“What the hell is mesoderm anyway?”– Clueless Med Student
Written by Geraldine Yang, Edited by Katerina Theocharous
We all know that every med student can tell you, in great detail, about the first time they cried at uni. We also know that every med student can tell you, in much less detail (but with a lot more non-verbal communication, such as incoherent screaming), about their first embryology lecture. Coincidence? I think not – I mean, it definitely wasn’t for me, but that’s a story for after I overcome my phobia of the word g*str*l*t**n. The point is, while MedSoc is great at telling you whose lecture notes to use and subtle ways to drop that you do med into conversations, they never really provide that vital info on where you can go to get out those post-embryology feels. Which is where I come in. In the spirit of investigative journalism, I have bravely decided to cry in all of these places so that you don’t have to. Forget faculty tours: these are the REAL locations first years need to know about.
Each location has been assigned a rating out of 10, incorporating factors such as privacy, aesthetic, convenience and general vibes. So without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Wallace Wurth ground floor bathrooms
Starting off with the obvious first choice, this local crying spot of countless med students throughout the years has a lot going for it.
- Pros: The stalls provide you with an illusion of privacy. There’s also quite a number of stalls, so you’re not fighting with other students over a spot. It’s decently clean as well, for a bathroom: a quick 5 minute walk to Matthews Food Court will remind you that things could always be worse. Combine all this with the fact it’s located in Wallace Wurth itself, right down the hall from your embryology prac, and you’ve got yourself a winner. You can even pop out for a quick sob in the middle of class if you feel so inclined!
- Cons: Poor noise insulation meaning your stall neighbours can probably hear you sobbing (not that they’ll care, as they’re most likely also sobbing themselves). It’s also quite a boring choice: reliable, sure, but boring.
Alternatives: BABS first floor bathrooms if you want to spice things up a bit.
ASB UNSW Business School bathrooms if you’re feeling adventurous. Matthews Food Court Bathrooms if, like me right now, you want the bad place that you’re in to be physical rather than mental for once.
2. SG Room
Another obvious, albeit dubiously socially acceptable, option.
- Pros: Group therapy session!
- Cons: May get kicked out of class for being “disruptive” and “a nuisance”. May also be kinda awkward if it’s not your own SG but for the most part they’ll understand anyway.
Rating: Anywhere between a 1/10 to a 9/10 depending on how accommodating your classmates are
For those willing to explore the exotic locales of campus beyond the bleak confines of Wallace Wurth, untold treasures await. It’s debatable whether the library qualifies as one of those treasures, but hey, you take what you can get.
- Pros: With a whopping 8 floors, the library is filled with potential crying spots, although most med students tend to congregate on the 8th floor – making it an ideal choice if you’re sad AND lonely. Other locations of note include the now defunct napping pods, the study pods, and any of the comfy booths on level 2 that overlook the library lawn.
- Cons: Levels 6-8 are quiet floors, so you’ll have to keep the sobbing to a minimum. Levels 1-4 are free game though!
4. Library Lawn
You mean the library itself wasn’t exotic enough for you? Just a short stroll away, you’ll find that you’ve definitely come to the right place.
- Pros: You are immersed in nature (a patch of grass). Literally no one can accuse you of not trying hard enough with self-care. It’s also a good place to get some vitamin D if you haven’t seen the light of day in a while.
- Cons: While pleasant, crowds are definitely an important factor to consider here if you enjoy any semblance of privacy. The location also leaves you vulnerable to any societies running events in the walkway, which could be an unwanted interruption to your post-g*str*l*t**n breakdown.
5. Online at home
A classic, possibly too obvious to even state, but the list wouldn’t be complete without it.
- Pros: This is probably what most current med students are used to. It’s convenient – you might even be doing it right now!
- Cons: This is a safe choice, sure, but it’s also boring. It’s not groundbreaking – it’s just there. You want innovative? You want unique? You need to look at the next option on the list.
6. Law Library
Told you it’d be adventurous!
- Pros: A change of scenery with an A+++ aesthetic that also reminds you that other faculties exist. The dividers between the tables on the first floor provide both privacy AND protection against COVID. Plus, if you go during exam periods everyone else is crying too, so you’ll be in good company.
- Cons: You will be surrounded by law students, giving you another reason to cry. It’s also quite far from Wallace Wurth and involves taking a trek down to lower campus (scary!)
7. Counselling and Psychological Services in the Quad
While it’s normal (and healthy!) to have a good cry session every once in a while, it’s also important to know where to turn to if you feel like it’s becoming hard to manage your emotions on your own. Being a medical student can be a stressful experience, and this is a struggle that often goes unacknowledged. And while we worry about the mental wellbeing of our future patients, it’s also important to monitor our own mental health to avoid burnout. With around a quarter of medical students exhibiting some signs of depression, this is a prevalent issue impacting the very people we surround ourselves with.
So all jokes aside, this is definitely the best place to cry on campus. UNSW provides a free counselling service (for the first 3 sessions) for all Medicare or Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) card holders, with the ability to obtain a Mental Health Care Plan for further support from your GP if needed. Aside from this, you could also reach out to the Faculty Wellbeing Officer, Catherine Marley, at email@example.com.
Medsoc’s Wellbeing and Charities faculty has also provided multiple initiatives to help alleviate the stress of studying medicine: this includes self-care days, workshops and fun events, like the peer mentoring program! So although having to deal with the high workload of medicine, along with managing your other life commitments, can feel isolating, it doesn’t have to be. We at The Jugular send you all our hugs and support.