Can’t Knock Me Down

I’m back! And I’m so glad to be here. These past couple of months have been some of the most stressful, busiest and miserable, that I hadn’t dedicated as much time to writing as I’d like to.

Since the events surrounding my exam, it felt like for a while I couldn’t come back from it. After about a couple of weeks of feeling rotten and self pity, I realised that I had to get back on track if I had any chance of passing the exam next time.

The hardest thing for me was critiquing myself. Not only this but I also had to work on my confidence… this was seriously knocked off (more so). I tried to think about how should I go about this and then did what most people do when they’re stuck-go on YouTube.

I remember literally youtubing “how to be confident TED lecture” hoping there was something there I could learn from…and low and behold there was!

This video became part of my morning routine every day for two months. I had to keep reminding myself of this gold dust knowledge and whenever my confidence was affected at work (which did happen)…I’d keep this on.

I’d get emails from the deanery which almost felt like they were sending their condolences for my failure. It was heart breaking and non of which instilled any confidence in me. There was some talk about the deanery getting more involved to help me pass, as they’ve done with other trainees, but this never happened. I wasn’t expecting any miracles from them, infact the opposite…and this was nicely demonstrated by a harsh email I was cc’d in from the deanery.

Ironically on the day I got this email, I was introduced to the works of author and entrepreneur Seth Godin and what he said really struck a cord with me…

Don’t wait to be rescued, no one’s coming. 

I realised I was playing the victim. I was called “fragile” and though that might have been true, I hated being called that. That wasn’t the me I knew from university and that wasn’t going to be the me now either. I had to be the hero of my own story, I had to be a survivor.

I read the book the above YouTube video was based on. I also bought the wristband which the video talks about and wore it to work every single day (and still do). If I felt rubbish and lost focus, I looked at my band “my self affirmation” as Dr Joseph calls it and kept going. I persisted at work and studied at home. I almost isolated myself from the others, keeping myself to myself and my head down.

Over the past few weeks my trainer had dropped me for another trainee to help his needs. I tried not to let it bother me too much. Plus, I had better things to focus on. To a certain extent, it may have worked out for me.

It was this alternative trainer I was assigned to that introduced me into the world of “Mindfulness” i.e how to be in the moment and not lose focus.

I was introduced to this video three days before the day of my exam. It could have well saved me. I did this meditation on the morning of my exam and it made me look at the whole experience completely differently-instead of getting nervous I was calm. Instead of worrying what could happen I was quite excited about what could potentially happen instead. I pictured myself passing the exam and being a winner (like Arnie or Tony Robbins), not worrying about any consequences. I reframed the situation entirely.

Thankfully all these tips paid off and I passed my exam. So yes this week has been a good one, after so many awful ones. But I didn’t write this to brag. Far from it. It was to collate everything I learnt over the past couple of months and to share with you things which you may wish to benefit from too…especially if you’ve ever been knocked down.

Just some songs which I think people can relate too…I’ve been a little out of date with my songs of the month, so I’ve made up for it with two of my faves instead

Advertisements

The World Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows

This is quite a hard post for me to write. But I figured that if I did, I could overcome what has been an awful past few days- and just maybe put things into perspective.

The reason why I hadn’t blogged for quite some time was that I was hitting the books hard with a membership exam coming up. Books, study, practice and the like… Unfortunately it hadn’t paid off this time, and I failed.

Utterly gutted by a few marks off I was devastated and still am. The results came out on the Monday evening and once I found out, ย I was terrified to go into work the next day. I wondered what people thought of me. Word had got around but everybody was very supportive. Having said that, as soon as someone came up to me to give me a rub in the back, arm around the shoulder or a holding of the hand, I’d wait until they left the room, only to burst into tears. I’d let down everybody’s expectations and in the one few times I tried to believe in myself, my faith was shattered.

Yes this may sound like an overexaggeration of things, but it’s just how I’ve felt and I know it’ll hopefully pass.ย I know I’ve done harder exams during medical school under much different circumstances-I was 18, I was in another country and I was at the risk of being kicked out (there were 90 medical students in the first year, 23 of us graduated). My family needed to remind me of this, and that it really isn’t the end of the world.

