What it’s like studying Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne?By ATAR Notes in VCE
3rd of December 2018
Before you start at uni, it’s difficult to know what to expect. Luckily, for very popular courses like Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, you have at your disposal other students’ perspectives to help inform your decisions.
In this article, two students – Alex and Rebecca – let us in on their first-year university experiences.
“[T]heir answer will almost always refer to the camaraderie…”
Leaving high school, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do as a ‘job’, so I was always a bit uncertain about which university degree would be best for me. Knowing I wanted to explore a career in the health sciences was a solid foundation, so I combined this with my interest in neuroscience to put the Bachelor of Biomedicine as my first preference – retrospectively, one of the best decisions I’ve made, offering a future of academic rigour, research exposure, and valuable chances to grow.
Jumping outside of the VCE bubble was a bit of a shock in some ways, as high school classes turned into university subjects, and I was given newfound freedom to choose what I wanted to study and which disciplines I wanted to invest my energy further. To me, this meant the ability to hold onto my love for learning humanities while I took on the beasts of biochemistry and physiology. To others: nurturing a life-long interest or pursuing a new intellectual field. The first year of Biomedicine, for me, was largely an opportunity to discover more about what my interests were and how I’d want to follow them further.
If you ask any student who is in Biomedicine what makes their degree special, their answer will almost always refer to the camaraderie they build with their peers, and this definitely held true for me. Whether it’s grabbing a snag from the Biomedicine Students’ Society with your mates after a biology lecture, or even forming study groups to tackle mid-sems as a team, friendship and closeness with peers is central to the collective Biomedicine experience.
One of the greatest things about this tight-knit cohort experience is the vastly diverse types of people I got to meet: aspiring biomedical engineers, budding young doctors-to-be, dentistry hopefuls; the list goes on and on. When surrounded by such talented peers while learning about the latest advances of biomedical science, it quickly becomes apparent that the Biomedicine degree, while challenging at times, can be both worthwhile and immensely enriching.
“[O]pportunities to learn from the best and brightest in this country…”
The choice to study Biomedicine was a fairly simple one. Though I was sure I wanted to be a doctor, there remained the overwhelming need to explore the world of science a bit more. Biomedicine provided the perfect solution: a clear pathway to medicine and the opportunity to delve deep into the mysteries of science.
Transitioning to university, however, was less simple. As the first in my family to study at university and one of only a handful from my school to end up at the University of Melbourne, taking the step up was, at first, an intimidating one. The size of the campus was no less intimidating than the world of opportunities that came with it: opportunities to meet people from all corners of the earth, opportunities to learn from the best and brightest in this country and opportunities to experience a new city.
What was initially a little scary soon became exciting, as the academic year started. My classes introduced a new world of knowledge that I had barely contemplated in VCE, whilst a multitude of extra-curriculars beckoned. The opportunity to study breadth (a subject outside of your own area of interest) led me to take classes in Spanish, where not only did I fall deeply in love with the language, but made many lifelong friends studying everything from cinema to veterinary science.
As I progressed through the remaining semesters, medicine remained the goal. The daunting task of taking the GAMSAT revealed how useful Biomedicine had been. Beyond what was on paper, I was surrounded by students who wanted to study medicine, which is enormously motivating and only occasionally stressing. Moreover, Biomedicine had brought with it a group of friends that were broadly interested in the world. The debates I had with them over the years, formed a solid foundation for medical interviews and will continue to shape the way that I think about the world. Gladly, all of this bore fruit, and I now study medicine at the University of Melbourne, with Biomedicine continuing to shape the way I think about medical problems.