Peter – studying Economics/Engineering and Graduate Medicine

Peter Xie

My pathway to medicine began in Year 10, when I was placed at the biochemistry department at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital for work experience. While I discovered that biochemistry was not what I had imagined, I had a chance to observe doctors in a hospital environment first hand. By Year 12, I considered medicine to be a possible career, but quickly dismissed the idea because I didn’t get high enough marks in the HSC.

I'm now doing Graduate Medicine and am currently in Paris for four weeks on my Elective term - a 8-12 week period in which students could either elect to do medical research or clinical placement. Here I'm doing an orthopaedics elective, and previous to this I was in Hanoi for trauma surgery - in top surgical hospitals owing to Sydney Medical School's extensive connections. Read more about how I got to Sydney Uni.

I can talk to you about:

  • industry scholarships – what they are
  • what it's like to study Graduate Medicine
  • travel opportunities while studying.

Ask me a question

Q&A with Peter

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Teleporting. I fantasise about this superpower a lot. Imagine all the travel time you’d save and the places you could go!

Who has made the biggest impact on your life so far, and why?
I was lucky to have many people in my life who love me and have made impacts on my life – some tell me to only aim for the unachievable; others taught me to bin my schedule and take a chill pill once in a while!

Would you rather have to pay for everything in 20 cent coins or have to walk everywhere, and why?
Walking everywhere. As much as I detest commuting, I love walking. Besides, I don’t think I own a big enough bag/pocket to carry enough money for my coffee needs!

How has your faculty scholarship made a difference with your studies?
As well as an industry scholarship I was given a scholarship to go to a major hospital in Shanghai to observe cardiothoracic surgeries. Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to go. During my placement, I was able to immerse myself in the wonderful city and its culture.

Any tips for getting through the HSC?
Once it’s over, you will not have to go through anything this bad again. Remember that there are many, many different ways to get into a degree, and while the ATAR is the most direct, there are certainly other options down the track.

My path to Sydney Uni

I chose to study a combined Engineering/Commerce degree. It was a wonderful mix of the practical and the very abstract. With the assistance of an industry scholarship from a major engineering firm, I worried less about financially supporting myself and had a great time getting involved with the Uni community through clubs and societies.

It was during my internship in engineering that I learned more about myself and what I wanted as a long-term career. Energised by helping and interacting with people, I decided medicine was back on the table. It is a challenging career with endless possibilities, and research and discoveries happening all the time. Every case is a unique combination of relationship building and problem solving.

Of course, admission was not as easy as simply 'wanting' to get into medicine! One of the major obstacles was the entrance exam (GAMSAT), which included biological and chemical sciences that I hadn’t studied. I spent my summer break preparing for the test, and I have never worked so hard in my life! In the end, I was lucky enough to gain a place at Sydney Medical School.

I don’t know what kind of a doctor I want to be when I finish – there are so many fields that fascinate me. The training after graduation is long and there is plenty of time to figure it out! Whichever specialty, I know I want to be a clinician and I would love to take every opportunity to travel.