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January 05, 2021
Usually at the beginning of a blog, I say that the last 2 weeks have been busy. Well, in a departure from our scheduled programming, the last 2 weeks have been relaxing. But before I talk about the Christmas break, I’m sure you will be wondering how my Situational Judgement Test (SJT) went. As you may know if you read my last blog, the SJT is a really important exam, which is a factor in deciding what jobs we are offered after medical school, and I sat mine in mid-December. This year for the first time, rather than sitting the SJT at medical school, we sat the SJT at a Pearson test centre. Pearson test centres are where people sit their driving test theory or their UCAT for entry to medical school. I had booked my SJT for the Birmingham test centre as I had sat my UCAT there, so I was familiar with the centre and it is nearby. So, the day of the test came and I planned to be 30 minutes early to allow for any traffic – unfortunately the traffic didn’t get the memo! There was really bad traffic in the centre of Birmingham that Wednesday at 11am for some reason, so my 30 minute lead soon vanished, with me stuck in my car and on the wrong side of the city. At this point I made the executive decision to abandon my car and jog across the city with 10 minutes before my test began. I parked up (legally, of course) and ran across the city to the test centre, making it with 5 minutes to go. I later found out that the traffic was awful and if I had stayed in my car I wouldn’t have made it in time. Phew! Despite the stress getting there, I still had the test to contend with. I believe the SJT is designed to be impossible to revise for and I left feeling unsure how the test itself actually went. This year we also had a new type of question which made it tricky to know how the examiners were going to mark these. However I felt about the test I was mostly just hugely relieved that it was over. The next I will hear about how the exam went is in March when I will be told which deanery I have been allocated to. Scary!
The end of the SJT was also the beginning of my Christmas break. 2020 has been…interesting for many reasons, and I’m sure many of you will feel the same. Despite finals being in the new year, I had decided that I wasn’t going to do any medicine at all over the break. I think part of the secret to success at Medical school is being self-aware enough to know when to work and when your mind and body both need a break. And boy did I need a break! Over Christmas I did…nothing. I played some games, ate lots of food and spent time with my family. We usually always spend the holidays with my Grandparents but because of the pandemic situation they spent the holidays on their own and the most I saw them was from the end of the garden. I know this is minor compared to the trials and tribulations that some families are facing this winter, but it doesn’t make the absence of much-loved family any less painful.
On that note, you may have seen in the news that the pandemic is again becoming bad and that hospitals are swamped. This is hugely worrying for both patients, NHS staff and indeed, our education. Next week I start my surgical block and with the pandemic so bad, I do wonder what my experience will be like – and I find this a particular shame as I find surgery interesting. But in the grand scheme of things I am happy to be alive and well, with my family and friends also healthy. The lesson of 2020 for me – be grateful for the positive things in our lives. See you in my next blog, when I will have started my surgical block and I can give you an update from the hospitals and how our placements are going. Stay safe!