Monday, October 26, 2009

Summary of my 5 weeks at Medical School

Sorry for the long wait!

First I want to say good luck to all the 2010 medical applicants! Hopefully you'll be hearing from your universities soon!

So far medical school has been A LOT better than I thought it would be. I always hear that medical school is EXTREMELY busy and tough. I cannot confirm the tough bit...yet, but so far the work load has been pretty moderate. I have seem to already enjoy Surface Anatomy lectures and practical activities in the dissection room. I always get excited when I see either of these on my timetable. At the moment I have seem to found a new enemy: Biochemistry and Histology. Biochemistry because I felt like we went through it way too fast but I think we are going back to it later in the year to study it in more detail. I was told that the first eight weeks are still like module introduction, where we cover almost everything that we will be doing this year. Not too fond of histology, not because it is hard or anything, but this is where we have to do online practicals at home. I have been finding them quite annoying as it is quite a challenge to find the answers to the questions. Plus it takes a really long time to complete like what...ten questions? We are allotted two hours to do the histology practical so that kind of gives you an idea why I find histology slightly annoying.

Social wise I am loving it! I am glad I have made lots of friends who are very nice. We hang pretty often and we usually go have lunch in the union or something after our morning lectures. So far I have went to all the medic socials:

Freshers Foam Party
Medics Fancy Dress Pub Crawl

Yes there has only been two events for us medics BUT the two events were AMAZING. The MedSoc really put a lot of effort into these events to make sure we all have loads of fun. Plus who does not like a nice discount at the bars during these events. From time to time I do go out with some of my friends at night to go sit at a bar and play some games. Pretty fun. Great bonding time too.

So far I have learned to keep up with your lecture notes and do your recommended reading (especially before practicals such as dissection)!!! Every week I would type up all my handwritten notes and merge them with the lecture powerpoint that is always posted up on our med school website. I guess I just want to do these notes for the future as when it comes exam time I don't want to be trying to remember stuff I did in September. But yes do your recommended reading so you don't get lost! Feel really dumb at dissection when you don't even know what topic you're learning about for the avoid it by reading!

I shall end this post as it is getting long...and boring...but I will try to update more often. Maybe sneak in a interview tips post...which I should have done quite awhile ago.

Friday, October 16, 2009


Overall it was quite a hectic week. Also it was a time for me to adjust to university life. The transition wasn't too bad as I was able to meet loads of people who are all very nice. The activities fair, the lectures, and parties were awesome. I still don't get why it is so heavily hyped but I guess it is really up to the person. I bet if you go out every single day and party yeah you'll have loads of fun. But for me it was okay really not like mind-blowing amazing.

If I could re-do freshers week again I think I would make more of an effort to join more activities as right now I feel that I am not involving enough with the university and try new things. My friends took up many new hobbies/sports/activities and I haven't really done that yet. So far university is going well and really there is not a thing to worry about. Yeah you might get homesick/miss your friends but you just have to open up. Remember everyone is in the same boat and everyone is looking for a friend. It is a waste of time to worry but I know it's hard not to worry. Just have fun, enjoy your last weeks of summer and be ready to start a new chapter!

So I guess the most important tip I can give you is to try new things, don't be scared to open up, and have FUN!

Look out for a post later one (when I have time) of a summary of the first month of uni has been like.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Well today was also the first day of training for the medics field hockey team! I met at the hockey pitch at 5:00pm which my massive goalkeeping bag. It was quite the hike up to the pitch as it was on the top of a hill and there were several flights of stairs I had to carry my bag up. There was lots of people at the practice, but sadly I only met a few freshers there. I have already met the club captain a month before I started uni to discuss about playing 1stXI team. Met a few people who are on the team when I got to practice so that was really cool. So all the people on the team are medics and most of em are upper years so I asked em a few questions about their thoughts on med school.

The general response that I got from them is that they thoroughly enjoy medical school and that I should try and have as much fun as I can in first year. All of them really loved first year of medical school as it wasn't too hard. The medical school tries really hard to make transition from school to university as easy as possible so a lot of the students really liked the transition and thought it was at a good pace.

Practice was a lot of fun...I haven't really trained with men as well so it was definitely a new experience. I was definitely expecting really hard shots...but wow can men shoot the ball! I thought I was going to get killed tonight. My goalkeeping shorts are not up to standard to start off as they are only suitable for low grade hockey...what a great confidence booster. I didn't really get hit anywhere with little protection which was good. Personally thought I played OKAY...but I was pretty tired.

