Well what can I say? I suppose I will start with the obligatory introductions. As you can see from the top, my name is Ken, or Ken Wu, which is my full name and which for some incomprehensible reason my friends prefer to call me by! I’m a second year medical student at Imperial and this is my first venture into the world of blogging. I basically find anything and everything interesting but mostly I enjoy music (I play piano, violin and sing), drama and some sports if I can be bothered (tennis in Hyde Park in the summer is awesome!) I have to say I’m not the world’s most internet savvy person and so I have very little experience following a blog let alone write one. I do, however enjoy writing stuff (educated waffling as my English literature teacher liked to call it) so I entered the student blog competition and 2 months later here I am waffling again for your reading pleasure. I think it would be an injustice to let my winning entry go to waste in the bowels of my computer so here it is. Enjoy, even though it is 2 months out of date!
Handshake. “Hi, what’s your name”, “My name is Ken, nice to meet you, what subject are you studying?”, “Cool, I study medicine”,”I live in Linstead Hall in Eastside, how about yourself”. Those phrases, synonymous with fresher’s week, have contributed, along with the incessant partying, to ruining my voice during my fresher’s week. In fact I remember a particular invention thought of by one of the halls which consisted of sticking a piece of paper saying “Name, Halls, Subject” onto the unsuspecting freshers’ hoddies to solve this particular quirk of starting university. Well when second year started for me, it had morphed into a different sequence which has contributed, along with more partying, to ruining my voice yet again for the week. Hug. “Hey, how have you been?” “I’m fine thanks, how was your summer?” “Wow that’s amazing, so jealous you went to Italy!” “Yeah my summer’s been awesome! I was teaching English in China”, “I’m sharing a house with some friends in Fulham. Where abouts are you living this year”. Maybe another sticker would be apt here: “Summer holiday, House address, Housemates”.
Second year in medicine is notoriously difficult and work intensive. So it probably wasn’t the best idea when one of my housemates decided to bring an X-Box into our house on move-in day. Now I’m not the keenest gaming fanatic around (something of a rarity, being a Chinese guy studying at Imperial) but whenever there is another procrastinatible object around, my studying tends to go out of the window. Thankfully my internet still hasn’t arrived yet so at least that holiest grail of procrastination is out of my reach. Wrong. One word: iPhone. I got my first proper smart phone at the start of term and it has been very useful, especially as I’m the sort of person who gets lost quite often. It, however, doesn’t bode well that I got a text after 2 weeks saying I have nearly used my entire monthly internet quota. Perhaps I really should be writing up the ever increasing mountain of lecture notes on my desk.
It is a weird feeling coming back as a second year. I often hear “Down it fresher!” and sometimes still wonder if anyone was referring to me, then realising that I was the one who said the familiar phrase! On a more serious note, I feel the label of being an older year has an aura of responsibility and maturity about it. Somehow we are expected to actually work and study, think more analytically and academically, focus and concentrate on knowledge that is more detailed and deeper and set an example to the younger years. Instead of being greeted by the “Mingle” I was greeted by lectures on how to read academic papers on my first day. As a shy, nervous fresher I envied the experience and confidence of the second years. Now, as a member of the “old guard” I start to envy the almost innocence and naivety of the freshers. I do think the “Mums and Dads” program run by the medics is an awesome tool for integrating the students. There is nothing like the warmth of a family, not least when my “dad” introduced himself as “granddad” to my bemused “daughter”!
As humans, it is ingrained into our genes that we are an adaptable species. So I was just beginning to get accustomed to the rhythm of work when a massive bombshell was unleashed. Clinical experience (so actual doctoring) starts at the end of November for me and it is really the luck of the draw which hospital you are assigned to. Some of my friends are at Chelsea and Westminster, some are at St. Mary’s, with Lord Darzi as their consultant. Meanwhile I’ve been placed at St. Peter’s hospital. Yeah, exactly, never heard of it. Well I will leave you with this thought: it is outside the M25! Better learn how to drive then!