Sunday, 31 July 2011

Happy Birthday to me...

It's my birthday today :) I'm 20, or as my brother has been saying, "ancient". It really hits home when he tells me that I'm 1/5 of a century, or that I've lived for a quarter of my life :) I don't actually feel older, but then you never do, do you? As I keep telling my mum, "age is just a number". If anything people will stop looking so surprised when I tell them how old I am. I don't get it, why were you so shocked I was 19??? According to my mum I've been acting older than my years since I was born, so that probably has something to do with it.

This past year has been...well, complicated. Definitely not one of the best. Probably the worst. It's been something of a rollercoaster. But it really hasn't been all that bad. If anything I'm grateful that I made it through my 19th year without doing something really stupid. There have been some good moments - my relationship with my dad is on the mend, I realised that I have some really close friends at university (and at home!) and my cousin's epic marriage finally came to a very beautiful close. I've spent some amazing time with my family and friends.

One of the best things about this year has been...this. Social networking. I've really enjoyed writing this blog, and it's certainly helped me get through some hard times. Not just through the writing, but more importantly because of the people who have read and commented. I feel like I actually know some of you guys really well - you're my friends - and I'm so thankful for all the help and support you've given me. But I'm even more thankful to you for just reading what I've had to say.

It's the same with Twitter. I know some groups go on about how social networking is bad - it leads to cyber bullying and social isolation. And yes, sometimes it does. But I have met so many wonderful people on Twitter (and on my blog). People who are kind, sweet and generous with their time; these are people who have taken an interest in me, and ask me how I am, even though we've never met.

Really this is a thank you to all of you.

So, next year. The big 2-0. Any hopes? Well, I hope that I'm happy, and that I find a way to keep being happy. I hope that I can make it through re-sits and that I have a great time in Bristol. And I hope that I don't lose any links I've made with family and friends, both cyber and solid in nature.

That's all for now. Thank you for reading.

Lexie :D

Just read: The Passage by Justin Cronin - An amazing post-apocalyptic book that I never thought I would enjoy but really did.

Currently reading: The Greatest Benefit to Mankind by Roy Porter. It's on my reading list for next year. And it's huge. Like an encyclopedia. But so far it's been quite good, very readable and interesting, which is always important :P

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Wishing the Summer Away...

This summer has to be about more than just revision. And so, even though my resits are now ominously close, here's a list of the things I'm looking forward to doing once the 26th August has come and gone:

1. Going shopping. I used to hate shopping, but I'm starting to looking forward to strolling around clothes shops, taking way too many outfits into the changing rooms and trying them on. Especially with my friends :)

2. Losing weight. So I can fit into all the clothes I want to buy :)

3. Baking. There's just something so relaxing and summery about being up to your arms in dough!

4. Reading without feelin guilty about it. I keep buying books from next year's reading list but I can't get stuck into them yet :(

5. Writing. I have all these ideas flying round my head, taking up space that should be filled with countercurents and anti-arrythmic drugs. As soon as these exams are over I'm going to curl up with my laptop and write to my heart's content!

6. Long bike rides through the little villages near where I live that I never even knew existed. With my brother, if I can pry him away from his X-Box.

7. Driving. Mum says shes going to try and get the car insured!!!!!!!!! Now I just have to prove to her I'm a good enough driver that she'll take me out on the motorway...

8. Generally having fun :D

Not long left! Now, back to revision!


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Medical Humanities...

