Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Thick Letters

On Friday I got the very thick letter from Peninsula I’d been waiting for, and I was very surprised at how quickly it came, given that I had only firmed them Tuesday evening. I’ve been placed at Exeter. This means I’ll be in Exeter for the first two years and I will be a University of Exeter student for my five years of uni. I’m happy about this, I guess weighing up the pros and cons of Plymouth and Exeter, Exeter would def come out on top. Plymouth has a better nightlife, which would be good for my first year when I’ll actually have time to go out. Although, they do have a field hospital on Union Street where all the clubs are for all the drunk injured clubbers, which is a bit scary given I’m not really a loud party animal type. I do like going out for a dance, but I’m just as happy not drinking, I don’t really like the feeling of being drunk that much. I can have just as good a time sober, it’s much cheaper, and I know what I’m doing at all times, win-win, surely? One of the students on my interview day said Plymouth had better teaching for third year. Exeter has much nicer halls, living with medics, sports scientists and PGCE people, although I think I’ll miss not being on the main campus, especially since it’s one of the prettiest in the country. Apparently the St Luke’s and Streatham people don’t mix much, ah well, medics are cliquey; I just hope I can fit in. I’m going to have to be a bit more outgoing and less sit-back-and-observe-slightly-scared I guess. And here’s where I have to admit to a small snobbish side of me – another reason I’m happy I’m at Exeter is because it’s a top 10 uni at number 9 in the country, and I found out that Plymouth used to be a polytechnic. I know, I know, there are no such things as polys anymore but I just can’t get over it I’m afraid. There was a poly in Southampton - Solent Uni, and it offered such wonderful degrees as Football Studies and Stage Makeup. Now, I’m all for people going to uni, it’s a fantastic life experience and I’m happy they can find something they want to study to a higher level, but really, these things should not be a degree. A BA in History should not be held in the same esteem as a BA in Stage Makeup. Similarly, a BSc in Football Studies? I discovered something brand new and proved 10 years of study by proper academics wrong to earn my degree, what on earth can they do that’s similar in football studies? Sorry, rant over *bean hangs head in shame*. I’m a nice bean really!

My thick letter came with my student agreement that I won’t abuse patient’s trust and interestingly, I thought, I won’t cover my face when dealing with patients or in lectures unless it’s for sterile reasons. There was a very short kit list – stethoscope (got a pretty purple one picked out :) ), shorts and t-shirt for clinical skills practice on each other, a scientific calculator and no white coat. :( It’s a shame. When I was little, I didn’t really know what I would do when I grew up, but I was certain I would be wearing a white coat and doing something science-y. Now I’ve finally gotten here, they took the white coats away!

To make up for the very short kit list, there is a monster of a book list (around 4 sides A4), of which I’ve gotten 2 already from biomed - Pharmacology by Rang, Dale and Ritter and Albert's The Cell.  There’s a couple I already had on my wishlist, and I’ll look at reviews of the rest and maybe add some more. I know I won’t need all of them, and that they will be in the library, but I do like having books and being able to look at them whenever I like, without having to break my back carrying them back from the library, plus they’re well under half the price of my biomed text books, which is nice.

I was also told to email the accommodation office at Exeter uni to get my student number to start applying for halls, but they said they haven’t had the details over from PCMD yet and to try again in a week. There isn’t really much choice in the accommodation tbh: ensuite in Rowancroft (built in 09), or standard or enhanced at Rowancroft Court or Rowancroft Mews. Ensuite for me I think :) I had an ensuite in halls last time and it was good. I’m a bit of a lush addict, so I have a lot of stuff to put in a bathroom and I like to keep it nice and tidy. When we shared a bathroom in the house we moved into for years 2 and 3 I swear they had radios and would time it perfectly so they would all go in the bathroom one after the other when I was waiting. Surely that will only be worse if we’ve all got the same timetable.

