A Letter To My Fresher Self
Dear Me Congrats! Your 24 year old self just graduated medical school and is about to start work. As a doctor. A real one in a hospital and everything. You'll make it. Pretty soon, you'll figure out that it's just beginning, and that there's a whole minefield of a world outside medical school, but that's future us problem.
If I recall correctly, little baby 19-year-old Sarah in her lame band t shirts and lack of lipstick (that'll change SOON) was spending the summer of 2012 panicking; what if you don't get the grades to get into med school *again? What if you get in and immediately flunk out? You'll read a blog called "The Secrets of Peninsula," and freak the fuck out - what kind of medical school makes first years sit 5th year exams four times a year?
A good medical school. Peninsula gets a lot of flak for not teaching anatomy (which btw, they don't - please learn it yourself, it'll save us a lot of embarrassment), and having weird exams, and being quite a wooly school; that's all completely true and it's great for it. Yes sometimes you'll get frustrated with the medical school, and the fact that the marking of assignments seems completely subjective, and that one can get away with not knowing that much, and that you'll spend a large portion of time learning about make-up, yoga and creative nonfiction writing for your degree, but secretly you'll love it. And maybe one day you'll properly "get it." Even though I'm remiss to admit it, all the PCMD nonsense has made me a better person.
Quick study tips for you: coloured pens are great, buy some whiteboards and flashcards, get a SAD lamp sooner rather than later, and most importantly, don't be too hard on yourself. Medicine is hard and everyone has blips and bad days. At 19 with a classic type A personality, a high achieving brother and overbearing parents, you'll want to be the very best, but the sooner you let that pipe dream go, the better. Facts are facts, you're not the best at the academic side - but you're great at other things, and you're going to find out what they are in the next five years. Don't get too complacent, don't get too cocky, but remember you're doing fine, and that's all you need.
As for your fresher anxieties, that's another thing you need to chill on. The sooner you let go and start having fun, the less you worry about what people think of you (then again, maybe stop having fun when you find yourself completely slaughtered, alone in a Subway in Falmouth sending everyone you know drunk voice messages. You are never living that one down gurl). Go meet people, mingle, join some societies; a certain Amateur Dramatics society will change your life, for the better - you will meet the greatest people you've ever met. Surround yourself in the geekery, the artistry, the creativity and the passion. Embrace it. Love it. Become it.
He's not worth it. None of them are.
She's not worth it either but you're never going to believe that so whatever.
They are worth it, but you're too much of a jackass to figure it out. At some point in the next five years, you'll become one of the worst people I've ever known. Petulant, selfish, passive aggressive, loud, bitchy, stubborn, hypocritical, stupid, ugly, unlovable, broken. Every bad word you've ever thought about yourself will come true.
At some point in the next five years, you'll become one of the coolest people I've ever known. Passionate, loud, confident, articulate, beautiful, smart, funny, driven, empathetic, glamorous, informed, outspoken, fierce. As of July 2017, you've published a feminist magazine and have graduated medical school. Objectively that's pretty fucking cool, and hopefully one day we’ll believe that.
You'll be fine. And when you're not, just know that you've got people around you who can, and will, help if you let them.
Oh also, the sooner you watch RuPaul's Drag Race, the better your life will be.
(oh yeah, people call you Q now, isn't that fun!)