A week in the life of… 1st Year

Disclaimer – this post is an over-generalisation for comedic effect and does not represent my actions in 1st year. The activities which occur each day however, are based on my experiences in 1st year.

Monday
Alarm goes off at 8:50. You roll over, put your pillow over your head to shut out the noise in the hope it goes away. It doesn’t. You eventually muster the courage to leave your bed, strip, and hop into the shower for around 45 seconds before you get back out, ‘clean’. You sniff test your clothes to check they’re ok to wear, if you’re lucky you find an acceptable t-shirt and head off out of your bedroom in halls towards lectures. 2 minutees later you’re in your seat in the lecture theatre – 2 minutes early. That’s almost unheard of on a monday!

the lecture subjects varies throughout the year, obviously, but 2 hours of lectures later, it’s 11am and it’s time for a tutorial. The subject changes each week, but you and the rest of your group meet to go to meet your assigned tutor and a nice tutorial room somewhere on campus. You are allocated questions, a bit of background information and a bit of time later in the week in which to work as a group and come up with some answers.

Lunchtime lasts an hour but also usually involves a trip to Ninewells which takes 10 minutes (£2.80-ish for a day pass(!)) by bus or a 40 minute walk. That usually menas lunch on the move.

Monday afternoon is clinical skills. You enter, dressed in a shirt and smart trousers armed with your medical student badge and stethoscope. the stethoscope is surplus as the focus of first year is on history taking. You do learn some examinations howvever. You watch others in your group take histories and critique them afterwords, remembering to be nice because it could be your turn next. Although, everyone in the room hopes that it isn’t their go so they can just have a little nap at the back while everyone else does the work.

On monday night, you feel the need to start the week as you mean to go on. You maybe get a couple of hours of work done before descending onto facebook or skype to your family at home. You make yourself a hearty meal (normally pasta and… salt?) before going back to playing flash games on miniclip or something like that. At half 11, it’s time for bed.

Tuesday
Alarm goes off at 8:50. You roll over, put your pillow over your head to shut out the noise in the hope it goes away. It doesn’t. You eventually muster the courage to leave your bed, strip, and hop into the shower for around 45 seconds before you get back out, ‘clean’. You sniff test your clothes to check they’re ok to wear, if you’re lucky you find an acceptable t-shirt and head off out of your bedroom in halls towards lectures. 2 minutees later you’re in your seat in the lecture theatre – 2 minutes early? That’s almost unheard of on a tuesday!

Lectures last two hours – you do your best to power-nap through them as tuesday night is “Skint” at the union. This is usually a late one and so if you want to have any chance of making it to wednesday lectures, you’ll have to make room elsewhere to catch up on sleep.

After lectures is 2 hours of dissection. This involves you working in a group of 4 through a dissection, identifying various anatomical landmarks as you go, guided by a dissection manual, assistants and lecturers. The formaldehyde they use to keep the bodies from decaying also has an ability to make people feel really hungry. Behind the grumble of rumbling tummies, you can almost make out that most people’s conversations are about what their next meal is going to be.

After an hours lunch and a trip to ninewells, it’s time for wards. This is where you dress up smart, don your stethoscope and play pretend at being a doctor for 2 hours. In first year it mostly involved being split into groups, taking a history from a patient and then reconvening with a consultant to discuss each case.

After a hard days work, or in some cases, a day of hardly working, it’s time to put on your sunday best, grab a drink or two and head out to skint. After making it to the last song at 2:30am, you stumble off to the 24 hour bakery for an early morning munch, before heading to bed at 3:30am.

