There's a reason I'm not a poet

Posts tagged ‘jumping hurdles’

Examine that

On Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of sitting some exams. I thought it was two three-hour papers, but I found out on Sunday that it was in fact three papers. So you can tell the extent of the preparation I did for them..

It’s a bit annoying sitting professional exams- necessary hoops to jump through in order to progress in any speciality. Unlike exams at university, there’s no-one else really going through the exams with you, and other people don’t really understand what the exams are, so there’s a distinct lack of sympathy for attention-seeking people such as myself. Again unlike at university, you don’t get any time off to revise/learn for them, so all your work is being done in the evening when you’ve just come home from a (usually tiring) day at work. There’s also no sense of relief when you finish or pass them, as you’ve gotta go back to work and again, there’s no-one else doing them. The benefit of them not being university exams is that you can resit them if you fail. It just costs you several hundred quid each pop.

I shouldn’t complain too much though. It is useful learning things, and I’ve found myself using some of the new information in work. And any difficulty with passing them is probably down to my laziness more than anything else. They were difficult, but they were always gonna be difficult, so we’ll see in a couple of weeks time how they went.

Work’s been going well recently. Initially when I came back I was piecing together one-off shifts to get some money in, but since the start of February I’ve been working on a full rota in a hospital in Belfast. It’s been nice having a steady routine and income, and as well the hospital is small and really friendly which helps with job satisfaction. Got on a work night out the other week after some night shifts and had the standard slightly-awkward conversations in work several days later when people comment on my unexpected dancing enthusiasm.

I’ll be there until the end of this month, when I’m doing a couple of weeks in a lab doing voluntary work (essentially a studentship) to try and see what I think of research and whether/how much I’d want it to be a part of my future career. So at the minute I’m in saving mode to try and prepare for being unemployed again!

A pretty major positive over the past few weeks is that my sister has been able to come up to Belfast a good number of times with my new nephew in tow! The wee dude is doing really well, and is a very well-behaved child, rarely venturing anywhere near crying. I was really honoured a couple of weeks ago when I was asked to be his godfather! I said yes, as I figured any opportunity to further my mission to become his favourite should definitely be taken.



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”




Easter holiday has been nice so far. Enjoying the increased calorie intake that comes with being at home and not having to pay for my biscuit addiction. I’ve also been spending a fair amount of my time playing this:

Easter Sunday ended up being a bit of a boozey day- my sisters had some friends round in the evening, and with us drinking during the daytime, we racked up an embarrassing tally of 11 empty wine bottles. Never let it be said the Irish aren’t up for a good time.

My dad unfortunately missed all the fun- his passport got stolen when abroad, and because of bank holidays etc. he wasn’t able to get a replacement until Tuesday, so for the first time we celebrated a holiday without him! Which was a little strange, but as I told him we probably wouldn’t have enjoyed our day as much had he been around.

Weather’s been fantastic recently; went up to the North Coast at the start of the week and spent a fair few hours sitting in the back garden of a friend’s house- I even got a little sunburnt! Admittedly with my Jack Skellington-like complexion I get sunburn when I walk past lamps, but it’s still exciting that we’re headed towards summer

Sadly I need to get past the old hurdle of finals before then. As per usual there are the daily mood swings between sweet denial and depressed recognition of just how much I don’t actually know. At the minute I’m looking at the second option sadly, but I’m meeting my friend for some lunch shortly so hoping to swing back to the first.

Have good days!


Rolling down the road

It’s all go at the minute. Tomorrow we find out where we’re going to be for the next two years, so understandably there are a few people whose nerves are a bit on edge.

Things are also wrapping up on placement- my last day is on Tuesday. I feel like I’ve learnt a lot over the past nine weeks or so, and am feeling a lot more confident for that first day introducing myself as one of the doctors. Of course though when it actually happens I will be wetting myself with fear. Next up is my surgery placement, which will be useful in that I know next to nothing about surgery, but if I’m honest I intend on spending a considerably smaller amount of time on the ward and a lot more time in the library. Hardcore as ever.

I’ve had another fat weekend (aw yeah) with pancakes, a birthday party at one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants and a trip to a new dumpling place that has just opened up (maaaaaaan they were tasty). The birthday party last night was great craic, as there was a good crowd of about thirty people and freely-flowing alcohol kindly paid for by the birthday girl’s mum. At one point Karate Kim and I decided to have a joint birthday party with LASER QUEST which inevitably turned into a competition to see who could get the most badass killer-instinct people to sign up to be on their team. May the odds be ever in my favour.

Another change is the arrival of my shiny new iPhone! I say new- I’ve got it off a friend of mine, Plato, who’s had it for two years before upgrading to something else. But seeing as I’m used to extremely basic Nokias, it’s a big step up. He’s called Mycroft, and is currently without a SIM card as I’m waiting for it to be unlocked. So I’m basically just sitting in libraries on Snapchat and competing against my sister on Harry Potter quizzes (which of course I’m winning). The big decision was what phone cover to get and one is on its way from China towards me now (I MEAN LOOK AT IT)

The last change is that today was the first day I’ve gone outside with only one layer on in months! I think we hit 17 degrees today, which is pretty great considering four days ago I was still wearing gloves and a scarf. WINTER IS FINALLY DEAD. And pretty soon this will be me.

Anyway I’d best go pack for placement, I’m heading off soon. Have nice weeks! Hopefully I will have good news soon


Let the good times roll

I lived the life of a socialite this weekend just past, heading to London on Saturday (after a boozey dinner on Friday) to meet up with a few friends for a house party and a return to the “glory days” of 2009. I stuck that in quotation marks because whether you’re using the amount of fun I had, the length of my hair, or the effects of alcohol on my liver as your reference point, you mightn’t classify that part of my life as “good”.

