Second Attempt at Work Experience

As I have completed my GCSEs this year, I started my summer holidays extremely early and almost a month has gone by since. I wouldn’t want that month to have gone to waste and my extra bit of holiday to amount to nothing, so I decided to do something productive and get a job, not a paid one, but a job nonetheless.

Working at my local medical practice this past week was actually quite enjoyable and I have learnt many things; it was a nice change from my last work placement and this time I got to do more than just a spot of shredding.

This is just part of what I got up to during my time at the practice:

Monday

I met everyone in the practice and they were nice and friendly. I did some scanning, stamping, opening of letters as if it were Christmas and nosed about through patients’ business (only I can’t tell you anything). I sat at reception and saw the way they prioritised patients in order of urgency, handle prescriptions and rude patients.

Tuesday

I spent the morning with the phlebotomist (blood-taker), learned how to find my veins (the visible blue ones), and my pulse. I held warm blood tubes and gently shook them so as not to break the cells. I noticed that not everyone is as big a wimp as I am; I saw our first patient through my fingers but then became more comfortable as I saw the ease of the procedure and the speed at which the tubes filled up. I didn’t take any blood but by the end of it I felt like I would know how to. Perhaps some dart practice to help me along…

Wednesday

I joined the nurse in vaccinating squirming children, poking at squidgy swollen feet and peeking into magnified ears. I learnt that cotton buds are evil and that their inventor’s motivation was purely financial. The ears had dried blood, blocking wax and a burst drum, all because of an innocent looking cotton bud. A man entered with sharp abdominal pains; trapped wind was suggested but upon checking a urine sample, blood was detected even though the urine looked perfectly normal. I also pressed a little boy’s spotty belly to see if it was meningitis but because the spots reappeared shortly after pressing and he was far too lively, it was nothing serious.

Thursday

I did general admin work; updating event calendars, taking in and stamping the mail and discovering a birthday card (not for me) in the mail. I oversaw a patient consultation meeting, signing people in and making sure forms were completed. I rummaged through a neat filing system to find a patient’s notes, hidden deep within.

Friday

I spent the day with the practice manager, made call cards with everyone’s telephone numbers (for when the building gets bombed and cordoned off), got to grips with the new laminator she had just bought, typed up notices, laminated them once I had figured out the laminator, and got to go home early because she was leaving at the same time. I also signed a non-disclosure of confidential information contract, so, in case of any lawyers chasing me up, I have withheld all names and the people reading this are perfectly trust-worthy.

These are just a few of the things I noticed:

  • Everyone makes use of the internet, whether to check the symptoms of a minor ailment or to show the patient where the kidneys are in their body. The internet is an extra employee.
  • Urgency is subjective. What one person considers serious another would not even blink at. My family does not often visit the GP, but there were people requesting urgent appointments for a mosquito bite.
  • Politeness is appreciated. Many receptionists complained about the demanding nature of some patients. Not even a thankyou.

This week has been extremely beneficial in terms of gaining experience and a feel for the medical profession. I still want to be some kind of doctor, still a psychiatrist but I am now also considering working in A&E. I have another week to go and am pleased to say that I am actually looking forward to it.

The anticlimactic end

After five weeks of GCSE exams, I would expect to feel more excited than I do at the moment. After 5 years of education in the same school, I would expect to feel something greater than what I do now. However, my own feelings are non co-operative and I even sense a hint of boredom approaching. Is it a case of delayed reactions or is finishing a key stage of your education not so important? After all, if all goes according to plan, I have plenty more years to go.

