It’s ok not to know everything
With the nature of this course, it can feel like you are fighting an uphill battle. The workload is big - there is no way to sugar coat it - but do not panic! No one expects you to know everything. It is not possible to know everything. The best thing to do is study little and often and don’t get overwhelmed! Sometimes it’s better not to look at the timetable too far ahead of time as it may bog you down. Yes some weeks you are covering 3 or 4 topics, but no it’s not impossible. Find yourself a good study buddy, or a strategy that works for you and be consistent. You’ll be surprised how much information you retain when it comes to the first set of exams.
No I’m not talking about yoga, although that is a great technique for relaxing after a long day, but things can and will change. Lectures get cancelled, new classes get added in; the lecturer has changed their slides or decides to mix up the order in which they deliver their presentation; classes overrun; venues can be changed even last minute, or with no warning. It’s soon obvious when you are sitting in an empty lecture theatre that something is amiss. But, if you can roll with the punches and not get frustrated you will be laughing! If nothing else it will prepare us for the real world. Change is inevitable, and actually I am ok with that.
Buy a travel mug
This doesn’t need much explaining. Days are long and some days are just harder than others but a cup of tea or a coffee will get you through! 5 minutes between lectures leaves plenty of time to top up at the water machine and keep you going until the next break.
Use your colleagues
Everyone has their own path to getting to the Physician Associates course, we have science graduates, allied health professionals, some people with years of working in NHS and others straight from their undergraduate degrees. There is no right or wrong path. What is good is having a mix, using peoples’ knowledge, NHS experience, life experience which helps us all get better. We pull from others strengths for the areas we struggle, and we share the knowledge in areas we excel at. Don’t be afraid to share what you know and conversely be willing to ask for help.
This year is hectic, and it goes by so fast so make the most of it. We have a range of people in our class of different ages, backgrounds, religions, but we have come together, had regular nights out, nights in, eaten lots of different foods, danced, gone on walking tours, the list could go on but the point I’m trying to make is we have had fun! It’s so easy to think that there is no time for socialising when the course is so full on, but we wouldn’t function very well if we spent all our time studying! The brain definitely needs some downtime.
When I got accepted on to the course I was apprehensive, was I going to be smart enough, would I cope with the workload, what if I can’t remember how to study? But I can honestly say it has been so rewarding so far and would recommend this course to anyone looking for a challenge and a career in medicine.