London, I barely knew you…

September 24, 2010

So with my departure to Southampton literally right around the corner (I leave this sunday!), I’ve decided to grace this blog with my presence once more. Which I should probably do more often, since it is MY blog. I’ve said it before though – leave me comments and feedback guys! It really does provide the motivation to post on here more regularly.

So first off, apologies for not getting around to posting up the UKCAT practice links that I promised. The only internet access I’ve had at home over the past few months has been on my iPod touch, which you may have guessed is not ideal for posting long winded articles on here. Anyway, since the time for the UKCAT has passed this year, those links will go up sometime in the coming months hopefully. I may do something on the BMAT, but since I was nowhere near good enough to apply to BMAT med schools I’d have to do a fair amount of research first and well, that’s just too much effort right now ūüėõ

So…

I was out and about up London town the other day and I realised – I barely know the place. I’ve lived just outside of central, in a sort of grey area that some people call South East London and others call North West Kent, for coming up to 20 years now. And I still barely know my way around central London. It’s¬†embarrassing.

In my defence my parents have been so ridiculously strict with me that it’s only really in the past couple of years I’ve had the freedom to go out regularly. Before that I’d only manage to get out on rare¬†occasions, and only then by fibbing :/ But it feels weird, I’m leaving this city, which tbh I do love, it’s an amazing place, Central London, but yeah, I’m leaving for a new city, and yet I barely know the place. It annoyed me. Still, I suppose the flipside is that Southampton’s only about an hour and a half away by train.

Ahh Southampton. Where it all begins. Everything’s finally ready now, all the last minute shopping is done and dusted thank god. Pots, pans, bedding, shower stuff, new clothes so my flatmates don’t realise I’m a tramp until it’s too late – everything’s waiting to be packed away by my slightly crazy older sister. Women have a talent for packing, and with her mild OCD she’s especially good. Mum’s in particular have a kind of super power, where they manage to fit a physically impossible amount of stuff into a ridiculously small bag. Without creasing any of the clothes. Now that’s talent.

And once again I’m waffling. So freshers tickets are bought and ready to be printed off as I type. Bastards charged a ¬£2 transaction fee on the purchase as well, as if students are bloody rolling in it. Well, I don’t know about other students, but I’m certainly not :/

I’m not nervous/ scared anymore. It’s odd, because a couple of weeks ago I had freaking bats in my stomach, but now it’s just been replaced. Replaced by pure excitement. No doubt that’ll change completely after I have my first lecture and realise my course mates all have an IQ that’s double mine. But for now, I’m just going to say my goodbyes, head down to Southampton and enjoy being a fresher ūüôā

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…and even though it’s 2:37am I’m nowhere near drifting off, so I though I might as well breath a little life back into this sorry excuse for a blog.¬† In my defence, the whole point of this thing was to write about my experiences as a medical student, and since I start at Southampton in October, there haven’t been a great many of the aforementioned experiences to write about yet. The closest I’ve come is watching Scrubs all the way through from season 1 to the abysmal season 9.¬† Anyway, it’s UKCAT season again, and since I managed to drastically improve my score second time around, I figured I may as well doll out some dollops of wisdom for this years applicants. First of all – get yourself the 600 questions UKCAT book. It’s invaluable in preparing for the test. It’s also much much harder, particularly in the quantitative reasoning section, so don’t be tempted to self harm if you’re getting stupidly low scores. Make sure you focus on the timing for your questions. Be strict – in the actual exam if you can’t figure out a question quickly enough, have a guess, but make sure you flag it too – you might have time to give it a proper go if you finish that section early. You’ll want to start practicing for the UKCAT about a month before you take it. As fantastic as it is, the 600 Questions book isn’t going to have enough practice material for you to adequately prepare. I’ll post up some links to good online practice material later on, when I’m using my pc instead of my iPhone. Although I’ve gotta say, the keyboard is wondrous to use. Last but not least on the UKCAT advice – remember your lucky rabbits foot, or socks or whatever, because to hit the really solid marks you WILL need luck on your side.¬† So, staring at this tiny screen has made my eyes sufficiently tired so that I might actually be able to get some shuteye now. Don’t expect any updates until I actually start uni now though, although hopefully there’ll be more regular ones from then on out. And as always, sorry for all the waffling on.¬† Peace out biatches!

ECGs…

April 16, 2010

…tend to become distinctly less fun after the first 5 or so in a row. In fact, the damn little sticky pads can be pretty painful to rip off sometimes. Although I think I just have sensitive skin. But I digress…

Spent most of the day helping out with mock medical exams for 5th year KCL medics. This mostly involved lying there topless whilst they attempted to perform an ecg and then interpret the results. Fun stuff. Especially since I’m ridiculously ticklish. I think some of the medical students might have got the impression that I was enjoying the whole procedure a bit too much; I definitely got some dodgy looks. Got a little worried when the supervising nurse looked at my ecg and told me it was extremely strange, although apparently it’s nothing to worry about – one of my squiggly lines was squigglier and spikier than expected.

