This is the first in a series of 3 articles where I, a Biomed survivor, will share with you the things I wish I had known at the beginning of this year. This article centres around 3 points that I hope will help set the scene for you to enter the mystical realm of Biomed. Without further ado, let’s get into business.
- Accept that you will have to put things on hold
This is something that is often talked around. Lecturers, past students, and even current students say that your ‘free time’ depends on your time management skills. That’s true…in a way. To clear up the fog around this area, if you’re aiming for the top grades (as well as preparing for the UCAT and MMI), you can be pretty much guaranteed to lose 90% (at least) of the free time you had before. I’ll leave you to do the maths. Biomed is a very content-heavy pathway and unfortunately, one where there’s always at least 5 things that needed to be done yesterday, meaning the concept of free time is well…just a concept really. That doesn’t mean you can’t carve out free time, just realise that it most certainly won’t be served to you on a silver platter. Let me give you a few examples of what this looked like for me: As of October, I managed to read a grand total of 10 pages of the book I wanted to finish in March. Hour-long workouts were shortened down to 45 minutes (and to my dismay, occasionally 30 minutes). At one point, I had about 40 unopened reels from my friends and I’m quite sure multiple group chats had come to the conclusion that I had disappeared off the face of the earth. I also took a break from learning French for a while, in the hopes of not getting confused while completing my Italian Gen-Ed course (although, I still managed to accidentally start speaking French during one of my Italian assessments which was, in hindsight, kind of funny). The key thing to note here is that these sacrifices were only temporary.
- Acknowledge that the vibes are…a bit strange (to say the least)
It’s no secret that Biomed is a very high-stakes pathway, with intense competition to enter several clinical programmes. That brings another challenge to deal with: strange vibes. These vibes are difficult to describe but I’ll do my best: they’re a not-so-nice concoction of ceaseless uncertainty, relentless anxiety, major FOMO, genuine concern, and….silence. I think we’ll leave it at that. Believe me, I don’t want to kill you with confusion (unlike Bioenergetics, which nearly did kill me with confusion), but I’m afraid your only choice is to experience this ‘silence’ to find out what I mean, though I’m sure you get the general idea. On a lighter note, the strange vibes definitely became less apparent as the year went on. Yay for that.
- Learn to block the negativity out
I remember spending the first few weeks of Uni listening to conversations about how difficult the content was, how little time there is and people telling others how much they’ve memorised already. I also remember the frustrations of not understanding a concept, fearing the worst and spending several afternoons wondering what exactly I had gotten myself into. Everything put together led to the creation of a stressful environment. All that changed when I decided to religiously adopt the philosophy of ‘in one ear and out the other’, letting a sheet of numbness envelop me like impenetrable armour. It was 100% one of my best decisions, and a skill I’m happy to have mastered.
Hopefully this helps you, and don’t forget to look out for the next article in this series!