Perhaps, it is a completely opposite case of advanced reactions. I celebrated the end before it came? What with counting down to the finale with each completed exam, my final exam may have been just another step and although it was the final one, it did not get any more recognition than the first because my mind had got so used to taking steps. Had the exams been compacted into a single week, I think I would have felt more emotional at the end, relieved and excited, but because they were spread over weeks, all the feeling diffused in between. Maybe A-levels will feel like more of an accomplishment…

I can’t believe I am already going to do A-levels. It feels like only this morning I was practising for my weekly spelling tests, but in reality, it has been a long time since I’ve done one of those. It has been a long time since I’ve been in a playground. Teenagers do not go to the playground at break time. It has been a long time since I’ve lined up in a straight line, crossed my arms and placed a finger on my lips. Teenagers are not so docile. It has been a long time since I’ve used a pencil to write, carried a lunchbox, worn plimsolls, frozen when the whistle blew for the end of break or sat on the carpet. Those were the good ol’ days… Years go by so quickly and things change so fast. I can already feel the wrinkles hiding under my teenage skin, bidding their diminishing time.

I was talking to an elderly lady on the bus this morning and she was telling me about the importance of buying the right pair of shoes to maintain a good, healthy back. I found myself wondering if she felt like only that morning she had been practising for her weekly spelling tests. Trust me to get all reflective and go into deep thinking over something as trivial as finishing exams…

Exams are over! School is out! I am using exclamation marks to compensate for my lack of enthusiasm!

This will be one of the longest summer holidays I have ever had and to ward off feelings of boredom or unnecessary over thinking, I will read all the books that I had no time for during the school year. So, recommendations please!

The Procrastinator

I am not poetic. I have not a poetic bone in my entire body. All that seems to change when I have things that must be done. I wrote this poem whilst (or instead of) revising for an upcoming R.S exam and coincidentally it just so happened to be about the act of writing poetry, which I would not normally do, whilst (or instead of) revising for an upcoming R.S exam.

I call it: The Procrastinator

The Procrastinator

Is that what I am?

Or am I just allowing myself sufficient time to think?

I’m just pushing it off.

I’m doing it when the time is right.

After breakfast

Then, lunch

Dinner-

That was two days ago,

That is procrastination.

If you say so.

Who has the right to label the actions of the lazy?

Who has the right to label the lazy?

Only the lazy.

Even then,

The labels

Will

Take

A

Very

Long

Time

In

Coming.

They will arrive at your next birthday.

Can you push off your own date of birth?

Yes.

No.

If you can find the will

To act,

Then you will find that the date will not move.

They fight against the procrastinator.

Imposing numbers

Names of gods

Forced into squares

As the unstoppable

Tick, cross or absolute red ring

Approaches without

A warning

Without a notice

Without hesitation

No flexibility

No mercy

No consideration

Deaf to the pleas of

The procrastinator.

Procrastinator meet time.

He waits for no one.


What do you think of the product of my revision alternative? Don’t worry I have a positive feeling about that exam, but we all know what I am going to blame if I fail.

I type this whilst (or instead of) revising for an upcoming history exam.

Going through exams…

My life is currently full of exams; hence, my (hopefully noted) absence on the blogging scene. It’s not for lack of time as ‘study leave’ leaves me with more hours than I need, but it is because I fear I will use up all my words and creativity on a blog post and then during the exam I will be all dried out. That would be a problem.

I take a very relaxed approach to my exams, or at least I think I do as I have no one to compare myself against, unless I include the brief conversations I have with other students who seem frazzled, are running on energy drinks or coffee and are lost if it is not on their revision notes. I revise but at a slow pace. Too little revision will make me feel unprepared and lacking in confidence and familiarity with the exam material, whilst too much revision will make me feel anxious. I hope I’ve got the balance right and that I get the results I’m hoping for.

It helps to remember that exams are not the whole world, that if I fail it will not signal the commencement of the apocalypse and that I should try my best, but there is no real way to completely get rid of nerves. Strangely enough, I find that the only exams I get nervous before are the English papers, not science which I find harder or any other subject, only English. It is one of my favourite subjects and yet I feel most nervous when it comes to it. Maybe it’s because I truly want to do well and I have such high expectations of myself and so I feel more pressured. Maybe it’s because I always do well in English and as the questions can be slightly unpredictable, I fear that my passing streak will somehow fail at the crucial moment.