My boyfriend mentioned ‘We said that one day we’ll look back at medical school and laugh about it. One day we’ll look back at this exam and also laugh about this’. Are there times when I don’t do anything and my mind wonders back to this failure? Sure. But maybe everybody does that.

The thought of what others think about me runs in my mind still (so says the person who’s blogging about her failure). Helpful quotes have however, tried to keep me going.

Do your best, forget the rest –Tony Horton

Don’t care what the others (trainees) think, just give the world the finger-My trainer

This is a skill I still need to work on, not giving a da** of what the others think.

I don’t know why else I decided to share this really. It was probably just to put it all down in writing, and one day be a distant memory. Plus, I’m kinda used to blogging about the not so great side of life too…remember the burglary?

Every morning this week I’ve woken up with the thought-‘I failed’. Now that I’ll have to get back to it again, when my heart sinks (which I’m sure it will do many a time)…I will try and remember this:

I love Rocky ๐Ÿ™‚

Song Of The Month

I thought long and hard about my song of the month, especially as it was the first one of the year ๐Ÿ™‚

I found myself reflecting from the events of this week, both at home and at work. Coming back into the work environment did expose my vulnerability quite early on. However, having confided in the right people, I was reminded that it was ok.

I have also been following clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, based at the University of Toronto. Having recently watched some of his YouTube videos, I came across this quotation from him which I wanted to share. I think it’s one which can apply to anybody, if they choose accept it.

“To love someone is to simultaneously accept their vulnerability, as a valid part of their being. Without this, there is no possibility of individual existence.”

Though I am not a Slipknot fan nor a total Stone Sour fan, this song by Corey Taylor has to be my favourite song right now. It’s touching and beautiful- and as always, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do ๐Ÿ™‚

Song Of The Month

Here it is! I came across this soundtrack interestingly whilst watching a Simpsons episode. I grew up with the James Bond movies my dad watched many a time. I think this song is an absolute classic and I find the introduction simply gorgeous. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I do…I wish I had such a voice!

Across The Track Blues

As I head back to Leeds, I wonder why it is that this trip back home was somewhat different to my previous trips back. For one thing it was certainly much longer than I would normally go home for (one week for me is a long time to be off!). I wanted to relax at home again and catch up with family and friends again. 

I definitely got the opportunity to recuperate from the work life and get back to my roots-(namely home cooked good eats!). However I didn’t really get the chance to catch up with many friends or cousins as I would do normally. Be it due to exams or being abroad, all completely understandable…but it made me realise how important they can be to have around, and I kinda felt it! I was missing Leeds terribly and for the first time in a long time, I realised that I may have more friends up in the North! 

Today is the day I headed back to Leeds. As I tidied up my room literally before leaving, I came across a little interesting-looking (and rusty!) item of some sort. It was something my mum actually found but she didn’t really know where it came from…and neither did I! The only thing I can tell you is that it has my writing all over it… 


“Amma” means mum ๐Ÿ™‚ I had to look this quote up and realised that this was one from Mother Theresa! Knowing my mum she’s kept this safe.

Now onto the present moment…I write this piece as I head back to Leeds on the train. As I have done for many of my previous posts, it gives me good head space! Unfortunately today is the day for apparent scheduled strike action, so my standard 2 hour journey has been bumped up to 3 :(. This would be my first time in a while that I’ve needed to stand in a train! 

As I stand against the shut door between the two carriages, I’m closely followed by fellow passengers also unable to get a seat…this was going to be a packed journey which we just had to accept. As the train finally heads off, I try to think how I could possibly make this journey an enjoyable one. Well the number one thing on my list, and probably for most other travelers is the obvious…good music!

Yes I have still been feeling in the epic mood with the music of Thomas Bergersen. 

As I look out of the window and listen to this music, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy and power, from what though I don’t really know! I can only put it down to the music and the beautiful views outside, rushing fast against me…just taking it all in.

Half an hour into the journey and the train starts to get more bumpy. As it now starts to move against trains in the opposite direction, I am consequently almost falling over many a time! I decide that I can’t possibly stand for three hours without the risk of actually landing on the floor…I look around and see how full the train is. Every space is filled with a person. 

