After seven years of gruelling study and dedication to become an MD Brendan Goodwin is about to commence his intern year at Princess Alexandra Hospital. With the pressure of his final exams behind him, this Doctor of Medicine graduate will soon be able to immerse himself in new overseas experience, learning from international medical leaders in London and Montreal.
The Careers Team asked Brendan about his uni experiences, reflections on being part of the first Griffith Honours College cohort and where he sees his future heading.
Why did you choose to study medicine?
I originally went into Biomedical Science with view to one day studying medicine. However I changed my mind about my end-goal a few times throughout the course of my undergraduate degree, but came back around to the idea of medicine by the end.
What are the most interesting things you learned in your degree?
I think many people have a warped view on what a medical degree entails. About half of what we learn is not science-based at all. We also study ethics, law, communication skills, statistics and public health, just to name a few.
How did you get involved in the Griffith Honours College?
I was a member of the very first cohort of the Griffith Honours College. I became involved because I automatically gained membership when I received a Sir Samuel Griffith Scholarship when I finished high school. When we started with GHC, we all knew we were pioneers of something special.
What opportunities did the Griffith Honours College offer you?
The GHC opened up so many doors for me as both an undergraduate and postgraduate medical student. One of my highlights was my trip to Peru in 2009, where we assisted the work of the not-for-profit organisation Peru’s Challenge which creates opportunities and provides basic education, healthy food and fresh running water for children. I also represented Australia at the 2011 International Medical Students’ Conference on Health in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Did you work throughout your degree?
I worked part-time through my whole university career at a theatre. I believe it’s important to have colour and diversity in your interests, and to explore all of these to their full potential.
What are you looking forward to most about going overseas to do your final placements?
Most of my clinical training has been in South East Queensland, so it will be interesting to get out of this corner of the world, and see how medicine is practiced in other parts of the globe. My last two placements will be overseas, working in HIV & Sexual Health in London, and Gastroenterology in Montreal. Working with some of the world’s leaders in their field should provide inspiration and their passion is something I’m looking forward to witnessing.
When you were 18 years old, did you imagine you would be doing what you’re doing today?
Honestly, no. When I was 18, I was obsessed with looking into the future and planning every step. I would get so hung up on whether I was going down “the right path” and whether I was doing what I really wanted to do. If I could go back I’d tell myself, not to stress too much about it. Just take every day at a time, and eventually you’ll realise you’re where you’re meant to be. And even if you’re not, the world doesn’t come to an end when you make a decision to change.
Looking back on your life up until now, what do you consider to be your biggest achievement?
I often have to pinch myself that I have nearly finished medical school. When you’re so involved in it, it’s hard to stand back and look at the big picture to appreciate how big an achievement that is. So right now, I am taking that step back. It’s an achievement that has set me up for the rest of my career, and I am incredibly proud.
What are your career plans for the future?
I will pay my dues as a resident medical officer for a few years before commencing specialty training. By no means is my journey over yet. Medicine is a career made of life-long learning, and I say bring it on.
If you could give one piece of advice to Griffith students, what would it be?
Do what you love, no matter who or what stands in your way. Obstacles are what you see when you take your eyes off your goals.
Top Tips from Brendan
- Don’t stress too much about whether you’re going down the right path.
- It’s important to have colour and diversity in your interests.
- Seek guidance where it is offered, and take advice from supervisors