It’s mr’s birthday soon and I have no idea what to get him. Apparently I’ve got the reputation in his lines of being a thoughtful, awesome girlfriend because they previous gifts I got him were so good, and now I have to live up to that and I have no clue! He’s so hard to buy for. He likes things that beep (being an electronic engineer), but I can’t afford them, and I don’t really know much about army life so I don’t know what would be useful. Any ideas people? I’ve asked him three times now and he’s helpfully avoiding giving me an answer. He’s coming to visit Wednesday-Monday and we have lots of exciting things planned, so maybe I can press him a little more then. I’m very excited, it’s been about 2 months since I saw him properly, not including Street watching him swim. I’d best leave it there, this has become a bit of an essay! Have a great week people :)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A New Chapter

Following a bit in the theme of last time because I seem to be in a bit of a reflective mood for some reason – bye bye Track. No more obsessive checking. No more mashing the F5 key in the frantic but slim hope I logged in a second too soon. No more getting frustrated with your extra pages keeping me from finding my fate. No more will you make my heart catch in my throat and my stomach turn as you load the page sooo slowly, only to find the decision column is blank, still, again, like I knew it would be, and then I feel silly for thinking it may have changed. I have moved on, I have no need for you anymore. Your bookmark is deleted. 
Nottingham put out their results last night and I had an email telling me I was on the waiting list. Now Notts aren’t as nice as St George’s in that a waiting list place isn’t a ticket to an automatic place next year if you aren’t called for this year, it’s really just a holding status. ‘We don’t like you enough to offer you a place, but we do like you enough not to reject you’. You may be offered a place if enough of those who were offered in the first place turn down their offers, or if people don’t get their grades come results day and the uni has places to fill. This means you could be given as little as a few days notice to pack up your things and come to uni. When I saw the email, I have to admit I was a little disappointed. I’d thought the interview had gone really well, so to only be on the waiting list? I kept trying to rationalise it that maybe it was because I still had some documents to send to them, or because my GAMSAT wasn’t that high, or because they’d seen me on the different forums talking about wanting to go to PCMD, but I guess in the end it doesn’t really matter. At least it was better than an outright rejection, and it’s not like I wanted the place anyway. So I logged onto Track for the last time ever, withdrew from Nottingham and firmed Peninsula. There we have it then, my path is decided. After three applications, five years of stressing, one degree, 3 entrance exams spanning a total of 7 hours, 5 interviews, countless amounts of money spent on preparation books, entrance exams, train tickets and a degree, and so many tears and sleepless nights, I am finally in to the place I wanted to be in from the very beginning. And to think that I didn’t want to try again this year, I was ready to give up. My family had to coax me into it (according to Dad, I’m a bean, and bean’s don’t give up [for bean, insert surname]). Peninsula College of Medicine & Dentistry class of 2015. Hopefully I will hear from them soon with a campus allocation and all the other paperwork I need to fill in. I am now Bean the medical student :)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

In Which Bean Gets a Bit Touchy-Feely

This week saw more failed attempts to complete student finance. They took the whole system down on Sunday, so I was hoping they were going to fix it then, but whatever they did, it didn’t work. They have put a caveat on that you can fill in a paper form, but I really don’t want to have to do that. They already have most of my details on the system, and for the whole of my last year at uni they sent all my letters to a made up mash up address of my home address and term time address. That was a gem, they made it up, and no matter how many times they changed over the phone when I told them it was wrong, the system still sent my letters to it. So all in all, I don’t have a lot of faith in them and trying to merge paper with computer applications is just asking for trouble I’m sure.

I got a lovely congratulations card from mr’s parents filled with some really pretty beads that his mum had picked out, which was lovely of her. I am now trying to decide what to do with them. OOooo, and the first book is gone off my amazon wishlist! Super excited bean :D

