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Bridie Laing thumbnail 2019

Pacific Heritage: Cook Islander

Currently Studying: Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

Kia Orana my name is Bridie :)

I have Cook Island heritage on my Mother's side. My great grandmother grew up in Rarotonga, but was sent to boarding school in Auckland. Our family lives now lives in New Zealand, but we have strong connections with Raro and visit fairly often.

My favourite thing about medicine is connecting with people about their journeys and being in the privileged and private space of their health, as well as learning from the wide range of healthcare workers that help them to live their lives healthier and happier. I also enjoy learning about the science of how the body works in health and disease, and all the broad influences on an individual's and population's health.

2019 will be my 5th year of medical school. I entered medicine through the Health Sciences First Year course in Dunedin, then continued my studies there for two more years. I was part of the POPO (Pacific Orientation Programme in Otago) programme in my first year of study. As well as being a warm and welcoming experience, this provided weekly tutorials and mentoring which were hugely helpful in keeping me motivated and on track. Because I found this programme so helpful, I decided to be a mentor for first year Pacific students when I was in my 3rd year. In 4th year the class divides between Dunedin, Christchurch and Wellington hospitals. I chose to be in Wellington, to be closer to my family, who live in Muriwai Beach in West Auckland.

I think it was a combination of people, enjoyment of science at high school and a particular TV show that steered me toward medicine. My Grandma is a doctor and is definitely an inspiration to me. She is kind, smart, independent and still working as a radiologist at 80! My parents never pushed me in any particular direction when it came to 'what to do with life', but were always hugely supportive of whatever I wanted to do. I had a Chemistry teacher that once told me 'don't even bother trying to get in to medical school' and I think that gave me the final nudge to definitely try and get in to medical school.

Advice I have learned so far would be that it is okay to let people support and help you. There is no way I would have made it this far if it wasn't for my completely wonderful friends and family. It is also important to appreciate the chance of getting to study. I personally find that it is really easy to get caught up in the hype of complaining about how busy you are, how much you have to study, how tired you are etc, and forget what a huge privilege it is to have the opportunity for this kind of education. My perspective instantly shifts when I remember that, and is definitely something I need to think about more often!

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