It’s been a week since I went to the Medical Humanities Conference in Leicester and I’ve FINALLY got time to blog about it!!!!
I always thought that I would have to chose between English and Medicine, career wise at least. There was nothing stopping me from reading in my spare time (except a distinct lack of spare time) but if I went down the medicine route it would be all science this, and science that. English wouldn’t have a place. It would be shunned into the corner like a naughty puppy.
Then I realised that that wasn’t strictly true. Because of this thing called Medical Humanities.
At Birmingham, Medical Humanities covers all the intercalations that aren’t physiological in nature. So, History of Medicine, Law and Ethics, Psychological Medicine, Public Health and International Health. At Bristol Medical Humanities is completely different. The intercalation I’m doing next year (of the same name) is English Literature, History and Philosophy but with a relation to medicine and science. We do first year English modules and 2nd/3rd year Philosophy modules and then modules designed specifically for our course. It’s my perfect degree :) I used to say that I wished I could do joint honours in English Literature and Medicine. Now I sort of can. I even get a BA!!!!
In my limited opinion, Medical Humanities is one of the few good things about medical education that we have taken from America. Let’s face it, PBL isn’t really working out. But Medical Humanities has been a large thing over there for years now. This website was set up by the New York University School of Medicine in 1994. The blog has stopped being posted on but the database is updated regularly. To get into the John Hopkins School of Medicine, ranked 3rd in the US, you have to have studied the humanities/social science in some form at pre-med level to “foster broad understanding of humankind and the increasingly diverse cultural and social environment of our world”.

Medical Humanities is starting to grow and gain respect in the UK. Many universities, including Leicester, offer an MA in the subject; only one or two offer a BA. It is, however, still in it’s infancy - The Medical Humanities Journal published by the BMJ was only launched in 2000. The conference I attended in Leicester - "The Drama of Medicine: All the Ward's a Stage" - is only the 2nd student conference to be held; there were only about 20 of us and most of the attendees were from Leicester. But as someone who is interested in the subject I thought it was well worth it, even if I did get up at 5:00 am and spent about 6 hours on trains that day (I came home and was in bed and out like a light by 10. Apparently my mum came and stood over me and I didn’t even realise. This is the girl who gets woken up by the birds outside!)

There was a lecture on the use of the word “gift” to describe tissue samples taken from child cancers for research purposes; one about the medical profession in comedy shows (I really want to watch TLC now); a workshop by the Medical Writer’s Society; one given by Prof. Bill Fulford on “Values and Evidence Based Practice” and loads of student presentations which ranged on topics such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Art to the use/benefits of patient narratives and cinemeducation.
I wish I had stayed for the full conference.
I can’t wait for next year :)
I thought the study of humanities was important to medicine before the conference; I’m only reassured of that fact now. And hopefully (assuming I pass my resits) I’ll have a lot more to say about the subject on this blog as the year continues.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

A Few Random Things About Me...

I was getting sick of the first post people saw when they came on here being the previous one, and since I haven't got round to doing my Medical Humanities post yet (cause of the joy which is revision) I thought I'd post one of those "All About Me" questionnaires. Why? Cause I'm sad. 

Who or what always puts a smile on your face?
Comedy shows. Glee. The Big Bang Theory. And my brother when he breaks out of his shell to try and make me feel better. And when people from Twitter who I've never met ask me if I'm ok when I tweet that I'm not. Sometimes the virtual world is nicer than the real one.

What are you reading at the moment?
Ummm, The Passage by Justin Cronin, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell's latest book (I can't remember the name). All of them. At the same time. Oh, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Marquez. And the latest StudentBMJ.

What's your earliest memory?
Sitting under the tree in our garden on a bench with my mum and dad talking about Lion Bars and Snickers.

What is your greatest fear?
Moths. Although I am getting better! Acutally, it used to be jumping into water. I couldn't even do it at the swimming pool. But I haven't tried in years so maybe I wouldn't be quite so scared any more!

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone nice.

Have you ever done something you've really regretted? 
Yes. Many things. The earliest was cheating on a test when I was in Year 6.

How do you spoil yourself? By buying a new book, taking it to Starbucks and settling down with a grande something-or-other. Or with chocolate!

What's your favourite word/book?
Captain Correlli's Mandolin. The book, not the words.

Who do you turn to in a crisis? My mum.

What makes you angry?
Game Shows with stupidly large prize funds. Do they know how many African villagers they could save from starvation with that money?? And stereotypes. And people not respecting other people's views.

Are you in love?

What are you proudest of?Getting through this last year without doing something really stupid.

Where's your favourite city?It used to be Stratford-Upon-Arvon. I haven't got one anymore.. 

When was the last time you cried?

One wish; what would it be?That the human race would just get on with each other. Life is too short to get annoyed.