Travis Lines is a past editor of UniMelb Adventures. He completed Biomedicine last year and now studies Medicine.
It has been quite a few months since I wrote anything here, so an update is long overdue! Let’s start with the good news.
I SURVIVED FIRST SEMESTER!!!
Adapting to Med school is pretty tricky to start with. They really do mean it when they say that things are going to kick up a gear. Add to this the fact that you’re chucked in a cohort full of horrendously intelligent people, and what you end up with is a pretty big challenge.
Gladly, there’s a lot of support from the med school and, more importantly, from your peers to be able to face that challenge and I can gladly report that I’m getting into the swing of things. Naturally I can’t speak for everyone else, but I think that’s probably the case for them too!
One of the unique features of the Melbourne medical course is conference. Each year, med students from all year levels make the trek to the Convention Centre to partake in a week full of conference activities.
These activities are really varied, including plenary speeches each day and myriad sessions on everything from suturing 101 to salsa dancing. Perhaps the biggest stand-out of conference for me was a session on Researchers Behaving Badly, which explored a number of examples of when researchers had been very dodgy and some practical tips for how to spot that. To many that may seem a little dry, but anybody who has seen David Vaux (WEHI) speak before will know that it couldn’t be further from it.
Beyond the structured elements of MDSC, it was nice to spend some time with friends during the week. It was also really nice to learn things without the expectation that you needed to retain all of it.
Throughout the year, each of the clinical schools hosts a Pleasant Friday Afternoon, more commonly referred to as “PFA”. Right after exams, it was St Vincent’s turn and they opted for a nautical-themed boat cruise.
Before this point, I had actually never been to a Uni event such as this. I don’t drink, so there’s usually very little to do after 9 o’clock once everyone has well and truly surrendered themselves to the grips of ole’ethanol. On this occasion, however, my PCP group was going along so I decided to tag along with them.
We went out to dinner (dumplings because we’re poor students) and then headed off to the boat in some of the worst weather Melbourne has to offer. Despite this, I really enjoyed myself. It was probably at this point when it really hit me that the people I’ve met at Med school are genuinely fantastic human beings and that I’m really lucky they’re now part of my life.
The second semester started for us the last week of June. One of the less great things about med school is that semesters run for 18 weeks, which, as it happens, means less time on holidays.
We’ve started the semester off with our Neuroscience block, which is going surprisingly well. Neuroscience has a reputation for being one of the trickier blocks and has always been a bit of a weak area for me; however, largely because of how well structured the block has been and the relevance of the content to clinical practice, I’ve found it both interesting and pretty manageable.
Second semester also means changing tute groups. This may not sound like a big deal; however, we spend a lot of time in tutes together and in an environment that pretty much forces you to get along—I mean we have to examine each other after all! Both of my groups last semester were really fantastic and I made friendships there that will very likely last a lifetime; however, I’ve been quite lucky this semester to land two good groups once again. I do still miss my Sem1 tutes, but my new groups have made it that little bit easier.
What’s coming up?
It’s been a long time between drinks, so assessments will start piling up once again shortly. These are stressful, and the thought of having to study 70+ lectures for a single MST is one that takes a while to get used to. However, there’s plenty to look forward to on the horizon.
Med Ball will take place in September and for the first time ever I will be there! My PCP group from last semester has got a table together, so it should make for a good night. Also coming up is SWOT. Hopefully you’ve heard of it from our lecture-bashing, but if you haven’t it’s basically a revision lecture programme that sees us work with VCE students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Teaching is really important to me and is probably where I would end up if I weren’t studying medicine, so I’m feeling particularly relieved that I will still be able to keep that up whilst studying Med.
Anyhow, lectures are calling me and I think that’s just about enough procrastination for now! Until next time :D