Scott's Spiel

Moving Forward

It's been a while since my last blog post, and life is steadily progressing. In just over a year's time, I'll be facing my finals—an undeniably daunting prospect!

Before that pivotal moment arrives, I must endeavor to absorb as much knowledge as humanly possible (and hope I don't overlook anything crucial). The predicament I'm encountering is that the absence of exams this year has left me feeling somewhat adrift. Exams may not be my favorite thing, but they undeniably motivate learning. I have numerous ideas about how to revamp the course setup, but that's a topic for another post.

My current block placement is in general practice. Last year, I thoroughly enjoyed my attached GP placement—it was small, friendly, and conducive to specific teaching with ample time for discussions. Admittedly, I only went there every two weeks, but this year, I can't help but feel like more of a burden on the practice. So much so that my timetable seems rather comical. Take this Wednesday, for instance—I've been instructed to report to reception in the afternoon. Sigh.

Let me clarify that this isn't meant to be disparaging toward receptionists (who, I'm sure, may be avid readers!). I simply don't think I'll gain much from it. My computer skills are, I believe, fairly proficient, and I doubt they want to invest time in teaching me their system just so I can answer phones.

All in all, I find life as a student somewhat exasperating at the moment. I'll readily admit that I don't possess anywhere near enough knowledge to be "out in the wide world," but I often wonder if I'd be experiencing the same frustration in different hospitals, medical schools, or even in another country. By far, the most enjoyable part of my year thus far was the student-selected component (SSC) I completed in neonatal medicine. I was genuinely fond of the subject, of course, but I also felt like a valuable part of the team.

But is this sense of belonging critical? Can I genuinely assert that I learned more there than I have elsewhere? That's a tough question to answer.

Conversely, I wonder how I'll feel once I'm no longer a student. At present, I believe (and hope) I'll find it enjoyable, but only time will tell. Amidst all of this, I feel I should be pondering job prospects. It's admittedly still early, but there are many considerations to weigh.

Firstly, should I contemplate pursuing an academic foundation post? This is a complex decision. It might help balance the fact that I didn't intercalate, and I certainly have a keen interest in teaching and (clinical!) research. But is such a post truly necessary? Will it be beneficial? Most importantly, do I stand a chance of securing one? A significant proportion of my peers have intercalated or possess other degrees, which could make them more favorable candidates for these positions. Additionally, there's the matter of the rotations themselves. Should I select an alternative that aligns more closely with my desired specialty for the foundation years? This is something I deem increasingly important, as we don't have a lot of time to explore a multitude of specialties.

However, it's worth noting that academic foundation posts don't follow the standard recruitment procedure. I'll need to make up my mind on this matter before summer arrives.

There's much to contemplate. Another concern that nags at me is whether I'll be able to remain in Scotland at all (assuming I apply for a traditional program). If I do stay, where should I focus my efforts? If not, where else? My current academic standing isn't stellar, and discussions about changing the system could have either positive or negative repercussions. Ideally, I'd prefer to remain in the West of Scotland, and it's worth mentioning that Scotland's foundation school was undersubscribed this year. Let's hope it remains the same!

I have a few other topics I'd like to write about—UKCAT, for one, and then something a bit geekier. I just need to carve out the time!