Wednesday
Alarm goes off at 8:50. Your head is banging, and each ring of the alarm feels like a dagger being stabbed into your cranium. You roll over, put your pillow over your head to shut out the noise in the hope it goes away. It doesn’t. You eventually muster the courage to leave your bed, strip, and hop into the shower for around 45 seconds before you get back out, ‘clean’. You climb over the clothes left lying in the middle of the floor from earlier that night to sniff test your clothes to check they’re ok to wear, if you’re lucky you find an acceptable t-shirt and head off out of your bedroom in halls towards lectures. 2 minutees later you’re in your seat in the lecture theatre – 20 minutes late. That’s about normal for a Wednesday! If you’re really lucky you might have even been able to eat last nights left overs from the 24 hour bakery.

Lectures are 2 hours again and are normally on something DPaC, Ethics or Research related, meaning that the lecture theatre is usually pretty deserted.

After lectures is groupwork where your group get together to discuss the problems set on monday, however, given that the night before was skint, everyone usually just ends up talking about last nights shenanigans rather than about the questions. After two hours of non-productiveness with no tutor to guide you, you usually end up back in bed having a nap.

Wednesday afternoon, like in most scottish unis, is a sports afternoon. This means some exercise and social interaction for most people. After that, it usually ends up in another night out with the sports teams. This inevitably means a headache in the morning especially if you’re a rugby boy or a hockey girl…

Thursday
Alarm goes off at 8:50. Your head is banging, and each ring of the alarm feels like a dagger being stabbed into your cranium. You roll over, put your pillow over your head to shut out the noise in the hope it goes away. It doesn’t. You eventually muster the courage to leave your bed, strip, and hop into the shower for around 45 seconds before you get back out, ‘clean’. You climb over the clothes left lying in the middle of the floor from earlier that night to sniff test your clothes to check they’re ok to wear, if you’re lucky you find an acceptable t-shirt and head off out of your bedroom in halls towards lectures. 2 minutees later you’re in your seat in the lecture theatre – 5 minutes late. Not bad for a Thursday! If you’re lucky you might not have any bodily injuries from an afternoon of sport and a night on the town.

Lectures begin, with the sports enthusiasts standing out like sore thumbs, using their notepads as headrests.

After lectures comes a second dissection session, followed by lunch. Thursday lunchtime is often accompanied by the realisation that most of the hard work is done before the weekend arrives and excitement mounts from here up until Friday night until it’s time to blow off some steam.

After a trip to ninewells for the afternoon comes ITA (Integrated Teaching Area). This session sounds impressive, and definitely could be useful, however, in most cases, it becomes something of a reading exercise. Boards are pinned up on the walls with lots of writing and diagrams across them. This is meant to try and integrate all of the teaching areas (Physiology, Pathology, Pharmacology etc.) but mostly descends into groups of people chatting about weekend plans after about 20 minutes. The first hour is assigned to reading and attempted to answer the questions given. The second hour is usually hosted by a doctor who goes through and discusses the answers with you.

Thursday night is a theme night at the union e.g. Neds and Goths night where you dress up like a dafty and head out for a dance. Some themes are better than others so it really depends whether you choose to go out on a thursday. After an hours work or so you usually end up bored and decide to go out again.

Friday
You jump out of bed with a spring long before your alarm goes off. You spend a good deal of time scrubbing up in the shower to look your best – you maybe even shave. A friday means the weekend is on the horizon, and brightens up everybody’s day considerably.

Lectures seem to fly past, with everyone deliberately not asking any questions to attempt to get out as soon as possible.

The next session is an answer session for questions assigned on the monday. This work has already been done and so you can get by by just reading the answers you copied off of wikipedia on wednesday. Then it’s onto lunch and a trip to your assigned Dudnee GP practice where DPaC is held.

At DPaC you always have the same two tutors, who are usually very nice. This session usually involves cups of tea, biscuits and a little chit-chat about various things that have been happening. Quite a few times throughout the year, you’ll have to give a powerpoint presentation to the rest of your group about various topics, although these are generally quite laid back. (See separate DPaC post for more details).

After 2 hours of DPaC, it’s a friday night! You head to the pub to meet your friends, order a beer and a burger and get planning for the weekends activities.

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