That Student Life......
So whilst I gather research for my next post I decided maybe I should share some stories with you guys from my training and career. This one is in response to a question I received about becoming a student midwife. This is just my experience, they'll be more to share but this is where it all started really
For me, I came to midwifery when I was 25 years old. I had been offered a place in uni the year before but deferred my place due to not wanting to commit to staying in my home town just because of a relationship. Good bloody call that was!
I wanted to do midwifery from 18 years old really, but I was a quite ridiculous at that age and therefore just randomly chose something I was mildly interested in and tried that. I left that course after 1.5 years of not turning up to lectures and only turning up to parties.
So after working a good few jobs that I hated, I felt like I was ready to go for Midwifery. I felt i'd grown up enough (though many people will laugh at that if they know me).
I wanted so desperately to go back to Manchester and study in that epic city. Even now, typing this in Dubai, in a beachfront cafe, it is still my favourite city ever! So I interviewed for the University of Salford. And this was the single best decision I made.
For all those wondering, midwifery interviews are really bloody hard. If you even get selected to interview. Midwifery really is super competitive. Some have maths tests, english tests, group discussions. Salford, for me, was a group discussion and an interview. The former being the more terrifying. I mean, those who know me will testify that I have no problem speaking my mind.... It's usually the shutting up part I have trouble with.
Anyway, I did something right. The endless hours of research on current midwifery topics, government drivers in maternity care, talking to my peers on internet forums paid off and I was offered a position on BSc Midwifery! Finally, I was about to start something that truly interested me and escape the town I so desperately wanted to leave to explore other things.
The first day of uni was, by all accounts, hilarious. Like, we were all super, super keen (me included would you believe). Having chatted to people online, who were attending it was funny putting a face to the screen names! There were definitely some online personalities going on that didn't match the real thing!
As the lecturers came in, we were all like those puppies you see in pet stores, standing on their back legs and wagging their tails excitedly. But all we really did was collect papers, IDs, books. We clung to the people we knew from interview or online, not really knowing if we would even get along. Now as you can imagine, 40 women in one cohort.... not everyone will get on.
It was only a day or two before I found my coven (they'll wholeheartedly agree this is what we are). I found them in the naughty smokers area. And that was it really..... we were kind of inseparable. We quickly settled in to a routine of sitting in the back row, mainlining costa coffee, reading 50 Shades of Grey in our Ethics lectures and testing and re-testing each other on everything for exams and placement.
I can't stress how important it is to have people like this in your cohort. People who "get it". The training is intense, it is three years of hard work academically, emotionally and mentally. Because the placements, the lack of financial security and the strain on your relationships is sometimes unbearable. We all struggled but we all laughed just as much!
Being a midwifery student was simultaneously the best and worst time for me. I hated the poverty, the commuting, the lack of a social life. I was impatient and just wanted to qualify. But I also loved the learning, the clinical work, meeting people. I loved the buzz of the labour ward, that moment when two people look at each other when their baby is born, like they can't quite believe they made that tiny human. And most of all, I loved my girls.
I can look back on it fondly now, hindsight and all of that. I made friends for life, and even now, we still laugh at funny vagina pictures (because they are always funny), we talk about uni days with a smile, mostly. Pretending to intubate each other, death staring teachers pets who asked a question as we were about to leave, sharing ridiculous placement stories......
To be honest, it is what you make it. Like anything I guess. But if it is something you are considering. Having a baby doesn't qualify you to do this. It has to be a part of who you are. It actually really is a vocation. To give and give and give and not expect anything in return. To stand up for your women and families, to advocate and empower. Or to tell them, sometimes, what they need to hear, even if they don't want to hear it. You have to have empathy, a strong will and an even stronger stomach. And before you even realise if you can actually hack it, you have to survive three years of being a poverty stricken student! It's not a job for the faint hearted!