Hi everyone, we are Chloe and Grainne, second year graduate entry medicine (GEM) students and we will be writing a few posts throughout the year about our experiences in the course.

We both completed our undergraduate degrees in Biomedical Health and Life Sciences in UCD so we are just settling in to our sixth year here!


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Some of you might be entering GEM1 or thinking about it as an option for the future, so feel free to get in touch if you have any questions! The course itself runs over four years and for the last two years you join in with the undergrad students for clinical practice. The first two preclinical years are essentially the first three undergraduate years (and pre-med) condensed into two. So it is intense and it is tough, make no mistake about that – but it is great as well!

The class size is roughly 100 and about 50% are Irish. The remaining 50% are made up mostly of Canadians, with a few EU and American students thrown in for good measure! There is a lot of diversity in everyones undergraduate backgrounds too, with some people having studied Engineering, Music, Psychology and Law, and others with Science backgrounds in Pharmacology, Biomedical Science and Physiotherapy. Not being from a Science background does confer a slight disadvantage, but only for the first semester. In Semester One those with a Science background have a choice of electives including Physics, Psychology and Social History of Healthcare, among others. Non-science students take a module that runs alongside one of the core modules and this provides an intro to many of the subjects they will not have studied before such as Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Genetics. The first semester is tough going but by Semester Two the playing field has levelled out and everyone is mostly on the same page when it comes to starting Cardio-Respiratory modules.

It’s not all lectures and the library however. Some of the most fun we’ve had in UCD was had this year. The Medical Society are really great at organising events for med students throughout the year. Wine & Cheese is the first event of the year and takes place during the first week back. This is a great night for getting to know your new classmates if you are just starting GEM. Despite the name, however, there is no cheese provided, although the wine does flow freely! Med Day usually takes place in October and is a fundraising event for numerous charities. It does involve getting up at about 6 in the morning to collect money but it’s worth it for the free breakfast back at UCD. Med Ball takes place on the last day of Semester One every year and everyone goes all-out for this decadent ball. Definitely not one to miss out on!

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Second semester hosts Scrubs Crawl and the Med Cup, and these are some really great events to get involved in as it is so important to keep a balance in your study and social life!

 

So, why did we choose UCD? There are so many reasons; Firstly, as mentioned above we both completed our undergraduate degree here. We chose UCD for Biomedical Health and Life Science because of the excellent amenities, size and feel of UCD, and the unique mix of science and medicine offered within the degree. After graduation we had a choice of four universities in which to study GEM. UCD won out for both of us though, again because of the amenities (the new O’Brien Centre for Science, the Health Science centre complete with excellent library and computing services, the brilliant teaching staff), the renowned teaching hospitals paired with UCD, and the curriculum which covers topics body system-by-system. The new Student Centre, which includes a state of the art gym and swimming pool, also appealed greatly to us.

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There have been so many supports available to us during our time here which makes the whole experience much easier. There is the Maths Support Centre, Peer Mentors from within each programme, Student Advisors, and chaplains, to name but a few. There is also a great sense of camaraderie within our class so there’s never a shortage of people to turn to for help – academic or personal.

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Overall we are really enjoying our time in UCD. Medicine is tough but it certainly isn’t all work and no play. We would and do recommend Undergraduate and Graduate Entry Medicine in UCD to anybody considering medicine as a career. For us, UCD was the clear winner when choosing both our undergraduate degree and GEM for the many reasons outlined above.

 

We look forward to writing for you for this coming academic year and sharing more of our UCD and medical school tips and experiences. If you have any questions regarding Medicine, UCD or the Grad Entry route to Medicine, feel free to email us directly;