In this Deep Dive I sit down and have a chat with Molly, a fellow doctor and my flatmate for the last two years. We talk about the lessons we've learnt from working in medicine and answer your questions too. Some of the highlights of our discussion can be found below, as well as time-stamps if you fancy listening to us talk :)
Molly is passionate about all things food. She's spent the past few years sharing pictures of the food she eats on her Instagram page @cambridge.foodie.
01:50 Molly Introduction
02:50 What is something you wished you'd known before you started as doctors?
05:25 What would you do differently if you went back to Med School?
07:40 What's the most hated aspect of your job that people often overlook?
11:25 Why is Molly moving out?
12:00 Does Molly you use a wheelchair just for racing or all the time?
13:35 Do you feel like your life is boring?
13:50 How does Molly feel about Ali moving to America?
14:12 Have you had any heartwarming interactions with patients?
16:25 Did Molly ever experience sexism at work by patients or co-workers?
18:00 Are you able to have a work/life balance?
18:45 Are the best bits of being a doctor the same as you thought they would be?
21:50 Do you think becoming a doctor has made you a better people person?
22:30 How do you cope with difficult days at work?
23:45 What is the one book you would take on holiday?
25:30 Is Ali messy or tidy around the house?
26:22 What do you both want to specialise in?
26:35 Do doctors get paid a lot?
27:00 If you weren't a doctor, what would you do instead?
28:35 Which Anki deck for Finals can you share?
29:13 Will Molly start her own YouTube channel?
30:05 How does Molly feel about Ali moving to the US?
30:20 How to deal with imposter syndrome and fear of failure?
42:35 Do you ever regret being doctors?
42:40 How much free time do you have in a day?
43:24 What is the best advice you can give to women pursuing medicine?
45:15 Have you ever experienced losing a patient and how did you deal with it?
48:50 What speciality is Molly drawn towards for future career in medicine?
49:30 What is the best way to keep blood flowing if you sit at a desk all day?
50:25 Have you ever thought "Am I breaking the rules here?"?
53:30 When is Molly starting a blog?
54:20 What advice would you have for an aspiring 16yr old medical student?
57:25 What would your life look like if you wanted to be a YouTube and a doctor?
58:45 Is the UK unnecessarily precious about applications leading to many students going abroad?
01:00:10 What is the most important productivity tip to not procrastinate?
01:01:50 What A-Levels did you do and what grades did you get?
01:03:15 What is your proudest moment of being a doctor in the past two years?
01:06:00 What is the advice to get things together on dating, family, career?
01:07:35 What's the most unconventional choice you've made in your lives?
01:08:25 When you move to the USA will the coffee offer still stand?
01:09:00 What techniques does Molly use for studying?
01:10:00 What is the most embarrassing story about Ali?
01:11:15 How do you get more comfortable with being on camera online?
01:12:00 Does Molly ever get the feeling that Ali thinks he's better than her?
01:19:05 What is your biggest pet peeve?
01:19:50 How differently does Ali act off camera?
01:20:50 Does Molly play an instrument?
01:21:15 Did you enjoy your experience at Cambridge and how has it helped your studying?
01:23:50 What do you see yourselves doing in 15-30 years time?
01:24:40 What is the medicine workload like?
01:25:55 Why wouldn't Molly move to America?
01:27:10 What music does Molly listen to?
01:27:55 What did Molly do in Third Year?
01:29:00 Will you miss each other when Molly moves out?
01:30:25 Do you get messages from family about day-to-day medical ailments?
01:31:00 What is Molly's favourite thing about Ali?
01:33:25 What would Molly say to Ali's future wife?
01:33:55 What would be your ideal day off?
01:34:40 How did Molly persuade her family to live with Ali?
01:35:40 What would Ali's dream girl be like?
Highlights From Our Discussion
What Would You Say To Ali's Future Wife
MH - "Good luck and make sure you have a hobby!"
Favourite Thing About Ali
MH - “He always makes time for other people – if I needed your help you would always be there. Know I can rely on you to help me if I need your help”
Third Year Study
MH - “At Cambridge you have two years of pre-clinical medicine and then in third year you have a choice of what you studied for a whole year. I chose to do History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine which I loved. It was a year of thinking completely differently and writing essays about 18th century medicine”
Where Do You See Each Other in 15-30 Years
AA - “I reckon you will have four kids by that point and you’ll be a full time mum”
MH - “I don’t think I’d be a full time mum, I quite enjoy working so I would have to do at least part time. You could be doing anything in 30 years time – there’s no way you’ll be a doctor full time. Maybe you’ll be in America living it up".
Embarrassing Story About Ali
MH - "He tries to pretend he's all clean but the whole house is a tip most of the time!"
MH - "I tend to make spider diagrams after having read through the notes and tested myself as I go along which I guess is active recall. That tends to be my preferred way of studying".
AA - "Starting a YouTube channel is pretty rogue"
MH - "Choosing not to train straight away and taking a year out this year"
Dating and Relationships
AA - “As an armchair expert, books to check out - How to Be A 3% Man’, ‘Models’, The Rational Male, The Art of Seduction – those are good ones to start with”.
