Monday, 6 February 2012

Term 1 results and "anxiety saturation"

Currently listening to: I Saved the World Today - Eurythmics

There's been a considerable shift in the ethos and content of this blog lately. When I started this blog just over two years ago, it was very much the grumbly grumbles of a grumpy second year biomed. Certainly this is no longer the case, the biomedical sciences degree, SBCS, QMUL and all that has been consigned to memory lane. This is a new era for my blog, charting the anxieties surrounding UCAS and medical school admissions, rather than being a life sciences student.

But I am a life sciences student, so I do still deal with much of the same things I dealt with last year: coursework, deadlines, the occasional skipped lecture and inappropriate hangovers. And of course, exams. The one difference being that as a postgrad I have the joy of experiencing exams in January and in April. So, results day were released today, and here's how things look. Pass mark's 50 by the way:

Research Skills and Sciences - 53
Basic Molecular and Cell Biology - 62.5
Basic Pathology - 72.5 (distinction)

Overall mark for Term 1: 60.3

Initial thoughts: relief that I passed, and passed well. Happy with getting a distinction in pathology (my favourite subject), slight annoyance at being so close to a merit for BMCB (needed 65) and indifference to the RSS mark. It was my least favourite subject, something I have zero talent for and zero interest in. There are those in my class who can run an amazing gel or use SPSS to perfection. I am not one of those people, I have never claimed to be. I am however someone who is genuinely interested in the intricacies of disease, healing and adaptation, hence my decent pathology mark. Apologies to all you scientists out there, I'm not snubbing your discipline, but at a certain point every man or woman needs to figure out exactly who and what he or she is. I am not lab scientist material, and in all honesty, that doesn't bother me either. Hence why I'm not grumpy about my RSS mark. I take solace in the fact that I will hopefully never have to care about Western blots again. So really, a good set of results which I'm pleased with. So that's the PGCert done, now for the PGDip and MSc, then, with any luck, I can hang up my white coat for good and finally don my stethoscope (please!).

Here's an interesting way of dealing with (nay - eliminating) exam anxiety. Simply replace it with anxiety over something else, say, for example, medical school interviews. Seriously, you would not believe it, I slept fine last night. Absolutely fine. This morning when I woke up, I didn't even think about results. This was most certainly not the case in June before my BSc results day. Why the change? Because I am currently undergoing something called anxiety saturation (a revolutionary new psychological concept thought up by myself). My mind is so filled up with thoughts about interviews, ethical scenarios, etc that I just don't have any more space for exam stress. Hence why I managed to sleep fine last night, and why I didn't feel a jot of nervousness today until right before I opened the results envelope. I'm pretty sure there's a Nobel prize winning psychological theory in here somewhere.

So with just over a week left til my interviews, I'm making little bullet point notecards. I am not someone who enjoys readily talking about their personal life with strangers (this blog is very much the exception), so I need to get used to hearing the sound of my own voice talking about why I want to do medicine, when I've displayed empathy, why I'm a decent team player or any of the other extremely relevant questions medical schools invariably ask. I try to be a fairly modest person, (though hopefully not in a Uriah Heep way), so whilst I'm fine with discussing ethical scenarios, current affairs etc, I don't like waving my "empathy", or what have you in people's faces. But ultimately, I do feel like I have a lot to offer, so I need to do myself a favour and just bloody well say it.


  1. 1 week till your Barts interview..... good luck grumpy! fingers and toes crossed for you!

  2. Congrats on the results!
    As a 4th year med student I've had the opportunity to interview incoming 2012 students (not where you're applying) and my one tip is to talk yourself up! As you mentioned you're probably not one of those type of people normally, but it is so important in an interview. The interviewers won't know about your amazing experiences of X Y and Z unless you tell them, so be brave and tell them! You have a lot to offer and I'm certain that you'll make a brilliant doctor- make sure the interviews know it too! :) Good luck!!!!

  3. @Tofu: Cheers, yes indeed, this time in a week it will all be over. My fate will be *totally* in their hands. A sobering thought!

    @Sophie: Thank you! That's really decent advice, it's what I feel too: I do think I'm a good candidate and that I would make a good med student, but I dislike "selling" myself during interviews. Still, I'm very fortunate to have landed these interviews so I'm going to do my very best in them!

  4. Hope your interview went well today grumpy!! i told medicine man from tsr to have a look out for you today and pass on a good luck, as he was helping out on tours, but no luck, he couldn't work out who you were! Fingers crossed - hope you dont have to wait too long!

  5. How did it go? Blog update needed please! :)

  6. @Tofu: Thanks!

    @Anon: Ye have asked so ye shall receive ;)