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April 21, 2021, 02:49:14 am

Author Topic: a little bit of hope  (Read 378 times)  Share 

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anna.arkadyevna

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a little bit of hope
« on: March 27, 2021, 12:12:58 pm »
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i told myself i would write a post like this if and when i got into medicine, because as a struggling high school student, i would have done anything to read a post like this. so here it is, the story of how i managed to get an unbonded (+non-erc) spot in monash medicine, in a bit of an unconventional way.

also sorry but this will probably be long; brevity was never my strength. do note that this is a throwaway account, and that i won't be answering any questions that could reveal my identity,,because im shy hahah

i'll start from the beginning; as a kid, i loved (and excelled at) school. in primary school, i remember being that kid who used to go into older years' classrooms to pick a takehome reader book, and be that pretentious show-off who could answer times tables faster than the teacher. somewhere along the way though, when school got harder and people got smarter, i lost that spark. i knew, from back in year 7 that i wanted to get into medicine. i remember going to open days in year 8 and making a beeline from the med faculty, pretending to be a year 10 student so people would take me seriously, and asking questions about admission requirements, recommended vce subjects, how to ace the ucat (umat at the time). somewhere in year 9 i got completely burnt out. i had worked myself to exhaustion in years 7 and 8, and was sleeping something like 5 hours a night. i even got hospitalised because my immune system was ridiculously compromised, and my biggest worry at the time was "i've missed a term of school, how will i pass my exams?". in short, not a headspace you want to be in as a 14 year old. instead of that being a wakeup call for myself, my parents or my school, i just spiralled from there. schoolwork got harder in year 10, and my peers started stepping up their game too. where once i had sailed through school without much of an effort, i now hit a learning curve in most of my subjects; putting in hours of work felt futile because i wasn't getting the marks i used to. i was also struggling with friendships, sexuality and mental health, and by year 11, i had a worryingly low attendance rate and had dropped out of one of my two 3/4 accelerated subjects. year 12 sucked the soul out of me, and i remember being absolutely apathetic about my final exams, knowing i had no chance in hell of getting into medicine with my abysmal ucat score and just a mediocre grasp on half my vce subjects. i ended up graduating that year with an atar in the high 90s - i was surprised that it was almost close enough to have been competitive, and even more surprised that i had managed a score like that while being plagued with depression and PTSD.

the summer holidays saw me change my preferences almost daily, mindlessly cycling through science, arts, commerce, law, PPE, biomedicine. it felt like a sick game, a punishment. my scores were close, but not close enough; i was told that i was good, but clearly not good enough. my dream was just that - a dream. i couldn't envision myself doing three or four years of a course about which i was indifferent. as someone who is intrinsically purpose-driven, i had to be working towards something that had an end product that meant something to me, i needed that clarity. i talked to careers counsellors, older cousins, friends of friends in various fields. in the end, i came to the conslusion that medicine was still what i wanted to do, and so if there was no other choice, i'd try for the graduate pathway. however there was still one glimmer of hope for my undergrad med dream - i had heard of someone who had a good atar, who had taken a gap year and redone the umat, and gotten into medicine that way. i was opposed to this idea at first, thinking firstly that i didn't want to base my entire year off on this one 2 hour test (ucat), and that even if i did get in, i would still feel like a bit of a fraud, given i didn't get in on my first shot. eventually, i reasoned that i'd give myself a chance - one year wouldn't be a lot, in the scheme of things, and i felt that i had it in me to do well in the ucat - an exam for which i had barely studied in the previous year. putting some more thought into it, i wondered whether i could redo any of my vce subjects, to bump up my atar just a little, and make me a more competitive applicant. i found an institution through which this was an option, and decided to sign up to do two new subjects, during this "gap year" of sorts.

at this point, i was terrified. i didn't know of anyone who had taken a pathway like this, couldn't decide whether or not i was "cheating the system", didn't know whether this was a morally just option. in the end, i realised that this pathway was available to anyone who was game enough to take it, and told myself to stop beating myself up for allowing myself another chance. depression makes you self-sabotage and question yourself a lot. ha ha ha. so the year went on, and i studied hard for the ucat, putting in hours and hours a day for many months. my hard work paid off, rewarding me with a score around the ~98th percentile. i was thrilled. i remember this being the turning point for me, the moment i believed that hey perhaps my dream wasn't out of reach after all, that maybe hard work truly could pay off. so i worked hard again for exams, and managed to bump up my atar a little - not a lot, but enough to make it properly competitive. i still struggled majorly with my mental health in this year, i was severely depressed, almost suicidal. i was wondering whether or not to put in a SEAS application - would they think i was weak? would the endemic mental health crisis in physicians make them less likely to admit me into medicine? was medicine no longer the right course for me given i had such severe mental illness myself? i ended up trusting my gut and putting in a SEAS application, and applying to schools all over the country, hoping to god that it wouldn't ruin my chances. but soon, i was scoring interviews left right and centre, and it truly felt like a dream come true. to have even made it to this point, where i was getting interview offers seemed surreal - if you had told me i'd be here a year ago, i wouldn't have believed you. so then, i worked hard to prepare for interviews, and got a few offers. what a relief. an unbonded spot in monash medicine? i n c r e d i b l e. just insane. i did that. me!

