This week, we interviewed second year student, Sonia. The second years just started their Normal Childbearing placement, the first placement in the MEP.
MSMC: What are you most excited about in your upcoming Normal Childbearing placement?
Sonia: I'm excited to see the intricacies of how the maternity health care team works together in the hospital, as well as how midwives provide support for birth in the home environment. I've never seen a home birth! I'm also just really excited to finally get in there and learn the clinical skills.
MSMC: What do you think is the most interesting thing you’ve learned this year?
Sonia: Aside from the clinical skills, the details of how parturition is initiated is really fascinating (and complicated). I was also privileged to witness a vaginal twin birth this year, so the processes and teamwork required to do that successfully was beyond interesting to be a part of.
MSMC: What advice do you have for students balancing their home lives and the demands of the MEP?
Sonia: Three pieces of advice:
1) It's a marathon, not a sprint. Have confidence that you will learn what you need to know by the end of the 4 years, and don't pressure yourself to know everything in one sitting. Have I yet memorized every single drug side effect? No. Did I do as many of the readings as I should have? Heck no. I did, however, do what I could with the energy that I had, and then I took breaks (usually sponsored by Netflix). So, if you need to walk away and nap for 3 hours, do it. If you need to study all day long without breaks, and then go to bed early, or have a solo dance party - giver. Make time early on to reflect on what you need to do to balance learning and self-care, WITHOUT comparing it to what others are doing - then action it.
2) Make a schedule. I found scheduling weekly group study sessions with classmates that had a similar learning style as me very helpful. Together, we made a schedule through the end of term that kept us accountable to each other, and provided support when we just didn't want to study anymore. The schedule ensured we studied everything at least once, and because of that we felt less guilty about spending time doing things outside of school when we were apart.
3) Enjoy the journey. You'll learn the academic stuff, so don't miss the chances to make the 4 years fun. Stop studying for two hours and go make a memory, because when you look back on it, will you remember the hours you spent at your desk studying alone and worrying, or, those off-study adventures with friends, when you laughed so hard you peed a little?
MSMC: What is the best thing about studying at McMaster?
Sonia: For me it has been getting to know the cohorts. I can't imagine getting through the demands of the MEP without the supportive network of other midwifery students. I'm grateful every day for the Mac midwives-in-training that I have come to know, and love hearing updates and stories from everyone's experiences. It's definitely the best part of being in this program.