COVID-19 diaries with Beth Revert: 10 Top Tips for Remote Finals

This COVID-19 diaries entry is by Beth Revert, a final year dental student at Bristol.

Final year dental students across the world are merely a few months away from graduating. The last five years were likely full of exams, clinical time and hard work. Despite the challenges, we've made friends for life, been equipped with skills forever and learnt how to be young professionals. Our final few months have ended in a slightly unexpected turn of events. 

COVID-19 has truly shaken up the lives of all, including final year dental students. One thing many students are feeling right now is a great sense of disappointment, but also guilt. We feel guilty for being upset that our degrees finished prematurely, we weren't able to celebrate with friends and perhaps sadly, our graduations have been postponed. 

This is because, devastatingly there are much bigger things going on in the world right now. This is something we are reminded of constantly via the five o-clock government briefing. However, I wanted to highlight that is is ok to not be ok. To feel sad, disappointed and little deflated that the ending of our degrees occurred in such different circumstances. 

Many students will still be completing their finals exams and trying to focus on life after this pandemic. While we are shut away from our friends and colleagues, I think it's important to fill our time. However, I keep seeing ten steps on how to make isolation more productive. In reality, I think we need ten steps on how to make it bearable!

I just finished sitting my remote final exams. So I hoped I could pass on what I learnt from my isolation revision period:

1. Allow yourself time off. 

You aren't going to revise the same amount as you did pre-shutdown. Celebrate the small breakthroughs of merely getting through one hour of revision without checking your phone!

2. Try and maintain a normal sleep pattern. 

This is good advice at any point in time, but extra essential during revision periods.

3. Keep in contact with your course mates. 

No one else truly understands how bizarre this situation feels, so talking to each other makes you realise that everyone is also feeling a bit low. 

4. You DON'T have to learn a new hobby. 

If you want to just relax around revision whether that's Netflix or just sunbathing, DO IT!

5. You're allowed to feel unmotivated about your degree right now. 

All those things that made dentistry interesting and though-provoking seem to feel a little trivial now. We will get back there!

6. Celebrate after a remote exam. 

After finishing a long stint of revision and then an exam, you're full of adrenaline. Make sure you try and give yourself time to blow off stream, both the exam and also that you got through it during a pandemic!

7. Try not to read into DFT/future job rumours. 

This is easier said than done! We have been planning our post-degree lives for five years, so the fact we now have no control is mind-numbing. 

8. Self-care is important. 

Whether that's a new skin care routine, an at home eight-week fitness scheme or a large bar of chocolate. If there was a best tome to treat yourself, it's now!

9. This will get better. 

There will be theories about when isolation will finish. Try to ignore them, because it will come, whenever that may be. 

10. Relax. 

You've studied for five hard years, try and enjoy this down time (again, easier said than done)!

Before we know it, we will be able to celebrate with our friends and family. We will look back at this time and reflect. But until then, let's all look after ourselves and each other! We will have a drill in-hand eventually. 

Do you want to write a COVID-19 diary? Please get in touch! Whether you're a dental student, foundation dentist, dental core trainee, associate, dental nurse, therapist I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!

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