Expectation vs. Reality (Medic Series)

Everyone said it wouldn't be any harder. Everyone said university isn’t a step up but a step across. Don’t believe them. Don’t take their word for it. They lie.

At least for me.

University was the hardest thing I've ever done. I love living alone, I loved being independent, I love being able to do what I wanted, when I wanted to do it, but making new friends isn't easy for me. I find it hard to make friends let alone become confident enough in that friendship to let them in, to open up and be me. Being in a flat with no friends is hard. This article really struck a cord with me because I can relate on so many levels.

I've always been relatively mature – even if I do say so myself – so I didn't mind suddenly having to manage finances. That wasn't the hard part. Time managing is my strong point. I love being organised have a schedule and making plans, way too far in advance than is necessary.

I think it's very course dependent but I struggled. I knew medicine would be challenging but I didn't know it would be this hard. The actual knowledge is difficult but once grasped its okay. It’s the vast amount that you have to learn so quickly. Cramming all that into your brain when you are used to learning a month worth of work in a whole A-Level qualification.... It’s such a change. And it has to be learnt fast. It’s not something that is a gradual process it’s hard.

By now, some of my regular readers, may know that I am a first year medical student at University College London (UCL) but I've done it before. I'm resitting the year and for a while it took me a long time to say that out aloud, for me to accept it and for me to be okay with it. I still hate when people ask what year I am in or how long I have been at university because I've been here for 2 years but I'm in year one. What do I say? Do I simply say year 1 or 2 years….then I usually find myself qualifying it with the whole story. I feel like an idiot and at one point I was so depressed, I didn’t know if I’ll ever be happy with myself but I’m beginning to get okay with it.

I went from being one of the smartest in my high school, top set in everything, to the ‘norm’ in college. A lot of people were clever but it wasn’t a selective college for people in the catchment area so you just needed 5C’s to get in. Medicine at UCL was completely different. Suddenly, I was thrown into this crazy world with all these students that were the smartest of the smart. They excelled in a competitive environment and when UCL give decile ranking to show your position, it becomes intimidating.

I was never one to worry about passing. I was always scared of not getting A*s and as but never failing. I didn’t have any pressure from anyone else; my mum was - and still is - supportive of anything I do and my dad would probably be disappointed but he was never forceful. I did it to myself. Right now? My expectations of myself are so low, I’ll be happy with any sort of pass, I don’t care abbot the mark. Please just pass.

I have no idea what these results will say this year. Honestly, I’m not too hopeful. I don’t think I’ve done enough. But I’ve grown to accept this.

At first, I just kept telling myself that I’d wasted my time if I fail but honestly, as I think more and more about it, I realise how much I have grown in the last year alone. I know, I know. It’s cliché. But it’s true I’ve changed. I’ve got stronger. I’ve got better. I’ve learnt so much about myself.

Whatever happens I know I’ll be okay. I’ve been forced into situations that I never thought I would be in and they have made me wiser in years beyond my age.


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