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Thread: Medicine vs. Geography

  1. #1
    Goon Hols's Avatar
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    I've got to choose between taking Geography or Medicine at university-I can't decide and need tips etc. Anyone tried a biology & geo joint honours degree? Are career aspects good/ bad for any of them / similar? Any help appreciated!

  2. #2
    ‹bermensch Hamish Fenton's Avatar
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    To what education level you are at now, are you there because you couldn't make a decision on what you wanted to do a couple of years ago?

  3. #3
    Goon Hols's Avatar
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    I'm not behind yet Hamish-I'm taking my AS levels

  4. #4
    ‹bermensch Roger Wingnut's Avatar
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    I'll give some thoughts in the morning. Bed calls at present. Feel free to message me through these forums/mail me if you want to ask any specific medicine related questions.

  5. #5
    Goon Hols's Avatar
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    Ta Rog! Will do

  6. #6
    ‹bermensch LotC's Avatar
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    Was going to suggest talking to Rog. He beat me to it.

    His medicine is far better than his geography. Allegedly.

  7. #7
    Goon Hols's Avatar
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    lol, nevermind L.o.t.C-ta anyway!

  8. #8
    Mini Goon Rob Allpress's Avatar
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    if you don't LOVE medicine then don't do it! Stick with geo or geo bio mix.

  9. #9
    Mini Goon rstoneh's Avatar
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    Just to throw something into the mix have you looked at Geology or geology/geography mix.

    as someone married to a doc. don't do it unless your really committed to that as a carear!

  10. #10
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    Does not this depend on what a person wishes to take up as a career?

    If the choice of career is working towards a medical path, then selection of medicine would surely be more beneficial, when it comes to future selection of job applicants based on vocational, rather than academic qualifications.

    Taking a medical degree would not necessarily restrict a person's choice to doctor-ship either, in the very near future for example, the only path to becoming a Paramedic will be through university degree.

  11. #11
    Ultra King Peter Clinch's Avatar
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    I was going to do geography but in the end changed to geophysics. At the end of a geography degree the only thing you can do that a geophysicist can't in terms of career options if postgraduate research in geography, but there's quite a bit more open to the geophysicist, not necessarily just geophysics. And it does keep you looking at the Earth and how it works, albeit at a different level to geography.

    I always found geography fascinating and enjoyable, but there's no shortage of other people who find the same and you do end up as one of a crowd. These days I work in a medical school and see a lot of medics passing through: as has been said above, don't do it if you're not committed to it. I know a few people who've gone back and done medicine degrees as second degrees, and on the whole they're well up my list of people I'd like looking after me if I was in here as patient rather than staff!

    Pete.

  12. #12
    Goon Hols's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice guys

    Peter: I agree with what you say about how I could always do medicine as a second degree. If I decide to do that then only 3 years would have been spent going the wrong way instead of the 5 or more years spent on medicine.

    Rob s. : Yeah, I have thought about doing a geology/geography mix

  13. #13
    ‹bermensch Jake's Avatar
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    Quite frankly, Hols, if you are seriously considering geography as opposed to medicine (and assuming that you really do have the academic ability plus the competitiveness necessary to hack it in medicine) then you should choose geography.

  14. #14
    ‹bermensch Roger Wingnut's Avatar
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    This may be a long and rambling post. Difficult to write all the different elements that make up this sort of decision.

    First thing to say is medicine is immensely rewarding, and i wouldn't want to do anything else. It is however hard, not academically - i think it is roughly equivalent to any other science degree in terms of difficulty. It demands a commitment. From first year you will be in classes longer than almost any other students, once you hit clinical years you're in when the docs are in, only unpaid. It's competetive (?sp), unless you are truly amazing then you are unlikely to be top dog in med school, compared to at your own school currently. Getting in is hard because it's such a popular course, 14k applicants for 4k spaces (last time I checked the stats, this may have changed).

    You need to show more than just academic ability. There was a bloke when I entered med school who had straight A's, father was professor in med school where he applied and he didn't pass the interview! Big fuss over that one, but it is more than just academic.

    There's a lot to be said for graduate entry. some of the very best students and doctors I've known entered med school as graduates. It gives you a chance to actually be a student first, before being a student doctor, also you learn how to learn in a Uni environment, something I found really hard. That said competition for graduate places is arguably even higher than for school entry, so you really need to be prepared to shine in your chosen degree prior to applying for med school.

    In summary - hard, tiring, rewarding, respected, not for the faint hearted, or squeamish, but ultimately a choice I have never regretted.

