Diary of an FY1 – The New Year

[box] In the first edition of his diary in 2016, Oscar looks back on how the last twelve months have changed him. [/box]

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The inevitable has come to pass yet again as the hands of the clock strike twelve and after the same sparkles that fly through space year on year come to pass, it begins to dawn upon me that I will spend the next week putting the wrong dates on my signatures.

To many of us, this is simply one of many new years. Because the thing that pervades over our lives is not the new year of the calendar but the passing academic years in September or August, depending on how masochistic your medical school has decided to be this year.

So what purpose does that leave this new year that happens as the Gregorian calendar resets itself for another cycle? For society as a whole, this is time charged with cultural energy for change. Change is itself a concept that requires reflection, because in order to change, one must have a grasp of the current and a fashioned goal in mind for the future.

Indeed, it is this special power of reflection that we all find ourselves in that gives strength and resolution to fulfil it. For some, it is the act of revelry in the New Year to bring it off to a good start (or a bad one, depending on levels of alcohol consumption).

As my new year begins, I find myself enjoying what to me is now a holiday; four days free of work feels like a luxury that I am wasting not to travel abroad somewhere. Of course, I paid for this with the penance of working across Christmas and its adjoining weekend as I’m sure some of you realised whereupon you read flippant TMS updates out of tone with the usual account.

Indeed, this past year has been a tumultuous one. It has really been a year of halves, split by the divide of the academic year, marking my final acquiescence of my rise as fully qualified doctor and no longer a free student.

Whilst the year was marked with a watershed in the centre, either side has been with tremendous work of two varying kinds. The last of the student days with a set of final exams that were the culmination of six years (okay, maybe just one) worth of academia that now represented the end of a pursuit I have spent a quarter of my life hunting for.

However, as the quiet days of studenthood came to an end as they always inevitably would, in one way or another, it also became a time to transition into the whole adulthood business that I had been so busily avoiding for six years. The veneer of medical student finally mottled away to the winds, doctor to heal thy self.

Indeed, F1 was done as promised and thrown out most of what I have spent the last six learning as others have struggled to do so themselves, as the tried and tested student skills prove only to lead only to ceaseless micromanagement and inaction. The new paradigm of pragmaticism being a foreign word to many.

Work as a doctor is also a great responsibility, at the mercy of faceless rota-co-ordinators that are inhuman in expectation. Indeed, the day now ends at five, or often nine, and only in theory rather than in practice.

Nonetheless, it is also these time limitations that have begun to push me towards pursuing the interests that I had long neglected due to lack of material capital. For example, since qualifying, my book collection has expanded tremendously, and the limitations on time have indeed increased the amount of books I have read, knowing that I do not have the time. Much like the student that writes essays days before the deadline, it is a similar focus that has driven my leisures.

Knowing full well that time pressures will become a dominant focus in my life as examinations once again rear their head, it seems only rational to take advantage of the first time in years that I well and truly have no academic pressures.

And yet, it is knowing that my life has already changed so much that I indeed find it difficult to wonder how I want my life to change over the coming year. Perhaps I need no resolution to change, but more a desire and a will. Because how else can things happen?

Dr. Oscar To

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