It's Saturday afternoon and my head is still pounding. My fingers are shaking slightly and my mouth is dry - it's my first proper hangover in a long time and I'd forgotten just how badly I cope with them and how much of a relative lightweight I've become since a) getting older and b) starting med school. (a) is inevitable unfortunately but (b) is somewhat surprising considering that medical school is supposed to be about "working hard and playing hard"...but I'm not sure that phrase can be applied to the accelerated pre-clinical phase of a medical degree, at least, not for me.
In the run up to the summer exams I didn't really go out at all with the work, so my body has rather overestimated how much drink I can handle, so I'm paying for it now, and unfortunately I'm not yet qualified to administer the "Cadillac of all hangover cures" either. But since this was my first week back and exams are still three months away, it would have been stupid not to go out. It was a fitting end to a fun but intense first week back!
Over the summer I didn't really look at my books or notes at all. I told myself I would casually look through my notes for perhaps an hour a day but it never actually happened (we get examined on GEP Y1 content in December again so you can't just forget about it). But until I got my results back and my summer holiday properly began, I hadn't realised just how tired and drained I felt after the end of GEP Y1. I didn't feel it before then due to the adrenaline rush of having exams and so on, but as soon as all of these pressures were lifted I didn't really want to do anything apart from sleep, get up late, see friends, find new music, and not have to care about anything remotely academic. The mere thought of looking through my basic science revision notes again made me want to run or scream or something. That said, I did read through my clinical skills handbook during the final few weeks of August as I don't want to look totally incompetent when I start weekly ward placements in a few days. But I don't think that really counts as proper work, so consequently I felt pretty well rested by the end of August and ready to start GEP Y2.
First week back was good for several reasons. First and foremost, I was finally made aware of how it feels to be happy to be back at uni AND to happy to be continuing your course. On my previous degree, I was always very happy to move back to halls and see my friends and so on, but I was never really interested in the course or the new modules or anything like that. Thankfully here I'm happy with everything and I am looking forward to the new modules we're doing this term - and that feeling of contentment is very nice indeed. It's what I've been aiming for a long time now.
The new modules we're doing this term seem demanding but also very interesting. It's good to finally be able to piece together the final few body systems we have left to do and some other odds and ends, before hopefully starting clinical medicine in January. Even the dreaded neuro didn't seem so terrible following the first set of lectures. Admittedly, it will probably get harder as it goes on, so I'll reserve final judgement until a few weeks time, but what I'm trying to say is that it didn't seem totally awful from the off which was somewhat encouraging! Similarly, we were given a lot of anatomy to do with the respiratory system in the first session. That was quite overwhelming but after this the module becomes more concerned with physiology and different clinical conditions, both of which I find more manageable than lots of anatomy, so it should hopefully be alright. Basically, I'm hoping that by taking things one day at a time, I won't get excessively stressed out by it all.
The one slightly worrying thing is that our exam dates have been released and we only have 15 days dedicated study leave for revision. Considering this is the final pre-clinical exam which will test us on both year 1 and year 2 material, just over a fortnight doesn't seem like very much time at all. But at this point, I'm trying not to think about that in too much depth - I will merely try to stay on top of things as much as possible during this term so that those 15 days can be used for as much revision as possible. Then hopefully it'll be on to clinical medicine, which if our weekly ward placements are anything to go by, should be really, really good so that's definitely a decent source of motivation!