My Month in Theatre #5

I have fallen massively behind on this series, so it’s time for a catch up! Here’s what I got up to in May.

  • A View from the Bridge, NT Live. I managed to catch the encore screening of this highly acclaimed production this month. Despite getting more into plays recently, I’m still not quite sure what to make of this one. Although it was very well critically received, I found there to be an inconsistency in accent delivery and I wasn’t gripped by the story. That being said I thought the staging of the production was incredibly crafted, and enjoyed Luke Norris‘s portrayal of Rodolfo.
  • Save the Last Dance for Me UK Tour, Sunderland EmpireI saw a performance of this production when it was in Sunderland, and although it didn’t blow me away it was a very enjoyable evening. There was a pretty poor turn out for this show, especially as I went on a Friday night, although the audience that did attend obviously had a great time.
  • CAUTION: SAFETY GOGGLES REQUIRED! Curious Questions, Explosive Answers, Hall Two, Sage GatesheadIn the midst of finals revision I seriously needed to get out of the house and find some inspiration, so I decided to take a trip to see Greg Foot’s touring show, which focuses on engaging both young children and adults in science. Greg is a scientist I have admired for some time, and it was great to be able to see him in person, and gave me the motivation I needed to get back into the revision zone to finish my last final.
  • Bradley Creswick Recital, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead. I have seen Bradley perform before, and he is a truly inspirational violinist. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see him play again, and his personality as well as his excellent musicianship.
  • American Idiot, Sunderland Empire. I have always loved Green Day‘s music, and am a little bit in love with Newton Faulkner‘s voice, so this seemed like the perfect combo! Although it suffered from a poor story line – I’m still trying to figure out what was supposed to have happened to warrant all of those crazy riffs and badass dance moves – it was a really enjoyable show and a very nostalgic one.

That was all for May!

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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Gap Year Diaries #2 – An Update

 

Long time no type! Things have been crazy around here lately, but I thought it was time to post an update. Since the last post I have been to a plethora of medical school open days, sat two admissions tests and found a volunteer position – and that’s just on the medical side of life! I have also spent some quality time with family and friends, taken a jaunt to Germany, several shorter trips around the UK and found out I’m going to be an auntie at the beginning of next year.

Despite all that has happened since I last checked in there is still a whole bunch of stuff that I need to do in the coming weeks. Completing and submitting my UCAS form, getting as much volunteering experience as possible, working towards the BMAT exam and continuing to learn to drive as well as trying to maintain a work/life balance and work on my mental health.

Although that sounds like a lot, and the last couple of months have been a complete whirlwind, I am looking forward to what comes next. I am excited to start my ward based volunteering next week, and hopefully checking in here more often, although with the way things are going currently, I make no promises.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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Gap Year Diaries #1

Here’s what happened in my first week as a graduant.

Monday. This morning I sat my final exam of my undergraduate degree. I am now no longer a student, but a graduant. I’m not sure if the exam was a terrific success, but it honestly feels so good to have completed my degree. After the exams had finished we all headed out to town to celebrate with food and cocktails in the sun. All in all it was a pretty great day!

Tuesday. Today was a strange one, I started the day off with a lazy morning, then a trip to everyone’s least favourite type of medical institution – the dentist. After a quick check up I headed out for the evening to see a violin recital – for more about my theatrical outings, see my ‘My Month in Theatre’ series, the latest of which can be found here.

Wednesday. The day started off with a driving lesson, and then a group of us from uni headed over to a friend’s house for girl’s night. It was so nice to spend some time with my favourite people without worrying about the clinical manifestations of trinucleotide repeat disorders or how to draw a pedigree analysis. We spent the evening chilling out and generally putting the world to rights, plus my friend made us a lovely dinner – we very much felt we were living up to our new adult status.

