How is studying different to when you first did it?
Other than the major difference in technology as well as the Uni Bar no longer being the focal point of my university experience, the impact that studying has had on my personal life is vastly different.
My daughter, Ally, and husband, Ryan, have had to make sacrifices alongside me because not only does studying require a significant investment of my time, it also means that to make it work I have to forego an income. It would be hard for me to study medicine without scholarships and I especially want to thank the Wood Family for helping me to stay the course.
I’ve also learned this time around that it’s okay to use the supports that are available at JCU. That can mean asking questions at the Student Centre, getting assignment help at the library, applying for scholarships, or having a yarn with the staff at the Indigenous Education and Research Centre (IERC). I would encourage all students to see what help is available to them and to use it when needed — you don’t have to go it alone!
What has been the highlight of your experience with JCU Medicine?
The most valuable part of my study so far has been the placements. On placements, you’re connected in a very real way to the end goal of becoming a doctor, and you get to see first-hand what the job is really like.
The people and patients in our region are overwhelmingly kind and generous, and are so willing to share their stories and allow students to be involved in their care.
The opportunity to meet and interact with patients on placements and to see real-life examples of the conditions we study in books not only enriches the learning, but does so much more to develop our skills than study can do alone.
At the end of my second year, I was lucky enough to do a month-long placement at the Thursday Island Hospital in the Torres Strait. I grew up on Badu Island nearby, so it was a thrill for me to be able to go back ‘home’ as a doctor in training.
There’s a unique combination of Indigenous and tropical medicine in the Torres Strait, and because it is located so close to Papua New Guinea, you also see cases that you wouldn’t normally see elsewhere in Australia, such as tuberculosis and leprosy.
There are not many places you get to catch a helicopter to work but the Torres Strait is one. Spotting turtles, dugongs, sharks, and crocs on the way to clinics on the outer islands was an experience like no other!