Friday, 19 December 2014

From Student To Midwife Part 3: Summer Semester

I honestly intended to post so much more than I have in the past few months, especially about my midwifery studies. The fact that I haven't attests to how crazy and busy this semester has been. In my last update, my first semester in the Bachelor of Midwifery had just drawn to a close and my marks had not yet been released. Turns out I got credits in Nutrition and Health and Indigenous Australian Peoples, and as expected, failed Human Physiology. Failing Physiology is something that I really couldn't help due to my health last semester, so I decided that rather than wait to sit it again next year, I'd get stuck in and do it while the content is still fresh in my mind, which meant putting off Pharmacology until the end of next year and doing Human Physiology, Systemic Anatomy and Research and Evidence Based Practice this semester instead. 

I had no idea what I was getting myself into signing on for three units this semester. Let me tell you, it has been CRAZY!!! Summer semesters, being optional, are a condensed semester in which you "breeze through" up to three topics in each subject per week. All the lectures are online and labs are three per week. The assessments are constant and intense. The exams are terrifying. The workload is ginourmous and leaves you with very little free time. When you do have free time, your brain is so full of big words, you just want to curl into the foetal position and watch mind numbing TV. Or cry. I alternated between both all semester. 

Despite the intensity, I've actually found classes this semester quite enjoyable. The practical aspects of anatomy have been so much fun - we have done quite a few dissections and I enjoy working with the models until those dreaded things appear in the exams! The above photo was taken as I attempted to study in the revision lab. I was alone and bored and found myself playing with the body parts more than studying them. I've also made a few friends this semester, who are nursing students, which means that while I won't have any classes with them in the future, I've really enjoyed their company (and having people to study with) for the past few months. Also, because they're local, they are friendships that might just last!

Today I finished my first round of assessments/exams for the semester, just in time for my 21st party tomorrow night. My last exam was for anatomy and was a 50 question practical test on models. It was so intense and I walked away from it trembling a little because I found it so hard - I was not very well prepared! The good news is that I passed my midsession physiology exam though, which puts me in a very good position going into the final exam week on the 23rd of January! Between now and then, I don't have any more classes, but I do need to dedicate time for study, as I need every mark I can muster in those final exams and also have a research report due on the 5th, leaving little time for leisure following Christmas!

I still can't wait for this semester to be properly over. It's been a long 10 weeks and still four more to go! I'm really, really looking forward to starting classes at the Gold Coast campus next semester, where my subjects will all have a strong midwifery focus.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Salt Water Fixes Everything

Long, hot Australian summers are best spent at the beach or with a cider in hand. As the past few months have shown for me, salt water fixes everything - whether it be tears, sweat or the sea. I've had a tough time with uni this semester, feeling completely overwhelmed by my workload and experiencing anxiety over my exams. I have had assessments almost every week this semester and have more than once been brought to tears just entering the classroom. It's been very difficult.

My health has been worse for wear as well, and I've had a few relationship troubles peppered through the past couple of months - all those little obstacles life throws in your way to have you wishing for the fresh start brought by a new year.

If one thing has pulled me through these difficulties, it's my proximity to the beach.

The ocean has been a constant source of calm and comfort over the past few months, and I've found myself heading for the seaside, alone, quite often and not just due to the heat. The ocean offers me a calm like no other. It cleanses my soul and purges me of the negative thoughts and energy I'm carrying day-to-day. I'm not a very spiritual person, but I've never felt more close to the gods than when I'm in the sea.

The power the ocean has over me is awe-inspiring and goes back as far as I can remember. Running away from home as a kid always had me pelting towards the south wall, where I would perch atop a rock and let the spray of the ocean and ebb and flow of the tide wash my angers and upsets away. I would return home a different kid, the sparkle of the sun reflected off the ocean in my eye, and my heart full again just from watching the waves crash on the rocks as I curl my toes in the sand.

I posted the above picture to instagram the other day with the caption "I have sea foam in my veins, I understand the language of waves". The quote comes from the French film Le Testament d'Orphee - a film I have never seen, whose poetic lines have captured my imagination and spirit like no other. I find myself repeating it to myself like a mantra to get through hot and difficult days. The effect is soothing - I can sit back, chanting to myself and imagine the ocean wash over me, bringing with it a sense of calm that fights away my troubles and anxieties. I temporarily soothe my soul with these words as I eagerly await my next opportunity to head towards the ocean and replenish my calm and quietude in the foamy chaos of the sea.