Thursday. After a lie in and some interesting concoctions of pancake toppings the girls parted ways and a friend dropped me off on her way home. I thoroughly enjoyed having some proper girl time. When I got home I managed to catch up with my best friend from home, and as I couldn’t make it down to visit next weekend for a special occasion I was convinced to plan a visit for the following one, which happens to be the date of their ball, so I’m super excited to go to that!

Friday. Friday was pretty uneventful. Apart from a driving lesson, which actually went really well, I didn’t do much else apart from chill out and watch too many YouTube videos (is there such a thing?).

Saturday. On Saturday amongst the unavoidable life admin I managed to get out and see American Idiot whilst it was in town, and I really enjoyed getting to hear Green Day music again, as I have been on more of a musical kick lately. It was also a beautiful day, something I don’t say often as a Southerner in the North East, so it was a great opportunity to take a walk around town.

Sunday. It might have been a bank holiday weekend, but my Sunday was taken over by adult jobs like cleaning the kitchen, laundry and meal planning. Life’s all about balance though, right?

I have to say, it’s been a pretty weird week. I don’t think it’s sunk in that I’ve actually completed my degree. Next week I hope to make some progress with my plans for the upcoming year and enjoy a weekend catching up with some of my favourite people.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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Gap Year Diaries: An Introduction

This week I sit a genetics final, the last assessment of my undergraduate degree. After that I will embark on 16 months devoid of formal education, before hopefully starting medical school in the Autumn of 2017. As a self confessed planner that sort of terrifies me, but it’s also sort of exciting! I have been in education for the last 18 years, and although I definitely know I want to go back, and enter a career which is built upon lifelong learning I think it will be an interesting venture.

Despite loving a good list, I am excited to cultivate my creativity and concentrate on self development over my gap year, as well as applying to and preparing for medical school. Over the next few months I have a few exciting things ahead, such as grad week, a city break to Berlin with some friends and a fair few open days. Of course I’ll also be trying to get some clinical experience, taking some admissions tests and learning to drive, plus a whole load of other stuff I haven’t even thought of yet.

I hope to document all of this in a series of blog posts, creatively named the ‘Gap Year Diaries’. Catchy, right? I don’t know how often I’ll be posting updates just yet, but as well as leaving some memories on this blog, and maybe even being of use to future gap year aspiring postgraduate medics, I hope this can be a source of inspiration to me to make the most out of my gap year!

As well as posting the occasional gap year update, as my course is very much winding down I hope to be posting some more relevant content, as I feel the medical side of this blog has been neglected in favour of extra curricular and lifestyle type posts, not that there is anything wrong with that, but I now feel ready to get my teeth into some more medical posts as the science side of my brain will no longer be being fulfilled at university.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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My Month in Theatre #4

Although I was on Spring break for the first week and a half of this month, university has been super crazy! Luckily I have managed to get out of the study zone a couple of times to make my way to the theatre, both down South, and back in the North.

  • Bug, Found111, London. James Norton. This has to be up there with the top performances of the year! The small cast of 5 actors were all incredible, the venue was intimate with the nicest front of house staff and a beautiful bar area. Although this wasn’t a play I’d usually be drawn to it was an incredible experience, and reminded me I need to make more time for fringe theatre, as it blows me away every time! This wonderful production has been extended for another week, but due to crazy demand, tickets are already sold out, once again! If you have one count yourself very lucky, you’re in for a treat.
  • Grease Live, ITV. As I was at home I finally had access to the Sky+ box, and one afternoon after finishing a draft for a huge piece of work for my degree I sat down to watch this whilst waiting for feedback from my supervisor. Although the hype had considerably died down (I must be the last person to see this production) it certainly didn’t disappoint! Stand out performances from Vanessa Hudgens, and the ever talented Aaron Tveit brought this classic up to date, and I was singing the iconic songs for a good week after watching it.
  • The Father, The Theatre Royal, Newcastle. After being back at university for over a week and a half, I was feeling the theatre withdrawal symptoms so booked a ticket to see The Father. Despite the poor turnout, the play was a powerful and moving piece of theatre, which was beautifully written. It may not possess the ‘feel good factor’ of my beloved musicals, but shares many qualities with Bug, in the fact the unreliable narrator makes you question your perspective of reality, and think more deeply about the issues of mental health.

