"The University of Melbourne offered exactly what I was looking for from a university experience: culture and dynamics. I was immersed in an academic haven, yet learning was holistic, which was pivotal in my academic pursuit."
Sherine started the Master of Public Health in 2020, after completing the Bachelor of Biomedicine and Diploma in Languages (Spanish) at the University of Melbourne in 2019. She comes from India and Malaysia.
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Why the Master of Public Health?
The subject that piqued my interest in pursuing the Master of Public Health (MPH) was our final core subject in third year – BIOM30001 Frontiers in Biomedicine. The subject addressed the current research landscape of the biomedical field, and each field had a population health component, which captivated me. I found it insightful to view healthcare from a bigger perspective and have always been an advocate for ensuring that individuals who are subject to certain policies are able to experience the benefits of said policies in their entirety.
Thus, the MPH would be my next step in pursuing this and uncovering the intricacies of healthcare policy.
Why the Bachelor of Biomedicine?
I chose to study the Bachelor of Biomedicine due to its structure, as well as the fact that we’d be able to choose from 15 majors, thanks to the 6 core subjects in first year.
The core subjects in first year allowed for flexibility in second year, which was ideal for someone like me, who did not want to feel restricted to certain streams or components upon choosing my major.
The Bachelor of Biomedicine was phenomenal, but what made it even more so was the amount of support I received from my lecturers and the Faculty.
Biomedicine taught me to be analytical and critical of scientific discourse. It also ensured that I would apply key principles rather than memorise them, which I believe is key to fully understanding the information you are being taught.
I also learned how to interpret raw data, analyse and present the data graphically, which is key should I choose to undertake further research in the field. I loved the scientific communication parts of the course as it enabled me to integrate my love for writing with my scientific knowledge, which again is an important skill that is often overlooked in scientific courses
Why the University of Melbourne?
The University of Melbourne offered exactly what I was looking for from a university experience: culture and dynamics. I was immersed in an academic haven, yet learning was holistic, which was pivotal in my academic pursuit.
Thanks to the Melbourne Model, I was able to pursue my love for Spanish and graduating with a concurrent Diploma in Languages alongside the Bachelor of Biomedicine.
Being President of Amnesty International was definitely one of the highlights of my undergraduate degree. I joined Amnesty International to pursue my passion for human rights and social justice. It provided me with a platform to connect with like-minded individuals about the ever-pressing issues facing our world, as well as enabling us to advocate for social justice of those wrongly persecuted. It truly was a rewarding experience.
I admire the versatility of the course structure here at the University of Melbourne. The Bachelor of Biomedicine is tailored to allow students to explore various areas in the discipline without limiting us to a biomedical course that purely addresses human biology. In fact, one of our core subjects (Experimental Design and Data Analysis) was pivotal in aiding my decision for further study. I also appreciate how the university encourages us to undertake subjects that are independent of our academic discipline in order to exercise the importance of adaptability across the curriculum
Diploma in Languages (Spanish):
The next highlight would be my concurrent diploma. This was undoubtedly the best way to end my undergraduate degree – doing something I love and have been so passionate about for so long.
I chose to do the Spanish Breadth Track then later pursued this further as a concurrent Diploma in Languages. I chose Spanish as I’ve always been fascinated by the history, culture, language and arts of the Hispanic world. The course was therefore so exciting. I was able to advance my proficiency in Spanish and even write research papers analysing film, art and culture – a whole other dimension of academia that I had not ventured into during the Bachelor of Biomedicine.
I believe languages play an incredibly important role to our understanding and perspective of the world, and it is so beautiful to be able to learn about different cultures and share this knowledge with others. However, one thing I've found quite challenging would definitely be essay writing. Due to my predominantly science background, I never expected to write a university essay. It was definitely difficult to accustom myself in such a short period of time to essay writing, but I believe this is such a critical life skill that is often overlooked and underestimated if you stem from a science background.
Advice for students
Your academic pursuit really is what you make it – and your lecturers are here with a wealth of knowledge waiting to be shared. You just need to take the first step and reach out, which is what I did, and that’s how I learned so much more about the opportunities and options available to me.
You are in charge of your own journey, and there is no rush to the finish line. We are gifted with so many resources here at the University just waiting to be reached out to. When I lacked direction, I spoke to my lecturers and sought after their advice. I joined clubs and societies to pursue my passions, meet people from diverse backgrounds and most importantly, learn more about myself and where my capabilities lie.
Once you believe in yourself and are disciplined in your art, it’s just a matter of making it happen. This mantra really got me through some of the most challenging days at university.
I am inspired by the ability of university students to create tangible change, not only to their own personal development but to their communities as well. Moreover, I am inspired by our capability to never stop learning and adapting. The determination to go beyond the status quo, which I see so many women in STEMM achieving, inspiring. Our university is a prime example, where incredible women who have been pioneers in their academic fields continue to dream, manifest and achieve.
My parents are inspiring. They’re immigrants but my dad decided to take the road less travelled and pursue his passion, and his dedication provided me with the opportunity to study overseas and have the most incredible university experience.
I came across this quote from Steve Jobs that went something along the lines of ‘if you’re going through hell, why would you stop there?’ Implying that you can only go up from rock bottom, and brave through the odds.
I also really learnt to believe in myself and not doubt my strength. Surrounding yourself with a group of people who encourage you, yet also challenge you to be the best version of yourself, is so important – your future self will thank you!
Transition to university:
The transition was a challenge; however, I was very fortunate to go to a high school that prepared us for the expectations of university. I studied A-levels, part of the British Curriculum, which gave me an idea of the academic rigour I would expect during the first year of university.
It’s always overwhelming to leave everything you’ve ever known for the past 19 years and immerse yourself into an environment where you don’t know anyone. It was also my first time out of Asia, and there were so many new experiences awaiting me.
Being away from home, making friends was slightly intimidating, but I stayed grounded in the fact that everyone was in the same boat as me; just left home, wide-eyed and ready to immerse themselves in ‘the best three years of their lives’, as working adults would often say.
I also missed the glorious food – but I joined MoMU (Malaysians of Melbourne University) on Clubs & Societies Day to help myself find a sense of belonging and a home away from home.