I had my English Literature paper this morning and I feel extremely positive about my performance. I wrote more than I usually do, I used ‘bigger words’ than I normally do and even had time to read over some of my work. In less humble words…I aced it!  I hope so anyway. Last night I could not sleep without thinking about To Kill a Mockingbird, zooming my unconscious state into non-existent extracts in the book. Within those tense hours of sleep, I was late for the exam, I ran out of time during the exam and I took the exam at home but was unable to concentrate because of my parents’ persistent shouting. Does this happen to anyone else or am I completely alone in these unusual nocturnal behaviours?

On Thursday, a poetry exam I will sit.

I really hope it will be easy.

Wednesday night, the anxiety will hit;

My stomach already feels a little queasy.

It’s an afternoon exam so I get to wake up late!

But that just means amongst the nervousness and apprehension, I will be stuck.

As you can probably tell, my ability to write poetry is not too great.

Fortunately, I am only analysing them, so, wish me luck!

I do it with flair

As the end of the school year draws closer, particularly for my class of seniors, it comes naturally to start the reminiscence and remember the old days of braces, big nerdy rucksacks and best friend squabbles. Oh what larks we had! (Peak times, innit?)

It started off just recalling teachers’ catchphrases and habits that although we made fun of at that moment, we were sure we would all miss. When would you ever meet another person who promised to shove Tipp-Ex down your throat if you didn’t put it away?

After every teacher was done with and all their words quoted and exhausted, it was our turn to pick out each other’s catchphrases. These were words that we were known for, often repeated and were predictably ours. I’m cool like that. Yeah bro. FML.

Many people had more than one catchphrase, some were digged up from old times and as for me; I had none. Seventeen girls sat in a circle, knocking their heads together, and they came out blank. What does Yasmine say? Understandably offended, they assured me that is was not for lack of personality, I just say so many things and do not repeat myself often. As a form of appeasement, their compliments were void. Surely, I must say something more than once. I can not be the only girl without a catchphrase.

Then, finally, not because I was whining, someone came with a suggestion. A phrase that I do not say often, but I do recall saying once or twice, and had not even remembered until that moment: I do it with flair. What a curious catchphrase. It sounds pompous, obnoxious and all types of swottish but I have said it.

My friend (or so she calls herself), once commented on my manner of walking, resulting in my self-conscious tiptoeing and retarded, robotic movements. She told me I walked funny and once someone tells you that, it’s hard to walk the way usually do. So, in need of reassurance, I asked around and learned that I do not drift, I walk with purpose. “What do you mean?” I asked, eyebrows furrowed with a puzzled look on my face. You walk as if you are going somewhere. Tired of cryptic answers, I went to my teacher and she briefly summarised that I have good posture. Really? I went back to my friend and I told her: I don’t walk funny. I do it with flair.

So, what is everybody’s catchphrase?

Cambridge Excursion

Yesterday, in an effort to inspire the youth to aim higher and motivate them to take their studies more seriously, my class was taken on a school trip to see Cambridge University. Our lack of initial enthusiasm was evident; the coach journey was two hours long (I slept both hours) and we all just really wanted to go home as we had just completed a science exam that morning.

Cambridge University is always regarded as one of the most prestigious educational institutions, inaccessible to many. However, upon seeing it, my classmates were sorely disappointed and it was nothing like they had expected it to be. When asked, they had envisaged the university to be one ginormous ancient castle resembling Hogwarts. What we did not know was that the university is actually comprised of thirty-one smaller colleges scattered about the town, some fairly modern in comparison to the older buildings of much more impressive architecture.

The town is small and old-fashioned, with cobbled streets and narrow alleyways, and the main mode of transport is clearly cycling. Parked bicycles littered the pavements and there were very few cars. I suppose for university students who have little money to spare, bicycles are convenient and practical with everything being within a small distance.

We saw no cloaks and nobody walked around with a pile of books but you could feel the brains working as soon as you exited the coach. Even their pubs have an intellectual touch; one was named The Sir Isaac Newton! So affected was my friend that she started speaking in a ‘posh accent’ at the top of her voice, attracting stares by everyone that passed by.

