Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Interview with a Vampire/Myself

1) Medicine? WTF? Where did that come from?
I always wanted to be a doctor as a kid, then got to high school, did the whole 'trying to find myself thing' and took every subject under the sun and decided the real me (or the me I wanted to be) liked social stuff more than science. Plus I knew that to do medicine I would have to leave Christchurch, which I couldn't do at that stage. Come the end of high school I still wanted to help people so I did psych, then I got all focussed on the fact that that wasn't really the way I wanted to help people, wanted to do stuff in terms of the developing world so did development studies…went on to realise that I'm way more hands on than any job I would be able to do in development management and actually, whilst I'd like to do something hands on in developing countries, development studies, unless you have a practical degree leads to a desk job…What my daydream had always been was actually to do a stint with doctors without borders or something like that. I was just too scared to pursue it.

So, I got thinking again…and I do want to help people, I would like to do that medically, I actually am fascinated by science when I'm not trying to be anything else, I want to problem solve, I want a job that is reactive rather than a pile of papers to get through, I want something hands on and practical, I want to deal with people…

And that made me realise that all my soul searching actually just took me away from what I am to what I thought I should be…

So I want to go back to the beginning. The kid knew who they were…the kid wanted to be a doctor. I think the kid will be pretty good at it and would like it as well…

I have never in my life studied like I did for the entrance exam…up at like 6-6.30 study for one to two hours before going to my fulltime job then straight home and study until like 11 when I go to bed. And it was hard but I loved it. I found it fasinating. That made me realise how suited I am to this

I have always been in the slightly awkard position of being quite academic but actually a really hands on person. I don’t want to waste what I have but I also want a really practical, hands on, reactive job. This is the profession where I can marry those two things.

So so many reasons…

Why am I doing this? Because I can’t not.

2) Why Sydney?
-for me it’s about 3 years shorter
-they take people from all different backgrounds not just med sci. They were particularly keen on social science students as they really focus on wanting not just academics but people who relate well to others. I think that’s important too and I liked what that said about the uni
-for similar reasons, I liked that they had interviews. If you don’t interview then you are just looking for academics and I don’t think that is what the medical profession needs.
-it’s graduate entry there, meaning that the average age is about 25 (slightly younger than me). This means I will not be in a class full of people 10 years younger than me. I also heard that this means that the students there tend to be more serious about this. They’ve been out and lived and they are giving up careers etc to do this. It’s not just an option coming out of school
-at Sydney I get to have patient contact from week one. This is very different. It’s much more hands on there. Years 3 and 4 are based entirely at the hospital. I’m really not keen on another how ever many years just sitting in lectures. I like to do things to learn. I like to react and solve problems. I like people.
-there are very few lectures there – they are ‘problem based learning’ sessions meaning the group is presented a case and have to work through it together. Kind of like House except the case is not current (potentially not even real). This is a fantastic way for me to learn and much more suited to my personality
-people think that it’s like putting my life on hold until I graduate but with the way all of that is done over there I don’t feel like that at all. I am actually looking forward to studying. I’m not just looking forward to 4 years time when I have my degree, I’m looking forward to next year
-I would have to leave Christchurch to do this anyway as you can only do the final years here…so if I have to leave, I absolutely love Sydney, it’s one flight the same as Dunedin and I’ll probably be away for 4 years in Syd and I’d be away at least 3-4 in Dunedin but I wouldn’t be qualified by the time I got back.
-Sydney is awesome and I have always thought I could live there for a while. Sydney has many more churros.
-I find Australian accents attractive

3) How long will that take?
The bachelor of medicine bachelor of surgery degree will take 4 years. The first two years based one day per week at a hospital and 4 at uni, the second two years are totally based at the hospital. After that I’ll do an internship/one or two years as a junior doctor while I figure out what I want to specialise in. I’ll be a full member of the medical profession then, rather than provisional after my degree. After that it’ll depend on what I do – probably 4 years for a specialty before I am a member of that college, or 2 years to become a member of the royal college of GPs. That time is all working with some exams to support that. So in essence, four years for the degree and then some on the job training…

4) Will you specialise do you think?
At the moment I could imagine being a GP for sure or the other thing that really fascinates me is cardiology but I imagine I might be taken by something else that I haven't even considered. I’ll just see what interests me but I could definitely imagine general practice.


  1. go you!!! so proud of you for living your dreams and taking this step out, you will be fantastic (and you are already) you will be in our hearts and hopefully now and again in person :)

    anne, paul and enda

  2. Like i have always thought and still think: Simona is amazing. I am and will always be cheering for you Simona. It's acts like these that inspire people and you inspire me. It's great having friends that aren't willing to fall into the expectations of 'life' and do what they actually want to do. You're one of those people, i have always thought so. Go Simona! I am so proud of you :)

  3. You have just answered all the questions I never knew I had about your impending leap. You're pretty amazing, actually.