March

It’s our last ACADEMIC MONTH of the second year of university. I haven’t really processed how close our exams are, and that fact I have one more year to complete till graduation. Time truly flies by.

I think it was a few days ago, on my way home, I suddenly felt down – because of the workload ahead and not finishing the notes I wanted to before March. So, as I always do when I’m feeling low, I call my Dad (of course my Mum is also always there when I need her). My Dad is basically someone who really knows the word inside and out and seems to have all the answers that are aligned with the word. Instead of comforting a daughter on the verge of a public breakdown, He gave me a scripture (a lecture w/scriptures). Philippians 3:1-13.

Do not put confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:1-13

3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,

4: though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so:

5,6: circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless

7,8: But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.

I placed my confidence in my flesh. I trusted my abilities, and because of my confidence/not confidence in the work I had done thus far was not up to par, I was down. This flesh is weak and will always be flawed without Jesus Christ. By placing my confidence and trust in Jesus – there is joy.

9: and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

10: that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

Because, I believe that by placing the Kingdom of God first in our lives, and placing our trust and faith in him whole heartedly, there’s no need to be depressed, anxious, worried, fearful, or – have low self-esteem in ourselves. It’s something I am working on. Yes, I do have to put in the hard work to excel in my exams ‘James 2:17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead’ but it is by His divine favour and grace that provides  that ‘extra’ thing that gives you the edge.

It is by His Grace. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

  • Just a ‘feelings’ post.

Stay blessed

-D, x

Philippians 4:6-7 ‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understand, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’ 

Research Gap Year or Straight into Med

Recently, I’ve hit a cross-road. This is my dilemma/confusion. Should I apply for Medical School this year and potential enter next year September – so I’ll be starting medical school straight after I graduate with my first degree (completed in 3 years) OR should I apply for medical school next year, and have a whole year off to do a paid-research internship/job to help pay for medical school tuition and living expenses?

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Source: Google Images

(http://crossroads2recovery.org/uploads/3/4/8/2/34829116/1941473_orig.jpg)

Proverbs 3:5 ‘Trust in the LORD with all your heart, AND lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths’      

Psalm 37:5 ‘Commit your way to the LORD, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass’

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”.

So here’s the deal. I would love to enter medical school straight off graduation, just because of that feeling of finally making it and not having to continuously doubt about the ‘will i get in, or not get in’ scenario. To know that I’ve finally arrived, and working towards something I am so deeply passionate about and as cliché as it might sound, something (medicine) I cannot imagine myself not doing – I  literally can’t think of anything else that would bring joy of knowing you have had a positive impact on someone’s life. To be a doctor is a privilege. You are given the opportunity to help those in dire need and provide care for the unfortunate. YES. I would love to enter straight in.

On the other hand, as a UK-resident, graduate-entry medicine is considered a post-graduate degree. Due to this complete funding from the government is not given and you are required to pay some fees. From my research; the grad-route is a four year course for students with an undergraduate degree in the experimental sciences (first degree requirement is subject to the school you apply to). The first of the four year course must be self-funded (* £3,465) with the rest of the tuition fee to be paid either by a tuition fee loan, bursary, or scholarship. For years 2-4, students from England and Wales are able to apply for NHS funding to help fund tuition fees – paying £3,465 first. The rest of the tuition fees can be paid through a tuition fees loan, NHS bursary (up to 4,491), NHS grant, and university bursary. So you’re basically covered for years 2-4. Maintenance loan for living costs can be applied for from years 1-4.

Summary – you have to self-fund the first year of graduate-entry medicine of (£3,465) and tuition fee loan can be applied for the remaining fee. A bursary or scholarship can aid in the remainder fee. For years 2-4, the NHS will pay the first £3,465 and remainder can be paid by a tuition fee loan (that you are not eligible to apply for), bursary, grant, etc.

Aside from the tuition fees (total £9,250 each year) there are living expenses to pay for. Yes, the NHS bursary, university bursary, grants, and maintenance loan can provide the helping hand, but as I would like to apply to a majority of London-based medical schools – living in London is pretty expensive. I am considering living outside London too. I guess if you think about it, the funding isn’t so bad only if you’re eligible for the bursaries, grants, loans – and you could always get a scholarship. But I feel like, taking the year out to work does not only provide the financial need but would help me to develop the work ethic and discipline I need for medicine. Additionally, taking a year out to potentially do research does make me more of a competitive applicant. Applying to grad-route entry is REALLY COMPETITIVE. The number of places range from 20-177, with the majority being in the 20 and 30s and you could imagine the number of applicants applying each year (i.e >200).

