I study medicine: Aspasia Manos

Hear from an undergraduate medicine student
Find out what it is like to study medicine at the University of Sydney from Aspasia Manos, a Doctor of Medicine student.

Were you always interested in studying medicine?

Yes! I’ve wanted to pursue medicine for a long time, but the well-developed program, esteemed faculty, and beauty of Sydney made the decision to pursue medicine here much easier.

You’re an international student from Canada, why did you choose to study in Australia?

When I was tossing up where I’d want to study, I told myself that I’d only move to study in a city that I could see myself embracing and feeling comfortable living in. Sydney was a very simple choice – it is quite similar to Toronto in Canada, but with more sun, sand, and sea. 

The University of Sydney has a terrific reputation, particularly in medicine, so I knew I would also be getting a great education. Having the opportunity to see this side of the world is also something I’m very much looking forward to.

What’s your favourite unit you’re currently studying at uni?

This is a really tough question… we have so many units on at once for any given body system; assessing pathology, medicine, and patient management from a number of different lenses. In first year, we have foundations, musculoskeletal, respiratory, haematology, and cardiology blocks, and within each one we study anatomy, physiology, pathology, surgical medicine, rehabilitation, public health, and population medicine (just to name a few, ha!).

What does your typical day at uni look like?

It really depends on the day – some days are exclusively lecture-based teaching, but every week we also have a full day of clinical school, an independent learning day, and Anatomy, Pathology, or Histology labs.

What surprised you most about this degree?

I think, more than just this degree, what has surprised me most is how easy the transition to living in Sydney has been. It’s a lovely city, the people I’ve met are very friendly, and the university has terrific facilities and resources. It has felt like second nature, and the ease to which we’ve made friends in the program makes the challenges of going to school so much easier to get through. I am incredibly happy with my decision to come here.

What are your lecturers like?

The lecturers are experts in their fields, and many of them are very passionate about imparting their knowledge. We just had a full block in Haematology at our clinical schools, so we got to spend every day interacting with the lecturers in a much more professional manner. At the core, however, they are all very warm, and friendly, and welcomed any opportunity to teach us in both didactic and hands-on approaches.

Have you been involved in anything outside the classroom?

I have been involved in the Sydney University Medical Society, Med Revue, Interfaculty Sports team, Central Clinical School Student Society, and I have attended three medical student conferences this year.

What are your future career plans?

I am very passionate about maternal and children’s health, particularly in the context of public health. I would like to either go into Obstetrics & Gynaecology, or General Practice, with a focus on maternal health. I hope to pursue global health and health policy work, as I had worked in this field extensively after undergrad, and before beginning medicine.

Any advice for someone who is thinking about applying for the Doctor of Medicine?

Medicine is a lot of work, but if your motivations are pure, it is incredibly rewarding. 

You can’t help but become completely absorbed by everything you are learning, and the community you are building around you. You don’t need to have studied science before to be successful - it’s great to see that people come with such different backgrounds, but our mutual dedication to education, the profession, and the patients has aligned us. 

The experience at Sydney has been unmatched, and the friends you will make will become a huge part of building your experience.

16 October 2017

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