Hello! Since this is my first blog post, I’ll quickly introduce myself… I’m Joanne, a second year medical student at Newcastle Uni. I’ve lived in Newcastle since I was 3 (just couldn’t bring myself to leave!), and I like socialising with my friends, making music and eating sweet things. Welcome to this little peephole into my life. 😀
In case you’re wondering what first year was like, I’d probably call it the best year of my life so far. Sounds horribly cheesy, but I’m not even exaggerating! The completely new experience of being at uni, meeting so many new amazing people, and learning more new things than I thought was humanly possible, all combined into one year of awesomeness.
Not gonna lie, it was hard work. Having 9am starts practically every day is difficult when you love sleep as much as I do. (‘Lie-in envy’ is definitely a thing.) We usually have around 20 contact hours a week, comprising mainly of lectures, along with some seminars, dissecting room and clinical skills sessions, and the occasional IT skills session. Our first exam was in November, with two more in both January and May.
But the ‘work hard play hard’ mantra rings particularly true here – Medsoc, the medical student society, holds a weekly social, and organises big events like the Winter Ball and Metroline. You’ll have plenty of time to join other societies and clubs if you organise your time well, so it’s not like you need to be locked in your room studying all day.
We also get to do some fun clinical stuff early on (helpful in reminding you that you’re studying medicine to be a doctor, not a biochemist!), which some other medical schools don’t offer. Volunteers come in to be ‘patients’ in Clinical Skills sessions, kindly allowing you to practise things like respiratory examinations on them. As well as several GP and hospital visits, we visited a pregnant mother in her home over the year, as part of our Family Study assignment. But the most fun part was definitely practising taking blood from each other (tip – choose a friend with good veins)!
Now, we’re only 4 weeks into second year, but it already feels like things have got much more serious. Our current module, ‘Thought, Senses and Movement’, is all about our brain and nervous system. One of our lecturers showed us this picture in the first lecture of the module, and it’s proving to be very accurate…
Okay, maybe not literally, but I do feel like the more we’re taught about brains, the more my own turns to mush… We also have dissection sessions on the head and neck, which is kinda creepy, but mainly cool. I can now officially say that I have held an actual human brain in my hands!
This year, instead of the Family Study, we do a Patient Study, which involves visiting a patient with a chronic disease, and finding out more about their illness and its impact on their life. We also have a GP visit this semester, and the opportunity to shadow a hospital consultant for a day. My hospital placement is paediatric anaesthesia in ophthalmic theatre – basically children’s eye surgery, which I’m crazily excited for.
Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this brief insight into my life, and I haven’t bored you too much. There’s so much more to tell, but this post is getting too long so it’ll have to wait till next time!