Student profile: Natalie Wee, Bachelor of Medical Science

Natalie is about to start her third year of a Bachelor of Medical Science. Here's what she has to say about her experience studying Science at Sydney so far!

Why did you choose Science at Sydney and what are you studying?
Natalie Wee

I fell in love with everything that Sydney Uni offers: the variety of subjects on offer, the quality of the teaching, the clubs and societies on offer, the diversity of people and cultures on campus, and of course the architecture of buildings such as the Quad and Anderson Stuart. Why science? I can’t imagine a world without science, science is all around us (and within us too), and there is still so much to learn/discover!

I am currently in my third year of a Bachelor of Medical Science. I chose this degree because of its specialised 2nd year which covers many aspects of medical science allowing me to sample the different fields of anatomy & histology, physiology, pharmacology, microbiology and more without the restrictions of subject choices and credit points.

What have you been studying in your degree and have there been any topics/assignments/activities that have been particularly fun/interesting/challenging?

The hands-on experience in science subjects makes the learning experience a lot of fun. There is a lot of variety between the lab components of the subjects, from dissections, handling prosections, chemistry experiments, microscopy, setting up assay kits, physics experiments, swabbing specimens and determining the organism present and the best learning experience is experimenting on ourselves. We tested our own blood glucose levels after fasting, then after drinking a glucose solution every half hour for 3 hours until our blood glucose returned to normal. Applying theory in the practical sessions is the best way to learn whilst also having fun.

Is there a science subject/topic that you are particularly interested in or passionate about and why?

Well primarily medical science, because I find the human body so intriguing considering how much we really do or don’t know about ourselves. I plan to major in microbiology because I find it fascinating how much positive/negative impact microorganisms can have on the human body despite their size.

Are you part of any clubs/societies/talented student programs and what are your experiences with them?

The Science Society (SciSoc) was the first club I joined. Being a faculty society, it holds or is involved in a range of activities, from fortnightly BBQs to career seminars and forums, interfaculty sports to important events such as 1st year camp, Trivia night and Buckyball. SciSoc brings together science students to both aid in their studies through careers seminars, advice from older students and the second-hand bookshop whilst also incorporating a social side to your university experience.

What do you feel are the main differences between high school and uni? Was it hard or easy to make new friends and get settled in?

The main differences for me were the teaching style and the freedom. Unlike school where the aim is the completion of HSC, university is preparing you for a career and your life. I learned that uni requires you to ask questions and to look beyond just what is on the page but the application and the usefulness of the information on the page to gain a full of appreciation of your studies. Having no homework and no bells, only assessments, gives you the freedom and responsibility to choose how and when you study.

In terms of making friends, it gets easier as you go along, what I did was: attend Transition Workshop and the SLAM lunches mentoring program, attend club and society events (primarily SciSoc) and also introduced myself to the people I sat next to in each lecture and tutorial. Before you know your new friends will be introducing their own friends to you, the only trouble is remembering names!

What are your top 3 highlights of the uni experience so far?
  1. The people: Sharing the university experience with both people with similar and different interests to myself has provided an exciting and challenging experience.
  2. The classes: I have enjoyed my units of study, the labs and the lectures provide so much food for thought.
  3. The facilities: In particular the libraries and the museums.
Is there anything else you’d like to add, to give future students an insight into the Sydney science experience or uni in general?

My advice is to get involved. There are so many opportunities and clubs and societies to join, try something out of your comfort zone, because you might surprise yourself with what you achieve.