An honest update of my paramedic science journey
As many of you know, I am a third year paramedic science student. It is now 2020 and whilst everyone on my social media feeds is seeming optimistic for the future, I feel quite the opposite. This is the year that I hope to graduate in. I say this quite negatively, but I guess that is honestly how I currently feel about my degree. I am not sure how I should feel about my degree, but I am aware that my boyfriend never had this level of anxiety and self-doubt during his studies and I am not sure this is how someone should feel during their degree, especially one which is vocational and will lead me directly to my future job.
This may sound like I hate paramedicine - but actually it's far from it. I really enjoy being a (student) paramedic, the practice, learning and people, but its all the bits that you do not expect from your degree that I do not enjoy:
- The fear of getting a bad mark in an essay that accounts for 100% of a module or even worse, failing a module and having to retake it or the whole year.
- The parts of the degree which are included to make it from a diploma into a degree.
- The chance of getting a good mentor rather than a bad one, and all the pressure that comes along with that.
This list could continue, but I do not wish to focus on the bad things and there are plenty of amazing things that I will not be touching on in this post but have featured in different posts on my blog and Instagram.
This year, other than on placement, I have not practised any actual paramedic skills or learnt things directly related to my potential pre-hospital patients. This is really frustrating, more so than you would expect. I still enjoy it, learning GP skills and the theory behind research, but quite honestly, it was not what I signed up to! The profession evolves at a rate faster than you can anticipate, which is fantastic for us now and in the future, I just feel a bit out of my depth.
I probably know where these feelings come from. A lack of summer time off where family time was non-existent and spent stressing and studying, going straight into third year and onto placement, feeling as though I should be better than I was a mere two months ago but without any addition to my knowledge and practice to accompany it, and then a hard module which was not based on anything clinical with two essays and an exam all due within a week. Along with this in the past 2 months, I had my own personal battles to overcome, varying mental health states, grieving for the death of a close family member and financial pressures meaning education was juggled with trying to earn enough money to pay my rent and put food on the table.
Accessing the paramedic profession is not easy however it is worthwhile and very rewarding. We are spoilt for choice with the ever-growing career options open for us and us paramedics are a special breed of person and I am very, very proud to be part of our green family. I have always said that this degree is a rollercoaster, experiencing utter elation, fascination and pride at times, but also having low points involving heartbreak, anxiety and stress-inducing mental breakdowns. I know that this is just a low point, and in eight or nine months I will be waiting for my results and hopefully graduating, where the real journey and hard work starts. I'm looking for my feelings to pick up and for me to enjoy my degree again. The final two trimesters of my degree involve a dissertation, a new module and half of an old module, it is not going to be easy but I continually remind myself that others before me have completed it, and those behind me will continue to, too.
Finally, I am writing this for you, so you know that when you end up in the low of the rollercoaster, you are not alone. Everyone will experience it to differing levels and fate will determine what will happen... You can only try your best. Keep trying your hardest and following your dreams, and if you ever need a friendly chat, I am always here for you (no matter your degree, age or anything).