    Any questions you can mail me Hols, or just ask here and I'll do my best to be honest and accurate

  15. #15
    ‹bermensch Ben Bloggs's Avatar
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    In my opinion Jake has it there. In order to get on a medicine course now you need to be quite seriously committed. This means work experience in a hospital (or other relevant place), faultless academic ability and plenty of other non-academic qualities. I have a friend who had all of this (Duke of Ed. Gold, LOADS of work experience, straight A student, 4 A's at A-level) yet was still rejected from all 4 of his choices of medical schools. Luckily for him he got a call from Cardiff Uni in late September (just as he was about to take his unplanned Gap year) and he started on a course just 2 weeks later. He even missed Freshers week!

    Most importantly (and you will hear this MANY times but rarely believe it), go for something you really enjoy. Im currently in my second year of an Economics degree (chosen because I was quite good at it at A-level, was scared of labwork for a chemistry degree and dont read very much so was unsure of a history degree), I dont enjoy much of it and it makes the whole course much harder. Im a typically straight-A student with a flawless academic history since primary school, yet am currently struggling to break past a 2:2 class degree! It's very important to enjoy what you do!

  16. #16
    Ultra King Ddyrchafedig Gyrrwr (Beic Modur)'s Avatar
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    I don't think I worded my first effort very well, but I think I was attempting to say whatRoger Wingnuthas said.

    If you want to become a doctor of medicine, then you have to really be prepared to go for it, if on the other hand you have to ask yourself what choice to make between that and another degree course, then the answer should strike you in the face, and that medical school is not for you!

    And leading on from what Ben has just said too, you really must enjoy what you do, or you wil never survive!

  17. #17
    Super Moderator Metric Kate's Avatar
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    Ben's last point is very important - and I'm sorry that you're not enjoying it as much as you might, Ben. I get quite a few students every year wanting to change degree (both into my subject and out of it) because they're not enjoying it. Subjects at degree level are often very different from 'A' level, many university subjects are not taught at schools, and of course there are fundamental differences in the way most subjects are taught at university as opposed to school. The more you enjoy a subject, the more you'll want to work at it and the better you'll do. I got pretty crap 'A' levels because I hated school, but I found a university course that could have been designed specifically for me, and now I'm a lecturer (and currently an admissions tutor, in a humanities subject).

    It's a good thing to get advice from all angles, Hols, but you've still plenty of time before making a decision, and ultimately you are the only person who can make that decision - it's your life (every year I get students on eg: a history or accountancy degree wanting to swap to my subject, saying that their parents thought they should study that subject. Ahhh!). As you know, lots of universities hold Open Days, many specially designed for people like you about to take their AS levels (Cardiff, which was on your list of possible med schools in that other thread, is on 23rd April). On these things you can go to lectures, meet academic staff and students (the last being absolutely crucial for gathering information about the course and the 'student experience', the latter something academics don't really know about any more and don't want to know!!)

    Gather information about the courses - and for the geography issue in particular, ask universities about employment destinations of their graduates (if necessary, email the admissions tutor). See how you're enjoying the subjects in a few months; consider what you want to do - do you want to be a doctor, or something different? And see how you get on in your AS levels, which could well help you make the decision.

    And even after October it's still not too late - you can withdraw from UCAS and take a gap year if necessary. So I'd suggest you keep getting the info, get the advice and opinions, sleep on it, and make the choice at leisure in the summer!

  18. #18
    ‹bermensch Roger Wingnut's Avatar
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    There's no harm in procrastinating for a couple of years on another degree, so long as you carry on box ticking the CV shining stuff like voluntary work, extra curricular interests, hospital related work experience. Most hospitals have volunteer programs that are well used by people seeking careers in the NHS. Auxiliary nursing, healthcare assistant etc are ways to get exposed to hospitals and healthcare, and also make some money too.

    As I said before, graduate entrants have considerable advantages over school leavers in my experience.

  19. #19
    Widdler Adam Peter's Avatar
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    Ask your college about 'Medlink'; a conference for medical students, it will definitely open your eyes!!

    When doing my AS levels with the aim to study dentistry at uni i nearly dropped out to become a gamekeeper.

  20. #20
    ‹bermensch Jake's Avatar
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    Quite a few bits of advice centring around 'Put the decision off until you're sure.'

    This sort of procrastination is common amongst loads of undergraduates - apart from Medics.From my (admittedly limited) experience of them, they are some of the mostcompetitive, hard-working and intelligentstudents and, crucially, driven to succeed in their chosen field.

    I'm sure that there are indeedsome people thatreturn to University and take medicine as a second degree who are talented but they will have lost 3 years seniority and, presumably, be carrying a big chunk of personal debt from a first degree that , with hindsight, was something of an indulgence.

    I repeat my advice; if you are tempted by geography, medicine is not for you.

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