Hannah, MBChB Student
What inspires you about Science at Warwick?
Science at Warwick is continuously evolving. It is a fast-paced environment and theorised treatments or principles you learn in first year will have become a reality by the time you graduate. By having world leading researchers as lecturers, students are emersed in the scientific community and feel involved in breakthroughs. We are both challenged and supported to grow as independent learners and thinkers at a pace suited to where you are in your University journey. With educators having an open-door policy, you never feel alone, and help is always on hand. Everything is evidence-based and not rooted in tradition, so you can feel secure in your ever-growing knowledge base.
What made you choose to study a science-based subject?
As a kid I was always taking things apart, trying to understand how they worked. There was a particular primary school teacher who encouraged this destructive curiosity and enabled me to explore everything and anything and having that unfiltered support allowed the scientist in me to grow.
That general curiosity in how things worked (and broke) was refined to the human body and I started to pursue a career as a doctor. Science is fundamental in Medicine; you need to understand normal physiology before learning about disease processes and treatment. However, if science is not your strongest suit, the Medical School are incredible at making all the concepts accessible so never allow that to put you off. The science of Medicine is an art form and extremely varied. Medicine builds from biochemical principles and spans all the way to psychological concepts and sociology. This variety means that I never have to limit myself as a scientist and I know this degree, and where it takes me, will never leave me bored.
What was your journey like getting from School to Warwick? Is there any advice you would give to your younger self?
My journey to Warwick definitely was not a straight-forward one. I knew Medicine was the career I wanted but I ended up having to take a year out between my A-level years and studying a different degree first. I self-taught my A2 subjects whilst sofa surfing and ended up achieving AAC. I missed out on my 3 offers for undergraduate Medicine and chose to study Biomedical Sciences. Doing an undergraduate degree before joining Warwick, allowed me to heal and understand myself as an academic and what learning techniques work for me.
Advice to my younger self would definitely be, be kinder to yourself. It is so easy to compare your journey to someone else’s and punish yourself for not achieving things at the same pace. Be proud of your journey and do not be ashamed of what makes you stand out. When things are hard, never be afraid to ask for help and it is always okay to take a break. I feel blessed for the curveballs that have been thrown my way, I know the clinician I will become has been shaped by the adversity I have lived through.
What's been the most exciting or innovative project/module you've taken part in and why?
By far ‘Clinical Anatomy and Imaging. The whole team works incredibly hard to make the subject as engaging as possible. At Warwick we have plastinated human tissue specimens which are expertly dissected to give us a unique and invaluable perspective into the human body (we also get to handle real human bones which is exciting!). Viewing plastinated specimens allows us to start conceptualising our learning and we also get to quiz the teaching fellows on anything we are stuck on or are just inquisitive about.
This theme is never 2-dimensional and is created to make us think abstractly as well as logically. Living with a neurodevelopmental disorder means textbook learning and traditional teaching methods do not work for me and this was one of my biggest fears starting Medical School. However, anatomy is catered to all the learning styles. The way this part of the course is taught is separated into ‘Watch-It, See-It, Do-It’ tasks. Watch-It tasks incorporate the lectures, whereas See-It tasks involve the specimens.
Do-It tasks are really unique and different every week. Some of the Do-It tasks involve drawing, constructing and scratch-cards. With the scratch cards, we go round different specimens and answer questions; whoever gets the highest points wins a prize at the end of the year. The draw and construct tasks will get you to apply your learning kinetically, it might be using Velcro to stick labels on different pictures, using string to build and exemplify nerve and arterial pathways, or cutting out different regions of the body to then fold and make a 3D paper model. We also work in trios on medical imaging, where as a group, you tackle questions on medical imaging and sectional anatomy, bringing together everyone’s knowledge. The final Do-It tasks are seminars on a specific part from a lecture that week, that people normally struggle with.
Associate Professor of Clinical Anatomy, Dr Erin Fillmore, cannot go without a mention here. Not only is it inspiring seeing a woman in a senior role, she thinks outside the box and delivers teaching in ways I could never have thought of (she also has the cutest dogs!). Dr Fillmore’s seminars take you back to being a child, drawing along with her, to break down convoluted pathways into understandable chunks. I hadn’t picked up a glue stick since primary but since starting Medicine, I have been cutting and sticking, colouring in and building. Dr Fillmore is not afraid to be silly in her teaching and the laughter definitely reinforces our learning.
I am very proud of being part of Warwick Medical School and the anatomy team are one of the major influences on this inclusive feeling.
What three words would you use to sum up being a female scientist at the University of Warwick.
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