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Medical Sciences

At a Glance

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G’day everyone,  my name is Sarah and I am in the faculty of science entering into my second year of medical sciences at Western. My first year was a rollercoaster ride in terms of both my academic learning curve and my personal experiences. It was by far the best year of my life, and in hindsight I really appreciate my high school self’s decision to come to Western. 

WHY MED SCI?

Like a lot of other medical science students, I currently have aspirations to go into medicine. However, I am also very interested in the possibilities that a career in medical research offers. I am originally from New Zealand where we essentially jump straight into medical school and so I choose to come to Canada to do an undergraduate degree first. I appreciate that this will allow me to take the time to find out what interests me the most in the medical field and if medical school does not work out in the end I will still have a valuable degree that I can use to take my career in a different direction. I also heard amazing things about the social life at Western (it did not disappoint), which is definitely an important factor to balance alongside your academics. 

MY FIRST YEAR COURSES

Biology 1001/1002 and chemistry 1301/1302 are required courses for med sci. You have some choice around which calculus and physics courses you take in both first and second semester. Personally, I chose to take applied math 1201B second semester and physics 1028/1029 because I know that I am not as strong in the calculus department. I am aware some people chose to take calculus 1301B, as a full year calculus credit can be a requirement for some medical schools, so do your research and check the medical schools you might apply to in the future.

Additionally, you have 1.0 elective courses left, so you can choose a whole year elective or two single semester electives. Med sci students often take psychology 1000 as it is an interesting and useful course. Another thing to consider is to work towards fulfilling the graduation requirements of taking 1.0 courses from each of category A,B and C, and taking 2.0 essay courses. As science and math courses are category C,  I chose to take biological anthropology and archaeology 1026F (Category A) first semester, and Gender, Justice and Chance women's studies 1022G (Category A/B) second semester. These were both topics I was very interested in so I found it easy to do well in them. First year med sci courses can feel overwhelming sometimes, so taking an elective that you are passionate about can be very helpful to relieve some of the stress.
 

FIRST SEMESTER

SECOND SEMESTER

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KEY BUILDINGS ON CAMPUS

As a medical science student you will likely become very familiar with a few buildings in particular. North campus building is where we attended lectures in NCB101, as well as biology wet/dry labs on the upper levels. It has a nice cafe if you need a quick snack in between classes and seating for a study spot.

The natural science centre is where we attended physics courses. It is a great place to spend your time between classes as it is close to the north campus building, it has lots of food places including a Tim Hortons, Pizza Pizza and a cafe. Additionally, at the back of the building is the Taylor library which is a good study spot. 

The material science addition is the building where chemistry and physics laboratories are held. It is just to the right of natural science but can be a little tricky to find initially so make sure you get someone like a soph or tour guide to show you its location before your first lab. It is also a good place to meet up with lab partners to check over your lab reports and it is easy to make simple mistakes on them and often helpful to get another's opinion to make sure you are on the right track. 

The UCC is the hub of student life on campus. It has The Spoke (which is famous for its bagels), a Starbucks, a Tim Hortons, a booster juice and more. It has lots of seating areas to eat lunch and there are a lot of facilities that provide student support services here. 
 

Campus Map

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NATURAL SCIENCE CENTRE

1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 5B7

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MATERIAL SCIENCE ADDITION

1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 3K7

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NORTH CAMPUS BUILDING

2004 Perth Dr, London, ON

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UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY CENTRE

1151 Richmond St, London, ON N6A 2K5

MY FAVOURITE STUDY SPOTS ON CAMPUS

  • D B Weldon library is in a convenient spot near the middle of the campus to study by yourself and is easy to find a seat when its not exam season. There are different levels and each has different rules in terms of eating and talking.

  • The Taylor library in natural science had lots of seating for groups if you want to meet up with friends in your programme to study. There are also lots of eateries nearby in the building for lunch or a snack. 

  • The mustang lounge is on the main floor of the UCC behind the food court. It is a nice casual spot with lots of comfy seating to meet with friends to study, eat lunch or relax between classes. 

  • If you live in residence and want a change of scenery from studying in your room there are common rooms on each floor as well as a larger one for the whole residence that can be good for focusing to get work done. 

EXTERNAL RESOURCES

SOPHS

PREP 101

My go to for asking academic questions was my faculty soph (Juicy <3). Fac sophs have recently gone through the same experience in their first year and have the best tips and tricks to help you out. There are also a lot of ‘first year dropbox’ resources that you are likely to find floating around. They often contain useful and recent past exam papers and other course resources. If you don’t receive one just ask your peers, fac soph or LAMP mentors and you should find some. 

Prep101 is a paid tutoring service that gives seminars in preparation for many first year midterms and finals in science and math courses. They often offer lots of free exam prep sessions in the first semester. It is worth signing up for these as they will provide a multiple-hour seminar on the exam, as well as a workbook that summarises the information plus past exam papers. I personally chose to pay for the calculus 1000 final prep session as I am not strong in calculus and I felt I needed the extra help after attending the lectures. I would caution you that it can be easy to come to rely on these sessions which are expensive if used for multiple exams. I believe that it is important to learn how to revise for exams yourself as you will have to do it alone in upper years. I found that the process of summarising all of the course content into your own personalised notes is a helpful learning experience in itself and ensures you don’t miss anything important. 

FINAL WORDS OF WISDOM

Being from a different country meant that I came into Western not knowing anyone. However, within weeks of living in Perth Hall I found some amazing mates on my floor (4 North baby!!) and we are all flatting together in a house next year!! My advice is to put yourself out there when you arrive at Western and say yes to opportunities that put you out of your comfort zone because I found that they led to making the best memories. The medical science module will keep you busy, but you definitely also have time to spend doing things for yourself to look after your mental health and to spend with your friends and meeting new people. I definitely recommend making strong connections with people in your programme as it is helpful to have someone to go through the ups and downs with. Academically speaking it is important to attend ALL of your lectures as they will ALL contain content that will come up on the midterm or final, so if you do miss one make sure you catch up. Get organised early in the semester and read all the course outlines to fill in due dates for the semester, as there is lots to do for each course between lectures, labs, tutorials and assignments. There is nothing worse than losing marks because you were unorganised and forgot to do something.It can be very easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are caught up in  studying for your exams, so make sure you invest some time into doing something that will help you achieve your future goals. This could be researching which honours specialisation might interest and excite you the most, or it could be committing a few hours a week to participate in a club or volunteer (I joined the pre-medical society as they have some great connections with volunteer opportunities). There are a lot of new experiences that you will encounter as you transition to life at Western, so if you are ever unsure about anything make sure you reach out to your faculty soph or the RTU team to ask for advice!! 

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