In other book related news, I gave away my UKCAT book to a guy at work who’s son wants to go to med school. That was quite an odd feeling. It was nice to know that I wouldn’t need again, but it’s still quite weird thinking that next year I won’t have to apply again, because for the last 5 years or so my life has been about applying to med school and now that I don’t have to anymore, well it’s odd. Obviously I’m really happy that I don’t have to apply, and I got to where I wanted to be, for the moment anyway. The next step will be passing exams, and passing the course. I suppose it’s just been force of habit – “What are you doing? I’m applying to med school.” It’s been long enough since I found out, it really should have sunk in by now. Lol, I guess it’s just my impatience again – I want to start now, and I won’t quite believe it until I do. It’s still a long way off yet, a whole 22 weeks, even though 22 doesn’t sound like much. 101 work days left, according to my clever formula. And I expect when I get there, I’ll be craving a break again, the grass is always greener isn’t it ? :)

Well your all very boring people not playing the conundrum I set in last weeks post. The answer was bookkeeper in case you wondered silently. Round up of the rest of my life: the rowing is going better, and since it looks like I’m sticking at stroke, I guess I’m going to have to start going back to the gym to get my fitness back up. You can’t slack at stroke and I can’t let the rest of my crew down cos I’m lazy :p My blisters are nearly completely healed thanks to the newly discovered miracle lotion that is Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula. I have great tan lines from rowing on Sunday morning, a proper farmers tan, and awesome plans are slowly falling into place for when mr comes down in a couple of weeks.

I had my first washing disaster last week, and ironically, I did it at home. I felted my favourite tank top, oops. I can’t find a replacement for it either, so I think I may have to knit one. To do that though, I have to finish the jumper I have on the go, which I am procrastinating because the next bit is hard, and I’m not sure I like the colour anymore, and making pretty jewellery gives instant gratification. Lol, I am such a fickle scatty girl sometimes, which is funny, because I’m sure none of the people who know me would say that about me, it’s just how I seem to be coming across here. Ah well, that’s it for me for now. Let’s see if our ‘upgraded’ systems are working at work yet (read: put in place before testing and now failing horribly, a bit like Windows Vista). Nottingham decisions out this week, good luck people!

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Blisters, Rowing and Finance

I keep forgetting to say I actually met Mitch Benn when I went to see, him, which was awesome and I got totally star struck :) We were hanging around in the room so they guys I was with could finish their drinks and he wandered back in to get his stuff. One of the guys (rather drunk) turns to him and said “Oooo, it’s you! She loves you! She’s the reason we’re all here!” *Bean blushes and wishes the ground would swallow her – she isn’t drunk. Never mind, it was awesome and I shook his hand :D

In other, more Doctor-y related bean news, I’ve been putting my application for student finance at last, now I know I’ll definitely need it. I’ve been doing it online because they’ve still got all my details from last time so it’s easier that way. Just before you click ‘send’ they show you a summary screen of what you’re likely to get (with a rough estimate of the means-tested bit) and I was very surprised to see them offering me a fee loan after a comment I got after mentioning it last time about someone else not being able to have it. I shall have to wait and see if they cotton on and retract that bit, though I did say that yes I had already done a degree. Maybe it’s because it’s a five year course? I don’t know. I should get the max means tested bits (excluding the London extra) and a bursary from the uni themselves, so… shock horror, don’t panic people, this might actually be fundable by myself! (However, all this will take my student debt up to around £55,000, and I dread to think the interest on that. It’s all fake money, isn’t it, I can’t possibly owe that much and only have a bit of paper and some letters [Dr Bean MBBS BSc Hons :p] to show for it). I’ve been trying to put my Dad’s figures in to the support a student’s application bit, but the clever, clever people have decided now, in the middle of application season, would be a good time to take the system down to upgrade it, so it’s not working and won’t let me link Dad to me. Bean is not amused.

