I am sitting in my favourite coffee shop in Exeter. I'm really going to miss this place next year. It's full of big tables, comfy sofas, free wifi, amazing food and drink and lots of different types of people. I used to have English classes in here when I was at college, and it's Mr's favourite place when he comes down to visit. It is a chain, but it feels independent. I'm here because we'd agreed as a small group to come here and do our final PBL session of the year. Our facilitator is on holiday and we have a form to fill in, so I suggested we end the year where we started, as our first ever session was here when it was a bank holiday. Everyone thought it was a lovely idea. Or so I thought. None of them have turned up, just me. So, I thought I'd sit and have an indulgent lunch (parma ham, pesto, mozzarella, sun blushed tomatoes and basil in an artisan white bread baguette with a butterscotch steamer) and blog instead.
I'm celebrating. It was my birthday yesterday. Because of the two bank holidays, I had Mr down for a whole four days, it was wonderful. We went hiking 10 miles up the canal banks to a pub only accessible by foot, we went to the cinema, we had cocktails in teapots, we baked brownies, we went out for a birthday meal with my parents and we laughed a lot. If all goes to plan I won't see him now until the end of August, which sounds strange, but is a good thing. I'm also celebrating because I've been named secretary of the Plymouth branch of PUPS, the paediatric society at uni. I didn't think I would get it because I figured if it went to a vote I wouldn't be popular enough to win. But happily it didn't go to vote and I was successful. Whether that was because I was deemed the most appropriate candidate by the current committee or because I was uncontested I'll never know, but I'm happy.
I've been a bit glum the last few days. Facebook shows me all the things my school friends have done and how they are doing and it just feels like everyone my age has so much more to show for their time on this Earth than I do. They are married, have kids, have jobs, have houses, and what do I have? Letters after my name and mountains of debt. Mum tried to point out I have my career, but I don't actually have that yet. I'm still living in awful student accommodation, still years away from settling down, no clue as to where my future will be, no back up plan, still not a real person yet. I am feeling old. My first act as an old Bean was to drive an hour and a half to meet mr half way as he'd driven off with my keys at midnight. So I'm no wiser for being older.
I'm in full panic mode for ISCE's now. I told myself I'd give myself the bank holiday weekend off to enjoy my birthday guilt free with mr, but all I saw was my housemates studying and I just kept thinking, oo, I don't know that, I should look at that. I think I'll be fine. My history taking is quite good, I just need to sit down and remind myself of the specific system questions to ask, the mini mental state exam (although I've pretty much got that), the mental state exam to report back findings, obstetric booking history and diabetic review. The exam is six stations split over two days. Each station is a history and a skill on real patients or actors. Each station lasts about 21 minutes. One station will be written, so either a medication review, a genetic family tree or interpreting an ECG. One station will definitely be a mental health station on either a depressed, anxious, OCD or manic patient. Some people in our year know the stations because they've seen a copy of the list sent to GP's in the area that will be the examiners. They aren't sharing the info though. Some time this week though, we'll be given a list of twelve stations, or which we'll have six. Then I'll have the weekend to polish up history taking and run thorough skills in my mind before the exams on 12th and 13th June. I know my boss, my academic tutor and my PBL facilitator are all examiners. It might work in my favour as they know me, but then it might not because I won't get to make a first impression. I'm most worried about my boss. He's one of the GP Partners at the surgery I work at, and one of our marking criteria is a box they need to tick to say I can see this person as my Dr. I hope he can disassociate me from being his secretary. I definitely have the fear.