My year ended in a really positive way. 6 months of placement without a break had gradually worn down my self-confidence, my motivation and my health. I spent a lot of time wandering whether it would be worth it, and more time worrying that I would get so run down that I would have to take time out. In my uni if you take time out you have to complete the whole year again from the beginning, rather than slotting back in at the point you left. I just had this nightmare vision of getting to 3 weeks from the end of the year, getting sick, and having to do the whole thing over again.
The last hoop to jump through of the year - getting signed off in my last placement by the supervisor - went remarkably well. It involved a neuro exam, something that I had been really shaky about until the start of this year, and until the start of this placement i hadn't really known what each part of the exam was looking for with any certainty. I felt really proud when I managed to complete a thorough, slick examination, and to answer all of the questions afterwards. This year has been really difficult, but it's such an amazing feeling to look back and realise how much I've learned - especially how much stuff that I vaguely new before I have now understood and cemented properly in my brain.
One of the (many) things that I love about being a medical student is that there's always more to learn, and that most of it has direct practical applications. It is incredible that the human body doesn't go wrong more often than it does!
Highlights of the year include : picking up my stethoscope after a year of intercal, getting to manage real-live airwaves in anaesthetics - especially putting in an LMA, finally learning my diagnosis, a placement with the community addictions team, feeling a lot more confident on the wards than I did before intercal, rediscovering reading and last but most importantly, moving in with my partner, and getting a cat.