My Reflection

As part of our GP training programme, we attend weekly teaching sessions. This comprises of either a lecture given by a consultant, or a presentation given by a GP trainee. Today I was the plucky trainee, scheduled to present to my group of other junior doctors.

I reflected on the last time I presented at teaching. It was on dementia, a topic I naturally couldn’t put a light twist to. Though I felt it went reasonably well, it could have been better. I wasn’t satisfied with it. I was much more nervous back then and everybody knew it, just by the tone of my voice. When I get nervous I speak fast, and when I speak fast I finish too early. So on this occasion I thought to myself…what can I do this time to better present my teaching. Then I realised, pace myself.

Was I nervous this time? Well yes, most definitely at the beginning. Don’t forget, you’re allowed to be, but don’t show it. If I can’t hear myself get nervous, I can go slower. I found that by doing this, I can maintain my ‘cool’, kept a good rapport with my colleagues and even make bold attempts at making some comical twists, all very well received (!) Entrepreneur Jason Nazar has said that when you’re presenting, you’re not the one that has to be nervous, you can put the onus on your audience. I experimented with this notion, and by god it worked! In addition to my quiz, I was testing my colleagues by asking open questions to them all, and suddenly I wasn’t the nervous one! The other gold dust tip which I picked up upon, only whilst presenting, was to be honest. Just be real. I found that by doing this alone, the audience were more intrigued in the things I was saying. They weren’t afraid to ask me questions or seek advice. They could open up more.

This would be my first time at teaching that others personally came up to me and expressed how good it was. That has never happened before, so I must have done something right! But why did I decide to reflect in the end about some presentation? Well the real reason why I wanted to share this  is to utilise this as an example of why we should reflect. I don’t mean just for work, but for life. Yes it makes us better in the things we do, but it can also make us better people.

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Reflections on a train

I am halfway through a train journey back to Leeds, after having just spent the weekend with my family. Because of the time it takes to get to London (up to 2 and a half hours on a good day…try hopping onto a train after an exhausting week of long hours!) and the cost of train tickets, I don’t always get to go home as much as I would like to. However when I do go, I really try to make the most of it. I use the time to be with my parents, relax in the house I grew up in and meet up with a select few friends I try hard to stay in touch with. I also use the time I have at home to refresh my mind and remind myself of my London roots again…for example topping up my Oyster card!

I reflect about the things I have been able to do, what I have achieved so far, and more importantly what more I have to do to achieve my goals. When I come home, it’s so easy to not want to go back to work again. Maybe I can do something similar down here, in the comfort of my own home and family and friends.

So why did I leave? Was it because of an appealing location? Well partly yes. Was it to be with my boyfriend, after working in separate locations for two years? Absolutely yes. But then I remember the real reason why I left. If I stayed, I would be too comfortable. I wouldn’t venture off and do things I would have only dreamed off. And yes if I was at home, I would only dream of the things I want to do. Don’t get more wrong, I did spend one year at home after my foundation training, which I spent to go to Peru, Ecuador and Ghana. So I know you can still travel and do things even if you live at home. But I knew that deep down, I would still get too comfortable. I would take home for granted, and I wouldn’t do more for myself, I wouldn’t challenge myself.

Not all my train journeys have been of reflection. Having been forced by my supervisor to return to work for literally one day during the Christmas holiday, I had the honour of meeting the one and only Jeremy Corbyn, whilst on our way home to celebrate New Years Eve!

As I make my way back to Leeds, I am constantly reminded of the fun I had this weekend with my parents, cousins and friends. I came down especially this time to celebrate Dhane, a Buddhist festival to remember the ones we lost. I’m not the most religious but when I am home, I do try extra hard to pray, make the most of it and make it meaningful. Those days when I was super home sick and I had to leave home, I would confide in my boyfriend that I was missing my family, missing home and whichever location I am in, my opinion of the opposite one goes a little sour. I think one of the wisest things he’s said that day (apart from his many other musings!), was that there was no need to be sad. I literally could go back to London anytime I wanted to, nobody is stopping me but myself. Wherever you are, you can always take home with you, each of these locations is providing me with happiness, joy and love. Then it clicked to me, home is wherever you want it to be.