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5 things I learned on my way to becoming a doctor

By recent Medical Program graduate Anthony Pham. 

Almost five years ago I was sitting in the same spot as many of you. Originally from Sydney, I knew that Medicine was the career for me – but I didn’t know where I would be studying it – let alone if I would even get in. I had also heard many a thing about the upward hill that awaited those fortunate to get in: 

“Med school = no social life”, “Med school will turn your hair white”, “Welcome to Med school – this is your life now”. Admittedly it made me doubt whether I was even cut out for Medicine.

But here I am today - a Doctor! Choosing to study Medicine (CRICOS 0101292 and 111520H) at Bond was the best decision I ever made and I learned so many lessons during the process. So, let’s cut to the chase!

I’m sure all of you who are considering medicine as your future career have worked your asses off to get here today. Whether it be aiming for the best ATAR, OP, WAM, UMAT/CMAT or GAMSAT score you can, you all know the value of hard work. But from my experience, the hard work doesn’t stop there. Although the hardest part of Med School is getting your foot in the door, the hard work certainly continues from years one to five (and well after you graduate). But honestly, that’s what makes doing medicine so worthwhile!

Bond's newest doctors, December 2019

2. You're not perfect - and that's ok

Let me explain. Many of you looking to apply will be newly graduated from high school where you were used to getting 95-100% in almost every exam you completed. In university, that’s probably not going to happen. In Med School, that definitely won’t happen (unless you’re a savant). And that’s ok! Many of you will struggle with this as I did in my junior years. But in the end, what you will learn is that no matter what happens, if you did your best, then that’s all that really matters. The great thing about Bond is that you have some of the best support networks from both students and staff. I remember a great deal of late night DnMs and tears with my friends and even some personal visits to Bond Student Support for a bit of extra help!

3. Balance is everything

Making it into medicine suggests that academically, you’re doing well. But what about the other avenues of life that are just as important? At Bond, you will have every opportunity to diversify yourself in these other areas – whether it be getting social/bloated with the various student clubs and all their delicious food (shout out to the Vietnamese Student Association), getting sweaty with the numerous sport clubs (damn you Squash Club for my sore calves) or even making a difference in the local/global community with societies such as MAD (go figure what that stands for), there is no limit as to how you can branch out.

4. Friends are the keystone to your survival

Here's one of the coolest things about doing med at Bond. You’ll be with the same, small group of people for the next five years. Where most other universities have around 200 to 400 medical students per year, Bond likes to keep it nice and intimate (my cohort only had 96 peeps). Which means you’ll get to know every single person in your year on more than a first name basis. You’ll even get to know your lecturers and educators on a first name basis. Some of my best friends today are the ones I met in Med School and honestly I would not have been able to make it through some of the toughest times in my life without their support (and the odd slap in the face to re-centre myself). Make friends, put in the effort to keep them around and it’ll repay itself in spades.

5. Life's too short not to enjoy the journey

Sometimes life can feel like this giant rat race to get to the finish line - medicine is certainly no stranger to this. What we should really be doing is slowing down to enjoy the fresh air  and green scenery and leisurely make our way down to the end; stopping at the odd occasion on a detour which eventually leads us down back on the right path. This is something I learned halfway through my time in Med School and honestly, I can say that it was only after this epiphany that I began to really enjoy the short time I had there. Remember, you’re going to be on the Gold Coast, sandwiched between beautiful golden beaches and the green, lush Hinterland. Enjoy your short time there (if not originally a local) and make some of the best memories you’ll never forget.

Medicine at Bond

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