there is a lot of skepticism out there for taking a gap year to redo the ucat, or to redo/do more year 12 subjects. i scoured the internet for opinions, testimonials, and didn't find many that endorsed this pathway. my advice to anyone in a similar situation i was in, is to trust your gut, and to trust yourself. you, and only you, know what you're capable of, you know the situation you're in better than any stranger on the internet, and only you can muster up the self-belief, the discipline and the bloody hard work to get yourself where you want to be. vce was never my thing, i hated my school and didn't love my subjects. i didn't get any scores above 45; hell, even one of my scores didn't get scaled above 40, but i'm still here. i'm just hoping this story can maybe inspire someone to keep going and hold onto dreams. and please, if you're struggling with your mental health, reach out for help. finding one person who cares about you, be it counsellor, friend, psych or mentor, makes a world of difference.

i think this is a post as much for me as it is for you guys, to reflect back on my journey, and have some semblance of pride to see how far i've come. i'm still trying to believe that i deserve this spot as much as anyone else, that i truly deserve to be here. imposter syndrom is a b*tch. it was tough, extremely tough at times, but it taught me to back myself, trust the process, and hold onto hope.

i'm happy to respond to comments or pms, although i'm not sure how frequently i'll be checking my inbox. all the best x

juicebox_441

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Re: a little bit of hope
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2021, 02:00:43 pm »
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there is a lot of skepticism out there for taking a gap year to redo the ucat, or to redo/do more year 12 subjects. i scoured the internet for opinions, testimonials, and didn't find many that endorsed this pathway. my advice to anyone in a similar situation i was in, is to trust your gut, and to trust yourself. you, and only you, know what you're capable of, you know the situation you're in better than any stranger on the internet, and only you can muster up the self-belief, the discipline and the bloody hard work to get yourself where you want to be. vce was never my thing, i hated my school and didn't love my subjects. i didn't get any scores above 45; hell, even one of my scores didn't get scaled above 40, but i'm still here. i'm just hoping this story can maybe inspire someone to keep going and hold onto dreams. and please, if you're struggling with your mental health, reach out for help. finding one person who cares about you, be it counsellor, friend, psych or mentor, makes a world of difference.

i think this is a post as much for me as it is for you guys, to reflect back on my journey, and have some semblance of pride to see how far i've come. i'm still trying to believe that i deserve this spot as much as anyone else, that i truly deserve to be here. imposter syndrom is a b*tch. it was tough, extremely tough at times, but it taught me to back myself, trust the process, and hold onto hope.

As a high school student myself who was dreaming to read a post like yours, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your journey! You have no idea how much I just got inspired reading your post. I was just cramming for my Maths Methods exam which is in two days, and then I stopped because there is no way I am going to pass with a high mark. But right now, I will do no matter what it takes to pursue  my dream of "Mighty Medicine of Monash" (Yes, I came up with the nickname  :P), even if that means learning the whole Unit 3 content overnight.

-Quick question tho, have you done any VET courses or anything? If so, did they help you gain the entry into Monash? Or was was your entry based on just your high ATAR in addition to your UCAT score?
-How did you fully prepare for UCAT? I will need help as to how I should master it like you, I mean, pfffftt, 98th percentile? Are you kidding me? This is amazing!!
-I am really curious as to what were the steps you took to 'bump up' your ATAR? In the likely case where I also graduate with an ATAR that I am unhappy with, I could do what you did. It's always good to have a plan B, right?

Thank you so much for the inspiration!

anna.arkadyevna

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Re: a little bit of hope
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2021, 03:11:26 pm »
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-Quick question tho, have you done any VET courses or anything? If so, did they help you gain the entry into Monash? Or was was your entry based on just your high ATAR in addition to your UCAT score?
-How did you fully prepare for UCAT? I will need help as to how I should master it like you, I mean, pfffftt, 98th percentile? Are you kidding me? This is amazing!!
-I am really curious as to what were the steps you took to 'bump up' your ATAR? In the likely case where I also graduate with an ATAR that I am unhappy with, I could do what you did. It's always good to have a plan B, right?


I'm so so glad you're inspired. Don't give up on your dream no matter how unrealistic you feel it is!!
In answer to your questions: No I didn't do any VET courses myself, but I know of someone who did VET allied health I think, and she got like a 99.85...so it's worth looking into!
UCAT took a lot of prep, I basically finished the entire medify question bank, and did some medentry here and there for VR, SJT and DM. It's just hours of prep really, there's no secret to it. Practise Practise Practise. And keep your motivation up.
As for bumping up your ATAR, I'm not sure that you should reallyyy think about that during year 12, but should all else fail, the option is there. I'd talk to an out of school careers counsellor about it.