When structuring your preferences and trying to work out what to study at university, it can be difficult to know what to prioritise. It can also be difficult to, plainly, know what certain degrees involve and expect. But through the perspectives of current university students – those who have been in the very same position very recently – you can find extremely useful insights.
In this article, we chat with Michael and Sarah: two current Biomedicine students at the University of Melbourne. If you’re keen for more, check out this Facebook Live series from the Biomedicine Students’ Society!
Graduating high school, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the health sciences – and biomed was my one-way ticket to the big leagues. Putting down Melbourne as my first preference allowed me to chase that dream at the best uni in Australia, being taught by world-renowned leaders in their fields. In hindsight, I could not have had made a better decision if I tried!
The tiny cohort in the course (roughly 600 students) leads to one of the best aspects of this degree, the friendships. Having a lot of core subjects with the same people led to me making some amazing mates. The late-night sessions cooped up with these awesome people and 8 am coffees with them have honestly been the jewel in my biomed crown. These people will be your saving grace over the next three years, and just as well since the work starts stepping up way more intensely compared to VCE, with me drowning in a sea of orals, assignments, MSTs, and workshops during the semester. It keeps coming back to who is in your corner when the going gets tough, and it makes this course way more enjoyable.
Another one of my favourite bits of biomed is the lecturers, who are all active researchers in their fields, with many heading research groups both at the university and in the surrounding affiliated labs such as the WEHI and petermac. Being in Parkville, the largest biomedical precinct in the southern hemisphere allows for you to be at the centre of discoveries and makes you feel more connected to your studies and future career. Furthermore, in the latter years of your degree, many of the practicals take place at these off-campus institutes and it allows you a taste of what your future career could hold, which is always very enticing for me.
The last thing I want to highlight with the University of Melbourne is the focus on breadth. Taking subjects not directly related to biomed has opened up my eyes to the vast horizon of possibilities and the huge number of ways to integrate what I’m learning in my cores with niche areas. My ethics subject changed my perspective on how medical research is carried out and drugs developed, my semester studying food economics allowed me to see why direct food aid is not always the best idea and my deafness subject allowed me to appreciate the challenges that some individuals face in society and how they overcome them. While it may seem like a waste of time, these breadth subjects make you a more rounded and holistic person, and for me, they challenge and reinforce the career choices I have made.
No matter the direction you want to go in, if it’s health-related, then biomed is definitely the correct choice!
Throughout the later years of high school, my aspiration to pursue a career in the health sciences was cemented – considering the potential to help others in profound ways and the opportunity to appreciate the intricacies of the human body, there were never any doubts about it.
Naturally, the Bachelor of Biomedicine was an instinctive choice for me. Being a part of the largest Biomedical Precinct in the Southern Hemisphere provided a clear pathway into many health-related postgraduate courses, including medicine, dentistry, research, physiotherapy, optometry, and more, whilst also providing the opportunity to further investigate the biological wonders that underpin the structure and function of humans.
Since enrolling into Biomedicine at the University of Melbourne, there has been a myriad of positives.
First and foremost, the relatively small cohort size, as well as its active student representative body, the Biomedicine Student Society, enables a strong sense of camaraderie and solidarity amongst the cohort, making friendship easy for peers who are often entering university with little to no familiar faces. This unique aspect of the degree allows students to form useful support networks, whether it’s creating study groups to help prepare for upcoming assessments or having a social circle to catch up with. Additionally, being in a tight-knit community of like-minded and talented students is enormously motivating and provides the opportunity to engage in student-led health initiatives, such as the Teddy Bear Hospital fundraiser for the Good Friday Appeal.
Furthermore, the educational staff involved in teaching us budding health professionals are literally award winning, finding new and innovative ways to actively engage the cohort with the course material – this includes the use of VR technology to learn about the anatomy and physiology of the heart, the application of kinesthetics to understand amino acids, and the interweaving of modern technology with pedagogy in lectures to enhance engagement and personalised learning. Unlike any alternative choice, this degree is designed with a specialised focus on the health sciences, thereby providing a unique platform which explicitly integrates knowledge from a variety of biomedical disciplines, such as from physics to physiology or molecular and cellular biology to immunology.
Studying at the University of Melbourne also offers the unique experience of studying breadth subjects (i.e. subjects outside the discipline of biomedicine). For biomedicine students, this means that you can continue your passions from high school, ranging from politics to music, whilst studying the likes of anatomy and physiology. In addition, students can also dabble in new areas of interest, including the linguistic culture established by the Deaf community, food safety and security, and even beer ‘sensory analysis’! Overall, not only does this sense of diversity enable you to be a more well-rounded graduate, but it also allows you to consider career pathways you may have never considered before, such as pursuing the Juris Doctor.
In retrospect, the diverse career opportunities, innovative learning methods, and personal growth and development that comes from the Bachelor of Biomedicine is extremely enriching and a valuable experience for all students who want to learn more about the awes of the human body.