• MSO wishes all applicants the best of luck in the UCAT!
    Remember, it is important not to post content about specific questions until this season is over (feel free to message a moderator about questions that we can collate later) but we would love to hear about your experiences and results!
    Cheers, Mana
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Gold Star Competition - Best blogger wins!


Dental Moderator
DJ May
Hey everyone,

I'm not sure if you are all aware but this site has a hidden blog section: https://medstudentsonline.com.au/forum/xfa-blog-home/

It used to be fairly active but not so much these days, in light of this, I thought it'd be a good idea to promote some blogs by hosting a gold star competition!

You can blog about whatever it is you like - be as creative as you want.

The best blogger will get a gold star, the benefits of a gold star include (but are not limited to) site privileges, such as the following (you get to pick one, not all of them!):

1. permanent change of username colour to a colour of your choice
2. restore or grant access to chatbox to someone who does not have access
3. permanent change of username to a username of your choice (you can use Unicode symbols!)
4. increase inbox size

Blogs will remain anonymous (to avoid any voting bias) until the announcement of the winner.

LMG! has offered to post the blogs on the entrants' behalf. Basically, once you finish writing your blog - send it over to LMG! through a private message with a title such as "your_usernames blog entrance" and LMG! will post it on your behalf. The blog with the most likes wins! Multiple blog posts are allowed.

Note: For those of you with not enough posts to send a private message, please make a wall post on LMG!'s page. That way you can be private messaged directly (otherwise posts a few times on the forum too and the function will be unlocked for you :)).

Blogs must be in by the end of June!

Happy blogging everyone!

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Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Author: Anonymous (to be updated)

I am a Muslim woman. I am from [redacted]. I am 22 years old.

I saw that there has been a movement for Kiwis to wear headscarves on the Friday after the Christchurch massacre in solidarity with the Muslim community. I was deeply touched by the sentiment, and by the endless love and support that not only my community, but I personally, have received.

I do, however, take issue with #headscarfforharmony, which (while meant with the kindest of intentions) reflects Orientalist ideologies. Orientalism is a way in which the Western world has constructed its understanding of non-Western countries by defining the Eastern world by what the Western world is 'not' rather than what the Eastern world is.

An entire group of people is overlooked in Western media, and this reflects implicit Orientalism, even among groups who claim to oppose it.

There are many, many Muslim women who do not veil. We do not wear a hijab, a burka, a niqab, a chador – not because we have chosen actively to unveil, or because we or our families have been influenced by Western culture, but because veiling is not an inherent part of Islam. It is not mentioned anywhere in the Quran. The choice is therefore not whether to not veil, rather the choice is to veil.

These women do not fit into the Orientalist narrative of Islam, being neither Westernised, and therefore “liberated from their oppressive religion”, nor shrouded beneath a veil or headscarf. They are entirely overlooked – they are not mentioned in any literature that I could find, not by Muslim or non-Muslim writers.

The only thing that the Quran says about dress is that everyone should dress modestly, and basically that we should not be checking each other out constantly. What we define as “modesty” is left largely to personal interpretation. Some Muslim women choose to cover their hair in public; that is their interpretation of modesty, which is completely valid and legitimate.

Why, then, is the narrative of the veiled Muslim woman so prevalent in Western thought? The answer, again, lies in Orientalism.

When an entire group of people are defined by what the Western world “isn't”, the perception of these people will shift with Western identity and idea of self. Like the Orient was constructed as the antithesis of the East, Muslim women represent what Western women are not.

In earlier times, Muslim women were depicted as sexually active and exotic, when Western women were meant to be demure and pious. Now Western women are meant to be liberated and sexually free, Muslim women are portrayed as repressed and ignorant; the termagant has been swapped for a slave.

Women who veil bear the brunt of Islamophobia, with 60 per cent of attacks on Muslim-perceived people in London between July 2014 and July 2015 being against veiled women.

Wear a headscarf in solidarity with the women who have been attacked for showing their religious and cultural identity, but understand that that is not representative of Muslim women as a whole.



Most Helpful Member and Staff Member of the Year 2017-2018
Blog Entry 2.
Author: Anonymous (to be updated).

I guess this is primarily for me to air my thoughts about medicine, so that I can look back at it and reflect. If I try to keep all this in my head, I'll cut out all the nasty bits and make myself seem better than I really am.

Hi. I'm a highschool leaver, and I want to do medicine. Saying it out loud makes me sound like a prick, but it's true. I've mulled over it long and hard for the past half a year. It all began with a time of compulsory work experience by the school. The requirements were that you either did work experience of your choice during that week, or you went to a host of universities to listen to talks and other activities. I just wanted to cop the easy way out and not organise anything - but alas my parents had other plans.

They set me up with a recently immigrated surgeon (I don't want to give away too specific details in case you sleuths track him down). Anyway my parents had met this guy at church, and began to talk. They had proposed for me to do work experience with him and he happily obliged. However, he was unable to do it during the work experience week, and suggested doing it during a holiday. I however did not, I absolutely hated the idea of hanging around in a hospital constantly standing from 7am to 7pm and more importantly, I didn't want to waste my holiday. Note, this was in year 10 and the idea of my parents encouraging me into any career path, let alone a medical career path (I've got asian parents), was a cause for rebellion. I tried postponing it or cutting out altogether but they really just wanted me to try it out. Eventually, I we came to a compromise - I'd try it out for a week during my two week holiday and only during then.

