Offers, Waiting Lists and Rejections

It’s that time of year where most of the universities have finished their interview cycles and are sending out their results. Statistically, around 5% of GEM applicants and 20% of Undergrads will have offers.

If you have an offer, congratulations! You’ve made it through the dreaded cycle, now it’s time to get your DBS and contracts signed. Don’t delay on this, don’t give them a reason to reject you after you’ve come this far.

Step 2: Get your student finance application started. Even if you haven’t got all your offers you can change this before you submit it, but get the rest of the application sorted. If you’re a GEM offer holder, I suggest making a decision early as student finance hire temps you do not realise there is funding for GEM as a second degree. If it gets really troublesome, ask for Tier 2 – Graduate medicine department.

Step 3: Attend the open days. These are put on especially for offer and waiting list applicants where you get to judge the university instead of the other way round. You also get to meet your new potential course-mates and jaded medics from years above. There’s normally free food and workshops as well.

If you’ve been put on the waiting list, do not despair. Last year, every single GEM school used up every single place on their waiting lists. This actually extended beyond the waiting list with people getting called up for an offer during the first week of term. Similar to the offer holders, sort out student finance application (but don’t send it until you have the offer), attend the open days and keep an open mind. Make a back up plan for the next year if it happens that you don’t get an offer but make sure it’s not set in stone until you know for sure. It is hell, every single email from that uni will make you jump. I should know, I was one of the waiting list applicants. I ended up getting the offer while working in July (I was 19th/29 on the waiting list), so keep the hope.

If you’ve had the unfortunate situation of being rejected, it’s not the end of the world (cliche, I know). Take the rejection as a lesson, sometimes a uni just doesn’t feel you’re right for them, sometimes you had a bad day, sometimes you just happened to come up against the cream of the crop. Take a step back, think about your next move. Is medicine right for you? Do you want to apply again? What are you gonna do in the meantime? These are big questions but don’t rush to answer them all at once. If you’re a GEM applicant, you have the GAMSAT score for another year (if you did it) and it was obviously good enough to get interview this time so you’ll have a chance to get another the next year.

If you are going to apply again. Ask for the feedback from the interview. They won’t be able to give you the answers but they can send you the reasons why they didn’t accept you. Spend the next year working on that aspect, be it work experience, communication skills or just interview technique. Remember though, most medical schools only allow 2 interviews per applicant but there is infinite amounts of times you can apply (as long as you don’t exhaust the interview limits)

 

Regardless of your decision, I wish you all the best in your careers. Maybe one day we’ll cross paths but you’ll never know we did…

Exercise

Sometimes you need to exercise the body and not just the mind.

Today I ran a 5k!!!

It may not seem the most amazing thing but as someone who has torn both quadricep tendons and ankle ligaments and has struggled to maintain fitness and exercise (cricket is a great sport to play, but kind of rubbish when it’s only april to september), I’m very proud of what I achieved.

Hopefully this will be the start of a more regular exercise program, if my muscles can take it.

Now what to do for the rest of the weekend???

 

Tempus Fugit

So here we are, a week and a half away from the Easter break. That means there is a mere 7 and a half weeks of uni (as in time in lectures etc..) left of the year. A quarter of my medical degree done.

The general feeling is not so much of stress but tiredness. A combination of a lack of breaks since christmas, mountains of work and a bit of burnout. Despite having a ‘break’, there are 2 essays to be written, a portfolio to be completed and revision to be started.

Time really does fly though, and each day I’m closer to reaching the light at the end of the tunnel that is placements. It also means I’ve done over half my time at uni (4 years out of the total of 7!) and for the first time, I can’t wait to get out of all day lectures and workshops.

Regardless, i’m not wishing away the time, instead simply enjoy what time I have off. This will, after all, be the last year (possibly of my life) where I’ll have significant holiday time off. No point wasting it!

Salient Saturday

It’s been one hell of a week, even by my standards. So I was incredibly glad to wake up this morning to find the sun blazing through my blinds (unfortunately, off the mirror and into my eyes).

It’s the last day of winter but spring has come a bit earlier. It’d be a waste not to utilise it. So, I went outside and stayed there. I bought a new book – ‘It’s all in your head’ by Suzanne O’Sullivan- and sat in the garden on the sun lounger and enjoyed a day off.

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There’s something about spring which puts, well, a spring, in everyone’s step. I know I am someone who becomes infinitely more productive when the sun is out, but at the same time I can also finally relax. Indoors is great….to a point.

It has dawned on me that there are only 12 weeks left of my first year of med school left (including a very generous 4 weeks off for easter!) which means exams are near. Quite often billed as the hardest year of medicine (for graduate entry) is nearly over and that is rather scary. At least i’ll be able to revise outside!!!

Good Grief!

Yesterday I said good bye to my Grandad, whom I held very close to my heart. It was the first time his death had become real, being so far from home after hearing the news.

Grief is a natural response to a loss. It enables us to process the information at hand, make sense of what happened and come to terms with the uncertain future. It’s something as future doctors we learn about. Moos’ crisis theory, Kubler-Ross stage of grief and illness behaviour. We learn that this is natural for our patients when hearing bad news, but do any of us truly understand being on the otherside? The side where we don’t give names to models of behaviour but simply let our emotions run as nature intended.

Kubler-Ross model describes the stages of grief as: Denial, anger,bargaining, depression and acceptance.

This next part is going to be a bit self-indulgent. A way to make sense of this situation.Feel free to skip over this part.

Denial? Nope, never denied that this ever happened. Anger? Nope, he lived a long and happy life, doing so much for me and others. Bargaining? Nope, I got to see him before he died, albeit a month before, but that is the memory i’ll always remember him by. Depression? Other than an extension of what already existed, I wouldn’t say so. I’m sad but not depressed that i’ve lost him. Acceptance? I accepted this fate many months ago. That’s the thing about knowing about diseases, they become more real, quicker. I knew this was how it was going to end, and when, before most of my family, who were stuck in denial about how long was left. This is not to say i’m not in grief, I miss him, but most of my feelings (anger, annoyance, sadness) are aimed at myself. Once again I dealt with this with the utmost professionalism, being there for the family when they needed me. When in fact, I needed to breakdown.

As said before, medicine is an occupation, not a way of life. Although, once you turn on the mindset, it becomes very difficult to turn off, so while it may not be a way of life, it will change the way you think forever more.

Self Help(lessness)

More often than not the only person who can help you is yourself.

It can be a struggle to find the help you need, but finding it is only the beginning. This week I started counselling again. This is nothing new, however since moving to a different university everything which had been set up nicely in place was gone, I was back to square 1. So as soon as I felt myself getting worse, I got on the self-referral. My initial impressions from the new counselling include knowing exactly what I want out of it. Before I went in and just said everything that was on my mind. Now, I don’t want to go over that all again, but instead focus on what’s really troubling me. I’ve even been given homework to do between sessions (because nothing says ‘I understand you have a lot of work, so here’s some more’). Ironically, it’s actually the first time I want to get the homework done.

I realise it will take time for it to have the full desired effect but i’m on the right path again.

Until then, I may as well keep plodding on…