Why I went to a festival before my medical school exams

Who knew medics could be so spontaneous?

A student frantically scribbling down notes for hours on end surrounded by piles of anatomy textbooks – that’s probably the image you get when you think of medical students. But we’re also known to break free from the stereotype every now and again. I am a medical student who went to Download Festival the week before my end of year exams, and I have no regrets.


Our workload can seem never-ending, and the stakes are even higher as first year actually counts. Going to Download Festival meant losing three nights and four days of precious revision time, and when the deadline of your impending doom grows closer, it seems like every second matters. So when a friend called me up and offered me a festival ticket, why did I say yes, knowing it was so close to exams? No, it wasn’t a sign of defeat.  No, I don’t have an unhealthy obsession with Iron Maiden (okay, that one might partially be true). It was just time for a break.

notes pic

Work work work work work work

The ever-popular cramming culture at uni can make it harder to remember to take a break. I soon realised falling asleep on my notes in silent study at 4am is not a scientifically proven study method. I was close to a burn out. I needed to relax but this year I knew binge watching Orange is the New Black just wasn’t going to cut it.

I needed a proper break. A few days where I didn’t have to think about any of the pressures or responsibilities of my degree. A few days where all that mattered was the music, and where making it to the front row was my only worry.


Risky. Spontaneous. Unconventional. My decision was all of the above, but I knew it was the right choice for me. Now with results in my hand, knowing I’ve passed first year, I can say without a doubt I made the right decision. When I got back from Download I felt refreshed, happier, and was able to work more efficiently.

I’m not telling you all to pack your rucksack and start Googling festivals for 2017. I’m saying just because other people don’t seem to need a break, doesn’t mean you’re automatically barred from taking time out for yourself.  The nature of the break is different for each individual and their situation. Whether it’s watching Netflix, or visiting friends, or even a three day festival – that’s your call.

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