Knowing full well that there is no chance that I’ll be moving from this spot, I decide to do the one thing the others haven’t dared do yet… sit on the floor. And low and behold not five minutes later, and I am closely followed by my fellow standers, who decide to sit on the floor with me! 

It’s actually lovely to see now how everyone is looking a little bit more comfortable-some reading, some snoozing and some chatting to others close by, including myself. When you’re surrounded by so many people for a long time it’s almost weird not to talk to them…at least that’s what I think :p No I don’t think any of it is due to my one act of resting my legs, but I don’t like to conform, and it sounds likes I’m not the only one ๐Ÿ™‚


Dark shadows, messy hair-but still in one piece!

Ocean Of Dreams

One of the reasons why I love to come back home is to relive some of my childhood memories. As I spend this week back home with my family, I have been reintroduced into the world of nature documentaries. I am reminded of the years when my dad and I would watch The Natural World every Sunday, with a cup of tea in our hands. Earlier today I was introduced by my dad into the new TV series- The Blue Planet II, narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. This programme blue my mind away.

This episode involved a team of scientists going deep into the Antarctic ocean, to find any forms of life. It was the first time anyone had made it to 1000 metres into the harshest ocean in the world, and I found it amazing to watch. All the footage they managed to capture was incredible…and some will stick with you forever. It brought back so many memories of what I used to think ‘discovering something’ would feel like. That thrill you get of finding something new, things which haven’t been unravelled yet.  A part of me will always want to be a scientist, that explorer. It saddens me that I haven’t dedicated enough time to this side of me. I need to try harder.

I had to remind myself of what Robert Greene mentioned before, always worth sharing again…

“First know what it is you really love doing, know what you are meant to do with your life.  As a child you would have been passionate about something, but because of the others around you, your parents etc. you found a career in something else.  You had passions at such a young age but you donโ€™t remember them, or donโ€™t think they are relevant. Figure out what you loved as a kid, and then decide how to incorporate this into your lifeโ€™s work”.

Imagine your greatest dream, but listen to this soundtrack as you do (as if I couldn’t pick up more magnificent things from this programme)…

Now you tell me you still don’t want to do it.

Uganda Healthcare Expedition Part V

I’ve been spending this weekend back home in London. Unfortunately, it didn’t start off quite so smoothly…

I developed a bout of conjunctivitis towards the end of the week, and was slowly recovering from that. It was also on the Friday when I headed to London, that I heard about the terrorist incident at Parsons Green earlier that morning. People were naturally more cautious about their travels and that included me. What made things more difficult, was telling my family that I was going to the Uganda-UK convention in central London the next day. They were NOT happy.

While I was brainstorming on the train, and trying to think of what I would like to achieve from the convention, I received a certain-toned phone call from the family, asking about the sort of convention I was attending.

Then that classic saying came along:

“We’ll talk about this when you get home”.

No, not an unfamiliar saying. But if anything, it probably fired up my drive more so. Listening to some of my favourite movie themes (yes, this includes How To Train Your Dragon), I was even more focused in my planning for the convention!

I tried to think why it is that parents don’t want us to do certain things. Do they think differently from us? Do they feel like they are losing us? Are they worried that we could fail? Maybe all those things. Or maybe, we’re supposed to be “settling”.

I don’t think such a thing as “settling” exists. To settle and accept things as they are, almost means giving up on life. I actually think that’s somewhat disrespectful to life itself. To strive, however and whatever you decide to pursue, means to live life to the fullest. If you choose to be of service to others, why shouldn’t you? Anything which increases your options is a good decision. If you do the same actions, you’ll get that same results. If you do different actions, you’ll have a different life.

So I went.

