Winter School to Med School

Winter School to Med School

Winter School to Med School

Jessica Storrar aspired to be a doctor for a long time. The JCU Indigenous Education and Research Centre’s (IERC) Winter School helped her realise that goal.

“I grew up around hospitals and the healthcare fields so I was inspired by the people I saw working in those fields,” Jessica said.

“I wanted to go down a similar pathway to them and invoke the change they had been doing and help the underrepresented populations in our society within healthcare.”

“I attended the Winter School in 2018 and I did the vet and biomed course, so it was a bit different to what I wanted to do. I enjoyed seeing the other areas of the uni and experiencing what those kinds of fields entailed and from that, understanding what career pathway I actually wanted to take.”

A few months later, Jessica received the call telling her she’d been accepted into Medicine in North Queensland.

Given she’s from Canberra, it’s a call she might never have received had she not experienced JCU for herself at the Winter School.

“I hadn’t experienced JCU very much because I’m from Canberra, it’s kind of an unheard of place down there, no one really knows of JCU,” she said.

“I think it gave me insight into a different type of learning to what we were being taught in Canberra. It’s very much the ANU research pathway rather than the practical focus that comes through from JCU.”

Jessica in a clinical practice room with a stethoscope

Having studied her course for a few months now, she’s found the skills she picked up at Winter School have carried through to her university life.

“The hands-on experience, understanding the more practical applications of things and the different styles of learning have helped me,” Jessica said.

“In our Winter School case studies, we had a vet process that is similar to what we use in medicine for history taking, so I’m translating the skills over to what I’m doing now.”

Jessica also had an incredible cultural experience during her week of Winter School, learning about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and histories of North Queensland.

“The Winter School at JCU has a very strong focus on cultural activities at night and understanding the culture, especially up in Far North Queensland of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander activities,” the medical student said.

“There was a big focus on that at Winter School, which I think was really important to learn.”

“Just learning about the culture up here and how it differs from down south. I think it’s a lot more involved up here than necessarily from where I’m from.”

Just like Jessica, you won’t have to do Winter School alone, with plenty of opportunities during the week to make great friends.

“I made a few friends and a lot of us kept in touch, especially the year 12s when we were heading off to uni and seeing where people ended up,” she said.

If you want to work in a career that makes a difference every day, consider JCU Medicine.

Published 15 May 2019