Friday, 29 June 2012

No Pressure...

This is another poem that I submitted as part of my creative project for my Medical Humanities degree. Let me know what you think.

No Pressure

I’m beginning to realise how Atlas felt,
but instead of the world
I’m carrying the textbook of why and how,
memories of clinical skills seminars,
a box of pharmacology flashcards,
and somebody’s life.

I haven’t met them yet,
but one day I will ambush them with the algorithmic questions
of a fresh faced medical student.
They will mean something to the someone who will sit by their hospital bed and
try not to cry.

One day knowing this fact or that word –
the passage of this vessel,
the interactions of that drug –
will save their life.

For all our banter
our knees are beginning to buckle under the pressure
because it’s not just exam stress which keeps us awake.
One day we will help keep a life in this world,
but the next we may accidently take one away

and leave somebody to cry besides an empty hospital bed.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The amazingness that was Bristol...

This academic year has been amazing. Beyond amazing. It's all felt so...right. Bristol and the iBAMH course came into my life when I needed them the most and so much has clicked into place since I moved here in October.

I'm not ready to leave. At the end of 7 years of high school or 3/5 years of university you feel like you're ready to move on. You experienced everything, seen everything and learnt enough that you feel it's time to progress onto the next stage of your life. A year isn't long enough to reach that point.

But I can't complain. I have grown so much as a person over the past 9 months. I feel more in tune with myself, I know what I want from my life. I feel like a better person. This time last year I was a wreck, trying to slog my way through resit revision when all I needed was rest and sleep. I've come so far.

And change is good. I'm going to go back to Birmingham and Medicine a different, much better person. Bristol will always have a place in my heart. I plan to move back when I'm older and live here. It's a wonderful city full of life and culture and, despite what some people thing, it's really very diverse. There's so much history here that with every step you can feel like you're experiencing someone else's life. And it has a river. I've realised that I feel very calm near water. How odd.

Thank you Bristol. Thank you for cradling me at a rough time. Thank you for helping me to grow and heal. And thank you to the people who I've spent this amazing year with, my course mates, the professors and tutors at the university and my flat mates. Thank you all for everything.

I'll be back :)


Thursday, 14 June 2012

Teetering on the precipice at the end of the best year ever...

I wanted to get achieve something today, finish something. I haven’t. I wasn’t aiming to write my end of year blog until next week. But a Twitter conversation made me realise that tonight, right now, would be the best time to write this.

Tomorrow I get my results from my resit in Birmingham. And not to sound melodramatic but this is it. My future literally depends on one number which will be emailed to me at 10:30am. If I pass I proceed to third year and can get my BA. If I fail I have to leave medicine and I won’t be able to graduate from Bristol. And I’m not sure that I have the strength the deal with that.

This past year has been amazing. Beyond amazing. I’ve indulged myself in literature and art and culture and have been privileged enough to experience it all with an amazing group of girls and a tutor who has entered my Teacher’s Hall of Fame (it’s very exclusive, there’s only 4 people in it).

And I’ve come so far on a personal level too this year. I’m not cured, and I’m not the person that I was in first year. I’m someone else, and I’m liking her far more than I’ve ever liked myself before. It sounds corny but I found myself this year – I feel happy and centred, I know what I believe in and what I stand for, I have a plan and dreams and goals. I feel at ease, with myself and with the world. I saw this on Tumblr and it sums up perfectly why I don’t want this year to end:

Quote by Azar Nafisi

I thought that I would write a whole post on the wonders of Bristol, and maybe at some point I will. But it’s hard to transfer that utterly joyous feeling that this year has given me from my insides to the page. All I can say is that it’s been amazing. Beyond amazing. Wonderful. Exciting. Astonishing. Breathtakingly brilliant. Indescribable. And I don’t want it to end but part of life is change, and change is good. I think that whatever happens tomorrow I will be a better person because of this year.

But tomorrow. Oh tomorrow.

I have a plan for what happens if I pass. I don’t have one for if I fail. And you’re probably all thinking “she’ll be fine” and “stop worrying” but I’m a worrier and I actually hate the phrase “you’ll be fine” at the moment. I’ve said this before but I don’t trust myself or my abilities anymore. If I pass I give you all permission to say “I told you so” very loudly but for now please just humour me.

I’m scared. Utterly terrified. I know everything happens for a reason, and like not getting into Cambridge, failing tomorrow may be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I want to say I’ll apply to do English but I don’t think I’ll be able to afford it. My friends and I used to joke and say that if we failed out of medicine we’d set up a hairdressers but I don’t know a thing about hair. I haven’t got the money to travel. I haven’t got money full stop.

And I’ll have failed out of university. I barely coped with failing a module.

I don’t know. Maybe it will all be fine. I...

I’m going to go watch a film. And take a sleeping pill. And just let tomorrow come.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Glass Walls and Painted People

Not entirely sure how I feel about this one but, here you go *releases into the world*

They come as excited as children at Christmas,
Or like this gallery was a theme park
And there was no line for the dodgems.
They crowd around me.
He glances at my notes
As if it’s the mandatory placard
To which he must give the mandatory look.

When he talks I imagine
He is painting me as the picture I feel I have become,
Priceless enough that you can’t get too close.
He takes pains over my composition, meaning and the use of light.
Really he is telling them how I survived
A dark hole
That would make for a far more interesting portrait.

One of his flock looks uncomfortable enough
For me to note her composition – drained;
The use of light – fleeting.
One tremulous hand grasps her pen a little too forcefully.
I realise she is painted like me,
And the way he reduces us
Makes her feel intimidated.

They move onto the next painting or sculpture,
The next person in the next bed.
She lingers a little
And smiles at me like I am not to be interpreted.
I smile back across the great divide
Of a single bed
And the plexiglass we both know is

Sometimes there.

(C) Sarah Ahmed

Monday, 4 June 2012

Philosophical musings...

I'm currently alternating between wading through philosophy revision and drowning in it :) But I will (hopefully) be back soon (assuming that this exam doesn't result in a fatal intracranial haemorrhage, like it sometimes threatens to!)

Last night was quite funny though. I was feeling a bit loopy - it was late and I was attempting an all-nighter. And I ended up with the following philosophical argument (which has absolutely nothing to do with my module on the philosophy of science):

P1: The world does not exist. It is merely a fabrication created by an evil demon (a la Descartes)
P2: My philosophy teaching/exam is part of this fabrication
C: I don't need to revise.

I don't know what was worse, that I was *this* close to believing it or that it was a terribly formulated philosophical argument in the first place.

This was a bit like during my dissertation panic. It was really, really hot, and my very old laptop was propped up on one side by a copy of the BNF, and on the other by my copy of Shakespeare's Henry IV. And I couldn't help but think that that picture was all somehow a metaphor for my life. And then I realised that that was the deepest, most literary thing I had thought of in the last 24 hours :)

Lexie x