After practice we went for a big team dinner at the local pub. Had great pub food and played some games such as "Boat Race". It was a lot of fun. We also went around the circle and introduced ourselves to each other. Can't even remember 1/8 of the names (terrible with names). Once dinner was finished I had a good chat with the older medics and asked them about intercalated degrees and what they thought about it. They actually thought that taking an extra degree will help you final application for foundation year placements and it shows interest in whatever specialty you are looking at. However, they did tell me that it is a bit too early to start thinking about it as usually people take an intercalated year. I am keeping the intercalated degree idea at the back of my head for now as I am considering it.

Hockey was really fun tonight and I managed to meet lots of people. Yay!

Tip: Don't be afraid to talk to upper years in your course. They may come in handy when you need help with course work or just have a question about the course. Don't worry they don't bite...although some of them may do look like they bite. :P


Luckily our first lecture of the day was at 1pm so most of us could get over/recover slightly from any hangovers. When I got to the lecture theater, half the class was holding a water bottle which I found pretty hilarious. Schedule for the day was just:

1:00pm - 2:00pm : Summing Up Introductory Activity

Pretty easy day to be honest. Anyways by 1:15pm our lecturer still hasn't showed up and people started to get bored. People started throwing paper planes and paper balls around the room. It was quite the scene. Things flying from side to side, from back to front. By 1:40pm a MedSoc rep. noticed that our lecturer was still not here and contacted the med school that there are 250 students are impatiently waiting for their lecture. So at around 1:50pm our lecturer shows up and everyone was really bummed out for obvious reasons. The lecturer was pretty considerate and just rushed through the conclusion of our task and went over the answer. The diagnosis for our case study ended up being H1N1/Swine flu and the differential diagnosis was just the common flu. Lecture ended at like 2:10pm which was REALLY fast. We all ran off pretty fast back to our flats.

After the lecture I quickly went over the student union to check our the Sports Activity Fair. There was SO MANY PEOPLE! By the time I finished my late lunch (after lecture) and got INTO the sports fair, the stands were starting to pack up. I didn't get to see much and was interested in signing up for some stuff but sadly they were all done for the day and took away their sign-up sheets.

Oh forgot to mention: I could hear the beginning of freshers flu flying around the class (oh no!). Nice short post as I didn't do anything interesting and just went home and took a nap.

Tip of the day: Load up on vitamin C during freshers week if you want to avoid freshers flu. No guarantees though. Oh and party really hard during freshers week because you won't be able to party as hard during actual uni time...too much work. Oh and if you really want to go sign up for stuff at a fair and you know you'll be in a rush after your lecture to go to the fair...just go before. It makes life much easier.

Side note: Hopefully most of you have already submitted your UCAS application for medical school by now or putting in the final touches to your personal statement. Good luck!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


WHOA WHAT A PARTY! This party has always been hyped up as the best freshers party in the entire freshers week. Wow they actually lived up to their word! First, it was a beached themed party. Second, it was a FOAM PARTY. The party technically started at 7:30pm but people didn't start going until 8:00 pm. We were told to make sure we put out phones into plastic bags or else we won't have one by the end of the night. I met up with my friends and stuff so when we got there we went straight to the bar. They were having a special and drinks were 1 quid! After sitting around for an hour or so the party really started to get going as the doors were closed and everyone started dancing. Sometime through the middle of the party they started letting loose the foam cannon and wow the party just got 1000x more fun. Some people did drown in the foam's a good tip: KEEP YOUR MOUTH CLOSED. Gotta admit I didn't exactly abide by that tip and did choke on the foam a couple times. The foam was pretty much all the way to your knees so it was pretty deep. Everyone was having an amazing time and it was so much fun to play with the foam. I know that some people were really shy and didn't want to dance and stuff but eventually they did join in. By the end of the party they were really partying it up and regretted that they didn't join in earlier. I can't really remember much about the exact details of the party but at around 12am we switched venues and went over to a nightclub.

All I know is that when you are wet and you have to walk 2 blocks in the middle of the will freeze into a block of ice. Other than freezing I gotta say that the after party wasn't as fun and exciting. By that time everyone was really tired and soaking wet. Majority of the people started leaving within the first hour of after party and my friends and I also decided to call it a night.

All in all it was an awesome party and probably the best one I'll have this year...but I truly hope there will be a party later on that will top Freshers Fever.

Friday, October 9, 2009


Right so today again was pretty hectic and I have been super super excited for the entire day as tonight is the medics FRESHERS FEVER FOAM PARTY!!!! Anyways I had to get through two lectures for the day which isn't too bad. Here's my schedule for today:

11:00 pm: Dissection Lecture
2:00 pm: Small Group Work

So first lecture I had was at the dissection room in another building (not med school). Today's lecture was mainly based around the dissection activities that we will have pretty frequently throughout the year. However, the dissection room is the hardest place to find. I was with a group of people and it took us 30 mins to find the room. Apparently they made the room to be super hard to find so people of the public will not accidentally walk into the room as we do full body dissections (hence many cadavers). When we got there none of us were really prepared to see anything. We thought it was going to just be a quick introduction, set some rules, and ask some questions......NOPE. When we walked in there were two gurneys in the middle of the room with a cloth covering each one. None of us really thought much about it. Let's just say when it was unveiled many people weren't exactly "ready" and didn't exactly feel too well. We'll leave it at that.

