3rd August 2016.
The date was displayed in large black font on the blue background of the medical school. A man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Santa stood to the left of the lectern, just far enough to make require craning of the neck to see him properly necessary.
“Make a note of this date ladies and gentlemen, this is the date that you will become doctors. That journey starts today.”
Despite Santa appearing to do his best Sean Connery impression (it turns out that this was just how he spoke and not an impression) these words managed to hit home. Today was the day that my medical career begins. Today was my first day of medical school.
Santa Connery (actually the Dean of Medicine and a really great bloke) continued our introduction. I won’t bore you with all of the details. The gist of it is: “Work hard, but have a little time for play as well.” I will however give you his speech on the General Medical Council (GMC) – the group of doctors, ex politicians and bureaucrats that govern doctors, medical schools and medical students. Needless to say, most doctors, medical schools and medical students have a less than rosy view of them. Santa in particular seems to have a dim view: “They are not the pink and fluffy thing from the Cup-a-soup adverts, just waiting to give you a supportive hug that they will try to portray themselves as. They are a Great White Shark. Circling beneath you as you try to prevent yourself from drowning in their lair. Learn to fear them now.” Inspirational stuff ey?
We were promptly shepherded upstairs to meet a representative of the GMC who seemed slightly taken aback that 167 adults were regarding him with such a high level of suspicion, considering that he was just trying to give us some free pens and a pen drive. Just in case I use the term prit-stick in the future, I’m not addicted to glue sniffing, it’s what I sometimes call a pen drive. I’m special like that, ok?
The rest of that afternoon was a little bit surreal. It involved being given a lot of “free” (if you sign your life and your first born child to us) stuff. Some of which I’m sure will be useful later in my career, however it was a little bit daunting being made to sign up for malpractice insurance less than 4 hours after I’d started medical school. However easily the most exciting part of the day was ordering my stethoscope, which was not even close to being free. I had no idea that there were so many to choose from; I could have had any one of about 20 different colours, hues and reflective models with my name inscribed on the front, back, sides.. it was a little bit overwhelming. So much so that I ended up going for the plain grey one with my name inscribed (with a frickin laser beam!) on the bell.
By 5pm I was knackered. Then I had the 40 minute walk home with my two new housemates (you’ll meet them soon, don’t worry) and a diversion into Tesco to get myself a couple of beers for the evening, as for some reason I felt like my day of introductory talks and meeting new people had been strenuous enough to deserve a pint.
1 day down. 4 years to go.
(This is actually a year old now, but as I didn’t have the blog last year.. I just had my own JD-style internal monologue.. it’s only going up now).