The last few weeks have seen me sitting with a map of the UK, a pretty complex spreadsheet and a list of all the deaneries for foundation training - the next stage of medical training after university.
And this week the applications for foundation training opened...
Since starting medical school way back in 2011, the idea of actually working as a doctor has felt like a distant prospect. Something not quite real. The mythical end point after all the portfolios, log books and exams.
I didn't really know anyone in the years above me particularly well, so although seeing them leave to start work was exciting, it didn't really feel like it was soon going to apply to me.
But the time has come now for me to make my own application for foundation training. This is two years made up (usually) of six jobs in different areas of medicine.
There are a few stages to the process - the first being to rank the deaneries from first to last. Basically, the entire UK is split up into approximately twenty deaneries and I had to decide where I would most like to go, and work down to where I really don't want to spend the next two years! It sounds simple enough, but I don't have especially strong feelings about most regions - to be honest, I'm doing well if I can even find half the places on the map (hence spending the past fortnight trying to familiarise myself with the Midlands and the North)...
I've been trying to work out which places are nice, which are at least kind-of near to home (because I have feeling foundation training might be a bit stressful at times and I'll want to pop back for a weekend now and again!), and which are going to offer the types of jobs I want (hello psychiatry, general practice). Oh, and on top of all of that - which am I realistically going to get into? Because I'll be ranked against every other final year medical student in the country. Which is just a little bit frightening.
(On top of all of this, the whole junior doctor contract saga has been rumbling in the background, but I think my opinions on that are best saved for another post)
So hopefully you understand the need for the giant spreadsheet. Honestly, if I thought UCAS was bad, FPAS is a whole other level.
Anyway, I got through this stage, just about. Even if I did sit hovering with my finger over the 'submit' button for about ten minutes. It's like finishing one of our multiple choice exams - I have this urge to go back and change everything. I did eventually submit it, but only after having quadruple checked that I hadn't put Scotland as my number one choice. (Not that I have anything against Scotland besides the fact that it is SO FAR AWAY).
So. One step closer to this doctoring thing. #Terrifying