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Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study.

Hey everyone, 

For those of you taking the time to read the thread I just created, I send my utmost thanks. 
My name is Jake, and for about a couple of years now I have been going through an extended period of contemplation regarding what I would like to study at University. I graduated year 12 in 2010' and at the time of graduation I was denied entry into University because my ATAR was too low. I believe my ATAR was as low as it was because of the amount of subjects that I took when I did year 12. I'm not sure. 

However, since about August last year (maybe even earlier than that), I have developed an almost extremely unparalleled desire to learn, read books (on what I'll get to later), buy academia related books, study, read, write, and learn as much as I am able to given my current out of school status. 

I have taken especial interest in Medicine, anatomy, physiology, psychology, Latin, French, linguistics (neuro, psycho), neurology and grammar. I have had an extremely active mind as of late (for about 2-3 months from memory). It seems as though I have an almost unquenchable desire to read, write and study in the areas of academics I have just mentioned. thinking about reading my 'English Grammar for Dummies' book when I do excites me immensely; I cannot wait to just sit down, be at one with my book and work out when to use its or it's in the correct way. 

Yet another prospect that I yearn to fulfil is entering University and getting right into study mode and doing the best I possibly can in the areas that I end up studying. But which areas do I wish to venture into? Well, that I can give you an answer to. At this very point in time I would love to do medicine. I have had such an high interest in this field for a while now (approximately five years since my obsession with medical doctors began), the human body astounds me in the things it can do (plasticity, disease fighting, healing, learning, memory and muscle movement.) I have been regularly purchasing books on anatomy, medicine, medical dictionaries & whatever medical reference books I can get my hands on. I have been reading them and remaining every so happily engaged when reading them. I've developed extreme fascination with anatomical names (why they are all named what they are named), trying to unravel the etymologies of duodenum, coronary, pyloric, clavicle, sternocleidomastoid, fissure of sylvius. It really goes on and on. 

How much thought have I given entering this particular discipline? A great deal. I don't believe a day has gone by where I simply have not thought about entering this ever fascinating area. Have I thought about how well I would perform in this study? YES, it is the one thing that I think about above everything else. Do I have faith in myself and my intellectual prowess, again yes but not to the extents that I would feel it convinces me that I could succeed at studying medicine.  Am I scared at the potential this may not be for me? Absolutely not. I am going to expend every last neuron my encephalon is cognitively capable of expending and if it isn't enough my brain is on my side to tell me "it doesn't matter that it didn't work out, and I am going to allow you to be happy that it was a happy journey you decided to walk from start, and in the aftermath". 

It would appear that I have my mind made up. I agree I do, but I am still in a time where I can deeply reflect on whether or not I want to chase down a Batchelor in Medicine and a Batchelor in Surgery. I have never been to University before in my life, and maybe I shouldn't be going into such a complex and intricate field for my very first Uni subject. But I would love to get some advice from anyone (it would be preferable if you live in Australia and are familiar with University and all that it entails) but if  you don't and you have some words of encouragement to help me realise what could potentially be a dream come true for me then I emplore you to go right ahead and post your advice. Your advice is warmyl and affably accepted. I'm sure you could teach me a thing or two. 

I would just like to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time to read my little story, and I truly look forward to hearing what you marvelous people have to say. 

- Jake

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hi Jake - Welcome!


It's great to see someone with such passion and enthusiasm for a subject/discipline. I didn't figure out what I wanted to do with my life until I was in my late 20s, and I didn't succeed at that until I was about 30! (I'm 33 now)


If you're passionate enough about something, I think you can always find a gateway to what you want to do. You might find it takes longer to get there — e.g. maybe you need a Science degree first? — but with everything you discover along the way, you end up better for it.


Despite being very interested in nursing, especially clinical nursing, my friend didn't get a very good score at the end of high school and so settled for an English degree. She didn't finish it because she wasn't actually interested in it but ended up working in a doctor's office. She realised straight away that's what she always wanted to do and applied for nursing school, which she starts in 2014. It needed a little bit of briding work, but it wouldn't have happened if she didn't just pursue what interested her.


Congrats on finding what you're really passionate about!

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hey Jake,


I loved reading your story and seeing how passionate you are. I too love learning! I also work at a university and have been studying for six years so I thought I'd send some advice.


Medicine in particular is a very popular discipline. Therefore they can make it very difficult to get in with high scores, lots of tests and interviews. Don't let this put you off tho!


Many people who don't make it into Med the first time choose to do a similar degree, like Science or Biomedical Science, where you can study similar subjects and then get a head start for when you take the leap into Med. Just like Lex said above. I have a few friends myself who have chosen to do it this way. They worked hard in their first degree and were rewarded by reaching their Med dream. I highly recommend that you do some research about which university you'd like to attend and then make an appointment with a course advisor in your faculty who should be able to advise you.


In terms of getting back into study perhaps you could look at doing a short course in something. It'll help you with skills like completing and handing in assignments as well as attendance at class and learning how to communicate with others. There are plenty of short courses around; most university campuses have a short courses centre on site and TAFE has options too. You can even do short courses which are specific bridging courses for those who completed year 12 long ago, my friend completed one recently. It took a year but he was so happy to be back into studying after six years off!


My last piece of advice would be to find a mentor! It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to do and what helped me get there was knowing people in the field. Mentors can be really great for providing more specific advice and teaching skills you wouldn't necessarily learn elsewhere. Plus you can bounce lots of questions off them.


I hope these tips help and I can't wait to hear how you go!







Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Atma, Rex, 

Thank you so much for replying to me!
Respectively, your advice was great!
The piece of advice I appreciated most was that there are multiple gateways or avenues for me to access to get into my area of desired study. That was something that I failed to mention. I have actually been out of study for nearly 3 years now and I miss it so much!
But there are still ways into University for me, the first that comes to mind is applying as a mature age student. 

But a question for you Atma, would Universities in Australia do those bridging classes? They sound very useful for someone of my situation. 
I also have contemplated talking to a careers counsellor at the school where I am thinking of doing medicine. 
I have some important questions I know I would definitely ask them such as: how hard is medicine, how do I know I would do well in it? 
These are the big questions I ask myself a lot. Am I smart enough to do a subject like medicine? Would I be able to reach the extremely high marks they would have for that discipline? 
These are things I really need to ask myself. 

I do not tell myself things like "there is no way you would ever succeed in medicine" or anything of a negative disposition like that at all. I am always saying to myself "I can do it" "I have the right attitude to do it" "I know I would devote hours of study to get the marks and be succesful in this field". And adopting a positive thinking philosophy like that is definitely key. 
It is a great weapon to have on my side! 


Again, thank you for your responses. Hearing it from a person who has been involved in University is definitely even more appreciated on my part! 
So many thanks Atma and Lex! 

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

It sounds like you are on the right track already!


In regards to your question:


I'm in Victoria and not sure which state you're from so I'll use a state based example and then hopefully you can do some research for the universities near you. Most universities down this way have a brach where they offer something like 'foundation studies' although they may be called something different everywhere.


Monash University for example has Monash College where you can study foundation studies in subjects similar to high school and then be offered an opportunity in a Monash University course.


Deakin University does a similar thing through Melbourne Institute of Business and Tech.


These are just two examples of many and varied foundation studies you can undertake. I suggest doing a search using foundation studies and your state as a guide. You are sure to find something and most institutions will offer a place into a university degree after you've completed your foundation course with them. It's an absolutely brilliant model which allows a lot of people opportunities if they've missed out elsewhere.


I too am a mature aged student and most further study institutions will have a lot of support for you. I highly recommend using their facilities or even checking to see if they have any resources/information on returning to study. I'm sure you'd find some!


You sound like you are in the perfect place to be studying right now. Your positive thinking is so great to read! I can't wait to hear about all your success!




Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hey Atma, sorry it has taken me a while to get back to you. I had a problem with the site and being able to reply.
I looked into your links and they sound really good.
I like Monash's foundation years program, I think it could be just what I need. They sound really supportive, and I like the idea of your teachers being able to have a one on one with you to help you. That is such a good thing.

Also, I should say I live in Victoria, Geelong.
I'm a little way away from Melbourne, but it isn't hard to get to Melbourne via trains and use the trams in Melbourne (I don't drive and I seriously don't think driving to Melbourne from Geelong as often as I may need to for my studies. It would cost me a fortune in petrol, and trains are far cheaper than cars!).

Thank you for helping me out Atma, I appreciate it a lot. The time you have taken to read my problems has definitely not gone unnoticed and has been much appreciated.
I will definitely keep in contact with you if you would be interested in seeing how I get a long with all these things. If you would like to e-mail me, that would be fine as well.
My e-mail is [removed], feel free to e-mail me whenever you'd like.

At this point in time, I am still focussing on getting some paid work, and if I get my paid work I am going to look even further into going to some Universities in Geelong potentially Melbourne for the next year. But if I can't get a job this year, I'm going to have to post pone Uni.
That doesn't matter though, all these things in time.
But I am going to try very hard to get a job this year, and I think I will get one, hahahahaha.
I'm going to be especially persistent this year in getting one. It's very important I get one, hahaha!

Again, sorry for the delay and I look forward to hearing from your lovely self again!
Have a great day!

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hey Jake


Our community guidelines require that you preserve your anonymity, which means we don't allow anyone to share their personal information, such as email addresses. Because of this, I've removed your email address from your post.


Please feel free to talk more about this or other things, start new threads and continue to hang out though! We love having you here. Smiley Happy

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hey Rex, my apoligies. 
I didn't realise that this was a rule on the forums. 

If you have any other advice regarding my previous post, I'd love to hear what you have to say!

Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Hey Jake,


I'm glad to have given you some tips and what a coincidence that we're from the same state. That made things a bit easier.


We can't get in touch outside the forums, but I'll definately keep an eye out for your posts and would love to hear how you go with finding a job and study options.


Some Geelong area specific sites you should check out are:


I think passion and enthusiasm are all you need to get somewhere in life and I'm certain that you've got those... keep up the good work!


Go do good things,




Re: Transitioning into tertiary study; advice for exams, University life, finding something to study

Yeah, I agree it is a bit coincidental!
And yeah, I am going to have to settle with talking through here. I'm fine with that given the reasons behind it.

Thank you for believing in me and my desire to go on and study medicine. I think it is a combination of my personal drive to want to do well in life, being willing to work hard for the things that I want, again with the the knowledge that there truly are people who are talking in such a positive and supportive light towards things that matter to me.

I have since spoken to some friends that study at Deakin with some more options and they suggested I go and speak to a careers counsellor at the school.
And also talk with course co-ordinators with regards to the courses themselves (I think it is a great idea to actually get some more information about the course I am going into ; the difficulty of it, other avenues into the course and so on.

Again, thank you for taking me seriously and not telling me how stupid I am for thinking of a career in medicine!