Today’s blog post has a slightly different feel to it.
There are a lot of things about being a Medical Student that aren’t talked about and repeating a year at Medical School is one of them. For every “passed my exams” Facebook status, every year there are a people who have to deal with having to re-take the year. For whatever reason.
This post below was written by someone I know who has been there and come out the other end. I hope it can help someone.
I have put in the inspiration people section because seeing someone deal with something like this and come out of it the other end is inspirational to me.
Have I seen you before?
Repeating a year can be frightening, embarrassing and frustrating or it can give you a second chance – a chance to take things slowly and start again. Press the refresh button and rewind. When you enter E29 or Lecture theatre 1.4, half the year have no idea of your back story and the other half may have vague recollections of you from their original year. Both sets of groups will be making assumptions about you and questions will arise, but remember it is not their information. It is yours.
You can go through the year in two ways: 1) Tell people you are repeating if they ask or 2) Don’t tell them anything.
Accepting that I had to repeat the year was most helpful in tackling the way I would handle the year again. Having the perspective of what the year entails and the knowing the terror of exams was key in forming a timeline in my head. Use this to your advantage to keep on top.
Another important thing to remember is that you are not alone. There will be other people in your shoes. Support one another.
I went through 4.5 (second 4th year) telling people I was repeating as I had met somebody who had done the same in my first fourth year. I thought that showed a lot of courage and honesty and I respected the way they handled it. However the first person on my placement that I told would never let this fact go. They took it upon themselves to inform the rest of the group or act as a constant reminder at any chance they got.
Keep in touch with your friends from whatever year. They are sanity. Don’t cut yourself off no matter how embarrassed or disheartened you may feel. Make new friends as well. When your old friends are gone after their graduation, knowing you still have people around for your final year will be a comfort.
Turn to things which de-stress you. Whether this is friends, family, books, music or religion. You will need something to take your head off of medicine. Don’t assume that you need to be studying 24-7 to pass after failing. You just need to find a balance.
Having your notes from the previous year is helpful, but don’t rely on them alone. Make new notes or add to your existing ones. Go to the lectures you feel are appropriate, especially ones that you knew made no sense the first time around. Have a timetable or plan from day 1. Stick to it as much as you can but remember to relax as well. You don’t want to burn out.
When revising try and understand things rather than memorise. Having revised them the year before, the topics will make more sense and may take less time to get through them. Keep revising until you are satisfied and start early. Do everything before you did the year before.
At the end of the day, believe in yourself. Ignore what others may assume or even say. You may have failed once, but looking at what you failed and why will be more productive then blaming the system. Learn from the previous year and make changes.
The mantra that worked for me was written on a post-it note by one of my friends:
Step 1: Accept
Step 2: Challenge
Step 3: Persevere
Step 4: Be unafraid
You will get through.
Aawaz would like to thank the writer of this post for such honest and helpful insights.