While visiting the University of St. Andrews in Scotland last week, I had the chance to catch up with Alicia P. (Grad 2010) who is a first year “medic” at the 600-year-old university, located in a town of 18,000 people one hour from Edinburgh. Alicia is one of four SMUS grads currently studying at St. Andrews.
She entered directly into the medical school last September and, all going according to plan, will be a fully qualified doctor in five years’ time (along with obtaining a bachelor of science degree). I think it is fair to say that she loves her chosen program of studies in large part because of the relevant and interconnected nature of everything that she is studying. In addition to the typical science lecture and lab courses you would expect for medical school, she has also been doing practical and clinical work since the very beginning of the program, and using these skills along with the science courses to examine the human body and its systems. She has also been offered the opportunity to spend her two-week Easter break shadowing a paediatrician in Perth, Scotland and she will spend her days in his mobile clinic, his “surgery” (office), and doing hospital visits.
In addition to her studies, she works at the student athletic centre, is on the cheerleading squad (who knew such a squad would exist in Scotland?!), is the sports activities organizer for her residence, was elected student representative for the practical program at the medical school, and is a volunteer on the charities committee. She is absolutely making the most of her university experience in a way that is fun, focused, and engaged with her new community. She reports that homesickness hasn’t been the issue she thought it might be, though with this level of activity, I am not surprised!