Sunday, May 29, 2016

4th year in Launceston so far

Well. It's been absolutely ages since I've blogged, so what better time to start again than when I'm desperately procrastinating doing the million things I need to do?

I'm now in my 4th year of med school, living in Launnie with two interns. It's a big, big jump from 3rd year in Hobart. Sure, 3rd year involved a bunch of clinical stuff too, but the changes in location, environment, workload, and company were a pretty unpleasant shock to the system. For one thing, I am a creature of habit -- I like going to the same places, proper prior planning, and I hate surprises (in other words, I am utterly boring). Here I was now in a completely new place, with no sense of direction whatsoever, needing to go to rooms in the hospital I'd never heard of, missing my friends in Hobart, and wait was that a new tute that just got scheduled for today? Everyone around me seemed so on top of everything and annoyingly competent. I felt like a hot mess in comparison, except not, because Launnie is always so cold.

The first month or so here was rather nightmarish. There were periods of time when I was absolutely miserable, and really not in a good place. However, there were people who helped pick me up, and I am eternally grateful to them for not writing off the sad, defeatist ball of negativity that I was.

Fast forward two and a half months, and here we are. I can't believe we're almost at the middle of the year already. Have things gotten better? Probably. I started off the year with Paeds, which is a pretty full-on rotation -- there were on calls and a skills checklist and a hundred thousand online modules to be completed that take ten hundred thousand hours in total to get through (everyone complains bitterly about them, but the truth is that you do learn quite a bit). I'm now on Med Specs, which is so much more chill; I was on Resp for two weeks, and we had no inpatients for almost all of the second week. No inpatients doesn't mean you slack off, though, because there's always things you've got to do, like case commentaries and research opportunity stuff and electives planning and reading up on things.

Coming into 4th year taught me new ways of learning. Books and stuff are great, but if you have clinical experiences to base your learning on, you're going to understand and remember so much better. I see learning in clinical years like this:
1. You don't know what you don't know.
2. You come across conditions or symptoms or procedures you'd never heard of before.
3. You know what you don't know.
4. You ask the doctors questions and/or hop on Google and/or hit the textbooks.
5. You know, and know that you know.
It's such a foreign way of learning, but it's actually great and probably good preparation for the whole lifelong learning thing that doctors are supposed to do.

It weirds me out to look at doctors and think that that's going to be me one day. If all goes well, I'll be an intern in two years, and then all won't be well anymore because it is incredibly stressful. Living with two interns has shown me how hard #internlyf is, and when I listen to their tales of woe, I sarcastically thank them for making the future sound so bright. If it's so hard here, I can't imagine what it's like to be an intern back home (after your six-month wait) or in Singapore. It's crazy.

Anyway, living with these two has been fun because they let me eavesdrop on their conversations on hospital gossip and politics. These get even more interesting when friends with more juicy stories to share come over for meals, or just to chat. I stand at the kitchen counter nursing a mug of tea while they sit at our tiny dining table, yammering away. They've said they don't mind my being there, so I listen and absorb their talk with a sort of quiet respect, wondering if this is what it's like to have an older sibling -- privy to the conversations of the older kids, but not quite a part of the circle.

Okay, I think I've procrastinated long enough. I guess what I wanted to say is: Hi, I'm in Launnie now. I had trouble adjusting but am okay currently, and here are some of the things I've been up to. I hope to blog more throughout the year, but I say that every time I post something, so I suppose we'll just wait and see. As for now, it's time to get started on some of the things I should've been doing instead of posting this.

Well. Maybe after another mug of tea. Or two. Or three.

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