Medicine is demanding. And after reading numerous blogs of people’s medical experiences, and hearing from medical students – you don’t necessarily need to be crazy intelligent or a ‘genius’ but capable of reading VOLUMES of notes/lectures and keeping on top of things (correct me if I’m wrong) and that requires discipline.

Plus, taking a year out isn’t really a big deal. US citizens’ first degree is *4 years – UK is 3/4 years. Theoretically, I would be the same age entering med school as an American if I took a year out.

Plan A: Get into Medicine

Plan B: Gap year with research

It’s never a bad thing to look ahead and plan for the alternatives. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – so you don’t set yourself up for disappointment.

All I know is, I want God’s perfect will/plan to be executed in life. If I am  to enter med school straight off, or take a gap year then let it be so. He will take care of our needs If we put His kingdom first above all things. I know he will direct my path, because He is NOT a God of confusion. He is a faithful God. All I know is my case is in God’s hands – regardless the funding or competitive obstacles placed before me.

1 Thessalonians5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

Sources: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/studentservices/support/financialsupport/studentfunding/fundingforgemstudents.aspx

http://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/fees-and-funding/oxford-support/funding-for-medical-students

Check out this site for more detail:

https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/i-am/considering-or-university/financial-support-university/financial-support-medical-and-dental

  • Make sure to do your research before APPLYING!

Stay blessed,

-D x

1 Thessalonians5:24 He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.

 

First few weeks

My first week was challenging. First lecture of 2017, I was unable to attend (tube strike) and as I live quite a bit away from university the trek down would have taken longer than the lecture (1 hour), but luckily I got my hands on recordings of the lecture and should be able to catch up just fine. Tuesday. I missed 3 hours of a lecture. I’m seriously painting myself as a ‘horrible’ student. I’m not, there were just some unforeseeable circumstances that prevented me from going but LUCIKLY, the lecture was Q-reviewed and I am now watching the lecture back and making notes. Next lecture, I made it in. Basic Immunology. I absolutely loved it, I was able to follow the lecturer throughout and understand the basic concepts, it was more of a consolidating  lecture as he spoke about the primary lymphoid tissue, secondary lymphoid tissue, T cells and B cells, bone marrow, thymus, lymphocyte development, the usual you would expect of a first lecture that ‘eases’ you in. And lastly clinical microbiology.

Monday – Biochemistry

Tuesday – Pharmacology

Wednesday – Immunology

Thursday – Clinical Microbiology

+ Labs, Workshops, and Case study (essay/MCQ)

Biochemistry:

First lecture was about Glutamate Dehydrogenase (GDH) activity and regulation. Glutamate Dehydrogenase is an enzyme that partakes in amino acid degradation, a metabolic process that mainly takes place in the liver; although GDH is highly expressed in the brain, pancreas, and kidney. GDH catalyses the conversion of an amino acid into a a-ketoacid (deamination) as well as the conversion of an a-ketoacid back to an amino acid (amination). This is a reversible transamination reaction; whereby GDH – a transaminase enzyme acts to remove the a-amino group from a-amino acid (i.e. glutamate) to form a-ketoacid. GDH deamination is an anaplerotic reaction as an intermediate (a-ketoacid) formed can be used in the Krebs, TCA cycle to provide energy. Anaplerotic reactions are carried out when energy is low and there is no requirement for growth and metabolic top-up.

Pharmacology:

What is the difference between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics?

Pharmacokinetics – the effect the body has on the drug (i.e. the breakdown of drugs by the liver). Defined as the measurement of changes in drug concentration, with time in different locations of the body – what the body does to the drug

Pharmacodynamics – the effect of the drug on the body. This would include events brought about by interactions of the drug with its receptor/primary site of action. It is the relationship between drug concentration at the site of action and resulting effect – what the drug does to the body.

Terminology to know: pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, agonist, antagonist, occupancy, affinity, efficacy, and potency.

Immunology:

Toll-like receptors; TLR are activated by a number of different pathogen associated molecular patterns (PAMPS). PAMPs are characteristic components of the pathogen found at either one or more stages of infection, but absent in the vertebrae cell (i.e. the flagellum found on bacterial cells). This allows differentiation between self and non-self components. TLRs are found on the surface of mammalian cells and act to recognise components of the pathogen; bacterial/virus/fungi in order to alert the immune system. There are 10 expressed TLR gene in humans (so 10 TLRs present, what are they?)

