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Author Topic: Alter's medicine journal  (Read 4660 times)

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Alter

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Alter's medicine journal
« on: November 28, 2018, 11:47:13 pm »
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Excuse the distinctly uncreative title! 

Who are you and what is this thread about?

I'm Alter, and this is my thread that I've created for the course I'll be starting next January, the Doctor of Medicine, at unimelb. I have just finished my Bachelor of Biomedicine and I'm lucky enough to get to stay here for my postgrad studies. My intention in creating this thread/journal is to not only document my experiences for personal reflection, but also to share some wisdom and insights for a degree that is frequently asked about when it comes to questions on these forums.

I regret not having a journal like this for my undergraduate degree, largely because I feel like I was prone to repeating the same mistakes by virtue of not properly reflecting on semesters as they went by. I also think it'll be useful to have an outlet where I can be honest with myself, and look back on for future reference to see if I've met my goals. If nothing more, this thread will serve as a great reminder for what my initial plans and expectations were before starting my degree.

So... a bit about me: I'm a 21-year-old guy from country Victoria. I did my VCE way back in 2015, studying a bizarre array of random subjects (from German to Legal Studies to Chem and Psych... there was no common thread), without any real clue of what I wanted to do "when I grew up". I enjoy writing, music (listening and playing), and rotating my Vance Joy avatar on this forum. Talking hobbies, hit me up with good music/video games suggestions and I'll likely make an effort to get to them. Back to academics - I probably went into biomed without a clear picture of what I was getting myself into, likely citing my reason as wanting to go into 'something related to neuroscience/the health sciences' - which, while true, probably wasn't the most thought-out decision. I did, however, end up majoring in neuro in my degree and thoroughly enjoyed it. At the end of the day, things seemed to work out, so no harm no foul.

 Putting into words exactly why I've chosen to pursue medicine is a lot easier said than done; I end up backspacing any sentence I type out right here, telling myself every combination of letters I put down is far too clichéd. This might come as a surprise, given how much I had to prepare for that exact question, but it's astonishingly difficult to articulate while also doing both myself and the profession justice. And hey, maybe I'll figure out the perfect answer for this over the next four years. If not? I won't be too fussed, because I believe I'm making the right decision for me. 

Looking back

Applying for med school was an extremely hectic process, starting all the way back at the start of the year when I was preparing for the GAMSAT and thinking about which unis I wanted to apply to. The whole process of applications can be a breeding ground for a great deal of anxiety and paranoia... and that's coming from a person who is typically quite good at dealing with uni-related stress. I consider myself really lucky to have gotten in on my first try, because it can undoubtedly be a draining process no matter how confident you are. In that way, I do not envy anybody following the same path, and can't highlight enough the importance of acknowledging that medicine is not the be-all and end-all. This is rich advice for someone already at the top of the metaphorical hill, but perspective is crucial here. I read something on another forum about there simply not being enough places in medical school for all the smart, talented, and deserving applicants, and this is definitely rings true.

Looking back really quickly, I'm pretty proud of the decisions I made with my subjects in undergrad - I took a lot of language classes (German, Spanish), a really intellectually stimulating major, and even pursued a couple of undergrad research opportunities. I think this catered to my interests the best and I got heaps of rewarding experience. I'm also happy with the activities I did outside of classes at university, such as being involved a tonne in the BSS (our cohort's students' society) and getting further involved in the family business.

Going forward

I think that going forward, I really want to maintain a life outside of med school, because I can see how all-consuming it can be for people that don't learn this vital separation. Maintaining my hobbies (like playing guitar!) and friendship groups outside of the medical school will be a huge goal going forward, so maybe I'll keep myself to account in this thread. I think I'd also like to continue on with life in students' societies, because I see great value in 'paying it forward' to future students and getting more involved beyond superficial university happenings. Another big goal for me will be putting more effort into my studies and learning to discipline myself a lot more. Truthfully, my grades were quite mediocre during undergrad, and a large part of me getting a place, in earnest, was because of my rural background and stronger GAMSAT/interview skills. I should concede that a part of this desire to improve my grades is probably more subtly about me wanting to prove to myself that I do belong in the degree and am genuinely capable, because I foresee running into some predictable imposter's syndrome issues (which I'm sure every medical student faces at one point!).

What lies ahead for me over the next two months will mostly be admin stuff: doing my first aid course, getting vaccinations, police checks, etc. After that will come a very hectic year. I'm 10% anxious and 90% excited for what has been described me to as the hardest year of the degree: MD1. For those unfamiliar, the MD at unimelb is a bit atypical in that it only has one pre-clinical year, and then three clinical years after (4 overall). The obvious implication of this is that there will be a lot of stuff going on to make next year academically challenging. At the moment I'm in a particular mindset where I know MD1 will be challenging for me, because my strengths and interests in medicine typically lie more towards the side of the humanities than they do to the concrete scientific learning (seriously, fuck the Krebs cycle). I think this means that I'll also have a lot to look forward to in the clinical stages of the degree, which I think I will enjoy more than any other educational experience so far. On that note, I'm also fortunate enough to have received my clinical zone in the Inner/East area, so I've started having a look at some of the hospitals that I might be interested in preferencing when that time comes next year.

I'll update this thread as I get closer and closer to starting, but any questions/comments/fanfare are welcome in the meanwhile.
2016–2018: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Neuroscience), The University of Melbourne
2019–2022: Doctor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne

Shenz0r

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2018, 12:38:07 am »
+3
First of all, congratulations on getting in. The time before MD1 is pretty exciting and you'll definitely meet many new, wonderful peers in your cohort.