Despite not getting out to see as many shows as I would’ve liked this month, my main priority had to be my degree, and I saw some phenomenal performances I wont be forgetting in a hurry!

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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The Elephant in the Room

So, yesterday I set out on a commenting mission, which I wrote a post about here. Today, as per the next email prompt of Blogging101, I am going to expand one of these comments into a full blown post. I have chosen to expand on my thoughts on a post about gap years, written by medschoolwithsass that can be found here.

The more I think about the fact that when I finish my degree I will have 15 months out in the wild, the more it makes me feel a little bit weird. So today, I thought I’d discuss some of the things that are playing on my mind about my gap year in hopes that talking about them will get rid of some of the stress I’m feeling about it!

Not doing something meaningful with my time. Whenever I mention that I intend to take a gap year, the first response is ‘Well, what are you doing with it?’ or ‘Can’t you do a Masters?’ Being a serious planner and worrier, this does nothing to help the anticipation for my gap year. Although I obviously want to do something worthwhile with my time, and am exploring avenues to do this currently, I don’t have a concrete plan. Normally that freaks me out, but I’m trying not to let it bother me too much, as I still have a degree to finish and 15 months is a long time, in which much can be done. Also, I am trying to prevent from burning out before I even reach medical school.

Mental health worries. Over the last couple of years I have been dealing with and recovering from depression. Whilst a lot of people may think this is counter intuitive to getting in to med school, I happen to have the opposite outlook. The majority of medics will experience depression within their career, whether that be in medical school, or even at consultant level. Having experienced this earlier in my progression I have come to learn the value of mental health, and it’s relationship with physical health. Although I would still say there are some areas for improvement (I am not totally recovered) throughout the last couple of years I have learnt an incredible amount of coping strategies and can recognize when my mood is taking a downward turn, and do something to combat it early. All of this said, I am still in recovery, and am a little apprehensive about the massive lifestyle change I am about to go through, and whether that will take me a step backwards.

Being a real life adult. Sure, when you move out of home and to uni you have to become somewhat of an adult. You have to do your own washing and feed yourself. Despite this I definitely don’t feel like I am a fully fledged adult, or am I nailing looking after myself. As a student I don’t pay council tax and even the utterance of the words ‘tax returns’ brings me out in hives. That’s not to mention having to deal with real life landlords, employers and all of the other things non-studenty people do.

The end of an era and fear of change. This last couple of months have honestly been the best of my university experience. The strength of friendships formed through project hell, and getting to feel like an actual scientist has been pretty cool. But I have one lecture left of my degree. After a deadline, an exam and grad week I will no longer be a student, and that is sort of terrifying. Although I intend to stay in the area, and a lot of my friends, who are from the area are staying around to do Masters degrees or similar, there’s no denying that it’s the end of an era. I’ve never been that great with change, and although I am excited to see what the future has in store for us all I will miss how it is now. I guess it’s just a part of life, but it doesn’t have to be one I like.

Not getting in. There is quite a high possibility that my first application to medical school will be unsuccessful. I know that I might not get in, but the reality of this happening is still a bit terrifying. I know that if I’m not successful, I’ll buckle down, get some more experience and do everything I can to make a better application next year, but that doesn’t lighten the fear of failure.

So, those are some of my main concerns about the impending gap year. If anyone has taken a gap year and has any advice, please leave it in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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Commenting is the new black

So, although I’m apprehensive to admit it, I’ve sort of promised myself (once again) to try and make more time for this blog. I honestly enjoy blogging so much, but when life gets a bit hectic it is the first thing that goes out of the window, and that makes me really sad. I still have the prompt emails saved from a couple of Blogging U courses I signed up to yonks ago, and decided to dust one off and dedicate an hour or two to sit down and commit to it.