However I am very glad that I managed to get into a university which does full body dissections as the amount of things you learn from dissections are priceless. Being able to see where things are in a real human body and how things are connected just makes the learning process so much more interesting and in depth. I am truly excited for dissections and I am really looking forward to it.

After the dissection lecture we had a two hour lunch break. Had some lunch at the student union with some peeps. Lunch was okay....nothing special. Kinda disappointed because people kept hyping up the cafe. Anyways after lunch there was the official university Activities Fair. Went to go check it out and joined a few societies. It wasn't that great...again had to fight the crowd and got bounced around.

At 2pm I went over to my lecture and it was so DULL! All we did was discuss in small groups about the case study that we got on Monday....yup did that for an entire hour. The discussing itself within the group probably took 10 minutes MAX. Was so glad when the lecture was over. Made some plans with my friends to meet up before going to the party tonight. Then I went home to get ready and chill.

The medic's freshers party was SO AMAZING that I have to give it its own post. Please see the next post for details about the party. If you don't give a crap about it...don't read it. :) Again here's another tip for freshers: TRY to look ahead of time which societies you want to join at the university. It makes signing up so much easier and faster as you don't have to wander around looking for stuff to catch your less pushing around. Pretty much you go in sign up and leave. Simple.


Sweet I have been waiting for awhile for this. It was medics freshers fair - clubs/societies for medics. There are societies ranging from surgical society, to medsex (?!), to medics sports teams. The British Medical Association and the MDU were there for us to sign up and they gave freebies which was a oxford clinical medicine handbook (which i heard are really useful as they are pocket sized). Plus today we got our MedSoc membership cards which costs 50 pounds (10 pounds a year for 5 years) and our white coats, dissection kit, and the most important: Medics Freshers Fever ticket/wristband!!!

Other than fighting the crowd and almost dying from suffocation (no air conditioning in the halls - imagine 250 students crammed in a small area), I managed to join a few societies. I joined the surgical society, st.john's ambulance, BMA/MDU memberships, medics hockey, and medics basketball. Quite hefty right? I know some people who joined every single society that was there! After being pushed around I met up with friends and we decided to chill and have some food/recover from being pushed around.

Today was a pretty light lectures at all. Just another day for me to get to know the city. Speaking of getting to know the city, I got majorly lost today. I decided to take the bus and somehow took the wrong bus and ended up in this really weird place. Asked some people for directions and took another bus back towards the right direction..and walked for like ages to get back home. It was pretty ridiculous. But like I way to get to know a place is to get lost and find your way again. Not much to post today but I will leave you with another tip:

During Freshers Fair/Activities Fair, join as many societies as you want. You can always not go to them. Societies are the best way to get to know people and especially medic societies help you to get to know upper year medics so if you have any questions about the course you can always ask them.

I notice that UCAS applications are almost over so good luck to everyone who is applying! Stressful times.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Today I gotta sleep in which was nice as I didn't have anything to do until 1:00pm. The schedule was:

1:00 pm - Collect Welcome Packs
2:00-4:30pm - Welcome Talks from School of Medicine

Anyways I decided to take my sweet time to go get my welcome pack as I totally thought I was done with lining up. To my surprise when I got to the Medical School, the line up was all the way OUT of the school and along the street! I thought to myself: "You can't be serious...". I was pretty annoyed as that meant more waiting/more standing around doing NOTHING. I decided to say "Hi" to the people around me and started having a few conversations. It was nice to talk to someone as it made the time pass by faster. Finally got my welcome pack and went into the lecture theater. Had to prepare myself for a long haul as it 2.5 hours of lectures. It actually went by pretty fast as it was just a bunch of introductions. It was neat meeting the rest of the medical department. There wasn't anything special at these lecturers so I will keep you guys away from boring details. After the lectures I decided to start on the right foot and head to the library to work on my assignment (details of it below).

I forgot to mention something cool that we did yesterday. At the medical lecture we also jumped right into a case study about a woman who returned from Mexico City and was ill. We got a list of symptoms and we got to ask the patient some additional questions. We were supposed to answer a few questions by Friday which were:

1) What is your diagnosis?
2) What are your differential diagnosis?
3) What treatment will you give?
4) What other actions would you take?
5) Why do you think you are right?

So I did a bit of research today and found my answers and took down some notes. It really wasn't hard at all as it is pretty obvious. But wow what a way to start med school. Just dumping us into a case study. I can see that it will be an interesting/fun/exciting/stressful year.

