but I think the RUMS events are all amazing and for what you get, pretty cheap and affordable! Over the last 3 years, the events have stayed almost identical with a few small alterations.

Here is a rundown of the RUMS events as well as the select few UCLU events I've been to :)

Boat Party - Monday 
You all meet in the UCL quad a take a tube ride to the River. It's such a great way to meet everyone and make initial introductions!
Plus, the views of London are amazing! You end up all the serious landmarks and travelling in London with no traffic is the best!

I've literally stayed friends with all the people that I met on the very first day of my medical student life. The Boat party was my favourite event. It was the chilled and calm event where no one got wasted but it was still super fun. The boat had 2 bars and a DJ disco inside the cabin.

RUMS Fayre - Tuesday
The perfect way to get to grips with all the RUMS (Medic's only) societies, sign up for all the newsletters, choose your extra-curriculum activities and get lots of medic only freebies, like BMA memberships and books.

The first year I found it really useful, signed up for everything and then just unsubscribed when I got the first emails to all but Spectrum and Tennis. It was nice to meet the older year's and hear about some advice.

This year, as I'm on the Spectrum Committee, I went to help set up and then ran our little booth. We were all so proud of how it turned out. It was actually really cool in the end. Khushpoo and Yasmin ended up making little paper children to advertise. I didn't realise how passionate I was about the charity, until I had to tell everyone what it was all about it. I'm being so honest when I say I love it!

Pub Crawl - Tuesday
I haven't taken part in the Pub Crawl on either of my year's here. It's not just a Pub Crawl but also a complete nightmare of a punishment. Here you are, on your second day and instead of being congratulated on becoming a medic you get beaten, bruised and made to do things that would gross anyone.

The first year I went home with Zhangi after the RUMS Fayre but this year, I decided to go with the Year 2's. I didn't do anything to the Fresher's apart from ask them if they were okay. of course they weren't! I did have to be friends with them after all...although I don't think I'm the type of person to do that anyway.
These were the bruises they got after being tied up all night. Oh...did I mention it's a three-legged pub crawl with boy-girl partnerships? No? Oh...well it is. 
Forced to eat catfood, covered in vaseline, sprayed in paint and eggs thrown at them were just some of the welcome presents :')

Sports Trials/Night - Wednesday
As with all universities, our afternoon is a Wednesday. This is time devoted to a Sports so definitely use it for that purpose. It's good to be active and especially being in central London, I find it really nice to go into the suburbs and get some relatively fresh air. I have been part of RUMS tennis for a year now and I love it!
The first sports night of the year is always crazy because everyone goes and gets wasted! I've been to 3 sport's nights in my life and they're just not for me. I will say it's a great way to meet new people and get advice from older years.

Fuck Me It's Freshers - Thursday

Fancy Dress Party - Friday
My first year was a cartoon themed and this year it was cave people. It's good value for money because you get 3 free drinks, both soft and alcoholic are included. For 4 hours, I thought that was enough. It's in the Huntley so it's a chilled area and you can actually talk to people. It's definitely a good way to meet people.

Cave girl and Devil
UCL Fresher Fayre - Saturday/Sunday
Probably the craziest fayre you will ever go to. I remember going first thing on a Saturday last time and it being packed. Being a little claustrophobic I literally run around the entire place to get out as quick as I can.

I can just about manage on the tube because I know how long it will be. The fayre moves so slowly it takes a 1 minute walk about 10 minutes. I start to get so hot and flustered.

This year I went on Sunday and even though the queue was so much smaller, inside was just as packed and it was a warmer day so even hotter! I don't know how the stall owners manage it. I'm so glad Spectrum only does the RUMS Fayre.

They always have this in the quad seemingly!

To end the evening I washed my hair to de-stress and sprayed my favourite Body Shop, orange/citrus mix room spray :)

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Hallie's 3rd Birthday Haul!

I'm dying right now. I still can't believe this little baby that used to fit in one arm is now turning 3! I've been reminiscing by looking at pictures and crying over how big she has gotten.

I may have gone a little carried away with presents but I can't help myself! I seriously did ration myself I could have bought a lot more!

This is literally the cutest little outfit ever! It's an oversized jumper with these fun print leggings! I want this outfit!
Of course, how could I not get my Number One Cutie, this Number One Cutie dress!
I think every child has one of these at some point, I for one have had many. I thought it would just be nice to add to her presents as I already had it in. Everything you need in just one little pack.

Vicky is currently redoing her garden and Hallie is always trying to help but hurts herself because she ends up using big versions. I thought this was a cute little mini set for her to use :)
That's the presents I got for her. Jessica is getting her some colouring books to go with the art set so we'll see what she thinks! :)

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

ASDA George Haul!

I always wear the same dresses over and over again and I feel like everyone's seen all my favourites now. I have a couple of events coming up so I was looking for some evening outfits for them and went for the easiest and cheapest option: ASDA George.

In the end I didn't end up getting the dresses I thought because hen I tried them on they didn't fit right but I'm happy with the purchases I kept.

