Despite having lots to learn – and lots to organise for Christmas and her dad's retirement – Rosie Perrett recently enjoyed a weekend break with her friends from her previous degree course.
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I must admit that it was my mum who reminded me to write this month's diary; I thought we were still in the middle of November, but Christmas is just around the corner and I'm relieved.
It was only today, when I was talking to my student friends, that we agreed that we don't feel as stressed as we did this time last year – instead we're all exhausted. Despite my studies, I've been lucky enough this month to get a weekend break when my friends from my previous degree course descended on Liverpool and our student house. Nine extra for the shower and bacon butties was a lot to accommodate but, despite the horrific weather, it was fun to spend the weekend showing them the sights … from a tour bus.
The past month has been dominated by pathology lectures; learning about immune response and inflammation. Compared with last year, when it felt like there was an awful lot of work, this year it feels as though there is an awful lot of very complex work. I know I will shortly have to dedicate time to working through all the pathways, mediators, cells, cytokines and type; they are definitely not things I can gloss over. I recently realised that I had covered part of this in my previous degree but, apparently, I didn't store it to my long-term memory. However, seeing my notes in my own writing did jog my memory ever so slightly. Hypersensitivity is of particular personal interest to me, having suffered from hayfever my whole life, which has got worse as the years have gone on, as have, to a minor extent, my eczema and asthma. I've also been able to relate to the coughing and sneezing reflexes in our respiratory lectures this week having spent the weekend with my friends, some of them with a stinking cold.
Many of our physiology and pathology lectures are now integrating pharmacology alongside them; this makes understanding the mechanisms easier to grasp because we've just looked at the pathway or action they're attempting to block. Like anatomy last year, pharmacology with its many thousands of names for drugs and their active ingredients is like learning another language.⇓
We've also been learning about pharmacy within the practice; we've been given several group and individual tasks that have involved writing our own standard operating procedures for a pharmacy, labelling and prescriptions. I'd never really thought about all these things before, relying – I suppose – on technology to do it for me; I now understand that was a bit naive. I've only recently realised I will eventually be handling some very potent and strong drugs: to date, the strongest drug I've ever handled is a shot of vodka!
I will soon be heading for a weekend in Oxford to celebrate my dad's retirement, so for the moment that's my current motivation, as well as organising Christmas – with all the trimmings – in my student house. The 12-week term is nearly over and I can't lie, I'll be glad to finish for the season's celebrations; it's been a long term. See you next year.