Saturday, 12 May 2012

Cardiology and a whole lot of doubt...

Listening to: Maroon 5 - Payphone

So, previously in my life I failed the second year of my medical degree. 3 modules - neuro, renal and cardio. I resat them in August and failed cardio again. Because of my mitigation (the depression) the resits were classed as first-sits and I got one more chance. They offered me the option of going back to Birmingham and attending the cardio lectures again but Bristol (bless them) decided that I could still go there and intercalate, and that's what I did. The cardio became an external resit ie no fees to Birmingham, no registration to Birmingham. I would just go in May/June and sit the exam.

Fast forward about 9 months. The cardiology resit came around. I had the SAQs (short answered questions) on Wednesday and I have the 40 min MCQ/Anatomy TrueFalse questions next Thursday (4 hour round trip for 40 mins grr).

The SAQs went...I think they went well. It was almost the same paper as last year, and there was a few bits and bobs that I didn't go over again thinking they wouldn't come up (people talk between the years!). But I think overall it was alright, if we ignore my pharmacology slip up - I KNEW phenylephrine was an alpha agonist not an antagonist but I wrote it down in the hope of some literally paradigm shifting miracle.

I think.

Here's the problem. I'm not entirely sure that medicine is the career for me but I want to go back and give 3rd year a fair shot. 2nd year was hell because I was ill. I failed those modules because I was ill. I want to go into 3rd year and make up my mind afterwards. But if I fail cardio I will be asked to leave. No more second chances. And what's more, because I won't officially have completed two years of medical education prior to my intercalation, the chances of me being allowed to graduate from Bristol are next to none. So the last three years will have been a waste and the great Lexie Bellafonte will be a failure.

I don't think I'm great. My family does. I'm the eldest cousin on my mum's side in England and they all look up to me. I think I do well not because I'm smart but because I don't have a life to distract me from revision.

Here's the real problem. Prior to the depression I was a straight A* student. I got the highest grade possible in everything (except an AS Critical Issues module but we don't talk about that :P ). I'm not boasting. That's just how it was. I would hand in an essay or come out of an exam and genuingly think that it had gone badly, and would say so, to the point when everyone started to get exasperated with me and my so-called modesty. It wasn't modesty, it was honest doubt. But every time I worried about an essay or an exam, or anything really, everyone, EVERYONE would say "You'll be fine."

You'll be fine.

That's what they said in second year. And that's what they believed. Because the great Lexie Bellafonte doesn't fail. She's had crap in her life before and no matter what she's always pulled through, always prevailed, always passed.

And despite being really ill there was a part of me that started to, wanted to, believe that everything would turn out fine.

And then I failed.

I know that the reason I failed wasn't because I was stupid. It was because I was ill. Seriously ill. And I'm better now. And I've done the work for cardio, done so much revision. I wrote on the back of almost every single page in that exam. But I'm worried. Partly because I do think I may have slipped up. And when I worry about cardio everyone says, "You'll be fine."

Problem is, I don't believe them any more.


Lexie (who needs to stop blogging and go write her dissertation)


  1. This sounds like a really strange thing to say, but doubting can sometimes be good. If you were dead certain of the outcome of everything then life would be incredibly boring. Right now most if not all of my friends are just figuring out their way in life, and that's totally fine :). But what was it that made you want to do medicine in the first place? What has made you come this far?

    As far as grades and expectations go, I get that big style. But I think it's really important not to measure yourself by your grades. You're obviously very intelligent, so don't put yourself down. Failing is an incredibly liberating - and necessary - thing sometimes. Just make sure that if and when you do, you have a support network to fall back on so the world doesn't implode right in front of your eyes :).

    Hope you feel a bit more positive soon! *hugs*

  2. Firstly... Its sad that when we become so institutionalised we start to question our abilities and failure becomes something we are measured against as people. I feel your predicament but as Rosie said grades and expectations are merely a bench mark and yes often failure can change fate for the good. Only you can make that decision about Medicine or Bristol. Follow the passion... you sound like an amazing, strong and intelligent person and whatever path you decide to take I am sure you will make some amazing friends and touch peoples lives on the way! x

  3. @Rosie: Thank you hun *hugs back* As for the medicine question - I honestly have no idea. And I know you shouldn't measure yourself by your grades but I can't stand the idea of failing out of uni and not getting a degree...

    @AuntyEm: Hi :D Thank you for what you've said. It never amazes me how supportive and understanding people (who I've never met) can be. Stops me from losing faith in humanity! I only hope I can live up to your image of me :) x


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