They must really love Sir Isaac Newton in Cambridge because his mathematical bridge was pointed out to me by a rather enthusiastic student. It is a curious looking bridge and the story goes that Newton built it without the use of any screws, nails or bolts. It was taken down, however, when they tried to rebuild it the same way, they were unable to and had to fix the wood together with nails. Even Cambridge myths have an intellectual theme to them.

Newton's Mathematical Bridge

We were given a talk about the university and the application process and it was informative and frightening at the same time. I don’t feel completely discouraged, just a little nervous about the future. I learned that they don’t really care what you wear to an interview and that they will never ask you to define a banana. At least that’s what they want you to believe….they could just want to catch you off guard.

The admissions man was hilarious and told as that Oxford, their rivals, are a university whose existence they ignore; they are there but we do not talk about them. He labelled them the Voldemort of Cambridge University. I asked a student and she replied “what’s Oxford university?” Apparently, the main cause of this split is competition between sporting teams, particularly rowing and they feel extremely sore about their consecutive losses to their rivals.

I doubt I will ever apply to Cambridge University; my Daddy will miss me too much and there are plenty of universities here in the capital. I wouldn’t mind though, in fact, I think I would quite enjoy living on a campus and attending lectures. If I study medicine, my time at university will be much prolonged… I can’t wait!

I highly dislike…

I’m confused. I hate being confused, not knowing what’s next, not knowing what should be next or even what I want to be next. I like knowing where I’m headed, having a plan, organising it and going over it in my head until the plan is projected onto the inside of my eye lids. If I close my eyes, I want to see my plan. Uncertainty is not good, having too many uncertain options makes my head ache. The state of confusion is one of the least popular holiday destinations in my brain and I journey though it as quickly as I can.

I have to make decisions. I hate making decisions, making choices that can affect my entire life when there is hopefully so much of it left to affect. There are some things that you can’t turn back on, or if you do, their effects do not completely disappear. Choosing what to wear to school is hard enough, and I have a uniform!  Whose crazy idea was it to give teenagers the freedom to think and decide for themselves? Did they not realise the detrimental effects it would have on them? The stress? The anxiety? The moaning blog posts?

I have to listen to people’s advice. I hate listening to people’s advice, not because I don’t want or need it, but because I never know who to listen to. I hate not knowing who to listen to. When I give up trying to make those decisions, because I am confused and the uncertainty is giving me migraines and making me age faster, the people who I go to for advice all tell me different things. Some just tell me what they think I want to hear, others don’t give me a clear decision (do what you think is best) and the rest are more prone to changing my mind than I am! Nothing is more infuriating than being told to do what makes me happy or to follow my heart. My heart is no co-operating, it’s too busy beating.

A lot of hate for one blog post, don’t you think? No, I am not getting married and no, I am not blowing things out of proportion. If it makes it more credible, replace ‘hate’ with ‘highly dislike’.

I highly dislike applying to sixth forms. I highly dislike not knowing which school I want to go to. I highly dislike waiting for replies. Funnily enough, I quite enjoy going for interviews. I find it fun to talk to a stranger about myself and for them to at least pretend they are interested. However, that does not make up for my dislike towards the rest of the process.

So far, I have applied to five schools. The Royal Mail sent me back one application because it didn’t have enough postage. How was I supposed to know that stamps had different values or that you would ever need more than one? They don’t teach you such important life skills at school. I have received one offer and I do not highly dislike the school, neither does my mum, but my teachers advised me not to go there because they know of a few students that did not do as well as they expected.

I have also received a rejection, not in those exact words. They decided not to give me an offer, which is a diplomatic form of rejection. I am not fussed by it, it just means one more off my list. Another, probably my first choice, I will not hear from until April and even then, I have heard a few horror stories about it. Then, lastly, I applied to a grammar school with exceedingly high grades, which even if I do get accepted to, I may not decide to go to because the atmosphere does not seem very friendly and I do not want to spend any more years in a girls’ school. I’ve had enough of female ‘bitchiness’ as my mother calls it.

