It’s that time of the year. Seven weeks out from exams, six weeks of classes to go. Nerves are frayed – and since it’s Neuro Block, we should probably be able to figure out exactly which nerves they are. Fuses are short. Every setback, inconvenience and piece of bad luck looms bigger than it should. Relationships are rocky, friendships strained, nails are getting chewed, and for me, tears are a lot closer to the surface than I’m comfortable with. There are cold sores, ulcers, shingles and the flu. Even the most consistently studious people seem stressed.

Two days of exams will cover this semester’s work, along with all of the material from last year. This is crunch time: ‘End-of-Phase’ examinations preceding our shift to Phase Two of the MBBS program. On the upside, we know what we’re about to face, because the format of these exams is the same as the end of year exams. On the downside, we know what we’re about to face….

I’m having a tough time for reasons that go beyond study, and I am uncomfortably aware that my mood is observable. I am usually much, much better at keeping a lid on things. I know, I know, it’s important to ask for help when you need it, and so on, and maybe I’m doing that a little, although I feel like the things that are going on in my life are just things that happen and there’s not a lot that can be done to help.

That said, the smallest and the biggest things can lighten the load or brighten my mood. My friends have, variously (and this is not an exhaustive list): made me hot drinks, surprised me with a tin of biscuits, recorded a song for me (!!), listened to me vent about seventy thousand different things, given me ginger tea, made me laugh, kept me from spinning off the deep end, taken me to the footy, taught me critical facts about spinal tracts, reassured me, played guitar with me, made room for me, shared baked goods, amused me with messages, rubbed my shoulders, and reminded me of a little thing called perspective.

Once again, humbled by the generosity of my friends. I can only hope that I am as good a friend in return.


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