A Letter to Final Year Medical Students

Dear Final Year

On the eve of your examinations*:

I have been wanting to write you. I wanted to give you a “list of things to do” to survive your Hell Week, but time got the better of me and thankfully so, because trying to reduce your finals to a list of survival tips is a slap in the face of the hard work you have done, and will still do.

Base image by Angela Hart, click for link.
Base image by Angela Hart, click for link.

Continue reading “A Letter to Final Year Medical Students”


I’m going to be a doctor!



Final year of med school done. Name badge with “Dr”: received. I’m officially on holiday for a month before I begin my job as Intern. Just an oath taking and a graduation still to come.

It feel so unreal!

I don’t know what else to say.


Things That Kept Me Going Through Exams

I’m waiting on exam results (nail-biting!) but I remain surprised and grateful that I actually survived TWO hell-weeks this year. Our exams don’t only assess our competence as future doctors, but also our nerves. They are an emotional game, pushing us to our limits in the span of a week. I mean, they won’t admit it, but that’s pretty much what happens.

When you’re studying and it feels like you will never know it all, this helps:

Continue reading “Things That Kept Me Going Through Exams”

On the Go: Jetting off to MWASA 2014

Firstly: I survived hell-week! It was very different than the first hell-week in April. In April I was examined on two completely different subjects a day. This month it was one a day, but with much wider subjects like Internal Medicine and Paediatrics, so it was still an insane amount of work. Continue reading “On the Go: Jetting off to MWASA 2014”

The Medical App You Should Get NOW (and an exam PSA)

Figure 1 might not be new to my international readers, but I am SO EXCITED to share that today the app launches in South Africa! I’ve been using the app a bit longer because I have access to an American iTunes account, but now it’s officially here and we can share some of our awesome medical images too! It is available on App Store and Google Play and you can download it here.

South-Africa-Launch21 Continue reading “The Medical App You Should Get NOW (and an exam PSA)”

Tips for New Student Interns: Part 2 – On Studying

Exactly a year ago, I started Student Internship. Now, we are getting ready to welcome the new bunch as we prepare to take our leave from medical school – soon, soon. That first week of SI was so exhausting. I found myself studying for hours and still feeling useless.

One year later, and I’ve become convinced of one thing: you study differently for every rotation, and there are ways to study effectively without burning out. These are some of my methods and tips that tend to work when you actually use them (I’ll leave you to interpreting that).

study si Continue reading “Tips for New Student Interns: Part 2 – On Studying”

Hell Week is Over. But I’d Rather Talk About SAS.

I survived Hell Week. Not sure what that is? Check this post, right at the end.

I don’t really want to talk about it though. I’m pretty traumatised. Thanks to a huge amount of prayers and support and motivation from my family and friends, I survived it. I honestly did not think I would get past Tuesday.

My worst subjects, Surgery and Orthopaedics, went really well. My best subjects, Ophthalmology and Anaesthetics went REALLY badly. We only get our results in like a century though.

Exactly one year ago today, I disembarked Semester at Sea’s MV Explorer in Barcelona. I can’t believe it’s been a year. I miss falling asleep on the rocking ocean. I miss the countries – all of them. It was a great experience.

Watch this spoken word by Stephen Brown, whom I met in the Illness Narratives course we both took on the ship. I tear up every time I watch this. It is the best representation of that voyage. Transcript below.

Continue reading “Hell Week is Over. But I’d Rather Talk About SAS.”

Advice Solicited: How Do You Do It?

I have a question for medical students and doctors (and anyone else who thinks they can): How do you do it?

I am in my final (sixth) year now and it is by far the hardest year I have ever had. We are expected to work long hours, like the Interns. I am not opposed to working hard, but be reminded that a) we are not paid for this like the Interns are and b) we have to study for upcoming exams, whereas the Interns already have their degrees. So at the end of a long day we still have to study… Continue reading “Advice Solicited: How Do You Do It?”

Vascular Surgery, Exam Anxiety and Stuff

I think I may, for the first time in my life, have some genuine academic anxiety. I’ll be writing my first set of FINAL med school finals in ten weeks. Six domains in four days: Urology, Ophthalmology, Otorhinolaryngology, Anaesthesiology, Family Medicine, Surgery and Orthopaedics. And let’s not forget that Surgery = general + head&neck + vascular + trauma + paed surgery.

I don’t actually know how I am going to do it, given that we do not have any study leave. I will go straight from completing Ortho rotation into exams. Ten weeks is not enough to prepare for HALF OF EVERYTHING I have done in almost six years. Continue reading “Vascular Surgery, Exam Anxiety and Stuff”