Knocking Out A Twelve Foot Mountain Troll

A wise woman once wrote, “There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.”

I arrived in Glasgow at 8am on September 9th, 2007, with a backpack and a map showing me how to get to my new flat from Central Station. My parents and all my worldly possessions were in a van somewhere in England, as they had taken a wrong turn and spent a certain amount of time trying to get to Scotland by following signs to The South. I had only been here twice, and one of those times was for my medical school interview eight months before. I had spent the last six years trying to get into medical school, but, now that I was in, I had no idea what I’d really let myself in for. I knew no one.

This is a long journey. It is a hard journey. It is a journey that nobody makes alone.

I’m taking a lot of memories away from my time as a medical student and they will all be to do with the people I met along the way. The ones who I worked with and and cried with and laughed with and celebrated with. The ones who graduated last year. The ones I’ll graduate with. The ones who have taken time out and will graduate next year. The ones we lost.

The people I did the MILE with, when we locked ourselves in the library for 24 hours. The woman I first met when we were both sixteen and on a week-long course for prospective medical students in Nottingham, and then didn’t see again until we sat down next to each other in Freshers Week. The group who I suffered with through fourth year ophthalmology with The Consultant In A Kilt.  The two people who it is a miracle that I ever did meet, considering that I was sent to look for them by a priest who was able to describe them only as ‘but they’re medical students‘, as if medics identify each other by some sort of homing signal. The people who helped me move out of my flat when it fell down. The groups with whom I took my first fumbling steps into the world of PBL. The people whose cars I’ve spent hours getting lost in, because I always did seem to get sent to places in the middle of nowhere. The people I first learned how to ceilidh with. The people I lived through Stornoway with — if only because, if there hadn’t been witnesses, there would be parts of that month that I would think couldn’t possibly have happened in real life. The person who I met in Jim’s Bar on my first day at Glasgow and who went on to be my flatmate for four years, who is a part of so many of the memories I have. (I would get sentimental, but I wrote her part of the yearbook and I’ve been sentimental enough there to last us a good long while.)

And all of the many many others.

This is where we became the people we are. I may not have been close friends with everyone — there are too many of us for that. But we all knew each other. And we’ve all done this epic thing and we’ve done it together. Today, looking back at it, I can think of no group of people I’d rather have done it with. There are some things you can’t share without ending up liking each other, and knocking out a twelve-foot mountain troll is one of them.



  1. Beth – It may only be four or five yeas since we first met at St Mary’s, however I consider you a friend who where-ever our personal paths take us over the coming years I trust we will still be friends for many years to come.

    PS – Brush up you ceilidh skill for next September

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