The rest of this week brought a busy week at work with system failures a-plenty (aircon down leading to a flood in the main off-site server room – useful!), a surprise birthday outing to a pub quiz for someone on my team (what English word that describes an occupation contains three sets of consecutive double letters? Answers in the comments, solution next week people), successful haggling of my phone network to give me the shiny new phone I wanted and a great package for not much monies at all (leading to a jealous mr because he wants the shiny new phone and good contract) which is being delivered today, a lovely congratulations card signed by everyone at work waiting for me on my desk Friday morning and I’ve been asked to put together and captain a team from work to enter the Bell boat race as part of the local Business Games. All in all, a pretty good week, as long as I don’t have to hold anything… I went rowing again Sunday in the beautiful sunshine. Our four combined with a novice four to go out in an 8, which is a bit like trying to manoeuvre a lorry when it’s full of a novice crew. We were using their novice blades, which have cheese-grated my hands – 11 blisters in 3 hours including two sets of blisters on blisters, or rather in them, once they burst - luuurvly :p. It’s a toss-up see, I need calluses to be a rower, but soft hands to touch patients as a Dr. On the plus side, coach is happy with me and the novices said I was the best stroke they’ve ever had (sshhh, I know they haven’t had much experience, just let me bask in the compliment for a while, ok?) and I got a nice tan (which is secretly the whole reason I row). So now my hands can mostly be found covered in as many moisturisers as I can find to try and heal them before my next outing next weekend. So I shall leave you scratching your heads over that double letters conundrum and wave you a shiny, manky-handed goodbye for now. Hope you can get the opportunity to take some time off to enjoy the lovely weather.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Bean: Queen of Cupcakes

It was so good to have the Easter break. It is one thing I like about having a regular 9-5 job and not being a student –weekends and bank holidays mean so much more. I’ll miss that. I was about ready for a break too, so it was lovely to have the Friday and Monday off. Short weeks are brilliant. A pretty unremarkable week before that: nice and quiet at work, although I’m not sure why because I have a lot of work to do. It’s possibly because I know I have an end date now. On my work flow spreadsheet I put some formulae in to count number of working days left :) I’m such a geek sometimes.

I didn’t get a lie in Friday because I went rowing for the first time in months. The weather was atrocious, so we did an erg first. Blergh, I hate ergs and I haven’t done one of those in even longer. They are just hell, pain and errm, hell. But, I did it and we had an outing after that when the weather cleared up. It was so nice to be back on the water. It’s like my calm place, being on the water – whether it’s rowing, sailing or kayaking, it’s lovely to just get away from it all and think of nothing bar what you are doing on the water. I did have a little more to think about unfortunately, since I was stroking. This means (for you non-rowers) that I was at the head of the boat setting the rhythm – no-one can move before I do and everyone must move at the same time as me. This is quite hard in itself, as you have to be perfect – you have no-one to follow, but being a little rusty, and being shorter than the rest of the girls, I wasn’t setting a very good pace, and they have to move faster to keep up with me. Never mind, I’m rowing again tonight, I’ll do better this time.

The rest of the weekend was pretty much spent in the kitchen baking cakes and muffins. Mum volunteered me to make some to take to see the family for Easter, and I had wanted to make some to take to work to celebrate my good news. This mainly involves me throwing flour and icing sugar everywhere, and even getting some in the mixing bowl, but mostly over me and the kitchen. I could totally be five :) The cakes I make are very good, but I’m also extremely good at making a mess. I broke out my new Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook and made 2 batches of Red Velvet, and 1 batch each of Marshmallow cakes, Black Bottom cakes and Banana and Cinnamon muffins, oh, and some soup for work, and some earrings for me. It was a properly creative weekend, and the cakes are lovely :) I normally bake when I have exams and essays to have a break (and a reward for when they’re finished).

Oo, in other exciting news, mr got into the regiment he wanted, so his interviews did go well and he is a happy, but tired boy. He is happy two-fold because Cambridge won the boat race and he briefly went there for a year before switching to Southampton so we have a slight allegiance (even though the Oxford blue is prettier than the Cambridge one, he pokes me when I say that). What an awesome race it was! He is also happy three-fold, because it is his Easter break coming up (the army do things odd) and we are plotting a trip to London to see Avenue Q, which makes me a very happy and excitable bean, because it’s one I’ve wanted to see for ages. Might also see if we can fit in a trip to the hospital museum which was shut when we went to London for New Years. All I have left to do is book the train tickets, which I very nearly did last night, but had to stop when I realised I was booking them for the wrong month – oops! Don’t panic about me being a Dr, I’m not normally this scatty, honest! :) Have an awesome short week people.