PAMPs that can be detected (examples):

  • Lipoproteins
  • CpG DNA
  • Flagella
  • Double-stranded viral DNA
  • Lipopolysaccharide (gram-negative)

Clinical Microbiology:

Don’t judge me, I’m yet to start on clinical microbiology.

That was my first week. It’s been a month now. I have been struggling a bit, trying to adjust to the added workload from Sem B has been quite challenging. The detail of information you’re required to know is in fact more, and there is more to know. I know Medicine is x100 worse and the lectures they get in a day is probably a week’s worth of mine (slight exaggeration but could be true). So I have no excuse, I really need to step up and catch up with my notes; hence I am patiently waiting for reading week.

I’ve started reading: The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Just to gain the concept of making good habits and changing bad ones.

I’d really like to make a habit of waking up early in the morning and dwelling in the presence of God before going to university and getting by through the day. I would like to make a habit of being more consistent with my studies despite the long commutes, to be consistent with the gym, as well as this blog. The book I’m reading is not going to suddenly form new habits for me, I’d much prefer the needed insight on what to do to make changes. It won’t be instant – but it’s a step in the right direction. In all honesty, I know my helper is God. And through Christ who strengthens me, I can do anything. My God will help me form the right habits, and see me through the plan and purpose he has for me.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it (ESV)

-D x

Stay blessed

2 Peter 1:5-8 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (ESV)

 

Guys I hosted the ‘Doctor’s Panel Talk’

I spoke, I introduced Surgeons that are experts in their fields,  and I ran the talk/event. It was crazy, I’ve  never felt so nervous in my life. God opened a door for me, an opportunity for me and I took it. It wasn’t  smooth sailing, I stumbled on my words with some occasionally stuttering and I couldn’t even pronounce ‘ALLERGIC’. After numerous attempts I finally got it and the audience laughed.  I cracked a smile, maybe they were just trying to ease the tension. I got into the flow of things as I read the credentials of some the surgeons, each of them helplessly smiling to encourage me the more. Two of them weren’t able to attend, due to unforeseeable circumstances , and that was perfectly fine as we  overran with the 5 surgeons we had.

I can see I am pushing/putting myself out there. If you would have asked me to host anything close to an event such as the talk a year ago, I would kindly decline because I saw myself as the shy and quite type. But in the years to come, I want to be more confident in myself and my abilities. So in order to do so, I have to take on opportunities that come my way and not let fear and self doubt take it’s toll.

After introducing the surgeons with my partner, each surgeon took to the stage and spoke about their subspecialty. It had to be the best talk I’d ever attended in years. Each speaker so interesting and passionate about their speciality, granting as invaluable knowledge we’ll need and use as I was sure to have seen students jotting down notes. I think I was far too excited to listen at times, but when I did catch up with their talks, I was in awe. Do I want to be a surgeon? Well they sold it to me. The talk surely inspired and motivated students. One of the speakers actually completed a bachelors, masters, and PHD before embarking on Medicine knowing the medical career was all he could picture himself having. He is now a consultant Neurosurgeon. Graduate students studying a mere  bachelors, such as I,  would have definitely been encouraged as the time and journey it takes to get there accounts for nothing once you’ve achieved it. Have faith, because all things are truly possible for those who believe. As a Christian, the ‘faith’ mentality has truly helped me and It’s something I am still working on.

The subspecialties spoken about included: Ophthalmology, General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurosurgery, and Gynaecology and Oncology.

Here are a few pictures from the evening:

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Christmas break is going well. First week was totally relaxation time. Did I deserve it? I don’t think so. I’ve got a lot of lectures from Semester A to catch up on, or It’ll haunt me in Semester B. So now I’ve got approximately 2 weeks to finish ALL LECTURES NOTES on about 4 modules. Not too bad.

I apologise for not going into much detail of the event, this post is sort of a small update.

Hope you’re all enjoying your Christmas break!

Happy Holidays

-D x

John 5:38 ‘But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe.’