I'm not usually a fan of jumpsuits so I was a little hesitant. I think on skinny people they look great but on fatter people it makes you look even bigger. On top of the fact, when going to the toilet you have to take the whole thing off! This one has like double material that is loose over the tummy area so is more flattering than usual; the back has a half zip and button at the tops so you can take it off yourself! I love this!

It's a cute little cami that fits great. It is a little see-through but I'm using this as a gym top so it's perfect!

An evening top for those colder nights out. It covers the tops of my thighs and is so free it is so comfy! Perfect and lightweight for dancing :) 
I'm not sure I love the pattern but I love the fitting of this top. I think it will be really cute in spring/summer as it's pastel colours.

I was also looking for clinical tops so high neckline and sleeves above the elbow but hopefully semi-attractive looking. This top is so pretty on and it has the looped hemline so it covers the bum area. 
The halls provided me with my own sheets but they're a little scratchy and they don't have any poppers or buttons on the bottom so the duvet keeps coming out which is so annoying. I think these sheets are so cute and go perfectly with my room!

Let me know what you think of these new pieces!

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Medic Thoughts (Medic Series)

A number of friends of mine have posted things recently about the whole Jeremy Hunt situation and I have to say, even though I've only been apart of the medical world for a year, I agree.

I would like to start of by saying, when I applied to medicine I didn't realise how hard it would be. I thought it would be hard but I thought I would manage. I never thought I would struggle to pass exams or even fail the end of year exams and have to resit the year. I never imagined it could be as hard as it is and I think the only way you can get through it, is to be absolutely sure you want to be a doctor.

I've met a number of people at UCL who have said that they were forced to do it by their parents or even that they only want to apply to say that got in or that they're dropping out after year 3 and just getting the first degree. To this I was shocked. Firstly, to take away the opportunity of someone else getting on the course, who is totally committed to a career in medicine I actually think is really selfish. Secondly, it's hard! Why would you put yourself though all the work and stress of 3 years to not do the actual course! Finally, I think if you don't have the passion to do it, there is absolutely no way your going to sit through 7 hours of lectures a day and then spend night after night revising.

If anyone told me they wanted to study medicine before I started, I was always thrilled for them. I would be excited to discuss it... But that was when I only thought about the end product; the helping people, achieving something every day and being happy about what I was doing. Now I realise that the course to become that is hard and with all the debating and absolute disgraceful comments about doctors recently, it's hard to see what respect doctors have anymore.

I was seriously moved by the following statement so I thought I would share:

I frequently get asked by friends of parents, and work experience students, whether it's worth becoming a doctor. And my advice has always been: yes, do it if your heart is in it.

I'm going to revise that now. Don't become a doctor.

It's not actually about the money, although with the governments pay reviews, your average F1 and F2 doctors are going to be paid less than a branch manager at Gregg's the Baker, or McDonald's. 

Nor is it about the lengthy working hours, although again, many doctor's with commuting times wind up sleeping less than 6 hours between 13-14 hour long night shifts, which isn't allowed for pilots or HGV drivers.

I signed up to medical school to help people, make sick people better. But the lines have become so blurred with the media warping people's expectations so much that it's become next to impossible. In this age when the customer is always right, patients expect antibiotics for coughs and colds, or that something must be done for incurable long term conditions. And we try, yet each time an error is made or we don't meet the patients' expectations we're castigated, often on social media where we can't even defend ourselves owing to our duty of confidentiality.

As a consultant I see suffering and pain everyday, but the young junior doctors do too. These are people in their twenties, spending the primes of their youth seeing patients dying, in pain, having to make serious decisions about their care. Yet as a society which measures how much we value people by how much they're paid, we value them less than managers of a fast food restaurant? How is this right?

The government hopes to recruit hundreds more doctors in the coming years but with these changes in contact being forced through, the message it sends is clear. We don't value junior doctors and the goodwill work they provide. 

Junior doctors stay above and beyond their hours to make sure sick people are sorted, it's just what we do. An F1 I know sat holding the hand of a dying patient with no family late into the night after her shift. Take away that goodwill, and the system will collapse.

So no, don't become a doctor. It's just not worth it anymore.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Awaiting Results (Medic Series)

So once the application is sent off, interviews have been conducted and offers offered, regardless of whether you receive an offer, your goal HAS to be the same regardless. From around April onwards just concentrate on your subjects and exam results.

Don't get down if you didn't receive offers because if you're serious about medicine, you can take a gap year and reapply. If you have the results needed and spend a year getting work experience, volunteering or even travelling (you can say you want to see the differences in the healthcare systems), once you have those results, it's a massive plus.

If you did get the offer, don't become complacent. You still need the grades to get in. No course in medicine will offer you an unconditional offer regardless of how amazing an applicant you are. if you can't show your academic ability in the results, you won't get in. The offer will be made on the basis that you get the predicted required grades.

The most stressful part is waiting for the results once you've done the exams. I remember being quietly confident I'd got the grades I needed but still worried. Then the week leading up to results, I somehow managed to talk myself out of getting them. I started looking at other courses I could go and talking to people who I knew were doing those courses. The day before the results, I was serious about applying for Midwifery via clearing...

