SAMS is now introducing a new segment on "Humans of Medsci" which aims to bring the SAMS community closer its MEDSCI Teaching and Research Community. Our first entry is with Anuj Bhargava, a Professional Teaching Fellow at the Department of Physiology, School of Medical Sciences, and Butland Award Winner for Innovation in Teaching 2018.
What is your background? Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Bombay which is the financial capital of India and home to Bollywood….Both my parents went to university and did arts and ran a publishing business… It was key in the household to follow our passion… it took me a while to find mine
What are your interests outside of university life?
Whatever time is left from teaching and emailing and Piazza… is spent with my lovely family… Running is one of my key interests… it gets the endorphins going (I often get teaching ideas while running) and often is an excellent de-stressing element of my work day’s routine..
Contemporary New Zealand and Australian Art is my other key interest outside Uni life along with listening to Bach in particular.
What was your education pathway?
My educational background is in Medicine (MBChB) and clinical pharmacology/public health. I worked as a doctor in various places around the world whilst figuring out what my above mentioned passion was…It have me time to seek, learn and reflect.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on blended learning approaches and online labs - kuraCloud for Medical and pharmacy students. I like to bring my clinical knowledge and blend with conceptual such as physiology and present as case scenarios. In my view, it makes the subject relatable and interesting…
What drew you to your field of interest? Was there a particular moment you knew that this topic would be your focus?
Student feedback. I believe that “happy students are happy learners”. I like to engage with my students and ask what works for them and then develop ideas. I feel very fortunate that students are open with their respective feedback to me and this makes me confident in developing my current and past teaching initiatives.
What's a paper you have contributed to that you're most proud?
I presented my work on peer tutoring in Seville Spain (2015) and the I got the best presentation and poster award… It was a very proud moment for all involved in that particular project.
If you could give your undergraduate self any advice, what would you tell them?
Chill…but do not freeze….in other words… Relax but don’t be too relaxed. I was a very type A student who was always after a good grade and extremely competitive. This made me miss out on extracurricular activities. You need to have a fine balance of learn and fun. Balance out work and be strategic with learning and working….
I am still learning the above… ongoing development….
Many thanks to Anuj for taking part in our interview! If you would like to see more of Anuj, you can find him in Medsci 205, 206, 311, 312, but also MBChB Clinical Physiology, Pharmacy, and MAORIHLTH! Phew!
Hey fam! Gentlest reminder that UMAT registration closes in approximately a month from now - 1 June, 2018. It costs a hefty 260 Australian Dollars. It’s not a fun test, but it’s a necessary one. Many people apply because it provides them the option to apply for Medicine as you’ll find not everyone is 100% sure of what they’d want to do in the future! We’ve detailed the tiniest blog about the UMAT along with a little checklist you can refer to closer to test day.
For those wanting to apply for MBChB, a pre-requisite is to sit this test: the “Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admissions Test” (UMAT) https://umat.acer.edu.au/ . This test is run by ACER: the Australian Council for Educational Research. They actually provide heaps of details on their website for UMAT and we strongly advise you literally scour through the entire website and read the relevant sections through:
Be sure to click on the different tabs on the left-hand side panel.
I would like to draw your attention again specifically to the “Prepare” section which has 4 more sub-sections: “Preparation strategy”, “Preparation materials”, “Test taking strategy”, and “FAQ about preparation materials”. It would be very good to read them thoroughly!
The main thing I’d advise is to:
Now, also, I hope you’ve read about this, or just realise these two things (we’ve covered before in our previous entry in this link):
Lastly, below’s a checklist for preparing for UMAT. We’ll post this up again closer to the date because it’s really not important right now; but I guess it’s just nice to know there’s a checklist out there somewhere….!
(It’s paraphrased from our 1st Year FAQ here: link)
Hi fam, hope you’re all going well :) Test week is over and hopefully you’re getting back into the rhythm of everything again… Anyhow, every so often we’ll invite a guest to write a short blog post about our fellow medical and health science degrees in our #Insights blog posts. This issue’s highlight is on Pharmacy!
In your words, how would you describe your profession?
To be very honest, I can’t say that I know much about my profession yet. HAHAH
How is the year organised? (Do you have papers anymore?)
