Paramedic Science Degree Review - Year 2 - Trimester 0.5
So, I am half way through my first trimester and I thought it would be a good idea to give an update because I have had quite a few fellow students ask how I have been finding it! I am glad I am actually helping others with my experience!
The first month in second year was a ball.
I felt on top with everything. I was working full time and managing a couple of days in uni and everything was grand. I wrote up my lecture notes before the lecture so I could sit, annotate and absorb during the lecture. I found the information and understanding it was stretching me, but in a good way. I kept up! Even in the labs I seemed to be doing pretty well, especially in comparison to the previous year. I was answering questions that others were getting wrong, and I took part in one scenario (with another person as a crew on a truck) where my lecturer said we did the best out of everyone he had seen. I definitely needed this confidence boost as I was feeling a bit deflated as I always felt behind everyone else. Things started falling into place.
I have no idea what happened...
In a matter of days, my experience changed quite rapidly, unexpectedly. I think it was a lecture on the cardiovascular system. We were given four 100+ slide powerpoints during the lecture. I ran out of time before the lecture to complete these as there was so much content! To make things worse, the lecturer had changed the slides around and missed bits out and put them in an order which he preferred, meaning I had no clue what was going on. I went along with it, made notes as best I can, but I remember coming out that day completely frazzled. Like my brain was completely exhausted kind of frazzled. This seemed to have a knock on effect. I wrote up some of my lectures but not all and some were not finished. Even now, I am behind as most of my lectures are half written up and have not yet been finished.
I stuck some needles it stuff
I thought that I would really struggle to stick needles into veins and drill into bone. I was correct! Feeling for a vein used to really creep me out at the start of the trimester. I think I am over it now but will update when I do it for real on a human. We did not have many lab sessions due to the demand for lab time which stressed me out quite a lot as most of my class seemed to stick a needle into a fake arm and were happy with it, whereas I was not! It is hard to know if that is because I get more worried about stuff than the others, or if it came more naturally to everyone else. For really important skills when used, although rarely, it does seem that we do not receive nearly as much practice at them as we should do. This just means that we really, really need to know our stuff as it will not be used much in practice.
Placement crept up on me
So it is just into November. Firstly, how did this happen?? A minute ago I was happily in September in shorts and a tank top, now it is layer weather.... and placement is here!! Part of me is really excited for placement as we have natural learning throughout and less forced learning. Part of me despises the inconvenience of placement: I rarely see my boyfriend, it is really difficult to work and I always end up placed at least an hour from where I live, meaning that my day starts at 4am, and I am not home until 8pm. Horrible truths of placement. If you have yet to go on placement, do not be surprised that this may happen to you. Complains aside, it is by far the best way to learn your stuff. I always feel like I learn huge amounts on placement and very little in the lecture hall and at home. The stuff you study starts to sink in, and you become a real boss at what you are doing. I would not change it. Ever.
I can do new stuff on placement now!
So I got some funky stuff signed off for placement! I can now perform IV cannulation, gain intraosseous access (contemplating drilling into bone still gives me a weird feeling in my stomach) and some advanced airway techniques: iGel and not sure about intubation. My PAD document has ramped up (old post about first year PAD found here) and I now have a POD document. Everything has become real. Everything has become stressful. Everything is fine.
Rollercoaster is definitely the term for this period of my degree. I am proud of being signed off on stuff like cannulation, yet feeling slightly disappointed on my classroom progress. I do think this is normal and I will catch up and when I hit January this whole rollercoaster will occur again. I have a really long essay due early January, and we start Pharmacology at the end of January. The following picture is a honest representation of how I feel right now. If you feel the same way, do not fret, so do I. Send me a message on Instagram and we can laugh and cry about it together.