So you’re probably thinking, really Shan? How could THAT year of your life, THAT year that almost broke you (emotionally, psychologically and kinda financially from all the makeup you brought in the hope of cheering yourself up from such an awful week, every week) how can THAT year possibly be the best? Well, it obviously wasn’t the best year of my life in the sense of it being the most fun and happiest year but in an ‘actual adult kinda way’ it was, I learnt a lot of life lessons! So I thought I would share with you what I had learnt from that year and what i’m doing different.
Failing not one but two assignments, oh and an exam!
Okay, so I’m definitely not suggesting you fail a few assignments in your first year of university, but in my experience it actually helped me so much, like seriously so much! I originally went to uni with that attitude of ‘this is going to be a breeze, I’m going to get a first and I can do it with my eyes shut’ oh how I was wrong, so SO wrong! I had no idea on how to properly construct a good quality essay, justify it with the appropriate literature or properly reference, but in all honesty I’m still winging the whole referencing thing, but somehow I’m getting away with it this time round! I thought I knew best and went against advice that I was given, as in my head, what I had written was right?! So when I got that result back a few weeks later, that lovely 37% as you could probably tell, I thought it was an error on the uni’s part and not mine (at this point I was still in the – I obviously know better because I’ve just completed a few A levels -attitude) but it wasn’t until my personal tutor had broken it all down to me that I started to realise that in actual fact i’m NOT going to pass the year with that mentality, let alone do well!
And welcome the first culture shock: Dear fresher, you won’t be the best unless you do the work, drop the attitude and accept that advice! No one is too good for it, especially when it’s given with the best intentions! You’re really only screwing over yourself!
Your degree is the longest job interview of your life.
Could this be any more true? That year I was given the best piece of advise and if anyone ever asks me for some then that is exactly what I tell them! So just before my cohort headed out on our first ever clinical placement, one of our lecturers told us that how we present ourselves during our time, be that in a lecture, around the uni, on social media or on placement in front of our future employers, would determine an individuals impression on us – oh and not to mention that negative impressions are far more memorable than positives!
Don’t burn your bridges
I suppose I kinda did in my first year, lack of motivation and generally hating everything made sure that any hope of securing a job would be impossible (but I’m SO glad because it was horrific and I never plan on returning, which kinda defeats this point but hey let’s just go with it) But i’ve definitely learned that no matter if you hate every aspect of a placement, or experience, people talk and I’m guessing like the medical industry, every industry in their own right, talk! So even if you would rather sell your soul than work in a specific place or location, do not burn those bridges, leave a great lasting impression as you never know when you may need to call on them for a reference, or even a job!
Introduce yourself to everyone
My first year was not ideal to say the least, I was 4 hours away from home, in a completely new environment, essentially on my own! (Not great at all, especially when moving an hour down the road seemed like I had emigrated half way around the world!) I didn’t know a single person, and most importantly, not a single person knew who I was! The unofficial mentors that were assigned to me each day had no interest in teaching at all, and after a while this really effected me in a negative way. I lost all interest as no one seemed to be passionate about the profession, and as someone who absolutely thieves off other peoples positivity and enthusiasm, this really got to me. I became super unmotivated and refused to put myself out there as I knew I wouldn’t get anything back from it. So when it came to meeting new people, because I had had such a terrible experience, I was under the impression that every other person lacked interest also! So I stopped making an effort to introduce myself and asking to be apart of new experiences as all I wanted to do was leave. ‘If they didn’t know who I was, they couldn’t get me to stay a minute longer than I had to’ – that was my thought process on it all anyway.
But after a change of region and hospital, and a little 2 week break to get my shit together, I had a whole new outlook on the situation and my mentality changed! I wanted people to know who I was, I wanted them to know my name and know it for the right reasons! For the girl who was so willing and positive to be apart of every experience, that they would actually want ME there! And a whole year later from the worst year of university, that’s exactly what I did. I’m currently on my last week of clinical placement, at THE best hospital in my opinion anyway, and I can actually say that every single practitioner I have worked with has inspired me in some kind of way! And I’m sure that’s down to the fact that I would ALWAYS start off by introducing myself and establishing such good relationships with every single person, I would always ask for their advise and I would never turn down an opportunity to observe or be apart of an experience, even if I had seen it 15 times before – if it was someone knew, I would learn something knew!
Be your own boss and take control
I had almost completely wasted my first year of clinical placement, I worked so hard to get where I was and I almost threw it all away! After a million texts, FaceTime calls and tears with my friends and family I decided that enough was enough! I needed to take control of the situation and do something drastic otherwise it would be completely ruined! And I made the decision to change the hospital that I was based in. And to this day it was THE best decision I have ever made! I am so much more content to the point that it makes me so emotional thinking of having to go to a different hospital next year, it would a dream to go back there once I qualify because it is honestly THAT good! I’ve never been happier to work in such a positive place and it makes all the difference! I’ve been able to experience things that I didn’t even know could happen and met people who I would class as friends for life!
Culture shock – no ones is going to hand you everything on a nice marble plate, I would say golden but I’m a blogger after all, everything has to be marble right? You have to work for it, no one else, just you!
Taking control of your own experiences at university, or life in general, really determines how much you get out of it; why settle for anything less than the best?!