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29. June 2018 Le Thu Tran

Reflection on the first year in Sheffield

It is here. The end of my first year at the medical school at The University of Sheffield. The time flew by so fast - it was not that long ago when I thought the university campus was just a giant maze (ok, I still think so), I was deciding which societies to join or I was trying to find the cheapest supermarket in the area. First year was demanding – time wise, content wise and it was not easy to always stay on top of things. The whole of anatomy felt like as if I was learning a new language because unlike Czech medical schools, we were not taught Latin at my university. Other challenging components of the course included 3000 words long essays or production of posters with a current public health problem. Additionally, we had daily lectures, weekly presentations and end-of-module formatives. I would like to tell you a bit more about what I have done this whole year and what I have achieved both in the academic and extracurricular spheres.

1. Exams
I passed! They were more stressful than any exams I have sat before, including the A Levels. Exams lasted for three days straight and consisted of everything we have learnt during the year. The topics examined were: physiology, anatomy, embryology, histology, public health, a bit of statistics and ethics. Just for illustration, I would like to show you how my room looked before the exams. In the following photo, you can see the main core of my posters, the rest was hung up on other walls of my room too.

2. French
Since 5th grade, I have always desired to learn French because I adore the sound of it and I find this language particularly useful to know. My university offers language courses for free for its students so I made my childhood dream come true by enrolling in a French course in my first year of university. Since I have enjoyed learning this language, I plan to continue with it in the future and maybe I will be fluent in French at the end of my medicine studies.

3. Sexpression
I started volunteering with the student-lead organisation Sexpression last spring. They encourage young people to make their own decisions about sex and relationships by running informal sex education lessons in the local schools in the whole of the UK. So far, I have given lessons to children from ages 11 to 16 at three different schools in Sheffield and its suburbs. The topics taught include: sexually transmitted infections, contraception or puberty. I enjoyed volunteering for this society so much I decided to join the Sheffield Sexpression committee. I got a role of the school liaison officer which means I will be in charge of contacting schools next year and I hope I will have more opportunities to volunteer at schools too.

4. Badminton
I managed to continue with this sport at university too where I play in the Sheffield medics badminton team. We competed in a couple of matches but the biggest tournament was the one in Birmingham. Even though we did not win, we had a lot of fun, learnt new techniques and will definitely return stronger next year. This year’s badminton team has always been friendly to me so I decided to join the committee to encourage more people to join our sports society and to motivate the team as well.

5. Friends
Last but not least, I would like to mention all the friends I have met this year and without whom this year would not have been the same – flatmates, course mates or friends from extracurricular activities. These people have helped me to push through the exam season, they were there for me and inspired me when I felt lost. Sometimes I do not understand how I have only known them for less than a year yet they have grown on me so much. Of course, I would not have made it through first year without the support from my parents and friends from my previous schools as well. Besides, I would like to thank The Kellner Family Foundation for the financial support. I am very glad I have all these people in my life.

Finally, I would like to show you a view of our students’ village where I lived for the last year. We are moving into a new house in a few days and I will miss this place but you know what they say – there are no new beginnings without endings. Let’s go face the new academic year together then!

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