  • Try to stay confident!
  • Try to be positive!
  • Be realistic - if you didn't answer half a paper and need an A* start looking for other options.

But most of all...GOOD LUCK!

Remember, no matter what your results, it's not the end of the world and there are other options, like access to medicine courses for a year first. On the day, try to celebrate anyway as you only get these results once in a lifetime.
Havana Geek Night to celebrate :)

Thursday, 8 October 2015

My Universities (Medic Series)

So I applied for 4 universities all offering the medicine course but 3 slightly different courses. These were:

  • UCL - a 6 year course with a BSc
  • Nottingham - a 5 year course with a BSc
  • Birmingham - a 5 year course
  • Newcastle - a 5 year course
Briefly, I'm going to mention what I learnt from these. I got interviewed by all 4 universities and accepted by 3, not Newcastle (it was strange).

UCL is probably the most clear about there process. They look at GCSEs, AS results, work experience and personal statement. They give points for it all and then rank every student in order. When they get the BMAT they add that rank but I don't think they put too high a weighting in it. The year I applied I didn't have a great BMAT. I was below average for the country so way too low for the average at UCL, for the first two but then got the highest essay grade so not too sure how that works. But either way I was still in the first set of interviews so a really high overall rank. I know they look at the work experience the most so write about that most in the personal statement. 

From experience, at Newcastle no matter how good you are, if your UKCAT is not above the threshold they don't give you a chance. I got called to interview but then the rejection said that I didn't meet the UKCAT cut off even though I'd already had an interview so... For the interview, they try to make you chatty and put you at ease, but do try to stay formal. It is an interview at the end of the day! They ask you the normal questions but at the end ask: 'Is there anything you would like to add?'. I actually thought this was nice because if you'd forgotten something or hadn't had the opportunity to talk about something, you can add it in. For example, I talked about my Duke of Edinburgh. They had asked about volunteering but I'd had so mcuh to talk about I hadn't thought about it.  

Nottingham just like you to be yourself. You go to interview in pairs but in separate rooms and then you wait until the other comes back before you get walked back. I came out at least 10 minutes before my partner so I thought I must have not had answered very well but I ended up getting the place and he didn't so... So in other words don't ramble on for the sake of talking. They have a set amount of questions to talk about, if you've said what you think needs to be said then stop. Also, half the interview is a medical ethics question. I did a course on medical ethics but if you haven't just have a little research about it in advance. There's always 4 key things to discuss. I think this help sheet is useful, here.

My final uni was Birmingham. They don't have a entrance exam so you need all A*s at GCSEs and all A's in all units for AS as that's all they have to go on. They like sports and musical instruments so mention it in your personal statement, especially if you have any qualifications or achievements within them. A little extra point, they offer scholarships for a lot of sports! Or if you have got grades for it, but it in achievements then it saves room in your personal statement for work experience. The interview process is multi-mini which I actually quite liked. It's clear what they are looking for in each room so just stick to the goal. Most of all its communication that they're looking for so stay calm, relax and have fun! I completely messed up one station so I'm sure I got a 1/2 (out of 5) for it, but then I know in two I did great, so it balances out. 

The only other university that I have any sort of insight or tit-bit of information about is Leeds. I didn't apply because when you look at their record they accept a lot of graduates, mature student and gap year students so the chance of getting in was quite low. If your a partner school your chances are a lot higher, but my tutor spoke to their head of admissions and she basically said not to apply. 

Hope that helps and makes sense. Good luck! Don't hesitate to contact me further if you need any help. 

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Must Have Books (Medic Series)

Throughout the application process for medicine I think it's important to do your research and prepare. You need to research the courses and what you need from each and then prepare. Preparation is absolutely key to success and I can not stress that enough! You can use the internet of course, and it's the easiest place to get everything you need and the all important information about universities. Having said this, I always go back to a good old book. A physical copy of written down information. I like to highlight key points, bookmark pages I want to return to and write notes. 

As previously mentioned, I used 2 key books to prepare for the admissions tests. You can read the full post here but the names of the books were 'How to Master the UKCAT' and 'Get into Medical School: 400 BMAT Practice Questions'

My favourite book though was definitely 'Medical School Interviews: A Practical Guide To Help You Get That Place At Medical School'. As the title says, it's literally a guide to medicine interviews and I loved it! It has over 150 questions, shows and good and bad answer and explains what you should include. I wouldn't say to write answers for the questions in advance but it's nice to be able to know what can come up and the key points you should cover. Basically, end every question on a positive to you and how it will help for a career in medicine. Also, ask your tutor to do an interview with you to practice. Mine gave me two practice ones and then the college I attended organised for doctors to come in and do mock ins with everyone. Also, I did a course at Leeds university about it, if I remember the name, I'll let you know.

For the general process it may sound stupid but I loved 'Get Into UK Medical School For Dummies'. It literally covered everything from start to finish so put the whole process into perspective. It also had more questions for the UKCAT and BMAT. 

I thoroughly recommend first hand all of these books. I definitely think that they helped me get into medical school and have a very successful application process. 

A quick tip: Don't be afraid to get the earlier additions which are way cheaper. It's rare that anything has changed but if they have it's minute.