See my dilemma? I don’t know what to do. People are not telling me what to do. I am a teenager. Choices should be reserved until adulthood. Life should have a rewind button.

When I grow up, I want to be…

When I grow up, I want to be…

That’s the title every child starts off with when they first begin their education as a tiny 5-year-old and one that follows them throughout their school years. What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a builder like daddy! I want to be a nurse like mummy! I want to be a teacher like you! Every child has their own response and those that don’t copy the child next to them. A response is expected.

What is also expected is for that response to change. People are indecisive, children are fickle and what could be your dream job one day could be a bore the next, especially as your interests change, you find out that you’re not actually that good a singer and you realise that if you were an astronaut you would miss your mummy too much.

I’m no different and have been through the usual winded route of twisted career paths. These include but are not limited to:

  • An aeroplane- I must have shut out this shameful memory but my parents claim that I once had this peculiar aspiration.
  • A baker- I have an adorable photograph of myself in a white baker’s hat and apron for a school assembly.
  • A secret agent- If it happens, you’ll be the last to know.
  • Lawyer- A terrible work experience thwarted me of this career. Legally Blonde is just a movie.
  • Vampire- one word: Twilight
  • Journalist- I’m a blogger. That counts, right?
  • Writer- Forever and always. I can always write in my free time and be a writer on the sidelines, it doesn’t have to be my main career and I don’t need to get a degree to learn how to write. It’s just something that you do and that evolves naturally; the more you take in reading, the more you give out in writing.

Inspired my media, friends and the latest craze, those are some of the career options I have entertained in my unsettled mind.

It’s just so difficult deciding what you want to spend the rest of your life doing and there is so much pressure to make the right decision, especially now. Unemployment rates are toppling, university fees are rocketing and all you hear from the depressing news is that even if you go to university and dedicate years of your life studying, you will amount to nothing. Universities are extremely competitive, you will never get a place. If you get a place, you’ll drown in debt. If you survive university, you still won’t get a job. If you get a job, your wages will be cut or you’ll become redundant after your first week. All the horror stories about Britain’s unemployed youth are enough to make me feel like giving up, before I’ve even started.

Nevertheless, I think that I have finally decided what I want to be when I grow up and it is something that nobody expected; I surprised even myself. I want to be a doctor. Seriously. I cried when I had to get a blood test, but I still want to be a doctor. It is nothing that I have ever considered. When I was younger and we played make-belief hospitals, I was always the patient but I suppose you don’t always know what you want when you’re younger. When you’re younger you want everything and not always the right things.

It makes more sense if I explain that I want to be a psychiatrist and to do that I have to go through medicine and then specialise. I’m a deep thinker and a professional over-analyst so the job suits me perfectly. No blood or guts, just take a step into my office for a lovely chat and tell me how that makes you feel. That’s more like me, not that I mind being a ‘doctor’ either, although I’m sure it would take some adjusting to, but just like with anything else, determination can take you a long way. I’m sure that if you know the theory behind it, you won’t be so squeamish when its time to stick a tube into someone.

Since voicing my intention to enter the field of medicine, my family has embraced it whole heartedly. I never thought it of you, but now that I think about it, I can imagine having a doctor as a daughter. Which daughter is the question, because now both my younger sisters have decided that they might want to be doctors as well. Junior Doctors (BBC3) is now a family favourite and I’m sure that pretty soon I’ll have paper-cuts and twisted ankles to examine.

It may never happen, I may change my mind again but I’m really starting to think that this is it. I even e-mailed Imperial College to ask about their entry requirements! If that doesn’t show commitment ,then what does?

Wouldn’t it be funny if in twenty years time, I look back at this post, shake my head and think, “I can’t believe I wanted to be a doctor,” before telling my class that it’s time to go outside and play? The future is a tricky thing to control or even to guess right and you never know what’s waiting for you. I don’t believe those people that say, they always knew what they were meant for. How about you?

