Dear Rachel – What I Will Miss From Medical School
Written by Bells
Bells and Rachel have been through two degrees together and as they stand on the precipice of graduation, Bells reflects on what makes medical school bearable and lovable.
We did it! I can’t believe it. Where did the time fly? I remember the day we moved to Churchill at the start of our first pre-clinical year. I felt a mix of exhilaration, nervousness, incredulity, sheer panic, imposter syndrome, and dead-set steel. Four years was going to last a long time I thought, but you have to take things one step at a time. But those four years have passed by in a whirlwind.
Over the last few weeks I’ve sat with friends in the common room at the hospital, reflecting back on the past seven years of uni. People we met way back in Biomed. It feels so odd, almost unbelievable in fact, that when we first met in O-week 2015, we would all somehow stay together.
I know we’re far off from our twilight years, it’s only the appetisers that have been served, and the feast of the journey has yet to arrive, but I will hold dear our memories.
I will miss studying with you late into the night as we crammed for our first exams. Do you remember driving to the local pizza place before we gorged ourselves trying to memorise the brachial plexus? Do you remember when we started fencing with the arms of model skeletons as the hours drew further into the morning? Laughing in hysterics whilst dreading the oncoming exams?
I’ll remember coming back from placement or 10 hours of classes or whatever it was, utterly exhausted, and you cracking out a tub of Magnum ice-cream. We’d get our teaspoons and crack the chocolate on top before almost devouring the entire thing in one sitting. I felt so sick after those nights but the memory has sat with me all these years with warmth.
I will miss the moments we spent plotting and scheming how we should best fill out our special consideration so that we could do our rural placements together. You wrote that you had a job in the area so you needed to be there. I wrote that you had a job in the area and that I needed to be there too. And then there was that one afternoon we were all studying for exams and we’d found out we got Traralgon! Who else was in that room? I think Brendan and Tony were there, and Aaron of course asking if we could all form a house together and later Yana too. To me at least it’s so interesting to know how much power the administration staff had in dictating our futures. If only they knew.
I will miss studying with you late into the night as we crammed for our first exams. Do you remember driving to the local pizza place before we gorged ourselves trying to memorise the brachial plexus?
Then there was the exhausting reality of placement. I think I will miss falling asleep at the desks whilst the lecturers were droning on pathology or pharmacology, but mainly pathology. I don’t think I’ll miss some of the gratuitously uncouth consultants that we were with, I think you know who I have in mind. Some people I suppose are best forgotten.
I’ll miss the drives down the M1, the hours spent studying with Gray’s Anatomy in the background (I still don’t get how you can multitask studying and watching movies, there’s absolutely no way). I’ll miss doing practice OSCEs around the house and the look you got when you realised that the 42 year-old woman with shortness of breath, was a repeat that Aaron and I had given not once, twice, but three times.
But then we went back to the city and the pandemic began. I can’t miss that. And it was a shame we weren’t on placement together. I don’t miss much of 2020. But, for what was such a stressful penultimate year, I do appreciate the fact that you were always there to support me and let me know what we had to do and when. I hope I was just as good a friend in return.
And I definitely couldn’t forget those final exams, not without all the dramas and hours spent waiting on Zoom to do our online OSCEs. The only thing I’ll miss is the spontaneous get-together by the beach, beers in hand on one of the first hot days of summer, watching the sunset as Covid restrictions eased and we finally farewelled exams.
Then there was/is 2021. I feel in the light of the prolonged lockdowns that 2021 feels like more of a repeat of 2020. Having said that, I think I’ll miss the feeling of actually being useful as a final year student in the hospital without any of the stresses or responsibility. I don’t think I’ll look forward to staying up at night and questioning every decision I make. I know most of our peers aren’t looking forward to the responsibilities and duties of becoming newly minted interns, but I don’t know, I feel like we’ve been waiting for this day for nearly 10 years now and only 1 month to go!
I really enjoyed medical school.
These have been the best years of my life.
Not only because of learning the medicine and surgery which I find truly fascinating, but also and mostly because of the people and friends we’ve made along the way.
To steal a line from you, “in seven years of chaos and change, you were a certainty.”
The cheeky bugger who’s still trying to make up for the fact that he ate your chocolate chips right in front of you.
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