Daniel Ribeiro graduated in 2016. He now studies a Bachelor of Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne.


Getting into uni. The reason why we bury ourselves in textbooks and schoolwork throughout Year 12. But what exactly is it like once the seemingly endless battle with SACs, exams and everything else VCE has to throw at you is, finally, over? Here are a few of my experiences in Biomedicine thus far.

Waking up to that offer from Melbourne University during the long-awaited summer holidays elicited a feeling of euphoria unlike any other. The grinding, stress, and sacrifice had all (officially) paid off, and university life was awaiting me. My ATAR was now meaningless – all that mattered was that it was high enough to get into my first preference. Year 12 life was a thing of the past.

So, what’s Biomedicine really like?


Registering for Classes

Honestly, I’ve found this to be the most confusing part of university life so far. Nonetheless, like most students I was awake early and ready to go the moment registrations opened to secure the best spot in the classes I wanted. The only problem here was that I sort of (accidentally) planned out my whole three-year degree before realising that I only needed to register for Year 1, Semester 1 classes. Anyway, once you figure out the system it’s all pretty straightforward from there – maybe the reason I found it so confusing at first was because I was still adjusting to the independence of uni life?


Do I need to buy the textbook(s)?

Yes. And no. In my opinion, at least, it really depends on what subject you’re doing and how difficult you find the subject. Sometimes, the resources provided by the lecturers will suffice. Other times, in particular for the science subjects, the textbook is made compulsory and is actually extremely helpful.


Biomedicine Lectures and Tutorials

This is a confusing point for a lot of students who haven’t yet started uni.

In Biomedicine, your lectures are where most of the content for your subjects is delivered. And let me warn you: lecturers fly through content, sometimes even going through a whole chapter or two in a one hour lecture.

Accordingly, I made it an absolute priority in my first semester to keep up to date with lectures, no matter what. It’s extremely easy to fall behind, especially given the fact that lectures aren’t even compulsory. And, unlike high school, there’s nobody telling you that you should be going to class.

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of skipping the trip to uni and staying home to watch my lectures online – but I don’t personally see this as a bad thing. At times, I even preferred to watch the lecture online – sometimes on double speed. That way, I could save time on travelling, and spend more time revising and studying the lecture material. This does have its negatives though; it’s much harder to motivate yourself to sit down for the full length of the lecture at home. And much harder to remain focussed for the lecture. And you might also miss out on demonstrations that the lecturer performs.

There are also tutorials.

For some subjects, these are compulsory, and you actually receive marks just for attending. For other subjects, they are optional (just like lectures). I’ve found tutorials in Biomedicine to be really helpful. They are an opportunity to discuss what you know with fellow students and the tutor, to ask questions, and to consolidate your knowledge. I found that I learned so much just from speaking and working with other students.


Social Life

Your social life may blossom once uni starts. And seriously, this is a great thing. (But don’t worry if it doesn’t straight away – sometimes it can take a bit of time!)

Meeting new people and trying new things – this is all a part of uni life, and I made huge efforts to not shy away from these things. I didn’t want to focus only on studying all day every day, as I did in Year 12. However, that’s not to say I didn’t put my studies first. Like I said earlier, I made it an absolute priority to keep up to date with lecture content, and I also made sure I’d get started on my assignments early rather than leaving them until the last minute.