03 Feb Reflections on Starting First Year
With the newly minted first year cohort finishing their first week, it got us thinking about what it was like when we started Medicine and what we feel about it a year later…
Coming into the first year of Med was the typical whirlwind of emotions that comes with a new degree – delight, excitement, apprehension – but also an underlying disbelief. Even when I went to collect my name badge on that first day, I almost expected it to be missing, as if there had been some mistake, and I laughed when I found out how many other students had shared the same sentiment. Your first year of Med is hard work, but it’s also exhilarating, as you work through PBL cases, try clinical and comm skills workshops for the first time, and sign up for new clubs and experiences. You’ll also find that Med comes with a wonderful sense of comradery. There is an amazing diversity in the Medicine cohort, and the knowledge and experiences of your peers will astound you. Don’t miss out on any opportunities to learn from each other! It is both gratifying and eye-opening. Have fun and make the most out of your first year, guys – you won’t get it back again!
When I started first year, I remember being overwhelmed by a confusing mixture of anticipation, excitement, and absolute terror. The surrealness of starting medical school alternatingly overshadowed and was overshadowed by moving out for the first time and the very real challenge of surviving long enough on my limited cooking repertoire to worry about learning any content. And what was all this talk of ‘scrub crawl’, ‘high yield’, ‘Anki’, and ‘AMBOSS’? It felt like trying to decipher a whole new dialect and while I’d heard that medicine has its own language, I’d expected that to be about Latin roots rather than everyday conversations.
Now going into second year, with a whole (admittedly unconventional) year’s worth of experience at medical school and an ever-increasing workload, I’m once again overwhelmed by a confusing mixture of anticipation, excitement, and… you guessed it: absolute terror. I am pleased to report, though, that I now at least know what scrub crawl is and even have a few Anki decks under my belt.
So clearly, I’d be lying if I said the emotional rollercoaster goes away (ask me again next year – maybe the third time will be the charm). But I can promise that, however you’re feeling about starting this crazy journey, you’re definitely not the only one.
Starting medicine a year ago, I was filled an overwhelming sense of excitement but also a significant amount of nerves and apprehension. Standing in LT1, surrounded by 180 of my peers reading out the medical students’ affirmation (which I still have stuck on my wall) will probably be one of the most surreal moments of my life. I was determined to make the best of what was coming; to learn a lot and to get involved.
That’s not to say it was all smooth sailing. I was convinced when my swipe card didn’t work that there had been a mistake and my place in med school had been taken away from me! Alas, it was just a faulty card but it also illustrated to me how quickly impostor syndrome can creep up. However, what really made me feel at home were the wonderful people I met in PBL, lectures, and at comm and clin skills (at least in those first few weeks before COVID lockdown). And while I can’t guarantee your entire first year will be completely smooth sailing, I know that if you look around you’ll find people who can be there during the fun and not so fun times.
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Image source: Kwong Djee Chan, 2020