Part II students of the BPharm Programme (second years) have three papers over the whole year - PHARMACY 211, 212 and 213. None of these papers are year-long papers, with PHARMACY 211 and 212 taken in semester 1 and PHARMACY 213 taken in semester 2.
The two papers of the first semester are focused on building a good foundation of scientific and clinical knowledge required to progress further in the BPharm programme. A wide range of topics are taught, from Pharmaceutical chemistry in 211 to compounding and human interaction skills in PHARMACY 212 labs and workshops. We only have to take one paper in semester 2 as mentioned above.
What did you enjoy about it?
The School of Pharmacy is very welcoming and feels like one big family. The staff and students are all very caring towards us second years so that we settle in well and don’t feel out of place. I also like that we have a smaller cohort so it’s possible to get close to most people in your year level, and many in the years above!
In terms of the content, I really enjoyed the compounding labs (where you get to make ointments, oral liquids etc.) which were heaps of fun, as well as the workshops many of which are interactive. Learning about the chemistry behind drug design (such as the strategies they use to ensure drugs work efficiently) and the role of pharmacists in public health was also very interesting.
What sort of clinical experiences have you had so far?
We have ten days of placements during the second semester where we get to visit pharmacists in hospital, industrial and community settings.
What’s the one thing you did not expect from this degree?
Many people have misconceptions about the BPharm programme (I did too) and think that it would be very heavily focused on chemistry with little clinical skills and physiology. But I came to find that there is actually a significant emphasis on clinical skills, with a good balance between chemistry and physiology.
What’s your fondest memory so far about your degree?
Freshers camp and Pub Crawl! They’re great opportunities to meet new people and bond with other pharmacy students whilst having fun. The poverty simulation is where you get to role play and experience being a family member of a low income family which was also lots of fun (some people would deal drugs or steal other people’s furniture)
What’s one thing you’d tell your first year self?
To focus on myself and work at my own pace instead of comparing myself with other people. It destroys you!
Hi everyone! Hope you have all been doing well and looking after yourselves in the mid-sem break so far! By now, you’re a seasoned pre-medder: exposed to the wit of Brent Copp and Rod Jackson’s endless quips about butter and his lunch. It’s now time to sit your first tests and I can imagine that there are a few nerves around this test. I’ll try alleviate some of that for you here.
Weeks 6 and 7 of semester are typically known as “test week” or the test period. It’s not an easy few weeks because you still have classes all the while being assessed. It’s no wonder KEIC gets packed, MunchyMart revenue goes up (...probably?), there’s no comfortable isolated location in Gen Lib, and rubbish bins are full with empty coffee cups.
It’s time to get down to business and revise well for these tests yet the allure of not studying (i.e. literally anything else) is tempting you elsewhere! We totes understand :C
What I can probably give you more help on is general test advice. I feel that most people have a good grasp of the content but once they enter the exam room, they begin to crumble and make mistakes. Test mentality isn’t something you can really ‘train’ but these are some of the things that helped me last year.
Here we’ve compiled: Part A - test preparation and tips, and Part B - test week tips.
Part A: Test prep/tips
1. Make sure you’re crystal clear about test logistics. Needless to say, make sure you have the following:
2. Have a pre-test ritual. Do something that will clear your head out and calm yourself. Some people cram until the last 15 minutes but I think it’s good to take some time and out relax before a test. Personally, I always had dinner with friends. After a day’s worth of studying for the evening test, it was nice to be around good company and good food to ease the pre-test tension.
3. Avoid the trolls. You really need to be in a good head space before a test. A little bit of nervousness to show that you actually care, but not too anxious to affect you from thinking straight. Hanging around the wrong crowd of people might just panic you unnecessarily; like asking weird and obscure questions; I often just used the excuse of different test rooms to just get a final escape to be with myself and chillax. You don’t any more stress than what you already have. Additionally, I would probably avoid Facebook pages/Piazza. Honestly, just too many trolls.
4. Remember the basics. Read the question and answer questions properly. You really don’t want to lose marks for mis-reading something, especially if you actually knew the answer.
5. Check, double check and triple check. Time dependent but this is pretty self-explanatory. When you check, do the question as if you’re doing it for the first time. Pay attention to detail as well, like checking that you have the correct units. Don’t fall into the trap of “briefly going through the question, tricking your mind into thinking everything is familiar and easy, then skimming past it” - you may as well not have checked it!
