Sunday, June 27, 2004

Reading up, feeling down

I spent this morning looking up some information on Assiut, the town in Egypt where I’ll be attending a tropical medicine summer school beginning next month. It’s smack bang in the middle of the country, nearly 400km (and a five hour train journey) south of Cairo. I’ve only just begun doing my research but so far it doesn’t look to promising a tourist spot. An “ugly agglomeration of high-rises that resemble an Eastern European new town rather than an ancient Egyptian entrepot and trading post”, the city is apparently a hotbed of nationalism and most foreign visitors have a police escort throughout their time here. The ‘Rough Guide’ introduces the city with:
“Every country has one city/town that is despised by its inhabitants, Assiut is that city in Egypt.”
Yeesh! It’s not all bad though. I’m going with two good university friends, and the details of our trip have now been finalised. The Egyptian student we’ve been in contact with sounds really friendly, and for only 170 euro for a three week stay including all accommodation, food and teaching it should be a cheap summer. And Egypt is such a beautiful country I’m sure we’ll have our fair share of spectacular sights. I went there when I was seven years old and images of the pyramids at Giza, the Great Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel and narrow, winding walkways of Cairo’s Khan el-Khalili are still imprinted on my mind.

Well, better get going,

P.S. Have any of you been to Egypt? Any tips will be much, much appreciated. Thank you!

Friday, June 25, 2004


Hey folks

Just received my results, and I’ve passed all my third year exams, but without the honour of a merit or distinction. It’s a bummer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m relieved to have passed, but I always try and do the best I can and though I berate myself for this, it hurts when others have put in more effort and have got better results than I have. What if I don’t do the best for a patient because I haven’t learnt an important concept or how to manage an important illness. In my med student guise, those are the type of things that keep me up at night. At least I can now enjoy my summer though.

Results day is always interesting though. There are students that run from the building and open their envelopes in privacy, those that openly cry, having performed far better worse than they anticipated, those that allow themselves a quick smirk or grimace and the stoical statues. I allowed myself a bit of a long grimace. Most people don’t show too much emotion though. I guess it’s because in med school we’re all too competitive. Agree?


Monday, June 21, 2004

Welcome and thank you

Hello and thanks for stopping by my page. My name’s Moc, and this is my first ever blog. Thank you for reading it! I hope my site will be a fairly frequent update on my daily activities, and act as an outlet to my thoughts, experiences, hopes, dreams and rants. I’ll try to keep it as true and as honest as possible. Please feel free to post any comments or suggestions (I’d love constructive criticism) and I’ll do the best I can to improve the blog. Enjoy.

First of all, a little about me. I’m 21 years old, and am a fourth year med student at Imperial College in London, UK, having just passed my end of year exams. We’ve just started our holidays, therefore, and in our three month vacation I plan to go to Egypt to a summer school on tropical medicine, to prepare to take the Step 1 USMLE exam (an American medical licensing exam) and to finally learn to drive. In the meantime, however, I’m going to have some fun. London is an amazing city, and even though I’ve lived here all my life, I’ve seen so little of it. I still consider South and East London the dark side of the capital. Hopefully I’ll catch some of the less well know treasures it has to offer. Any ideas?

Being a Londoner, and having to commute to hospitals all over the city as part of my training I have chosen to live back at home this year, with my parents and little sister. She’s seventeen years old, and currently slacking for her A-levels, with the ultimate dream of being a dentist. I’m not sure how interested you all are about home life, and I don’t intend to write about it too much, but human relationships are fascinating, so let me know if you’d like to know more.

Personality-wise, I’m not really sure how to describe myself. I love meeting new people, especially those with a different background to mine. I’m very interested in other cultures and traditions and the way other people live their lives. As a result, I also enjoy travelling, and over the past few years have been fortunate enough to travel to the USA, Canada, Tanzania, Madagascar and Germany. They’ve all been brilliant experiences and if I have time, I’ll try and type up all the notes I made to remember it all.

Even though I’m gregarious with new people, though, I’m quite introverted most of the time. I feel quite comfortable spending time alone, but sometimes I feel I isolate myself too much. I have lots of friends, but I want to be closer to some of them. In fact, one of my aims this year is to meet fewer people but to try and establish a closer bond with them.

I love reading, and sitting down with a good book is one of my favourite hobbies. I enjoy all forms of the written word, and have recently started to explore African literature, but from a very callow starting point. At the moment I’m enjoying Nigerian master Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’. My favourite books include the hilarious ‘Vanity Fair’ by William Thackeray, Vikram Seth’s ‘A Suitable Boy’, a tale of partition and love in 1940s India and ‘The Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins. Sweeping epics are my thing.

I have a passion for sport, though with my current body habitus I’m more of an armchair fan than an active participator. Cricket, cycling and football (or soccer) are my favourites, and I’m avidly following the European Championships in sunny Portugal.

Finally – medicine. It’s my degree subject and my future career, but I’ve lost the love I used to have for it. Where is the passion, where is the intensity, I ask?? Sometimes I am overwhelmed by how privileged I am to be a doctor in training, to be learning about the beauty of our bodies and acquiring the skills to help save lives, but this has recently dimmed. By reflecting upon what I have learned and conveying this in writing to you all I hope this passion will be rekindled; and for my readers, a medical student’s training is certainly never dull! I’ll keep you updated in the endeavours it takes to be the best doctor you can be, the latest medical advances and amazing bodily facts. One field I will probably discuss in depth is neuroscience. I love neuro. And this year I will have the opportunity to deepen my understanding of what we know about the intricacies and functional diversity of the brain, as I complete a Batchelor of Science in the subject. I hope I may even have the chance to personally contribute to our search for neuroscientific knowledge. It promises to be an exciting time of growth and discovery, and I’ll keep you all updated.

Once again, thank you for reading, and please feel free to leave comments.