The idea of studying medicine at university can seem like a very daunting prospect. There are many myths and false beliefs about the degree which allow these fears to prosper. Having completed my first year studying medicine at Monash University, I hope I can dispel some of your fears about potentially studying medicine at university.
Granted, Medicine, like all high-achieving courses, is competitive. Many of the students are extremely dedicated to their studies and strive to get the best out of themselves. However, one of the great aspects of medicine is that one of the most difficult things about the course is to actually gain entry into the degree. As such, there is almost a sense of comradery between the students, who are all willing to help each other and engage in group study. In fact, through much of my year, students were constantly sharing different study tools and notes which have helped them.
This is completely wrong. In fact, one of the beauties of studying medicine is that all students share exactly the same timetable and so it is very easy to meet lots of new people, unlike other degrees where it may be difficult to meet new people due to having completely different timetables to everyone else. Also, medicine has a much smaller cohort than most degrees (around 300 people), which means it is almost like attending school again. In addition, you are at uni for less time than you spent at school. I had roughly 20 hours of classes per week, which was very similar to students studying science and biomed. So don’t be put off by the fear that you won’t have any social time.
As with all situations, intellect will only get you so far. One of the greatest lessons I have learnt this year is that it is those students who are willing to work the hardest who will succeed the most. As the course has so much content, you cannot solely rely on your intelligence to get you through the year. Dedication is the key.
You are your own greatest obstacle at university. As said above, the most successful students in medicine at uni are those who work hard and are dedicated – not those who are the smartest. In addition, because the cohort is relatively small in size, the medical faculty is great at attending to the needs of the students. If you are struggling or fall ill, you can most definitely talk to the faculty and arrange some help. Finally, if you are on the borderline of passing, or have just failed, the faculty offers supplementary exams. These are essentially another chance to prove that you are capable and should proceed through to next year with the course.
Blog Written by Jack, a 100th percentile student in UMAT (Similar test to HPAT), currently studying Medicine at Monash University in Australia.