We’ve had a phenomonal response to our Student Series over the past few months and we’ve loved hearing their stories, their interests and their hopes for the future.
This week we meet Conor Stapleton from Vicarstown, and past pupil of Knockbeg College. who is studying Medicine in Trinity College Dublin.
Conor took the time from studying for his upcoming exams to talk about what life is like as a Medical Student.
Why did you choose to study your chosen course?
I wasn’t one of those lucky few who knew their career path from a young age. I was still switching the order of my CAO choices after the Leaving Cert! During school, I always had a love for science and maths, but I couldn’t see myself spending my life in a lab or behind a desk.
Medicine is a great way of practically applying science whilst also dealing with people daily. It offers a great opportunity to help people when they need it the most. I am well aware of the challenges this profession presents but since I began the course, I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.
If you weren’t studying this course, what would you have done?
Funnily enough, my second choice course was completely different to medicine. In a different life, I could now be studying “Quantitative Business” in UCD. My interest in maths explains my interest in the course but I think I made the right choice!
What are your plans when you finish college?
Once I am finished I face another big choice as to what type of doctor I want to become. At the minute, I am still clueless but I hope my clinical years, starting next year, will lead further insight into which path to follow. Each week I want to specialise in a different area; pediatrics being particularly attractive this week!
Do you think you would like to stay local, or perhaps move away?
I would love to travel and see the world after graduating, but I think my final destination will always be home.
Would you like to move home after college?
As the saying goes, home will always be where the heart is. It’s also where Annanough football is, which I can never see myself leaving.
Do you sometimes feel the pressure of your course?
Without a doubt, it is a pressurised course, similar to the future job I presume. I try as best as I can to timetable my study so I don’t fall far behind but it can be difficult. I have to say that everyone on the course is very helpful and friendly, and there is a strong sense of camaraderie among the class group, which helps greatly with the pressure.
What’s the hardest thing about your course?
The hardest part is trying to fit everything into the seven days of the week. The course has a lot of hours and there is plenty of study to be done as well. I am looking forward to the long care-free days of summer!
Are you looking forward to leaving the student life?
Not particularly! I love living in Dublin and all the opportunities that it presents. I travel home every weekend so it doesn’t ever seem too far away.
What’s your typical college routine?
My lectures generally begin at 9 a.m. which means I get up around 7.30 am. I walk in every morning from Rathmines and lectures usually finish up at around 4 pm. When I get home from College, I usually relax for a while and make dinner, followed by some study.
What’s your favourite part of the course?
Definitely the clinical placement! It gives us an opportunity to talk to real patients and get a sense of what it will be like when we are qualified. You get to see all parts of the spectrum of human emotion from joy to sorrow, and see how you may be able to help one day.
What advice would you give to any student thinking of studying in this industry?
Go for it! In my opinion, it’s a fascinating area of study and it is one with great employment opportunities as well. It offers the chance to travel the world and meet people of vastly different cultures. In my class alone, I have met with so many people who come from such different backgrounds.
In a more practical sense, I advise anyone who is in fifth year now and considering medicine, to begin practicing HPAT (an aptitude test required for entry into medicine through the CAO) questions as soon as possible! They like to sell the myth that this test is impossible to practice for but I strongly disagree. It is all about coming up with strategies for problem solving that will help when you eventually sit the exam. Also, read some novels over the summer which will help greatly with the vocabulary required for understanding some of the questions in the exam.
If you’re currently picking subjects for fifth year, keep in mind that colleges require two science subjects for admission!
What have been your proudest achievements?
My proudest achievement is honestly getting accepted into the course, for which I have my parents and teachers in Knockbeg and Ratheniska to thank!
I’ve also been lucky enough to be involved with the founding of a new society in Trinity; the “Agricultural Society”. We are currently planning our second year as a society and I am proud to share some of my background with the college community!