“It’s such a doss year!”
“Freshers is so epic!”
“Everyone is so nice!”
These are just some of the phrases I heard both before, and during my first year in medical school.
With freshers’ week fast approaching, I imagine prospective students are starting to feel the fear and excitement that comes with opening a new chapter in one’s life. It’s no wonder; the first year of university is often portrayed as the most instructive and adventurous time in our studies, even in our lives….perhaps that’s why it was so easy for me to feel alone in my unhappiness during this period. Between moving away from home, being dunked head-first into a flurry of confusing lectures, and navigating the foreign social landscape, I felt as if I were caught in the eye of a storm: directionless, isolated and hopeless. It’s hard to know who to listen to during freshers- the second-year who tells you it’s OK to miss lectures? Your friend who says you should start revising a month early? Your specialist lecturers who insist their teaching will be imperative for your future career? How did everyone else have it so together?
This is not meant to put prospective students off. In fact, that time of struggle taught me a lot about being a “grown-up”:
- Never set your standards (professional and personal) by the apparent certainty of someone else.
- Never think that the people around you aren’t as scared as you are.
- Never think that bad times will last.
- At some point, someone will gossip about you. Move past it and so will everyone else.
- Friendships happen.
I hope that by writing this, or through my interactions with scared-looking freshers, that I’ve helped pay some of these lessons forward. As for me, the lesson I’ve learned is to always be helpful and gentle to the people around you…especially freshers going through the torture of FunMed!