I think this is where it all changed. I went to the hospital (a large tertiary one) wearing a dress shirt a bit too big for me and black skinny jeans in place for slacks. I met him in the lobby on the ground floor, and he brought me through the security doors into the ward where the doors of opportunity opened literally and figuratively. Contrary to what I had thought, I think I actually enjoyed it. I spent about 60% of my time in clinic, and maybe 30% of my time in the operating theatre, with the other 10% being in their daily rounds around the hospital. When I say I enjoyed it, I mean I enjoyed all of it. Something about it all was so enthralling to me. The rounds were varied and full of patient interaction. The clinics were full of interesting cases and a fair bit of paperwork. The operating theatre showed me the fragility of life. Unfortunately I don't remember all the things that happened and I don't know whether I'd breach any confidentiality contracts by divulging the cases that I saw, but needless to say, it caught my attention. I had even forgotten how tired my legs were after every day there - a primary concern. It didn't feel like a waste of my holiday and that bugged the crap out of me. Let me explain, I really did not want to tell my parents that I low-key enjoyed it and by enjoying my time there, it felt like I had completely failed to prove to my parents that they couldn't push me into the career path that they wanted me to do. When it ended after a week, I was genuinely angry at myself for making it only last for a week.

Later on during my holiday between year 10 and 11 I went to Singapore for a holiday. My mum had to get a tooth removed because it was rotting and so we made arrangements to visit an oral maxillofacial surgeon that our dentist in Australia was classmates with. I don't know what prompted me to go with her for the consultation, but I am glad that I did. At the end of the consultation, he doctor asked whether I would be interested in a couple of days of work experience with him seeing as though I was a year 11 guy with no plans for university. This was a chance for me to test the waters somewhere else - so I jumped in. This was a different kind of beast altogether. It was a private practice so it was small and closely knit, and the patients were of the wealthier kind. Oralmaxillofacial surgery seemed pretty interesting to me as well, the way they used technology like 3D printing to plan jaw surgeries really did amaze me back then. Anyway, soon my time there was over and I came back to Australia.

This sort of sat in the back of my mind until year 11 finished. I had been doing well in school and was actually beginning to consider medicine as a career path. That is when I personally approached the surgeon that I had initially done work experience with to take me back to the hospital again. We managed to arrange a short stint during the holiday in between year 11 and in the first term break in year 12. This time, I payed closer attention to what they were doing. I wanted to see whether I could do medicine and enjoy it - not just the final product of becoming a specialist (in this case a surgeon), but whether I could also endure the years of hardship being a resident and an intern. I talked deeper with the junior doctors and asked them harder hitting questions. I asked them how much they worked and what they did/didn't like about their jobs. I asked them about their life outside of work, I asked them about their paths to becoming a doctor, I asked them about the social atmosphere in the hospital. Some of it scared me - the fact that one of them had attempted doing the SETS exam twice and failed to match into her wanted speciality both times or how one of them said they worked 90 hours in a week. But some of it all seemed so enticing - the fact that they slept so little and yet showed so much attention to detail showed to me that those that did do medicine really enjoyed it. I payed closer attention to who they were, their character and their personalities. I saw them demonstrate humility, bending down to tie a patient's shoelace or kneeling down to give a pediatrics kid a sticker when they were crying, but also good leadership, asking for input from nurses and superiors and voicing concerns to their seniors. I wanted to be like them - the people that they were.

I want to be that caring, I want to help them at their lowest points. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm actually pursuing medicine with the right mindset at all. Sometimes I panic in my mind when I try to answer the classic interview question 'What are your motivations for doing medicine?'. I often question my intentions, and I fear that my motivations are pretty weak. What if they use the response, 'Why not go into nursing?'. Sometimes I wonder whether it would be better if I just chose to do something else and spare myself the self reflection needed to find my motivations. To be honest, even after writing this out, I don't think I'd be able to succinctly explain what my motivations are. Perhaps it is because 'I can imagine myself going through the process, and enjoy not only the end result of specialising, but also the journey to that point', perhaps it is because 'I just like to talking and helping people, I like caring for others', or maybe its just because 'It's the only thing that I've done work experience for so I know the most about it.' Are my motivations strong enough? Only the the interviewer will be able to tell.

I'm scared for the future. Year 12 isn't going as well as I had hoped, my predicted was around a 99.6 and people in the year group above said the lowest first round offer that they heard from the local university was a 99.75 and a 90+ UMAT. I feel like I'm not going to make it, I haven't done UCAT and I find it genuinely hard. I can only see my ATAR going down from here. I've completed my semester 1 exams and needless to say they weren't good enough to pull up my ATAR. I've done 50% of year 12 and my ATAR is still below a first round cutoff from the source above. I feel like I'm trying to hold water in my bare hands, and I can see it slipping through my fingers. Predicted ATARs are unreliable, which only feeds into the uncertainty in my mind. Perhaps I should cut my losses here and move onto something else. Maybe I should just bite the bullet and run with it. I have mental breakdowns about it. I go to a highly competitive school, and I've got numerous friends that are wiping the floor with my grades and are aiming for larger and harder fish to fry like Monash. When I look around all I see is people's backs because they are all ahead of me. Is the smell of defeat in the air?

There is one thing that I know for sure - I want to do it with the right intentions. One of the first things that the surgeon I was with said to me in that work experience period in year 10 was this:

"Medicine is not a rich career path, it is an honourable one. Do it for the right reasons."*

*May not have quoted him properly - it was 2 years ago lmao.


Dental Moderator
DJ May
Just an update: due to the lack of participation, all those that participated get a gold star. Make sure you participate in future competitions!

Thanks for entering! If your blog was posted here, please pm Mana, pi, _brooke or Stuart to redeem your gold star. :)

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