When the examiners from the oxygen mask station came down and requested one of us to help them out I seized the chance to spend the rest of the day fully clothed. What I didn’t realise was that they simply needed someone for the medical students to put the oxygen mask on and off of. On the upside I’m now an expert on how to manage oxygen therapy in patients with COPD.

Here’s a few pointers; DON’T pull the string until it snaps off the mask and pings the patient in the eye, they will get pissed off. Oh and it might be an idea to ask them to remove their glasses first too. It worries me that these people will soon be unleashed upon already- suffering patients.

And since I’m clearly not really Mr Hopkins, 65 years old with COPD, no I don’t know what medication I’m on. Jeez.

Family wise things are feeling shit at the moment. No point mincing words or trying to come up with some witty comment about it. My mum decided to go bi polar and switch from being a normal person to one who screams and throws objects around for no reason. Usually very heavy or fragile objects. Don’t worry though, it’s nothing unusual for her. My response has been to go on what I like to call “personality strike” – no joking, smiling, or communicating at all with any of my family members unless absolutely necessary. The main problem with this is that I tend to forget about it by the next morning. Determined to last this time though.

Oh. And I’ve come to realise that I still like a girl I thought I was completely over. Or I think I like her. Either way I want to ask her out, but have a strong feeling she’ll reject me. For the second time. It’s a long story.

Aaargh. At the risk of sound horribly emo, FML.

The rebellion begins…

April 11, 2010

So my parents have just realised that I’ve applied to student finance – against their wishes. I bottled out of completely standing my ground and told a sort of half-truth to placate them for now – that you can’t apply to any grants etc without having received the loans. It’s almost entirely true – you can’t apply to the Access to Learning Fund unless you’re in receipt of the full maintenance loan, and the same goes for the maintenance grant. I didn’t tell them that my application to the tuition fee loan was completely voluntary.

It’s complicated with me and my parents. I just want to be able to live my own life, and I want them to be a part of that. But I know that once I get to uni and start living my own life, they’re not going to want to be a part of it. Things will get messy. I’m not talking about a full scale rebellion – not talking about going completely off the rails. But being hardcore Muslims, they have a very different set of tracks in mind for me.

I feel so ungrateful to them sometimes. They haven’t exactly provided a stable home environment, sure, but they’ve looked after me and fed and clothed me my entire life. Well, mum has. The dad – not so much. But it’ll break her heart when we clash, which we will eventually. It’s inevitable really.

On a more cheerful topic, the weathers completely flip-flopped…

Apologies

April 4, 2010

to all you people who for some reason have deigned this excuse for a blog worthy of your comments.

Life has been crazy recently. I’m preparing myself for uni – which I’m now planning on financing myself so that I’m no longer completely subject to my parents nazi regime. It’s been a tough decision to make, but the only way forward really, gotta sort my own life out.

All this craziness has meant an end to whatever little charity work I was doing (some Haiti fund raising and the odd poster job for this amazing charity) but if I can’t help myself there’s not much point to all that stuff, right?

Oh, and all the usual drama of being a 19 year old guy. Sometimes i honestly think castration may be another way forward.

But yeah. I’ll try and write more often, and more importantly, on some slightly more interesting and humorous topics. Or something.¬† Don’t hold your breath. No seriously, don’t, I’m crap at cpr.

Decisions…

February 13, 2010

decisions decisions. For the past two years now decisions to do with higher education have ruled my life ruthlessly. First it was what to do about my crappy AS grades. I coasted through gcse and managed to still get A*AAAAAAA BB C, which i was fairly pleased with.

Then I made an idiotic mistake (as I do only too often) and assumed I’d be able to coast through my A levels and still get the grades for medicine.

So summer 2008 found me feeling rather miserable. I’d achieved AABCD – not bad, except the C was in chemistry, a subject essential to almost all med schools, and the D in physics really wounded my pride. The two A’s and the B were in biology, which had alwyas been by far my strongest subject, critical thinking – a subject not accepted, in my opinion unfairly, by most medical schools – and¬† english language. I decided to apply anyway, but being predicted ABB i made preperations for my gap year, put my head down and focused solely on exams whilst everyone elses UCAS application drove their blood pressure sky high. Things would change in my A2 year, i vowed…

They didn’t. Well, they didn’t mostly. I did pull my finger out of my ass with chemistry and retook all my as exams much more succesfully. But I carried on coasting with english and biology, and managed to come out with AAB in bio, chem and english langage respectively. And here’s the kicker – my chemistry came to exactly 480 – one mark less and it would have been a B!