MH - “In medicine there are lots of little things that I’m proud of but doing 10k in a wheelchair race was probably what I was more proud of”
AA - “I had one a few weeks ago. One of the consultants said to me, “my heart always sings when I see I’m on call with you because I like working with you” and that was really nice”
Productivity Tip To Not Procrastinate
MH - "If I need to not procrastinate I just need someone to take my phone away from me - I spend hours scrolling through my phone every evening"
Dealing With Patient Deaths
MH - “In my first year, not one patient died when I was on my shift. This year, especially with COVID I’ve had a lot more patients dying when I’ve been there. It depends a bit on the circumstances – the more frail patients or those who you have been able to plan palliative care around, actually that can be a really comforting thing. The deaths that you haven’t planned for are much more tricky to deal with and are much more unsettling. I’ve been upset about patients dying but it’s not something that has left me upset for days”
AA - “There was one occasion where a patient had a cardiac arrest that I was thinking about for a while afterwards. But the majority of the deaths we get in hospital are expected and it’s sad but it’s what happens in a hospital”
Best Advice to Young Females in Medicine
MH - “Go for it. There are a lot of times when I’m a bit more nervous about putting myself out there but you’ve just got to have confidence in yourself and your abilities and find opportunities and ask to be a part of them”
Advice on Self-Confidence
MH - "I think the main thing I do is present evidence to myself. In second year I made a document on my computer of things that I've done. It was just so I could look back on it whenever I was thinking that I hadn't achieved anything. That's the main thing I do but I suppose the problem comes when you don't have that evidence.
I think it comes with time as well. If your whole identity is one thing then it's going to be very difficult if that one thing goes badly. If you can spread your identity to a number of things, such as exercise, academically, professionally, friendships, there are multiple different things which means if one of those doesn't go your way then you have other things to fall back on.
When I broke my arm last year, I became completely dependent on other people having gone from being a very independent doctor. I remember thinking 'why is it that this has completely thrown me' and I think it was because all of the things that made up my identity were prevented from this injury. It destroyed all of the things I was doing - I didn't even have an exam to be revising for".
AA - "It sounds like your saying 'diversify your identity as much as you can' so that if one thing falls you don't lose your whole identity"
MH - "I don't get it much anymore - it's more that I want to do my best in each situation but that's not the same as being afraid that I'll be found out that I'm an 'imposter'. When we got into Cambridge, I 100% thought that I would fail my exams and I shouldn't be there. Gradually each year I'd build up more and more evidence for myself that helped to convince myself that I was good enough to be here and doing what I'm doing. Every new rung on the ladder I do have a fear of failure but that's not imposter syndrome that's just fear of failure"
Molly + YouTube
MH - "No, I don't plan to start a YouTube channel. If I did it would be about food but I don't have any plans to do that. I don't like being on camera - I wouldn't want to film myself all the time. I look at your lifestyle and I don't want that. I like taking photos of food"
Jobs If Not Doctor
MH - "Realistically I'd be a science teacher but my dream job would be a restaurant critic - but I wouldn't be very reliable because I don't like criticising people's food!"
MH - "It's a good salary but it's nothing compared to some of my friends who've gone off to work in the corporate world"
AA - "I'm thinking emergency medicine"
MH - "Medicine of some sort...not surgery"
On Favourite Books
MH - "I always like books that have a medical link - stories about patients or doctors' memoirs. One of the ones I've really enjoyed recently was With The End In Mind"
AA - "I would take The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss"
Coping With Difficult Days
AA - "I don't feel like I have too many difficult days at work. I occasionally come home and offload and moan to you [Molly] but in general I don't"
MH - "I offload to people and after that eat nice food and go to the gym"
Best Bits of Being A Doctor
AA - "One of the best bits about being a doctor is the banter that you can have with your co-workers. The frequency of those interactions and hanging out with your colleagues is really high and that's probably the best bit of going into work each day"
MH - "Medicine is constantly evolving so you are always learning. I still like the fulfilment of making someone feel better and more comfortable. But if you have a good team around you that's the thing you look forward to when you're going into work".
Work / Life Balance
AA - "I feel a lot of the whole being a doctor is really hard is heavily inflated by the media. It's very doable to have a decent work-life balance"
Sexism at Work
MH - “I don’t think it’s stopped me doing anything, but you definitely see little things all the time. For example, female consultants regularly get mistaken for junior doctors or little inappropriate comments from patients”
Heartwarming Interactions with Patients
MH - "There's always heartwarming interactions everyday. I had a really nice once recently with a patient who was quite unwell and we thought he might die. What he really wanted to do was get married and we managed to do a blessing ceremony – and that was a really emotional and nice moment and it meant a lot to them”
“For background, I had bone cancer when I was younger so I’ve had a hip replacement and nerve damage in my foot. Basically, my left leg is not great and so I usually have to use a stick or crutches to get around. Wheelchair I have but tend to reserve it for day trips but for racing I have a separate racing chair – that’s a hobby I took up about 5 years ago. It’s really good fun – it means I can get involved in 5k and 10k”.
Why is Molly Moving Out
“Initially we only planned to live together for two years and my boyfriend is moving down to Cambridge next month”
What Is The Most Hated Aspect
MH - "The admin surrounding it is what I hate most. For instance, planning annual leave is very tricky - the stress is particularly bad around not knowing whether you will get that time off until a few days beforehand"
AA - “The sinking sensation when you know you’ve done something wrong. Most of the time it’s very minor but it’s frustrating and it’s a horrible feeling”
What Would You Do Differently If You Went Back to Med School
AA - "I would do more spaced repetition and active recall. In the first few years we knew so much but there are things that now I might not be able to recall. If I had started it at the beginning I think my knowledge would be deeper and more robust on a greater breadth of things now"
MH - "Fewer meltdowns but apart from that I wouldn't change much"
What You Wish You Knew Before Starting Your Careers
MH - “I wish I had known at the beginning that you didn’t have to firmly decide what you wanted to specialise. It’s important to know that it’s not a certainty, you can mould your career in medicine to what you want and I didn’t realise that at the start”