There's a reason I'm not a poet

I just found wifi



This is my first post from my old new home in Northern Ireland! These past few days have mainly been spent tidying my room, making it messy again by unpacking, and repeating this cycle over and over again. I’ve also managed to hang out with the familial units a fair number of times and met up with a few of my friends for a movie night (as a sidenote, we ordered a takeaway and apparently ordered so much food that the company sent someone round to the house to make sure it wasn’t a prank call)

Today has mainly involved sitting on the edge of my seat watching the Wimbledon final- what a match! I was cheering for Federer the whole time and was gutted for him at the end. They’re both fantastic athletes so you’ve gotta give them credit for how tough it would have been to keep giving their all the whole time.

I’ve also been ducking into a few shops trying to buy some supplies as I’m off on my travels tomorrow! Myself and a few lads from home are headed to mainland Europe to do some inter-railing. Or at least that was the plan- as I’ve been asked to start work a bit early we’re only going to three places, and I’m only actually getting a train once. But it’s set to be fantastic fun- we’ll be heading to Prague, Krakow and Budapest.

Last year I kept a sort of travel blog, in an attempt to keep my nearest and/or dearest up to date with what was happening. I don’t envisage that happening this time if I’m honest, as we’re only away for just under two weeks but I’ll try to write stuff down so I can at least vaguely remember what the craic is while we’re away. The bits that aren’t clouded by cheap European beer that is.

Onwards and outwards



Semper eadem

So I leave tomorrow- this is my last night in England.

I don’t think I’m a massively sentimental person, but I would say I’m at least pensive- so I’m having a think back on my six years here: how much fun it’s been, who I’ve met, and what I’ve achieved. I’m happy to say that while obviously there have been social situations where I’ve said the wrong thing (or things I would have liked to have done more etc.) I don’t think I have any major regrets.

We had our “Declaration Ceremony” on Sunday- it’s like a graduation, but not. It’s more of a ceremony where you profess to follow the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, but family are invited to take the obligatory photos of you prancing about in a gown and a funny-looking hood (ours were hot pink with white fluff. Manly)
While essentially it was one big queue, I had a fricking great time. Hearing my name being read out and having some applause/cheer was a fantastic feeling, and in true Michael style I had the stupidest grin on my face when I went up to the front. At the end though, I hadn’t really thought about the fact that I would be saying bye to people. So all of a sudden I found myself trying to thank people in about thirty seconds for being the kick-ass, superfriendly people that they have been for several years. Naturally I failed completely, and so afterwards I sent a few soppy text messages and got to ruminating.

And now I’m leaving.

At the risk of sounding like the most pretentious d*****bag ever, I’m reminded of a poem I heard several years ago. I think it was originally written in Chinese and to be completely honest half of the language/imagery doesn’t work very well, for example I’ve never quite understood the line “I would be a water plant”
The last sentence has always struck me though- it describes a visiting scholar called Xu Zhimo, on the evening he’s leaving Cambridge. The place is at heart the same it has always been, and will very much remain so for a long time. While I’m extremely lucky to have studied here, and I feel like I’ve achieved a lot/possibly made a difference in some people’s lives, Cambridge itself will remain unchanged by my presence. It’s not necessarily a sad feeling, but it’s kind of poignant. His poem ends on a bit that does in fact translate well, and to me talks about how that feels:


Very quietly I take my leave
As quietly as I came here;
Gently I flick my sleeves
Not even a wisp of cloud will I bring away

This is it guys. It’s been a pleasure


Trust me

You guys.



I keep remembering this and either getting a stupid grin on my face or having a wee wiggle dance to celebrate.

To actually celebrate we had our graduation ball last night which was fantastic. Spent the evening going round to everyone saying “Hello Dr Smith”, “Hello Dr Whithershins” which was THE MOST FUN THING EVER. There was also a fireworks display which felt amazing to watch because it was essentially put on just for us.

The dean spoke for a bit, and admitted that although the university always goes on about what makes a good doctor, she couldn’t not leave us without three principles to follow, so I’m writing them down here so I don’t forget:

  • Competence- first and foremost, be good at your job and know how to help people
  • Attention to detail- follow things up, don’t take things for granted and always keep your eyes open
  • Kindness- often overlooked, but it’s a job that revolves entirely around interacting with others, and I’ve seen myself how this can pay dividends

Anyway I’d best head off as my family are arriving in a few hours and I have a lot of packing that should be finished before then.