It was a huge relief getting the grades in the end, especially since I’d just returned from volunteering in ghana, which I’d managed to convince Mum and Dad to pay for on the basis that it would help my application; they would’ve killed me if i hadn’t got the grades after they forked out for the plane tickets!

The next major decision – which universities to apply to this time around. It was a pretty simple process for me; I looked at the ones that accept AAB along with my mediocre GCSE grades and it really narrowed the lsit right down, and then I just picked according to which courses I liked the sound of.

Second time around I managed to get my personal statement right, and that along with my a UKCAT average of 725 (better than first time around, 580-ish) really served to strengthen my application. So I sent it off and waited. Not really much more to it.

To be honest I still can’t believe that I got two offers. TWO offers. I mean first time around I got none. Except biomedicine, but let’s face it, no one really wants to do that. So yeah. Sorry for the uber long post, think of it as payback for all those of you who’ve repeatedly pm’d me on tsr about my application. A hint; whilst it’s gratifying to be congratulated and asked for advice at first, it get’s pretty dull/boring/annoying/ohmygodgoaway after the first few times. Oh and if you’re going to plagiarise a personal statement, make it one of the better ones on studential and not mine, there’s no point taking a risk over something like that.

Might have to write an article on interviews next, although ima need some help for that one, the only interview I’ve had was manchester and from what i can tell their interview process is pretty unique. Hope this blog helps/ is helping some of you guys. Will be linking this article to the Who Am I page when i can be bothered. For now though it’s back to whiling the time away playing tetris on my gameboy original. Oh yes, I really am that cool…

Just an update…

February 13, 2010

to say that there’s an update on the way tonight, been a while I know, but I’ve been crazy busy. Got the offer from Manchester too! =D

Problem is, I now have no idea which medical school to pick; there was no way I ever expected to have a choice as to where I go after the fiasco that was my application last year.

But yeah, watch this space, article coming up outlining my old application, my new one, and why I’ve been so much more successful this time around.

(oh, and a few comments wouldn’t hurt, lets me know people are actually reading, which keeps me motivated to write.)

Man flu

February 5, 2010

So I haven’t actually forgotten about this blog (yet), just been a crazy couple of weeks (sister’s first baby, soton offer, manchester interview, nan’s bypass surgery). Queen Mary’s Hospital seemed like a world away from the place I volunteer at when I was visiting my nan. It ¬†actually a bit eye opening; I’d almost forgotten what it was like to be a patient or visitor in the hospital and the whole experience has put my view of hospitals back into perspective and reminded me that it’s all about the patient. No more getting annoyed at angry complaints about my tea/ coffee, after all, what do I have to complain about? They’re the ill ones, the least i can do is get them a half decent cuppa. The whole experience really got to me more than I’d care to admit anywhere else, reminded me of seeing my Granddad lying in a bed in that very same hospital. At least this time I was there for my Nan.

Still no word from manchester. Will update again when my nose is less runny =].Oh yeah, and nan’s fine, triple bypass was performed beautifully and she should be back up and running in no time. Definitely not in the literal sense though.

Rip Granddad. I hope I’m making you proud.

So I’ve decided to reboot my old, infrequently updated and pretty much crappy blog and start this new one based on something I know that I can write about passionately; medicine.

Anyone who knows me will be able to tell you I’ve had a tough journey getting there, but on Monday 25th Jan 2010 I logged into UCAS track to find an offer from Southampton School of Medicine. I won’t lie, it was a pretty emotional moment for me since last year I’d received¬† straight rejections and so far I’d spent my gap year moping around and missing my mates who were scattered across the country getting crunk and failing their degrees.

So I’m basically going to be blogging about med school (when I eventually start). Hopefully any med applicants out there will find this a useful (and entertaining) resource, I know I certainly could’ve done with someone telling me exactly how hard it is to get in, and how much harder it would be once I did (excluding school teachers and 16-18 coordinators, aaaand pretty much every Tom, DIck and Harry of course). From now until I actually start this is mostly going to consist of advice about your UCAS applications, as well as news on the outcome of the Manchester med school interview I had on Thursday 28th Jan 2010 and random info on medical unis and courses etc. After that it’ll be off to med school and you’ll be able to read about me struggling to keep up with the genii that will no doubt make up my fellow med students.

So who knows, perhaps greatness awaits. More likely ten years from now they’ll find me swinging from my stethoscope, face turning blue and feet still twitching. Or I might make a half decent Doc. Who knows?