C-value paradox

So a minute ago I was practically pleading for the course to begin, and now I’m swimming (not drowning) in work. It’s only been a couple of days and It’s really hit hard, definitely a step up from first year. It’s quite overwhelming, I didn’t expect there to be such a massive jump. I recall a friend comparing such a jump to be similar to GCSES to A level but x2. Overall I think I’ve had a good start. It appears commuting from home comes with it’s ups and downs. For instance, I’m not able to take my somewhat daily naps right after lectures instead I’m forced to go to the library and endeavour to finish the lecture of the day. I’ve been keeping up (quite) but it seems like the roles I play in some societies tend to intervene with my vicious study mode. I am forced to return home no later than 8 – It gets pretty dark around my area. And when I get home I’m exhausted.

The week began with Human Molecular Biology. The toughest module we have this semester according to the lecturer. We approached the organisation of the human genome. It was interesting – the point of the lecture really was the importance of human molecular biology and it’s achievements. However ofcourse we learned something new; C-value paradox. Yeah. C-value paradox.

I’ll explain. The C-value paradox is defined as the lack of relationship between the DNA content (c-value) of an organism and its coding potential. Ok so the C-value is the amount of DNA per haploid cell and the C-value paradox is the amount of DNA in an haploid cell that is not related to the complexity of the organism. The C-value of prokaryotes and lower eukaryotes tend to increase with complexity of the organism, the more complex the organism the more genes it has. Ok cool. However, with higher eukaryotes an increase in complexity does not necessarily mean an increase in genome size. I think this is where the C-value paradox comes in. If I’m totally honest with you, I’ve only just started filling in the gaps of this blog post 3 weeks down the line. So I’m a little hazy regarding the concepts, I’ll need to go back and review some notes!

It’s been unbelievably busy over the past weeks. I’ve been up to a lot; assessments, clicker tests, trying my best to catch up with lectures notes (which I am finding a little difficult – with the vast amount of information we have to learn in great detail). As an Academic Officer of the Biomedic’s Society I’ve been assigned to plan and host academic events. An idea of mine was to have a panel of doctors with various subspecialties – where they could discuss what their subspecialties entails and the workings of a doctor in the NHS. The discussion would then be followed by a Q&A session. I’m currently working on contacting some doctors for the event, and I’m seriously excited.

Oh, I also got some new stationary.

I feel this post hasn’t really been thought-through, I just really wanted to write something down because of how stressed I’ve been. It really is nice to reflect back on things and just let everything out on writing. Soothing. It’s not by power nor by might but by the Spirit of God.

~Stay blessed!

  – D x

Matthew 8:13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

 

26th September

It’s always been a while with this blog and for that I apologise. Since getting a weekend job, I’ve been somewhat busy and occupied but that doesn’t deter the fact  I have a blog and how frequently I should be writing. On the other hand, one could argue that blogging can be for yourself, to indulge in something other than life itself. It’s like an escape. I wouldn’t say my writing style is exactly striking but I enjoy it.

26th September. First day back to school or in my case university. Quite excited I might add – still dreading it a bit. When I look back on my summer, I feel it hasn’t been as productive as I would have liked. I do hone in on the ‘negatives’, don’t I? It’s a bad habit. It’s a confidence thing, but let’s not get into that. I’m actually improving though – I enjoy helping customers at my ‘supermarket’ job and It’s weirdly satisfactory when they smile and thank you about something as small as pointing out the quark in the cheese aisle (which I must admit I never really knew till I was questioned regarding its whereabouts).

Ok. So year two and then final year of grad school. Here’s a list of mandatory modules ( and one optional);

  • Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics
  • Human Molecular Biology
  • Essential Biochemistry for Human Life
  • Clinical Microbiology
  • Biomedical Sciences Case Approach to Problem-Solving
  • Techniques in Biomedical Science
  • Biomedical Pharmacology
  • Basic Immunology

There are 8 modules split across the year, with 4 modules in the first term and 4 in next. There are two modules however that span across the entire year; Biomedical Sciences Case Approach to Problem-Solving and Techniques in Biomedical Sciences. It’s sort of like the module – Essential Skills for Biomedical Scientists we had last year. We were required to write quite a few essays, scientific reports, work in a team to bring about and deliver scientific presentations and so forth. For the first year all modules were compulsory, but we have the luxury of selecting one module out of 3 for our optional module. I chose Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics out of Human Genetic disorders and Comparative and Integrative Physiology. The majority went for the other two modules, more so human genetic disorders. I guess my option may be a tad boring but I’m more interested in the make-up of cells and their interaction amongst themselves.

I could go into detail with respect to what each module entails but that would make this entry seem lengthy than it needs be. I’ll probably touch on it on the next entry.

Have a blessed week

-D x

Romans 15:13 ‘Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit’