Thursday, 17 June 2010


Knowledge can be a horrible thing. In primary school they told us that Adam and Eve were the first to realise this (had they actually existed that is), and like so many others I too have realised that knowledge is a lot harder to swallow than the ignorant bliss in which I have existed for the past three weeks, completely unaware of what my results would be.

I got a 2:2. Again. Same as first year. For the life of me I am confused as to how this could happen given that, without wanting to brag, my coursework marks this year have been very good. I can hand on heart say that I worked hard this year and did not doss around. This leads me to logically conclude that my problem is not aptitude (i.e. I am not too stupid for this course) but rather that I have a problem with exam technique. Which used to definitely be an issue during A levels but I thought I'd left that behind when I came to university. Apparently not. Whatever the reason I need to figure how to improve my exam technique.

In terms of medicine, I have taken the decision not to apply for 2011 entry. My adviser has refused to predict me a 2:1 so therefore making an application will only lead to unneeded stress and false hope. Third year is worth 60% of the entire BSc, so should I pull myself up to a 2:1, I would consider applying for medicine then. Though I will be honest with you, after today's results I do not feel like studying medicine will be an achievable goal, not now anyway.

For 2011 entry I shall be applying for the MSc in Allergy at Southampton and the course organiser has confirmed they would take me with a 2:2. And I really did enjoy studying allergy and hypersensitivity this year.

In terms of this blog, I am not sure of its future. I briefly considered dropping out of the course altogether, though I have invested too much time (and money) in this course to just drop it, especially when I'm quite close to graduating. I'd rather graduate with a 2:2 than nothing. Most likely it will be back in September filled with moans and groans about life as a biomed, though if anyone is expecting details of experiences with medical school interviews or whatever, don't hold your breath, it's not happening.

I do hope one day to become a medical student, though for the time being that wish has taken a back seat. And for the first time in years I feel of the stress and uncertainty...the feeling of "Will I make it?! Won't I make it?!"...I now know that there is no chance of me gaining a place in 2011 so I feel I can finally concentrate on my degree without being continually worried about my chances of getting a medical offer. It's not that I'm happy about not applying for medicine...but it is a weight off my mind.

I would however like to say a big thank you to everyone who's read and commented since the beginning of the year when the blog was founded, you've all been really supportive and the advice and help given has really been great. Cheers :)

My best wishes and kindest thoughts to you all

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Final thoughts

This time tomorrow I'll know. My adviser is available from 12-2 for people in our tutor group to drop in and collect their results. In addition to this, tomorrow morning there will be a meeting about applying to Barts and the London for medicine...

"There will be a meeting on Thursday 17th June at 10.30-11 am in Francis Bancroft 2.40 lecture theatre to brief you on the new procedures for applying to Barts Medical School for 2011 entry. I have asked for a member of the Barts admissions team to be in attendance to give the talk and answer questions.

It will be in your interest to attend this meeting.

Kelvin Smith"

Which should be interesting. Back in the day they told us that there were 30 places available at Barts and the London for QMUL Biomedical Science graduates, though recently SBCS has been ominously quiet about this which leads me to think that the "new procedures" probably mean that it will be tougher to get in and that QMUL biomeds shouldn't expect any special treatment.

As for final thoughts on results, I don't have enough bravado to predict my grades, but I will say that next year not only should I work harder, but also more efficiently. The endless coursework assignments tend to get in the way of maintaining a decent set of notes for each module, but it's really, really important that next year I manage to get this balance right. In short, I think my target of getting eight Bs or above will not be met tomorrow. Other than that I only pray that I managed to salvage a 2:1 average.

À demain...

Friday, 11 June 2010

Less than a week to go

Currently listening to: Moonlight Sonata - Beethoven

Words cannot describe how lovely life is without exams. Being able to sleep for more than five hours a night, being able to read things other than textbooks, being able to sleep in your own bed (rather than on a library chair), being able to go out, come back and wake up whenever you please. Though apparently my body's got used to the late nights, hence why I'm still up at stupid o'clock!

And getting drunk too. Back in first year, getting drunk was a weekly ritual and I would be drinking myself senseless every Friday night without fail. If I ever woke up without a hangover on a Saturday I'd actually be disappointed.

Second year has been a sober experience in all senses of the word. With the endless coursework, revision and general scutwork, I perhaps only got drunk a few times all year. Since exams finished however I've been able to go out and enjoy life as a sociable student in London, rather than just a drone who pulls 18 hour shifts in the library.

Though the frequency of drinking has lessened in recent days mainly because people are slowly moving back to their hometowns. That means that I am now mostly sober (and un-hungover), and thoughts of results day have brought me back down to earth with an unpleasant bump...such as the fact that this time next week I'll know. The prospect is quite scary...they say that ignorance is bliss, and I'm inclined to agree!

Rather like a condemned man writing his will, I've also seriously begun researching alternatives to medicine in the likely event that I don't get in. There's billions of Masters degrees out there, but since I loathe 99% of my course it's been hell trying to find a decent one. That said yesterday I did stumble across something that really caught my eye, a MSc in Allergy available at Imperial College or Southampton. I have no idea how I'd pay for such a course, especially at Imperial where the cost of living in the surrounding area will be pretty hefty, but I really did enjoy studying allergy and hypersensitivity this year, and completed my immunology coursework on the hygeine hypothesis. It's definitely something I'd be interested in, and maybe I could apply for medicine after that?

It might sound silly to write myself off before even applying for medicine, though the rumour is that this year only six 3rd year biomeds got a medical offer...those are pretty scary odds so therefore I'm not feeling very confident. Anyway, I think things will be a lot clearer after next week, one way or another.