I’m writing this post on my final night shift of FY1 (the first year of being a doctor).

There was one doctor I was shadowing on the Cardiology ward. In between teaching me about the various keyboard shortcuts on the hospital computer system, he made a throwaway comment about junior doctor life that stuck with me.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s really not that bad.

This is the same advice I give to medicine applicants when they ask about what medical school is really like. Or when I speak to GCSE students concerned about the ‘jump’ to A-level and how hard it’s going to be.

Don’t believe the hype. It’s really not that bad.

Everyone loves to low-key brag about how hard their lives are, how they’re constantly stressed and busy. This is doubly true in Medicine, where the application, the 6 years of university, and subsequent lifelong career as a doctor gets hailed as the hardest thing anyone can ever do. This leads to profound anxiety amongst applicants and students about whether they’d be ‘good enough’ to ‘cope with the pressures’ of a medical degree and career.

I don’t yet know how hard life as a junior doctor is going to be. But throughout my time in secondary school, I’d been fed the hype about how hard medical school would be, and it really wasn’t that bad. It was pretty chill and enjoyable really, for the most part.

Having now been a doctor for a year, I feel the same sentiment. It really isn’t that bad. It’s quite fun, for the most part. Sure, there are some days that are tougher than others, where the patients pile up and it feels like every time we do something, two more things spring up to take their place. But for the most part, it’s pretty chill and enjoyable, much like medical school was.

From Wednesday I’ll be moving to a new hospital, now as an FY2 (Senior House Officer) which means I’ll have increased responsibilities, and might even be the ‘senior’ to new FY1s. That’s a slightly scary thought, as I’ll be the first point of escalation when these new doctors need help. But I hope that with the experience I’ve gained these last 12 months, along with a healthy dose of humility and openness to asking for help, I’ll be able to rise to the challenge.