Just a quick tip: Do your assignment the day or the day after it is assigned! If you let it drag you will eventually forget about it and you will be rushing last minute to finish it off. Plus if you get it down early you don't have to think about it at all and you can go off and party as much as you want! Makes sense right? Too bad it is easier to say than to do. Hmph.


So today was the very first/official day of Freshers Week at the university. I was super nervous about this day as I didn't know anyone and thought it would be super awkward just wandering around. Gotta say today was probably the most hectic day EVER. So my schedule was kinda like this:

9:30 am - Welcome to the University (Induction talk)
1:00 - 2:00 pm - University Registration (online)
1:15 - 2:15 pm - University Health Services Registration
2:00 pm - Medicine Welcome Talk

Now obviously I had a lot of time between the induction talk and registration. Well as you can see Uni registration and health are at the same time....and then there's a welcome talk from the Medical Department right after. The medical school is about 10-15 walk from the registration that means I should be done registering by 1:45ish. Well when I got to the registration place (Sports Hall) the line up was freaking MASSIVE. I knew right then and there that I was not going to make it to the welcome talk on time...or even be able to make it at all. I got to the line at 12:45pm and didn't get registered til 1:40pm. Then I had to go to health registration and their line was SUPER long as well. No joke I was stressed because I really didn't want to miss the intro talk for Med. The coordinator of health registration said that they will be open til 5pm so I literally just jetted to the med school (and got lost on the way). I was about 10 mins late for the lecture and thank god the lecturer didn't mind.

After the lecture, which was 45 mins long, I decided to go back to health registration (and got lost AGAIN). The line was much shorter now and I had to fill out some forms. Nothing too hard. After health registration I met someone who was in my course. Right after that I seemed to have found a bunch of other medics from my year which was really neat. I've met some of them on facebook already so it was neat to see them in real life. They all seemed so different from their fb pictures so I was a bit surprised. So once I met a few people we all decided to go to the library to register for our email accounts. That was really fast so we decided to take a tour of the library. Every floor pretty much looked the same - no wonder the library is known for an excellent place to play hide and seek.

Once all the registration stuff were done it was about 5pm so I decided to head back home to rest/organize my stuff. I managed to pick up loads of flyers and booklets/welcome packs and my bag weighed a ton. So far it was a pretty exciting day and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Overwhelming but fun. Finally feels like I am at university!

Gotta say I've never lined up for so long to do something...and walked so much. Got home and my legs were aching. I decided to skip out on partying today as I was wayyy too tired and I feel a bit overwhelmed by everything. So far I'm only planning to go to the Medics Fresher Fever party on Thursday.

Oh and some good tips about freshers: MAKE SURE YOU ARE IN THE RIGHT LINE! I saw a few people lining up for an hour plus and didn't realize they were in the wrong line. They were so pissed to have found out that they wasted an hour + of just waiting for nothing. Make sure you follow your schedules and bring a map along if you aren't in a campus university. Also don't be afraid to ask people where things are. People generally are pretty nice and will help you out. I think the best way to get to know a place is to get lost and figure out your way back. You learn the roads better. Also try and meet some people. Say hi to everyone and you'll surely meet someone from your course! It is a lot easier to get around when you know someone.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Well I've been settling into my place for a few days now, trying to find my barrings and getting lost frequently. First thing I realized when I got to England was that people walk EVERYWHERE. Back in Canada, we drive everywhere. My legs were killing me by today. Anyways I had a party tonight which was held by the university. It was a "Beach Party" and it was to celebrate the end of summer. Few things I've learned:

1) Don't wear flip-flops to parties
2) Don't wear flip-flops to parties

Yes - some of you may think I am retarded but I wore flip-flops to the party and got stomped on, had drinks spilled all over my feet, and lost my flip-flops several times. The ground is extremely sticky so walking is a pain. To be honest, the drinks at the union were pretty cheap. They were about 1 - 3.50 pounds. Nice thing about the party was that the DJ was pretty good and had really good songs playing. Great songs to dance to. I also met up with a high school friend who's a year older than me and she introduced me to some of her friends. They were all very nice and welcoming.

Seriously, the parties at unis are totally overhyped unless you're the type who enjoys getting hammered and waking up hungover. All you do is dance and dance...and drink more and yeah it is fun but after a few hours it gets tiring and boring. Plus half the people are heavily intoxicated and are spilling stuff all over you. Saw a poor guy who got puked all over and the guy who puked didn't even notice that he puked on someone. It was pretty gross.

Hm im actually pretty nervous about tomorrow (which is officially the first day of Fresher's Week). I'm scared it'll be a bit awkward being all on my own and not knowing anyone. Yikes. Hopefully it'll be fine tomorrow.