My Moments of Mini Medic Madness Part 2: Freshers’ Survival 101
I left you last time on a slight cliff-hanger with promises of tall tales of freshers’. Good news bad news. Good news – I make good on my promises and you’re about to hear all about my freshers’. Bad news – freshers’. Full stop. At least, that is, for the unprepared. That’s where I come in, lovingly providing a crash course in how to demolish your freshers’. They say that life is lived outside of your comfort zone. If this is true life was certainly rich and full during freshers’!
Before uni I thought I was a fairly worldly person. I’d travelled, lived life, seen my fair share of yada yada yada. I’ll tell you for free that looking back on it I hadn’t seen nothin’ til I my uni’s infamous freshers’ fortnight. Two weeks of warm welcomes, inviting smiles and easy lectures to ease you into the medical school world like putting a toddler in a paddling pool with a teeny tiny pair of water wings to boot. Sound too good to be true? If you’ve seen through this thin facade then congrats, you’re a much wiser soul than I was. Chuck the life jacket and put on your SCUBA gear boys and girls, time to prep for the big leagues.
I’d attended all boys boarding schools since I was 8 years old, the last time I was at school with the fairer sex iTunes didn’t exist. Think about that for a sec. I’d also never lived in a city before or been so far away from home. Going back to my oh so eloquent pool metaphor, I really was being thrown in at the deep end. However, my decade behind bars had given me a thirst for freedom and I was determined to exercise my new-found liberty to its fullest extent. So I went out 6 nights in my first week. Lesson no. 1 kids, you’re expecting too much of yourself if you want to both party like an aggressive animal and make every single 9 am lecture. If you manage to achieve this I’ll pay you cold hard cash for your secret, as would every single student in the UK. Lesson no. 2, when out on the town be sure not to make a complete fool of yourself, at least in front of people. I’m pretty sure publicly shaming wasted freshers is what Facebook was invented for so don’t end up as that guy stuck in a postbox on some bloke’s newsfeed. First impressions tend to stick and believe you me, med school goss spreads quicker than most communicable diseases (medic banter alert).
Setting the wild nightlife of freshers’ aside, it’s is a crucial time. You’ll establish connections that will last you throughout your medical career so choose wisely. Let’s chat about Freshers’ Fair. Squeezing between 2000+ sweaty students crammed into a convention centre may not sound like your cup of tea (I’d question your sanity if it was) but trust me when I say suck it up and push through. When you get into that room sign up to everything that takes your fancy, don’t be shy with your email address cos everyone’s dying to have you aboard. Sure you’ll get reminders from the Hispanic society well into your fifth year, but you can bet you’ll be kicking yourself when you hear about how that tortilla tasting the other week was absolutely cray.
Try new things! To give you a more personal example, I’d never played water polo a day in my life but I thought I’d give getting drowned by scary dudes in speedos a crack. I’m social sec for next year, real rags to riches story I know but what can I say. I’m also an events officer for the cardiology society and director for a Cardiac Care programme (again what can I say, I like to be busy). You just never know where something could lead, and trust me when I say it’s worth finding out. Life at med school is a lot easier when you’ve got contacts that can help you on your way, especially if these contacts have gone through the same thing you’re about to and are older and wiser because of it (*cough* right over here *cough*). In my experience the best way to meet these veterans is via societies and sports teams so get involved.
On to lectures, you know, the academic stuff. As tedious as it may seem at the end of the day it’s why you’re there. Admin lectures aren’t exactly Cirque du Soleil, but mini medic life will be a lot easier if you know what hurdles you need to jump in the first place. Go to them and jot down important info – especially dates – so you know when and where you need to be, lest you incur the wrath of your tutor and head of year. Make sure you’re semi-awake for these so get some sleep/a healthy stash of Red Bull.
Hokay, quick table to summarise all of this just in case you need these golden pieces of info pronto. Next time I’ll be talking about med school for reals, how I settled in and a couple of tips to help you do the same. Ciao for now, T.
||Don’ts, like seriously don’t
|Sleep lots, you’re only human
||Make a fool of yourself publicly, duh
|Be über keen at Freshers’ Fair
||Miss admin lectures
|Sign up for stuff, see ^^
||Re-enact ‘Supersize Me’, veg is good
|Have fun! You earned it
||Have too much fun you crazy fool