Monday, 6 February 2012

Twenty-One and Terrified.

Let me start by telling you a little about myself. I am a fourth year medical student in Northern England, I am 21 years old- and I am TERRIFIED that I graduate in just over one year!

I’ll start from the beginning shall I?

I am not posh, I never will be posh and I am proud of this. Everything that I have gotten in life I have got for myself- and I like it that way. My mum works in an office. My dad trained as an engineer when I was a toddler, and my step mum works as a teacher. I have had your average upbringing; going to a school which failed many an OFSTED report, where you were lucky if you passed your A levels. And I have worked damn hard for myself. But as a medic I am far from average. Mummy and Daddy aren’t doctors; I don’t own a pony, BMW, or a hefty trust fund - like many medics. Medicine is still elite and pretentious, the med students are judgmental. Commoners like me have to regularly remind ourselves that we are the normal ones- not them.

What now seems like an eternity ago I made the decision that I wanted to become a doctor. Partly due to an infatuation with the series Scrubs, and partly because I wanted to get as far away as possible from my disgusting, alcoholic stepfather. I liked the idea that every day would be a different exciting adventure (a delusion from watching Casualty for many years), but most importantly I simply thought I would be good at it! I decided this during my final year of GCSE’s, never believing for a second that I would actually get to medical school.

In the summer following my GCSE’s I went on a summer school to Cambridge university, which further fed my passion for medicine. I desperately wanted to go to Cambridge University, but when I got an interview there I realised that I could not have hated it more. I got an offer from another very good medical school, and accepted it- and have never looked back.

The first two years of med school were in lectures, we were mostly in a zombie like daze throughout- jotting down the odd word, and complaining like hell about the lecturers who didn’t make handouts. I have very little medical notes from these years (but many pictures of animals, cakes and notes discussions of lunch).

Third year was hospital based teaching. I was based at a brilliant hospital, where the teaching and organization ran as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. At the beginning of this year we were told “this will be the most you ever learn, the steepest learning curve you ever take”- no one believed it but it was true.

When you hit fourth year the doctor ambition becomes more real. Now your grades count towards your foundation jobs. Now you can’t play dumb to consultants. Now you’re just over a year from being a doctor. All you think about is “this would look good on my CV”. Now medicine is becoming a career, not just a hobby you like to learn about. And let me tell you, aged 21 when your whole life is planned out so much it is truly terrifying.

I know at my age my mother had already been married for 2 years, and was considering having me- but I still feel like a child! I don’t even know how to pay a bill, I just give the money to my flat mate.

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot imagine myself doing any other career. I do want to be a doctor. I do love medicine, but I do still get scared. Every day I wonder “have I made the right choice?” and every day I realise I have.

Still, every day I dread qualifying more and more….

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