Hi, I’m Libby and I am a first-year Biomed student from the North Shore of Auckland. I am very excited to share some of my university experience and thought I would start with a reflection of my first semester. Although I am excited to be back on campus for Semester Two, I’ve really enjoyed all of my courses and the independent learning aspect of uni so far.
Back in March before we knew what was coming…
I wish someone warned me about how overwhelming O Week could be before I found it out first hand. I did enjoy some aspects but also found it pretty intense, all of a sudden living with over 400 strangers. I felt much more comfortable once classes started and I could channel my energy into studying, but that’s not to say I wasn’t nervous for my first few lectures!
Week 1 – 3 (Pre-lockdown)
This semester I took POPLHLTH111, BIOSCI107 and CHEM110 which are all needed to apply for medicine and SCIGEN101G as my gen-ed (a paper outside of your major that you get to pick). The first day of lectures was a nice introduction but the content ramped up from there. I began changing some of my study strategies as what worked for me in high school was not efficient enough to handle the university workload. I had the opportunity to go to two labs before lockdown (one for BIOSCI107 and one for CHEM110. In our chemistry lab, we made aspirin and I loved getting to use a range of new equipment. Our tutors were very helpful, which made for a great experience despite the pressure that came with being assessed in each lab. Overall, the first few weeks went fast and I was just settling in when…
Week 4 – 6 (Level 4 lockdown)
Lockdown was announced. We had a teaching free week, giving everyone the opportunity to head home and prepare for online uni. In my courses, we had a mixture of pre-recorded lectures, Zoom office hours and online lab activities. I found the transition to online learning pretty smooth and began to get a good grip on study strategies that worked for me (lots of flashcards, active recall and spaced repetition). Once I figured my approach out, the workload felt a lot more manageable all the way up until the mid-semester break.
We even managed to recrystallise some Panadol in lockdown as part of a chem lab, kitchen chemistry!
Week 7 – 9 (Online uni continued)
As soon as the 2-week break was over, we launched into mid-sem tests. This made the second half of the semester much busier and I was grateful that I started prepping during the break. These few weeks were a blur with one test after the next. A key difference I found from high school was that we had no break in new content to study for each test and certainly no revision periods. This made it all the more important to stay on top of everything. It was a big relief when our tests were over, but there was not much breathing room before we launched into more content for the exam.
Week 10 – 12 (Still online… but nearly there!)
Again, this felt like a bit of a blur, as we finished our last online labs and launched into exam study. The workload didn’t ease up but we reached some topics I found really interesting (such as neuroscience) which made it easier to push through to the end of the semester. Overall, although semester one was very busy, my courses were fascinating and I am looking forward to starting four new ones in a couple of weeks!
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or topics you would like me to cover in the future 🙂
If you want to read about the biomed courses in more detail, I really recommend checking out the Student Association for the Medical Sciences (SAMS) link: https://www.samsuoa.com/stage-i-reviews
These course descriptions were great as they meant I knew what to expect for every topic. I would’ve also loved to read them last year when I was deciding what to study as they provide very useful insight into each course.