One last time: I’M A DOCTOR NOW


Written on 23rd June, 18:14

How to round up six years? Finals are over, and I feel like now that I’m coming to the end I need to be churning out deep poignant sayings that could end up written over stock photos as inspirational posters, or saying super-emotional goodbyes to people. Buuuut that doesn’t seem to be happening so maybe I just won’t.

Nevertheless, these six years have been pretty momentous as a period in my life. It’s a hefty chunk, and arguably as you’ve flown the nest and are trying a lot of new things, it’s the most formative period. Your brain finishes developing around this time, and you become the person that you’re going to roughly be for the rest of your life. Don’t worry yourself though- I’m not going to waste the valuable space on the internet with armchair-philosophical ruminations on the man I’ve become, as much as you’d love to read about it I’m sure.

I spent the weekend in London attempting to see as many people as possible before I leave England and I actually managed to do a decent job of it- I managed to see a fair number of people, and to spend a decent amount of time with each of them- the worry is that you have to dash off after about five minutes of spending time with people that you used to hang out with for whole days. Of course, there was food involved (rooftop terrace burgers, homemade pancakes fancy dim sum, Selfridge’s ice cream and sourdough pizza) and I managed to squeeze in a few nice views of London’s skyline and even a trip to the old Olympic park. The people I’ve met here have really been fantastic, and I’m grateful to them all for helping me enjoy myself so much over these few years.

This week involves several Last Suppers, LASER QUEST, packing away my life and throwing away some of my endless clutter and then (hopefully) officially becoming a doctorrrrrr. Before graduating and fecking off out of this place. I have a graduation ball on Friday which I’m really looking forward to and then the fam are coming over at the weekend to celebrate! I can see it becoming a bit of a blur. Which thankfully the past six years have managed not to be- I’ve enjoyed myself to such a huge amount, and as much as dead-inside-Michael can manage, I’ll miss England.


The finals countdown



This is exactly how I’m not feeling right now.

In previous years, exam term has been a worrying time, with adrenaline flowing pretty much all the time, trade-offs between hours spent sleeping and hours spent in the library, and hyped-up feelings of guilt when any time is spent not working. This year though it’s been playing games on my tablet, jetting off to Italy and going to formals. So just a little bit more relaxed.

In a previous entry I wrote about setting a target of how I wanted to do this year when it came to exams. I guess as the year went on I kind of decided that I wanted to aim high and do really well in these exams, come out with a shiny sticker saying Well Done. And I mean I do really like stickers, but over the past few weeks I’ve kind of changed my mind. I had an idea in my head of where I wanted to be at this stage: the things I wanted to know, the level of confidence I wanted to have with the material, the number of times I wanted to have gone through certain parts of my notes, the preparation I wanted to have done for the smaller, fine-tuned aspects of the exams. And I realised that while some others around me were at that stage, I very much wasn’t.

I was greeted with the option of working incredibly hard, probably harder than I’ve had to before, and I’d still not be guaranteed that I could do it; or else to instead keep working at a steady pace and pass the exams with a hopefully decent mark. Being a person who values happiness/lazy (delete as appropriate), I went for the latter. And so I’m feeling quite content, getting lots of sleep and not really one bit stressed. I’m still working a large number of hours every day, but I’ve changed my expectations and I’m not getting worked up about the exams.

A pessimistic interpretation would be that it’s like falling at the last hurdle. A more realistic analogy would be if I got to the end, looked at the final hurdle and thought “Nah, that’s a bit tall and I’m tired- I think I’ll just walk around this one”



So I’ve had a bit of a blunder.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been doing reasonably well with my finances over the past few months. I haven’t had lots of money, but I’ve been managing to get by on what I have got left. Being cheap, I’ve left my overdraft relatively unharmed until my final year of uni and I’d budgeted in my head for fun things (like Italy, or inter-railing this summer) in order to use up my overdraft just in time for starting work.

Coming back after the holidays, I opened a few dreaded envelopes and said a teary goodbye to a few hundred quid as I paid the bills I’d been putting off. But I didn’t mind too much, as I knew I’d have my student loan coming in shortly.

Or so I thought.

As it turns out, I’d forgotten about a minor fact. As well as reducing the total amount of student loan I got this year (again), they decided to give me it in two instalments rather than three. Meaning I’ve actually already had all the money I’m going to get from the lovely student finance people. My initial reaction was something like this

I’ve done some calculations though and HOPEFULLY I’ll be alright. Probably. With luck.


As one of my friends pointed out though it’s now coming up very close to exams (three weeks- aaaaaaahhhhhhhh) so apart from my birthday in a few days I shouldn’t be having any fun for the foreseeable future anyway. Huzzah.



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