The prompt was Day 8 of Blogging101 (although I think this may have been revamped since) and was about commenting. Let it be known that I am the worst for commenting, but it’s something that I really do want to work on. I guess it comes from the fact that this blog started as a cathartic exercise of getting my thoughts out there, so they could be purged from my head.

The challenge was to comment on four different blog posts from blogs you have not commented on before, and I decided to pick four different categories that interest me, and leave a comment on one blog post corresponding to each of the topics that resonated with me. The challenge also gives you an opportunity to share the posts you commented on, so that’s what I’m going to do now!

  • Bullet Journalling. For just over a month I have been using the Bullet Journal method, alongside an agenda type future planner. There is a wealth of information on social media about the method, and I have been soaking up inspiration from lots of different sources. A post by Jess of Pretty Prints and Paper ‘5 Ways to Add Self Care to Your Bullet Journal’ really resonated with me, as it included some techniques that I am already practicing, as well as some new ideas.
  • Medical School. I have been thinking a lot about my decision to take a gap year before medical school, and the impending application in recent weeks. It seems like perfect timing to have stumbled on a post on a medical student blog entitled ’50 Things About the Gap Year’. If you’re thinking of taking a gap year before continuing your studies I would definitely recommend checking it out!
  • Student Life. Recently I have been into reading PhD student blogs, maybe this has stemmed from my interest in the YouTube channel SimonOxfPhys, or the fact that I have had the opportunity to get to know a few PhD students at my own university, but the world of academia is one which is so fascinating to me. Another thing I love about student PhD blogs is the fact that they are often transparent about their transition from student to fully functioning adult – like this post from thatsaplan entitled ‘What’s for breakfast?’
  • Theatre. Science will always be my career choice, but it’s so important to have interests outside of medicine, else you will drive yourself crazy. My love of theatre is stronger than ever, with regular theatre trips, and the creation of the ‘My Month in Theatre’ series. Earlier I had the fortune to stumble across a post by a lovely blogger – Alice rambles – and her post about the ever wonderful Wicked, which can be found here. I can feel a booking in the works!

So, there are the four posts I’ve read in the past day or so that I really enjoyed, and actually commented on! I’ve actually really enjoyed engaging with some other bloggers, and hope to turn commenting into a regular habit. If you have come across any great posts lately feel free to link me below and I’ll check them out.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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My Month in Theatre #3

So, the last couple of weeks have been a little crazy due to spring break and a mountain of deadlines, explaining why this post is later than usual, but enough of that, here’s March’s musical escapades:

  • The Bodyguard UK Tour, Sunderland EmpireAlthough I was a tad skeptical about this show, and the opening number didn’t exactly blow me away, I really enjoyed the show as a whole, and there were some strong acting performances delivered. The story held up better than other musicals of it’s kind and it was an enjoyable evening.
  • Quatour Van Juijk, Sage GatesheadAnother trip to see a string quartet this month, and I have to say I’m enjoying them more and more. The rep for this concert was beautiful, and the performance as a whole was rather captivating. Once again I’m looking forward to seeing more classical music performed in the future.
  • Hangmen, NT LiveI have never seen an NT Live broadcast before, mostly due to the fact I normally have rehearsals myself on Thursday evenings, which is the usual day of these events. However, one Thursday this month rehearsal was cancelled so I decided to head to the local cinema to catch Hangmen, and I’m glad I did. Although not something I’d usually find myself watching the acting was incredible, and I thoroughly enjoyed this new way of experiencing theatre.
  • Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barbour of Fleet Street, Tyne Theatre and Opera House. A couple of my friends from university were in a production of Sweeny Todd this month so I went along to support them. The Opera House is a beautiful venue, and one which is hidden and unassuming within the streets of Newcastle. It was so lovely to see some familiar faces up on the stage, and I hope to be able to support some more local theatre in the future.
  • Lord of the Flies UK Tour, Theatre Royal, Newcastle. Despite taking A level English lit I have never read this classic story – we were led down the Austen route. Plays are, I admit, not in my comfort zone when it comes to theatre, but despite the lack of musical numbers I did enjoy the performance, and I found it so refreshing to see an all male cast. I hope to see more plays, and widen my horizons further in the future.
  • Romeo and Juliet UK Tour, Sunderland Empire. Up next was the first ballet of the year, and it was a Birmingham Royal Ballet production of the Shakespeare classic. Although I am definitely not a dancer myself I really enjoyed storytelling through the medium of dance (although I do admit I had to read the synopsis of each act before it started to make sure I knew what was going on). I have been to very few ballets before and thought this was a great reintroduction for a novice. Ballet may never be the bulk of my theatre viewing, but I had a really enjoyable evening, and even got to stretch my legs a bit due to the double interval.
  • Motown the Musical, Shaftesbury Theatre, London. I was home for spring break at the end of the month, and my mother had expressed an interest in seeing the musical a while back, so along with my father we all went down to town to see it. Although we were all a little frustrated at the fact that in order to shoehorn in a lot of songs, only snippets of each were performed it was great to learn about the history of the music my parents had played throughout my childhood. I was blown away by some of the vocal performances, especially that of the young performer playing Michael Jackson and we even had time to sneak in a Byron. Result!

