New bike!

Today was the first day I took her out for a true spin, and she is a beauty! It’s great feeling like you’re riding one thing rather than several smaller parts cobbled together with Duct tape and WD40. Given the weather and a dearth of things to do, I cycled down The Towpath into East London and Victoria park, which is the only major park in the city where cycling is allowed!

All in all, a fantastic end to a beautiful day!

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Get it? Sadly it was quite windy so couldn’t get a clear view, but it is very.. DSC_0020 Sunsets from the Towpath -2She still needs a name, any suggestions?

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At ease

All the procrastination caught up with me in one fell swoop, sorry for the radio silence, exams happened! I can’t quite describe the post-test feeling. Confident in the knowledge of my failure I’m indulging in six lavish days off, which are worth their weight in gold and bacon.
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OSCEs, practical examinations medical students have to take which are a ritual public humiliation for the unprepared and an otherwise great chance to don the herringbone and play doctor for the day. DSC_0177 DSC_0170

Celebratory Byron burger with a couple of the guys from church; they really are so good! DSC_0220 Old friends

Lunch was a traditional Lasagne courtesy of my all round favourite London restaurant, Prezzo. I met up with an old friend from high school and shared life! (and pasta). It’s really strange taking trips down memory lane, seeing where everyone is with their lives, and sadly I don’t think we do it enough! Sometimes 1s/s is too fast.
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My friend James recently got his first camera, so we spent the afternoon walking around London trying out that bad boy! Twenty five years, today Forgotten arts DSC_0299To top it all off, a lovely dinner courtesy of the old committee, handing stuff over officially and marking the start of a new year!

 

Keenos

On my way to the library, a few friends and I got into a conversation about the lecture beforehand, and naturally, we went on to the keenos. Overachievers, gunners, brown-nosers, teacher’s pets swots, nerds, boffins, whatever you call them, we all know the guy/girl. Early, asking the lecturer questions before his Barbour even hits the chair, attentive, tapping furiously at the keyboard, hanging onto each word as if divinely inspired, if they’re ever late, it’s to lunch because they got into a really interesting conversation with Dr. Wilcott on Leishmaniasis in western Africa; we all know one.

What I find difficult to grasp is why these guys are always the laughing stocks of the year, and I’m not innocent whilst writing this, I can’t say I haven’t been frustrated on more than one occasion when we’re running over and someone puts their hand up to ask a question at the end of a lecture, making me wait an extra 30 seconds longer to engorge myself with lunch. But as this was happening today, I found myself thinking that, maybe we’re a little jealous of these guys, you guys. I mean, I wish I was half that passionate about my subject, I wish I had the drive and motivation to read outside of the course material and learn to become a better doctor, rather than to jump the 50% hurdle in May.

Hermione Granger, though very much fictional, is a great example. The proverbial ugly nerd-ling swans into the envy of all male 90s kids. Beauty meets brains in a very popular and fashionable way. This is clearly an exception, many incredibly talented people walk about every day, totally unnoticed in the wider world behind the shadow of the sporty, the alternative, the social. The lecture theatre and exam hall is their football field and the pen their pigskin, but it’s not accolade that meets them, but jealous jibes. It would just be cool if one day, we gave props to the nerd-ling for being top of the year, instead of reducing their achievements down to a lack of social life amongst other futile attempts to somehow rationalise our own failures by saying “well, I had way more fun than they did!“, even though, ironically, they probably do a lot more outside of school than we do – just a thought.

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15:00 Humanitarian Ethics

One, often unfortunate part of studying medicine is that lectures pretty much consist of trying to listen with half of your brain, and with whatever’s left, trying to frantically scribble down the lists of cytokines, interleukins, bacteria and symptoms. It’s rare that you listen to a lecture for, well, just that, to listen and to learn (I’m comfortable with the fact that I must sound like the biggest nerd …ever)

Now this isn’t to say that I don’t love medicine, I do. I love the science behind it, I love the really cool stuff we get to learn about our own bodies, I love the stuff I’ve been able to do through medicine, but learning it can be a total drag. After 3 lectures on autoimmunity and clinical trials, this nondescript lecturer turned up and started sorting out his slides. Being the last lecture of the day, we weren’t expecting much, but he surprised us all by pleading with us not to take notes?! Hesitant, I kept my laptop open and started typing as he began his preamble, which he abruptly stopped, urging, for a second time, for us not to take notes. Odd. So I turned it off.

What followed was an hour of intellectual stimulation, thought provoking discussion, insight and yes, I remember more from that lecture than I do the three before!

I’m probably not going to revise the ins and outs of torture, the statistics, prevalence – any of that, chances are it won’t even come up in my exam, neither attendance or the video of this lecture was even recorded so there’s no evidence it even happened, but I guess that’s what made it great, that it was a once off, hour of learning for the sake of knowledge.

Now back to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis..

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“With great power comes Gourmet Burger Kitchen” or something along those lines…

Exciting things and daunting things. This weekend saw our first committee social at GBK and it all became a little more real that I am now vice president! A simultaneously thrilling and harrowing prospect given I’ve never had much leadership experience, but I’m feeling positive, the rest of the guys are great, and what I love about the Christian Union on campus is that there isn’t actually that big a divide between the committee and everyone else, people are really willing to get stuck in, so even though you’re in charge you’re definitely not alone.

