Part 1: the Pre-Clinical years
6am: Don’t delivery trucks realise that we have lectures at 9am?
7.45am: Jump out of bed ready to start the day – and by that, I mean repeatedly snooze my alarm clock at 9-minute intervals wondering sleepily whether I can get away with skipping breakfast – but I have dissection today, that would be a bad idea…
8.21am: Time to quickly read over today’s lectures so I have an idea of what’s going on and can follow them better… or wait for the slides to load on my phone while pouring myself some cereal one-handed
8.55am: I am so glad lectures are just a 5-minute speed-walk away
9am: Lectures get notoriously cliquey pretty early on in the year. There are the college/society groups spotted with their identical hoodies in packs, the front-row kids and those hiding in the corners right at the back (I mean can they even see the slides?)
10am: Two hours of bonding time with your small dissection groups over a cadaver. Possibly a measure of internal desires to become a surgeon and/or pathologist, but there’s usually the one or two that will whip out their scalpels and get right in there while everyone else watches/stands back warily. Dubious food analogies and “is that a tendon or a vein…?” doubts aside, these sessions are really useful for getting to grips with anatomy and not to mention invaluable for the anatomy exams at the end of the year. Just make sure you’ve had a look at the session before (the supervisors WILL grill you) and that you’ve had a good breakfast – for some reason, dissection tends to make you peckish…
12pm: More lectures…
1pm: Pop back to college for some lunch in hall, a nice reprieve in the middle of the day to actually chat to some non-medics
2pm: And it’s back to work! Two hour physiology practical this time – usually involving mars bars, exercise bikes and frogs legs, these can be a lot of fun and a great way to learn about physiology in a hands-on way. Just expect to spend a lot of time gaining a glimpse into what being a clinical student is like – spending far too long analysing that little notch in your ECG and wondering if you have some kind of lifelong underlying cardiac pathology that no-one has ever told you about and whether you should really get that checked out or not, and comparing your exercise tolerance with that of the general population and being a little concerned (or was that just me?)
4pm: More lectures
5pm: Pre-supervision lecture note cramming while attempting to eat some less-than-nourishing dinner
6pm: Excitement for supervisions can vary depending on your supervisor and your relationship with them, but they are undeniably an excellent way to keep track of your lectures, keep learning and make sure you know how to write essays before exam term hits. As you’re only in groups of about 2-5, there isn’t really anywhere to hide, so working that bit harder on an essay or flicking through the relevant lectures beforehand is a sure-fire way to make you feel that little bit smug when you get a “well done!” from your supervisor
8pm: Finally back to my room after being waylaid chatting to the folks on my corridor for a bit, and it’s time to make a start on that essay! But they did mention a group of them were heading down to the college bar in a bit, maybe I could just pop down for an hour or so…
3am: … time to sleep I guess. Another day awaits!