The theme (there’s always a theme) was Sparkle & Shine. Manly. Having taken part in a pantomime last year, I actually did have something that would suit- a bright red jacket covered in gold shiny things. But over the Christmas holidays I looked at it and thought “Will I bring this back to uni? Let’s be honest, I’m too old and boring to go to any fancy dress parties where this will be useful”. Fool.

So, I was left with the option of covering myself in some form of tin foil. I think my aim was along the lines of a tin foil Hercules, but what I ended up with was a metal bib and some wine stains on my t-shirt. Kind of a metaphor for my life really. But it was still a really fun night, at least judging from my drunk texts. It’s more difficult these days to organise things that everyone manages to get to (especially if people have London jobs), so I enjoy the opportunity to meet up.

On the Sunday I met up with two school friends which was nice- of the ones who went away from home for university I’m still the only one who actually wants to go back home, and as Poor Little Rich Boy pointed out, it is the right choice for me at this point. He said that when I talk about things I’ve got planned in the future, I get a lot more animated and enthusiastic when the thing I’m looking forward to involves going back to Northern Ireland.

So, I’ve got my fingers crossed for March 10th, which is the day when I find out whether or not they’ll actually allow me to come over and start telling people to take drugs and drink lots of water. Everyone in the country finds out on the same day, so I expect it’ll be another quite boozey night, whether it’s celebrations or commiserations!

I’m hoping to do a night shift tonight, so I’m gonna head off now and get myself sorted/psyched up for it. I’ve done one or two before on the surgical team (which were uneventful) but never as the medical team. Obviously the patients are sleeping so there’s not a need for as many staff to be about, and so three or so doctors that will be on-site to cover around 250 patients, and if something goes wrong it’s you that has to sort it out. That’s more than a little bit terrifying, so I figure I don’t want the first time I’m faced with that to be on my first day- so thought it’d be a good idea to get some experience in it when I don’t have the title of doctor in front of my name. Wish me luck!


Black tie Friday

Had the SJT on Friday- one more hurdle passed! I’m one step closer to the dream of being exam-free. Which, if they bring in consultant re-accreditation exams, won’t be until I’m in my seventies. It was harder than I expected it would be actually; I had myself prepared beforehand to feel rubbish at the end of it as unlike some other exams I’ve done in the past you have no idea if you’ve gotten any questions right- with every question you’re choosing between different shades of grey. Aside from knowing that getting two people who hate each other drunk is a bad idea I was quite unsure about a lot of my answers. But it’s great to have it over and done with- now just have to wait until the Spring to find out where I’ll be next year!

Luckily though we had something planned afterwards as a quick pick-me-up: a black tie ball! It’s not all misery and guts in my life as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I’ll be doing finals at exactly the wrong time in June, so my friends and I were keen to go to this one to make up for missing out later on this year. I went with a bunch of other medics, and after a quick turnaround following the exam we headed off in our taxis and joined the queue to get in. Thankfully it wasn’t raining but man alive it was cold. The organisers very kindly provided mulled cider, pigs in blankets and mince pies though to keep you fed in the queue, and jugglers and an accordionist to keep us entertained!

I foolishly went crazy on the queue food though, totalling 8.5 mince pies, 8 pigs in blankets and 2 cups of mulled cider, which meant I was really flipping full by the time I got inside. Rookie mistake- meant I didn’t get to enjoy the food inside half as much as I could have done! Which was a kick in the teeth, the whole thing being french themed so kitted out with beef bourgignon, ratatouille, profiteroles and ridiculous numbers of pastries. So I paid the price for my greed!

Probably the best bit about the night was the entertainment- the person in charge really did a number on the acts they got. First up was a band called Amber Run, from London I think. Bunch of young semi-hipsters, but they were playing some cracking tunes. Sort of reminded me of a band I’m getting into these days called To Kill A King. Unlike some other small bands/those with young members, they had a good amount of chat and banter with the crowd. The frontman was a bit of a smooth-talker I think, saying “to the guys, you all look fantastic, and to the girls- I wish I was clever enough to date you”. I was up at the front bopping in my tux, and really enjoyed their set so will be keeping an eye out for them in the future.

Next up were The Jive Aces, a jive/swing band who formed in the late 80s but I think recently became a bit more well-known by appearing on Britain’s Got Talent. They were an excellent choice again for the event, because they really worked the crowd, were each fantastic showmen (from spinning a double bass to entertaining moustaches, bright yellow suits and playing the piano with your elbow) and got the whole crowd going nuts attempting to jive. There was actually a group of people at the front who did know how to dance properly, so naturally I gave it a go and tried my hand. I could just about handle some of the solo moves but when Millbag and I attempted to dance together I ended up whacking her in the head with her own arm. I’ll maybe give that one a miss in the future.

The last act were an Irish duo called Husdon Taylor, who got people riled up again into jig-mode, so you can guess that (added to the Silent Disco), by the end of the night there were plenty of sore feet around! Another highlight was the karaoke, and belting out All I Want For Christmas Is You while everyone else judged us- always a plus. With the singing (or rather shouting) and the drinks last night my voice is pretty much in full hibernation at the moment. But it was a great night so well worth it!

On that note actually I’m getting very excited about CHRISTMAS. I’ll write about it in a bit more detail at a later date but with a carol service, eggnog, mince pies and our annual Christmas dinner all coming up things are exciting!


P.S. I just forgot- whole thing was french-themed so I tried snails last night and they were DISGUSTING. Based on how they tasted I didn’t have the courage to try the frogs’ legs