The hugging procession

Every single morning, it is customary in my class to walk into school and hug every girl lining our lockers’ corridor, starting, of course, with those nearer to you and moving along, skipping she who you may be arguing with.

I am well-known for not taking part. Fortunately, I am always the first to arrive which gives me great reason to avoid the ritual and when I am offered my daily hug, I am teased by my lack of enthusiasm and very minor co-operation. Apparently, I remain stiff and simply lean an inch forward. What can I say? I’m just not the hugging sort- I accept hugs (at times enjoy them) but I do not reciprocate the action. It is not a lack of confidence, just personal preference and laziness on my part.

However, my inability to hug does not make me an unfriendly or cold person, it just means that I express myself in a different way, through different means and with different body parts. So, today as my friend quickly dragged herself along the line of uniformed bodies, stopping and hugging, my turn came and as she opened up her tired arms for an habitual hug, I stuck out my hand and offered it for her shaking. I did the same for the next few people and was pleased to see my friendly handshake trending among a few other class mates.

My new initiative has come at an excellent time, what with all of us awaiting interviews for school admissions. A debate ensued on how to give the best, firm handshake and before I knew it, I was standing in a sea of interlocked hands. Apparently, I shake hands like a fairy; I am not yet sure if I should take offence but if I were to, the time has passed for a witty comeback.

Tomorrow, I will rebel against the hug and shake hands, as I will the next day and the day after that. This will continue until it becomes an established daily action and all around me do the same. It is hard to break such an old tradition but as soon as one person starts, others will follow and slowly, little by little, the shake will be school-wide!

Out with the hug! In with the shake!

School Fight Under the September Sun

Dark and frosty in the morning but by lunchtime, boiling. Whatever happened to September puddles? You may not think 28°C is boiling and if I was the least bit bothered about science I would probably agree with you but when it is the end of September and the weather is unnaturally hot there can be no other way to describe it. Summer seems to be stretching and that’s great but must it occur whilst we are stuck in school? When we’re on holiday it is wet and gloomy but as soon as we are back in the classroom the weather we should have had all summer arrives a few weeks too late. Tell me, where is the justice in that? I’m not asking for a thunderstorm but better timing would be much appreciated.

As I broke free from the school building this afternoon, without my school blazer which I left in my locker, the outside temperature hit me like a falling piano. Imagine that; walk out of school, breathe a content sigh of relief, then get crushed by a piano falling from a classroom window. Now, replace that piano with hot air because my school doesn’t have a piano or a window above the front entrance. That is more or less how I felt as I gave a very audible gasp and fanned myself exaggeratedly. The heat was driving me crazy and I wasn’t the only one.

Minding my own important business, I made way towards the bus stop, only to see a fuming, red-faced ex-student charging in the direction I came from. Not one to miss out on a fight, I did what any thrill-deprived teenager would do and slowly walked a few steps backwards, in chase of a fight. That is exactly what I got.

The gloves came off and the claws came out, girls style. The raging girl was even wearing leopard print to match her predatory stance. Right there on the street this older girl started shouting at two girls in my class over something they may have done to her younger sister. Insults were exchanged, names were called but not once did either of them strike. That’s how us girls operate, we’ll hurt you with our words but we won’t touch you. Its sounds like safe fighting but sometimes words hurt more.

However, (in today’s connected world news travels fast) by the time I arrived home word had already reached Facebook and if what the rumours said were to believed, it had been an all out battlefield. It was a spectacle at most.

“She’s prettier than you, she’s cleverer than you…you’re nothing compared to her.”

“We don’t know you. Who the hell are you? We don’t know you!”

“You dirty things! You are going to die!”

Trivial…truly trivial. I don’t remember ever being involved in a fight at school, I’m too much of a goody two shoes, but I’m sure that I would have smarter things to say than that. I would leave the opposition speechless, bowing down to my genius! If only I could get a word in edgeways…

Have you every been in a fight at school? If not, how would you fare?