Like the majority of prospective students do when looking at different university courses, I looked at what modules each course offered, and what each module involved (if you haven’t done this, please do!).
I have previously written about why I chose Medical Science, but I haven’t fully discussed any comparisons between my thoughts before starting the course and when I graduated.
Aside from the usual thoughts I have expressed, regarding changing my mind about career options, discovering new content and enjoying student life overall, there is one question I am yet to answer: was Medical Science what I expected it would be?
When I first applied to ARU, I thought I had a good grasp on what university life and studying would be like, which retrospectively was not the case. Going in to the course, I expected it to just be the theory side of medicine with a few lab sessions thrown in, and that I would be constantly studying for exams and assignments.
After my first year finished, my opinion of Medical Science started to change. I still felt like there was a lot of theoretical medical knowledge involved (mostly due to my anatomy and physiology module) but I also realised there was more chemistry and maths involved than I originally anticipated and certain content was on a much more molecular level.
This was partly due to the lab work that we were being prepared for, which I was expecting, but I realised the unexpected aspects of the course were because knowing about the modules and then actually learning them are two very different things.
This may sound silly, as the point of university is to gain new knowledge and grow, as there would be no need to study if you knew it all – but this meant that all of my modules ended up being unexpected and when starting a new semester, my mind set would broaden that little bit more. Once I ended my first year I was surprised with how truly varied the content and assignments were.
The mixture of lab reports, assignments and exams kept the course interesting, but the real mental stimulation came from the research involved. Like I mentioned, I thought I would just be studying all the time (like I had to for my A-levels) but I found that I was having to research, interpret and draw conclusions at a high level.
During my first and second years there were times when I felt lost and had the feelings of ‘Why are we learning about X?’ and ‘This isn’t relevant to what I want to do’. However, after not focusing so much on a specific career, I was able to start appreciating each module for what it was – a new learning experience.
Going into my third year, I finally felt I had a good grasp of what I thought Medical Science was. It was a range of scientific content to cover a variety of disciplines. It wasn’t just there for students to be a Medical Scientist or as a stepping stone for Medicine, it was an amazing way to form the future science community. The third year really solidified this as we were further pushed to put all of the skills we had learnt into practice, either through case studies, lab work or our dissertations.
So, was Medical Science what I expected it would be? The answer is no, it was quite different. The whole course surprised me, completely exceeded any expectations I had and left me wanting more, which is why I ended up going on to study a Masters.