Orana Scholarship Recipient
Although just 24, Tim Gilbey has had to grow up quickly. He is studying medicine full time, which for most is difficult enough. Throw in the added pressures of raising two young children and he has more on his plate than the average university student.
Originally from Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and of Koori descent, Gilbey was in his final year of high school when he decided to study medicine. By then it was too late to go through the protracted selection process for undergraduate medicine, so he opted for a Bachelor of Physics degree at the University of New South Wales.
Successful attainment of his physics degree helped him gain entry to the Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree at the University of Sydney. Now in his second year of the MBBS, Gilbey is currently receiving the Orana Scholarship, which helps him cope with the expense of full-time study and raising a young family.
“I was eligible because I was of Aboriginal background and also because of my financial situation. I was struggling quite a bit,” he says. “Throughout my last degree I was working 25 to 30 hours a week, which is doable in physics but not in medicine.”
The demands of his course can make it difficult to find time to spend with his partner Jamie and their two young children. As well as the hours spent in face-to-face classes on campus, he has to find extra time to study independently. “They say if you want to be the best in your field then you should be doing at least four hours of additional study a day,” Gilbey says. “But obviously it can be a balancing act because I’ve also got responsibilities at home.”
Consequently Gilbey’s calendar doesn’t have many openings for part-time work. He has been able to take on limited work as a tutor and technical assistant recording lectures at the University, but without his scholarship, studying full-time would not be an option. “It would be impossible; I wouldn’t be able to do medicine,” he says.
When Gilbey finishes medicine he wants to put his skills to use in the field of Aboriginal health. “It‘s something I‘m really passionate about,” he says.
While Gilbey’s still unsure which field of medicine he would like to specialise in, he is interested in neurology and cardiology. “One of the main issues facing Aboriginal health is cardiovascular disease,” he says. “But having said that, neurology also really interests me.
Gilbey was fortunate enough to meet his benefactor, Jenny Parramore, at an event held for scholarship recipients and donors. “She‘s a really nice lady, Jenny. We talked about all sorts of things – what home life is like and about the degree, that sort of thing.”
“Timothy Gilbey has my admiration and respect, for undertaking this demanding course, which leaves no room for a job to earn money,” says Jenny Parramore, “he deserves full support. I am delighted to be one of his collaborators.”
This is an edited version of the article "Tim Gilbey - a future in medicine" by Oscar Ware, first published in 'Syndey Annual - The 2008 report on achievement and philanthropy'.