So far so good, I've made it to the end of the first week (a whole seven days!) without getting kicked out of medical school, catching cholera or succumbing to some other equally grisly fate.
The time has gone by astonishingly quickly, probably as a result of being so busy - we are usually going to be in classes or self-directed study at least 9-5 most days, with 8am starts on Fridays. Those hours, combined with social events most evenings this week has made it a bewildering experience, very much a whirlwind of information battering my feeble little mind.
I looked back over my 'concerns about starting med school' video for some reflection on the subject, and I'm pleased to say that most of my worries were unfounded, and the ones that weren't were more a simple matter of perspective.
The most noticeable change this time around has been how much more welcoming it feels. When I started at Newcastle, I found it tough to engage with people and form strong friendships, which didn't really happen until about a year into the course. Here however from the very first day, everyone was incredibly friendly and understanding, it's perfectly okay to have forgotten someone's name or sit wherever you like. I think just from all having had at least one pass through university beforehand, most (if not all) remember how awkward that stage must have been for a lot of us, and it's a completely opposite experience as a result.
I was also pretty much on the money when it came to the assessment that other students on the course will have vastly more experience than me - many have worked as health care assistants, nurses and more besides that mean they are already competent clinical workers. I was wrong to view this a negative, because that simply means there are more opportunities to enhance my own learning and clinical ability by getting to know them, rather than worrying about having to compete with them. If there was nobody more experienced than me, I'd have nobody to learn from which seems to somewhat defeat the entire purpose.
I will also have to adjust my learning methods - I'm 100% sure of this. I was a crammer during my undergraduate degree, I would rote-learn content, perform pretty well on exams and forget it all two days later. Given the volume of knowledge we need to be comfortable retaining here, that simply isn't going to work. This is okay though, because now I'm actually looking forward to getting stuck into the material and take the time to learn it for myself and discover new strategies for memory retention. The clinical context seems to make all the difference for me, and that certainly seems to be the case for many of my colleagues too.
My last major concern was that of medical school not living up to my impossible expectations for it, and thankfully those expectations seem to have withered over this first week without my noticing. We're here now, treated very much like adult learners, and given the facilities to control our own development. I'm just excited to get going now.