Lil Declassified BME Survival Guide

Hey guys!

Hope everyone reading this fresh off the press is having a great midsem break! Or if it’s not midsem anymore.. hope you are having a great day, not just a good day! Time flies, doesn’t it? One moment you’re chilling writing about the ethics of syphillis treatments… and suddenly you have a MEDSCI142 Test and BIOMENG261 Test next week, and have got to get your PCB designs in the week after…

Future Biomedical Engineering stars, the path you are yet to step foot on is a long and treacherous one. Fret not – a little survival guide is here! (aka, if i could go back in time and scream this at myself 7 months ago, i would.)


I know, I know, what’s the point of coming to Uni when there are lectures recorded online? We, in this post-lockdown era, are incredibly lucky to have lectures recorded for our own convenience. But I Stress: BME content can get quite heavy.

MEDSCI142 and BIOSCI107 is the main culprit for this one…

  • Attend lectures in person if you can! The Grafton folks are notorious for saying important information and not having it on the slide, so being there in person to absorb all the information livetime can guarantee a more solid understanding!
  • Labs are really great for contextualising. In BME P2 Sem2 we have labs for every course… which is intense, but more often than not they’re good fun and make things easier to remember (especially with a dead rat in front of you). And don’t be lazy, do your lab pre-readings (MEDSCI) and pre-videos (BIOMENG 241).
  • TEST YOURSELF. Turns out, you want to make yourself feel as stupid as possible before the exam by throwing questions at yourself so that you won’t feel stupid in the exam hall!
    • Flashcards are your best friend for the medical courses, and there are tons of online sets made by previous students so you won’t have to go thru the tedious effort of making 100+ manually.
    • Practice questions are your go to for the engineering courses. Grind those past papers out and you’ll be A-Okay!

Basically: Don’t be like me. (i implore you. i didn’t watch 107 lectures for weeks and crammed it all in the break. i was not the same. i was a shell of a human. you can be better.)

Internships. Yeah. yikes…

The grim reality of Internship Hunt is rearing its ugly head as rejection emails start to trickle in. As a second year, the internship hunt means having more odds stacked against you as it seems that most companies want penultimates (Part 3) or final years. Hopeful as we were, most of my friends are still without internships (despite being absolute superstars at what they do!) I will have another post detailing the internship hunt, but for now..

  • It’s all about how you advertise yourself! You can find experiences anywhere – your part-time min wage job, volunteering, sucky group projects…
  • BELIEVE in what you say! Internship prep is definitely a tough time because it isn’t easy to reflect on yourself and think of some amazing things we’ve done, so its best to truly believe what you claim and be able to back yourself up!
  • It’s much less common getting an internship in second year than we think! And it really isn’t the end of the world! While participating in the whole internship rush is a valuable learning lesson, don’t let it be more than that if it doesn’t work out! As in, you are still a superstar!

The main difference in doing internships P2-P3 and P3-P4, I believe, is the graduation ceremony you attend. The logistics of grad roles in Part 4 still work out for you even if you didn’t get an internship in Part Two. Not saying don’t try, but just don’t cry – it gets better.

Do other things! aka Club Guide

I love my lecturers and course content and all, but the best part of university is the part where it’s not ‘university’. As in clubs, social events, networking etc. These key experiences build your character, as well as being wonderful networking opportunities. There are tons of awesome clubs up there, and getting executive roles in them would be great for CVs (among other benefits)!

Not sure what extracurriculars to do? Alright, here’s a recipe that you can customise..

  • Your Specialisation Association
    • For the BME hopefuls, this will be BESA (Biomedical EngineeringScience Students Association). They are your go-to for the big BME experience – networking events, CV workshops, speed interviews, connecting you guys to industry.
    • Also highly recommend joining any mentorship program if there is! The candid advice from my mentor has been such a big help. (Fun fact: my BESA mentor is the BME blogger from 2022! Circle of life moment)
  • Technical Skills Clubs
    • A surefire way to impress the industry folks is joining clubs that focus on technical skills. Lots of them are Programming related, eg WDCC, GDSC, MSA… to name a few. If you’re a BME potential wanting to specialise in the software side, then do consider looking into them and joining!
    • There are also Case Competitions or Hackathons hosted by companies – no, we are not going to be hackers, this is simply designing the best solution for a problem presented by the hosts!
    • Want to go to the BME robotics side? Consider joining UoA’s awesome robotics clubs!
    • Programming Languages Mastery as well as Problem Solving skills are super sought after in the industry – get them while you can!
  • Something you enjoy
    • If you love sport, join the Engineering Eagles in their sports competitions and keep the Engineering winning streak going! There are also student-run sports competitions under the Engineering Faculty.
    • If you love comedy, singing, dancing, playing sick riffs on an instrument, painting, sewing, videography, photography, being behind the tech booth, sound engineering, lights engineering, … ahem.. there’s a lot here… join the Engineering Revue! (i am in this one, it is cool and i won’t shut up about it i apologise)

Take care of yourself.

There is just something so intrinsic about the Engineer’s wish to always be struggling and never know peace, I know. There is always more you can be doing other than resting, I know… but rest is all a part of productivity too. You all are superstars in your own right, don’t forget to take MEANINGFUL breaks (not scrolling thru Reels for 2 hours). Talk to friend, make yourself food, go on a walk, freshen up with a shower, while you’re in the midst of your cram sessions. (and maybe the Leech will finally stop smelling like body odour).

And that’s all from me for now! Hope everyone is swimming along fine!

– Ashley

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *