Where to start?
Well the reason I started this blog was to let my thoughts run freely and to hopefully enlighten fellow ‘one-day’ doctors younger than me while studying the Bachelor of Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne. I hope to share fun facts like ‘did you know…?’ and how I am going with the requirements into getting into the Doctor of Medicine (MD) at Melbourne University.
Bear with me as this will be one of my longer posts, as it is the first. I suppose I will share with you a bit about myself at the expense of disclosing my personal information to the untrustworthy internet. Who knows who will steal my identity? Well my journey began when I was exposed to the hospital environment at a young age. My grandmother was hospitalised at the time due to cancer and I felt helpless as a child because there wasn’t really anything I could do other than stand there next to my mother looking into the face of death with naivety. Unfortunately, she passed away. Her passing made me realise the fragility of human life and I asked myself how come I did nothing? Fast forward until year 9 and I fractured my foot getting a football on the other side of the fence for $2. The funny thing about breaking a bone is that you don’t feel any pain unless you actually apply pressure on it. I went to the hospital and this time I found the environment so appealing. The physiotherapist was a nice young lady and the doctor that helped me into a cast was a young gentleman that I could see myself as being in the future. Fast forward until year 11, I found that I really loved biology as a subject in high school. The content was fascinating, which satisfied my hunger for knowledge, and I really loved the pracs especially when we were allowed to use microscopes. By the time year 12 came around, I had to decide what I wanted to study at uni. Because I loved bio, I just knew i wanted to study biomedicine and hopefully get into post-graduate medicine at Melbourne uni. My mum enrolled me into the UMAT and a preparation course for it called MedEntry, which was for undergraduate medicine such as Monash and a few interstate universities but at that time my mind was still set at Melbourne’s biomed. Because my mum enrolled me for MedEntry during the easter break, I only had one term to go through all the content in order to be as prepared as possible. Note to self, cramming 12 3-hour practise exams into two weeks of holidays before the date of the UMAT was not a good idea. The exam was intense to say the least. What’s worse, they tell you to arrive at 8am and they don’t start the actual exam until 10am, 2 hours late. I didn’t expect to do exceptionally great. I was expecting a 70th percentile and hoping for an 80th percentile. A few months later, when I got my mark back, I saw a 58 overall score and a 80th percentile. I was happy. My mum was also happy, there was a little bit inside of her that wanted more. Oh well, asian parents. What can I say? With that UMAT score, I thought there was no way I could get into Monash med so I decided to apply to all the interstate universities. The interview offers i received were from James Cook University, which didn’t look at UMAT scores, and Bond University later on, which you had to pay $50k+ a year. JCU’s interview was before they released ATAR scores whereas Bond’s interview was after. JCU had a 3 person panel interview, which I thought I did fairly decent in, but they probably didn’t offer me a place because of my ATAR. My 2013 ATAR was 99.00, which when I got the text message, I was no joke screaming in joy for at least 20 seconds, as I was expecting a 97 and hoping for a 98. For Bond’s interview, it was a MMI interview, consisting of several stations with different themes. I think I went wrong in two areas. Firstly, I wore a full suit in Queensland’s tropical weather because mum thought I’d look better. Now I know not to take fashion advice from mum anymore. Secondly, when asked which leader I looked up to, my mind blanked and the only people I could think about were Julia Gillard and Mao Zedong because my mother had been drilling how great he was into my head that week. As a result, I said I looked up to Mao. Fatal Mistake. To this day, my friends who I have told mock me about it because he massacred so many people under his reign. Funny thing about Monash med is that two of my mates in my year 12 class got similar ATARs to me of 99.05 and 98.95 and the respective UMAT scores 80 (same as me!) and 94 (I think) and they both got into a CSP-bonded place at Monash. Oh if only I applied.
Then I got an offer from VTAC into biomed at Melbourne. That was a happy day. Biomed camp was actually fun. I didn’t expect it would be great because I couldn’t imagine 150 or so smart people getting wasted. First semester was pretty hectic. Semesters go for 12 weeks with 1 week of break and we had to adjust to lectures, tutorials and practicals. One thing I love about uni is the timetable flexibility. You don’t even have to attend any lectures and just watch online recordings of them. By the end of first semester I got H1s for bio, maths and chem, and H2A for psych (breadth), which is not bad at all! I was a little disappointed in psych but H2A is still a really good grade. Biomed ball was also a good night despite the torrential rain at the end of the night when I had to tram it back. During second semester psych, I was so shattered. For our two essays that were worth 40% of the overall psych mark, I wrote two H3 essays and I almost lost hope because the exam was worth. Instead, I studied my my ass off for psych. At the end of second semester, I got H1s for bio (again), stats, physics (the exam was so hard) and also for psych (despite my essays!). Funny thing is that for both semesters, I averaged 86.
Sorry for spamming you with all these numbers but to get into med, they look at your grade point average (GPA) off a 7 point scale, your GAMSAT score (an external 6 hour exam) and an interview. The former two decide whether you get an interview offer. I’m quite happy with my first year grades so far of 6.9375, but first year is only worth 1/6 of the overall GPA, as opposed to 1/3 for second year and 1/2 for third year. As for GAMSAT on March 22nd this year, I’ve been studying most of the summer break. Hopefully it will all be worthwhile.
One last thing I want to rant about. Melbourne uni’s timetabling. The servers are laggy and frustrating when thy first open because of timetable perfectionists like me. I had a near-perfect timetable, but because i wanted to make it perfect, I left a class and tried to join another class but it was full. Not only did I not get the class I wanted, but I lost my place for the class I was previously in because it became fill up aswell! Timetable perfectionists, I swear. The internet is a viscous place.
Anyways, once again, sorry for the long post, but I feel it was needed for you guys to get to know me.