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Bryan, #19, male

Bryan, #19, male

I spent my valentine’s in lectures, getting horrendously soaked, talking about diabetes …and speed dating.

My friend is on the committee for a charity sponsoring medical students that otherwise can’t afford training and they were running one tonight. These types of things totally aren’t me for so many reasons, but with some coercion and something else I can’t quite put down, I decided to turn up!

It’s the weirdest, most surreal thing I’ve done for a while. You rotate around tables of people, who you talk to for 4 minutes, before you have to move on to the next one and indicate through a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ whether or not you’d be interested in seeing them more. The ‘dates’ fell on a spectrum, from the uncomfortably silent (only one, pretty impressed), to the they-already-know-you-but-you’re-completely-oblivious-of-their-existence, to the chatty, to the funny, to the hilarious! I thought four minutes with a total stranger was going to be really long, but often it wasn’t long enough, and you get cut off just as you’re getting to know someone!

If you, like me, have never done anything of the sort before, I’d highly recommend it, if not just to push yourself out of your comfort zone, as it did for me! You’re forced to talk to people you probably otherwise would never do, and like me, meet people on your course you didn’t even know exist! So give it ago!

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p.s. In the interest of full disclosure, no, I very much doubt I did/will find love/fulfilment/’the one’ on tonight’s endeavour, it seems like the only thing that hooked up tonight is my coat!

A little sun goes a long way

A little sun goes a long way

We’ve had a very odd winter this year, no snow down here, just lots of freezing rain; a real pain to cycle through every day. Today, however, woke us up with blue skies and gloriously warm rays.

It’s hard to quantify or even describe the difference it makes just to know that you don’t need to carry an extra jacket or that temporary blindness as you turn the corner to face a magnificent sunset; a little sun goes a long way!

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Chelsea Hotel No. 2

I’m not the greatest fan of zoom lenses, feet do just fine! However, some circumstances call for them, like this one. Working at a function is slightly different, lighting is tricky and there are static crowds to work through, silently, leaving the main act/speaker to take centre stage; you feel like a ninja skulking around trying to get a good angle. A ninja in winkle pickers.

I borrowed my friend Tom’s 18-135 (along with his 600D) and had some fun with that! Going from a pretty short prime to being able to stand in one spot and pick someone’s face off wherever they are in the room took some getting used to, and I’ll admit, I reckon I got a bit lazy, but for occasions where you want people to remain natural, it gives you such a big range of focal lengths, as an entry zoom, I’d highly recommend it. However, for that reason, I had to put away the flash gun, which, on an f/5.6 means noise noise noise, the cruel tradeoff.

The night was a reception for Sir Michael and Lady Heller who sponsor medical students in the arts, and quite a lot of people I knew were there across all six years, which always makes these sorts of things more fun! Moreover, they were performing! One girl who I only really got to know over a dissection table (sorry!) absolutely blew us all away with a magnificent Chopin; phenomenal! There was another Jazz pianist, a piece from a Chinese opera, a moving cover of Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel No. 2 and jazz pianist. All medical students, pursuing a hobby outside the career which was lovely to see. 

one thing philanthropy should never replace is core funding … it should always be used to achieve something you, otherwise, never would have had the chance to” 

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“I wouldn’t be caught dead in that..”

As you grow up, you inevitably go through several style phases, none so pronounced, for me and those who knew me back then, as the emo phase (decidedly more difficult with an afro, but I wasn’t for want of trying..). Since then, there have always been fads and trends of fashion that you would once swear against, and before you know it, be picking up from the display.

Being a London medical student probably saw me undergo the most drastic changes of late, swapping hoodies for herringbone, skatepacks for satchels, crews for cardigans. Not only are we expected to look smart for patient contact, but living in Mayfair, the streets were a catwalk (this isn’t even an exaggeration, Saville Row was up the road). I still remember buying my first vaguely formal pair of shoes for my high school prom and how much I hated their lack of padding. Four years on and they still make an appearance every time I’m in for clinics; never say never!

Today, it’s the oversize button down flannel; up to the top, tomorrow..?

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The greatest thing since sliced bread…

…is more bread!

Procrastination, as it often does, led me to Westfield, Stratford. On my way, I noticed a new bakery opened up on my street. I totally have no idea why I did this, but I decided to pop in and see whether they needed a photographer. The lady behind the counter was really nice, and called the owner, Paul, who told me everything about the place, he makes the bread every morning, she comes in the afternoons and makes the cakes, with a market stall and soda bread over the weekend. He said that it was essentially their family business with pretty much everyone in there working for free as they tried to establish themselves and find their feet.

A great thing about living near Caledonian Road is the sheer variety at your doorstep; you can pretty much buy anything from anywhere, and so this year I’ve found myself increasingly favouring local over supermarket (although, mum got me a Sainsbury’s shopping card for Christmas, and 24h Co-op definitely has its uses). It’s nice to see that in a time where people seem to be cutting staff in favour of automation, ground is still fertile for small start up businesses that run on sweat, elbow grease, and frosting (apt, seen as it is, after all, the final defence of the dying..).

I am fully aware this probably broke every single London paradigm in the unwritten book, but it was nice to see people so passionate about their business, and they were really happy to see people showing interest (it appears I wasn’t the only one, they were already in the local paper!). 

To top it all off, they gave me some free bread, and it was delicious!

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