First-week butterflies

Jodie Davey

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
Course: BSc (Hons) Operating Department Practice
Category: Allied and public health

26 September 2014

Jodie Davey has recently started our Operating Department Practice course in Cambridge and in her own words ‘couldn’t be more excited!’ In her first blog she gives an account of the lead-up to her course starting.

I’m sure I’m not alone in having a stomach full of butterflies that flutter each time I think about starting my new life as a student. But as a ‘mature’ student I’m a little worried about keeping up – not only on the social side of things (I will still be a fresher and I am having that glass of champagne on my first day) but mostly returning to education.

Despite being at (a different) university three or four years ago the task of finding references, journals, and actually writing an essay, from planning to final draft makes me feel a little sick. I feel like my ability to read a book for anything but fun has fallen out of my mind. I’m nervous that my handwriting for note-taking has got a little messy (and if my pencil case really says ‘mature responsible adult’), but it’s the essays that worry me the most.

Stepping in theatre on the first day of placement seems like a holiday to me at the moment, as I’ve spent the last eight years in every department and speciality (and a number of trusts) building up to this point. I know some staff who I will be working with, I’ve met fellow students, I know where to go, I even know my scrub size (very important for comfort). Putting pen to paper is where it throws me.

But there are some things I’m confident about. Knowledge has always interested me; anatomy and physiology came easy to me at sixth form and uni – surely it will all flood back; and I’m the one to ask if a patient wants something a doctor has explained in laymen’s terms. Just don’t ask me to write a 4,000-word cited essay on the heart any time soon.

Mid-July was the Cambridge campus welcome day and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Meeting everyone I’ll be sharing my course with and the tutors who I will be learning from (and most importantly Natasha Wright, the student rep) was great. I couldn’t help but walk away knowing that the university will be supporting me every step of the way, and everyone was so friendly and willing their share experiences.

I don’t know if it’s the interview process combined with the Taster Days but walking in, I recognised a lot of people. Having these pre-course opportunities to chat and share really helps. It felt like no question was a stupid question, and although people where coming at this from different past experiences we were all in the same boat. Knowing who to turn to for guidance and Natasha sharing her experience was fantastic – especially when she told us about the abundance of tutorials (so I’m confident I will get my essay-writing skills up to scratch quickly).

I feel like all the hard work is nearing its climax, and I’m telling myself it’s OK to be nervous because I am in the best possible position to achieve my goals. At the end of the day, I beat countless other applications for this place so I deserve to be here.


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