Trudging through the stress-pit of hell that is fourth year hardly seems the ideal time to make big life decisions, but then again if you signed up for a medical degree looking for well-timed opportunities and an abundance of time you’re in for a rude shock.

Whether or not to do a BMedSci has been a decision I’ve languished over for a while and just in case any of you lovely meddies out there are, or might at some point in the future be, struggling with the same thing I thought I’d publicise my inner turmoil with a neat list of pros, cons, and everything in between.

If you’d like a glossy, cohesive view on the matter check out the Monash site

For a perhaps more well-rounded (read: cynical), rambling view, read on

Pros

  • Good for career?
    • Provides a measly 1 point towards applications for surgical/obs-gyn fields but at least it’s a start
    • Research looked upon favourably in most fields *cough surgery*
    • Gives you research experience many students get through their degree (Melbourne Uni) so might help to equalise you a bit if employers take issue with the MBBS-style degree
      • Who am I kidding everyone loves Monash students we’re so mindful
    • Things to talk about in interviews

*internal screaming*
*Awkward silence*

Does anyone else have the irrational (…or is it rational) fear that there’ll be a massive awkward silence during their interview? This might help that?

 *Screams internally*

  •  Could help decide what medical/surgical field to (not) go in to
    • And potentially get some contacts in said field
  • Get a taste for research and decide if that’s an alley you’re interested in for later on
  • Might give you the change of pace you need after fourth year
    • Tip from consultant – if you want a gap year just take one and don’t bother with the extra letters at the end of your name
    • Still, if you want a bit of an interlude from med school and have a genuine interest in research it’s not a bad option
  • Gives you a bit of time to build up the CV that you’ve neglected thus far in your degree
  • Opportunity for travel if you’re organised about it
    • And free time! If anyone remembers what that is.
  • Save the world/lives with ground-breaking research (not for the poor lab mice)

 Cons

  • $$$ – if your parents will pay for this go and give them a hug and skip this section
    • Yet another year where you’re not getting any kind of worthwhile salary
      • You’ll be a DOCTOR soon though what are you worrying about money for?
    • The degree itself costs ~$10,600 for domestic students, more for international
      • It’s on HECs for but I know that’s gonna bite me hard in the glutes one of these days
    • Will Centrelink still supply free money youth allowance?
      • Turns out occasionally they do something right.
        • No guarantee they wont randomly reject your claim for no reason though
      • What if it’s sh*t
        • Lab work can be tedious, ethics submissions awful and god forbid your project needs funding
      • What if you have a change of heart career-wise and end up with research irrelevant to your field
        • Unfortunately, neurosurgeons don’t care if you know about Sjogren’s
        • That said, it’s better than a blank resume

Empty resume, anyone?

My CV… could do with a little bulking up


Bits in between

  • Can do research at any point in your career – should you pay to do it now without a scholarship?
    • Could wait and do a PhD later on (but by then you will have known the salaried life and might not be keen to return to poor student-hood)
    • If you do it overseas there are quite a few good scholarships/loans though
  • What if you realise you despise the research and become a hateful person?
  • What if you realise you love research and become a lifelong lab rat?
  • You could take a year off and do research on the side with much the same result (minus the letters) – but this way can make the research itself tougher

Tips from past players

  • Shavi Fernando (past BMedSc student, current PhD student, current consultant obs-gyn)
    • Be smart with what you pick – if you’re interested in two fields draw a little Venn diagram and chose a topic in the middle of it eg you like cardiology and rheumatology? Pick cardiovascular risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis!
  • Tara Nair (past BMedSc in Bioethics at Oxford, current MBBS student)
    • Supervisors matter!!! They will be your main helpline so try and find someone who is enthusiastic, has time to reply to emails, and preferably knows how the BMedSci thing works
    • Take into account how chill you want your year to be and pick your subject accordingly – lab work can be intensive whereas public health, ethics and psych tend to be a bit more relaxed
  • Jonathan Wolianski (current BMedSc student)
    • Weigh up your ambitions with realistic expectations – you only have ~8 months of research so can’t do everything – being a small part of a big project isn’t necessarily a bad thing
  • BMedSci yearbooks from Monash found here:

Well hopefully something along the way here has helped you reach or confirm your decision! If not, feel free to join me in embracing the void of indecisiveness

The fork in the road

Conclusion? Decisions are hard

Written by Eva Matthews Staindl

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To B(MedSci) or not to B(MedSci)?
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One thought on “To B(MedSci) or not to B(MedSci)?

  • April 12, 2017 at 8:04 pm
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    I completed a B Med Sci

    dont regret a thing

    Now im gainfully employed as a sanitation technician for the very lab i did my B med sci in.

    how’s that for career prospects?

    Reply

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