Fortunately, the faculty has made some changes particularly to MD1. I've heard that it is now just a pass/fail year that does not count towards your Z-score, and they're toning down on the "biomedical" parts of the year and putting more focus on principles of clinical practice. Apparently there will be less lectures as well.

Most people will enjoy the clinical years far more as this is when you begin to focus on more relevant content (even though, unfortunately, I consider them harder years for different reasons).

PM me if you want any deets on clinical schools later on.
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vox nihili

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2018, 11:44:27 am »
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Fk yeah so keen for this!

Impostor syndrome is definitely a big thing in MD1, although to be perfectly honest it really doesn't matter where you sit in the cohort. Everyone from the very best to the very worst student feels like they don't belong there at times or that they can't measure up to the other students. Weird feeling, but eventually your standards drop and you get used to it :p


@Shenz0r are those changes coming into effect next year, or are they in the pipeline for later on? I thought they were still a couple of years down the track, although MD1 is definitely getting easier each year (they're slowly chipping away at the number of lectures, which I think finally got down to the 300 mark this year).


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Shenz0r

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2018, 12:10:11 pm »
+2
According to PD it seems that the pass/fail and Z score changes will apply  for the 2019 entry year, but the changes to FBS/PCP will be for 2020.
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2016-2019: Doctor of Medicine (MD4) at The University of Melbourne

Alter

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2018, 02:24:23 pm »
+2
First of all, congratulations on getting in. The time before MD1 is pretty exciting and you'll definitely meet many new, wonderful peers in your cohort.

Fortunately, the faculty has made some changes particularly to MD1. I've heard that it is now just a pass/fail year that does not count towards your Z-score, and they're toning down on the "biomedical" parts of the year and putting more focus on principles of clinical practice. Apparently there will be less lectures as well.

Most people will enjoy the clinical years far more as this is when you begin to focus on more relevant content (even though, unfortunately, I consider them harder years for different reasons).

PM me if you want any deets on clinical schools later on.
I remember reading something similar to that on PD but like vox I had no idea that they'd be affecting me. Interesting to see just how lecture-dense the year pans out to be.

Sweet, sounds good. I'm assuming you are inner/east as well. If so, do you mind my asking what school you're at?
Fk yeah so keen for this!

Impostor syndrome is definitely a big thing in MD1, although to be perfectly honest it really doesn't matter where you sit in the cohort. Everyone from the very best to the very worst student feels like they don't belong there at times or that they can't measure up to the other students. Weird feeling, but eventually your standards drop and you get used to it :p
Thanks for the words. I can only imagine that if the first year pass/fail change is true, then it would likely be less stressful as a student going into exams. Interestingly, in an email we got yesterday which had flyers and stuff from UMMS, there was also a letter from the anat/biochem/phys lecturers which had recommended areas of each topic for review (if you're keen) based on previous student feedback. That being said, I don't think I'll do much prep over the holidays for the course itself, because there will be plenty to do by the time I'm into the swing of it next year.
2016–2018: Bachelor of Biomedicine (Neuroscience), The University of Melbourne
2019–2022: Doctor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne

vox nihili

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 02:41:22 pm »
+1
Interestingly, in an email we got yesterday which had flyers and stuff from UMMS, there was also a letter from the anat/biochem/phys lecturers which had recommended areas of each topic for review (if you're keen) based on previous student feedback. That being said, I don't think I'll do much prep over the holidays for the course itself, because there will be plenty to do by the time I'm into the swing of it next year.

Don't do the review. They give you some tests at the start of the year to help you "see where you're at". Everyone fails them, they feel sad for a bit, then they forget about it and do absolutely nothing in response and wind up finishing their year having done just as well as they would have if they had studied over the holidays. Definitely a good plan just to enjoy your holidays. The prereq knowledge is basically covered again beyond the absolute basics so you're set :)
2013-15: BBiomed (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), UniMelb
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Shenz0r

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 05:15:09 pm »
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If so, do you mind my asking what school you're at?

St. Vincent's, but I've had the opportunity to float around the RMH precinct and Austin as well.
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Joseph41

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2018, 05:16:42 pm »
+1
I'm just here for the fanfare.

Seriously, though, really looking forward to hearing more about your experiences.

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auds

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2018, 04:28:50 pm »
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Also wanted to add in my congratulations on getting in !!!

I'm a MD1 at MelbU this year. I've also heard that for the MD cohort starting in 2019 and beyond, MD1 will be a pass/fail year. It was discussed at the FBS/PCP review meeting in Sept/Oct. RE lectures, we had 315 lectures, the number could probably go down again for 2019.

So good to read that you'll be proactively maintaining a non-med life; oftentimes hard to action in the midst of the hectic med schedule. There's also many opportunities to get involved in medical student societies [moreso than undergraduate and degree-relevant societies, I'd say]. In addition to UMMSS, there's speciality-interest groups like paeds and surg, and also bigger groups like AMSA.

Feel free to PM me for any MD1 deets/resource compilations that my cohort has made for this year :)
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warya

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Re: Alter's medicine journal
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2019, 07:07:57 pm »
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How is everything going Alter? :)
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2016–2018: Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Monash University
2019–2022: Doctor of Medicine, The University of Melbourne