After an early morning wake up (6.45am on a Saturday morning is early for me!), I got ready and headed out. The convention itself was quite easy to get to, only a few stops on the underground and just a couple on the railway. Once I got there I signed in, was given my pass and waited around…unfortunately for a long time! It turned out that not only I had gotten there ridiculously early (I thought 9am was quite decent!), but they were running very late. The hall where the convention was being held at was divided into two parts. The front consisted of the stage, the tables at the front and the stand alone seats at the back. Behind were all the exhibition stands. The people who attended were spread across the two parts, though the exhibition area was naturally much louder! Before you realise people approach you, and you can’t help but network as well-exchanging contact details and dishing out calling cards (I was probably one of the few who DIDN’T have one, I don’t think your NHS smart card quite qualifies!).

Sneaky photo before the crowds came

Before the rest of the people arrived 

The chairman opened up the convention with a saying I thought was clever, in the context of us being allowed to use our phones to take pictures!

“Life worth living is one worth recording”.

The convention commenced with the singing of the Ugandan National Anthem. This was soon followed by various speeches given by many distinguished invited guests-such as the Ugandan High commissioner to the UK, and the Vice President of Uganda, Edward Ssekandi.

Vice President of Uganda Edward Ssekandi giving his speech 

One of the presentations which interested me more so, was delivered to us by Dr Ian Clarke-a physician, philanthropist, entrepreneur and the chairman of the International Medical Group. I found his work inspiring, particularly how he used agriculture from his roots to keep his medical work sustainable. I adored his motto:

“Sustainable Development with Social Impact”

I was very fortunate to have a face to face meeting with him, which was just as well as I missed a part of his presentation (because it was during his presentation that we had to register to meet with a specific speaker…funny that!).

The meeting itself was a delight! I had my notebook with my questions written and my pen at the ready, to write haste his answers and advice. However I soon as I sat down, I didn’t even look at my notebook properly. It didn’t seem all that appropriate. I asked just one question, and the rest of the time we just chatted away, completely informal and relaxed. He was taken aback that I was a doctor, as I think he thought like many others, I was seeking for an investment! It was almost like we were uni friends, getting to know each other and comparing notes about medicine and life. I felt absolutely honoured that we spent the length of time we had talking. To me he was like a celebrity, and it was probably my highlight of the convention!

After leaving the meeting room, I walked through a very crowded hallway where out of nowhere, a calling card flung across, hit my face by accident and landed on the floor. I picked it up and didn’t think much of it when a gentleman said:

“I’m really sorry, did that hit your eye?!”

“No no it didn’t, not to worry”

“Oh then you can have it!”

Suddenly there was a loud uproar of laughter and I couldn’t help but join in. But it wasn’t until I left the hallway, that I realised who the card belonged to-the Ugandan High Commissioner!

After a cup of tea and a croissant for lunch (the queue for lunch was incredibly long and I didn’t have the stomach to wait), I managed to speak with some other people in the crowds, before taking my seat at the table. The lecture after lunch was provided by a Ugandan Physician, which captivated me yet again. She first talked about the Diaspora in Uganda. Ignorant as I am at things, I had to look this up. She then spoke about how the healthcare system there is “corrupt and broken down”, and that a lot of work still needed doing. This was followed with a story, one which almost brought me to tears…

A senior physician at her hospital became unwell and needed a ventilator. Unfortunately the ventilator broke down and he was deteriorating. “Hospital X” where he was staying would not let him go to “Hospital Y” to receive treatment via their working ventilator, until he and his family paid the fees. This was in the hundred thousand region and despite appealing to the administration, they would not let him go. “The fees were coming in but his health was getting worse”.

Once the payment was made to Hospital X, Hospital Y refused to take him in. This was because he now needed to pay for the ambulance, and this was even more expensive (in the millions region). SOMEHOW they managed to get this payment sorted and thankfully, he was transferred across. Maybe it was the way she told us this story (which is far better than how I am saying it here), but this sorry horrified me and I was heartbroken.

After a couple more speeches I decided to call it a day. I had taken more than enough knowledge and insight than I could have hoped for and decided to head back, to spend the rest of the day with the family.

My trinkets from the day ๐Ÿ™‚ You could only speak with the guest speakers if you applied for a VIP pass-so worth it! 

Attending this convention only reinforced what I want to do with my life. There are many messages which I took home with me, but one of my favourites still is this one, which was mentioned by the Ugandan physician. It couldn’t be put more simply:

“It was just something different and that’s what I chose to do”