It was a little bit of a crazy month, but I managed to squeeze in a lot of theatre time, and I’m so glad I did.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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Going Chocolate Free?

dechox

So, tomorrow denotes the first of March, and the first day of a new challenge for me. I have decided to join The British Heart Foundation’s Dechox, a challenge in which participants go without chocolate for the whole month of March in order to raise money for the fantastic research conducted by the charity.

I’d love it if you’d check out my JustGiving page here, and help spread the word about the wonderful work of The British Heart Foundation. If you can spare some change that would also be a huge help and I would be very grateful of any donations.

For more updates on my progress throughout the challenge check out my Twitter account here.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

My Month in Theatre #2

Last month I posted about the theatre trips I had taken here, and I really enjoyed documenting the fun I’d had at concerts and shows, so here’s this month’s offering:

  • Skampa Quartet, Hall Two, Sage GatesheadAs a violinist myself, I have been wanting to see more live string music, so I thought this was a good way to start. Hall Two has a great intimate feel, and the camaraderie between the musicians was captivating. I hope to see some more quartets in the coming months.
  • RNS Up Close: Timothy Orpen, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead. The second concert of the month was also in Hall Two, this time it was a concert by the lead clarinet player of the Royal Northern Symphonia, Timothy Orpen, who was accompanied at times by both a pianist and viola player, the latter of whom also happens to be his wife! As someone who hasn’t heard an abundance of clarinet music it was a great experience, and seeing a voila that was knocking about at the same time that Mozart was composing was pretty special too.
  • The World of Rogers and Hammerstein, Hall One, Sage Gateshead. Yet another trip to Gateshead, but this time was much more in my comfort zone, as it was back to musical theatre. The Royal Northern Symphonia played songs from all of the duo’s hit musicals, accompanied by some west end stars. The music, was of course, beautiful, and I was totally blown away by Michael Xavier and Scott Davies as they sang ‘There is Nothing Like a Dame’. Robyn North and Sally Ann Triplett also both put in solid performances, and overall it was a great night of high class entertainment.
  • The Rocky Horror Show UK Tour, Sunderland EmpireIt had been exactly three years since I had been to The Empire to see Rocky when I went back this month – proof that ‘The Time Warp’ is alive and well. This musical is one that never disappoints, and is always hugely enjoyed by cast and audience alike. Liam Tamne was a truly incredible Frank, and Steve Punt was the perfect choice for the narrator – a big thumbs up to casting from me!

That’s it for this month – there have been some truly enjoyable and inspiring performances and I can’t wait to see what March has in store.

Until next time,

fractureafemur

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