6. Finally, just a word for the future. The usual story is that after a test, people aren’t happy with the marks they got and start fearing for their GPA. It’s definitely understandable in such a high stakes environment but it’s important to think in the other direction. One test does not define your overall grade. You can worry or sulk about a disappointing mark but make sure you pick yourself up and refocus yourself. There are other things to worry about and if you’re still stuck thinking on that one test you could have done better in, you won’t be fully concentrating and your other tests start taking a hit too. Pre-med is already more on the negative side, with its inherent stress and tension. Don’t add to it when you can change the outlook for yourself
Part B - Test week Tips
1. Study in an atypical location.
Time to buckle down and study! I hate to say it, but sometimes you just gotta be antisocial and avoid people. Go to the Law Library if you must. Go to the engi leech. Just go somewhere where you won’t see too many familiar faces so you can really focus. Kate Edgar IC Lv4 is great and all; but probs filled with tonnes of other biomedders too T_T
2. Turn off distractions.
Turn your phone on silent. Close the FB tab. Print out your notes even. Try to train yourself to study in 40 minute increments (or whatever time works well for you - it’s just often recommended to study in 40m increments). Take a short break; check your notifications/take a walk; then get back to it!
3. Aegrotat - just be aware of it.
Life happens. Shit happens. Be aware that if something drastic happens, for example, family emergencies, personal injury etc., you can apply for compassionate consideration, or, aegrotat. Your most important thing to do is try to keep calm and follow these steps
4. Try to avoid getting sick.
Nothing characterises an angry atmosphere better than the broken silence from the consistent noise of coughing, sniffling, and sneezing in a quiet study space. Make sure you get enough sleep; stay active; eat well - just do whatever the basic things you gotta do to avoid getting sick. Your brain’s got to process enough information without having to deal with antibodies pulsating through your body!
5. Make plans for after test week.
Whilst you might not be that excited about studying, perhaps the thought of going on that road-trip might be motivation itself. Something to keep the light at the end of the tunnel bright.
Stay awesome fam xx
I was lying in bed last night and thinking “if I could only give one sentence of advice to a 1st year, what would I say to them?” After some internalization of the situation in my head, I came up with this – get your head in the game and hit the ground running from Day 1.
Getting back into University after a 3 month hiatus can be quite difficult let alone studying!! But honestly, if you can hit the ground running immediately, don’t slack off, get into the routine, and get stuck into the work, your future you will thank you for it! I’ll bet you that if you can stay up to date with lectures; i.e. revise every lecture you’ve had within a day after it past, you’ll be ahead of 99% of all students. No joke.
You might have heard of the “competitive nature” of 1st year but seriously, try not to think of that (however, I note that’s easier said than done!) - think of first year as you trying to be the best you possible. You don’t want to be that person that regretted not maybe trying your full potential to knock that 89% (A) into a 90% (A+) grade. No amount of competition, other people trying hard, other people stressing, etc., will stop you from achieving your desired grade.
Now that the motivational, iffy, juicy stuff’s been said, I’ve gotta admit, the 1st day of lectures is pretty much just introductory lectures where the course coordinators welcome you to the course and don’t really teach much. But there ARE some content lectures - don’t let that catch you off-guard (e.g. BIOSCI 107)! But do experience University life as well - there will be a “Clubs Expo” and “AUSA Orientation Week” stuff; a club is a group of students who gather for a common interest. There are over 100+ clubs and most of them will have a presence at clubs expo distributing free-bees, adverts, and wanting you to sign up to their mailing list; membership typically costs ~$5 ~ $10 (although this depends on the club) and it’d be wise to bring cash since most clubs won’t have an EFTPOS machine! Typically, these clubs will also hold a welcome event within the first 2 weeks - so make the most of them and see what interests you! Of course, we are no exception to that rule :) Here at SAMS, we’re very inclusive and welcome you to sign up to our mailing list here: http://eepurl.com/dhbifH (P.S. we don’t charge any membership fee - we welcome all past, present, and future MEDSCI students ^_^ )
Other events that are typically hosted are stuff like Toga parties, a rite of passage for first year students (it’s organised by the University, see: link) Point is - since first week is relatively chill, see if you can make the most of it… although we’re well aware we’re giving conflicting advice; go have fun vs hit the ground running; heck, por que no los dos?