My experience at RCSI thus far has been surreal and dynamic. When I arrived in Dublin in 2016, it was my first time being apart from my family in Trinidad and living on my own. This posed a bit of a challenge at the beginning of my studies since I had to learn how to balance studying a fairly rigorous, intensive curriculum – with new facets such as clinical anatomy – my social life and fully take care of myself.
However, the staff at RCSI, the tightly cemented community in the College and my early involvement in clubs and societies, definitely succoured my achieving that balance. I even attended a cooking class and several workshops on career building, which proved quite beneficial and helped me to effectively plan my five years here at RCSI.
The first time I stepped foot in the RCSI building on St Stephen’s Green, I was amazed to see the building that I watched online come to life. The pictures of the Alumni who were now at the zenith of their medical careers helped me to envisage myself in the future, as an RCSI Alum. Studying in a highly academically-charged environment where revered surgeons, like Abraham Colles, had taught, lends itself a certain energy and motivation.
I chose RCSI primarily because it is a medical sciences college, which has a strong slant towards clinical medicine and surgery. Throughout the course thus far, the clinical application of the theoretical biochemical concepts have been amply elucidated. At my very first anatomy class, I had the opportunity to dissect a cadaver and see everything we had just heard about during a lecture and read in our textbooks.
I have also enjoyed attending guest lectures by consultant surgeons from Ireland and abroad, and learning surgical skills such as suturing and laparoscopic techniques in my first year!
My first day at RCSI was met with anxiety and excitement. It was a new environment with new people, but I soon discovered that there was a large contingent of international students all experiencing the same wealth of emotions.
I was quite amazed at the level of student involvement in planning events and activities at the College. The first society I joined was the Christian Union, and I found the senior students to be really welcoming to us freshers. The senior committee members in the society even cooked us a breakfast to introduce us to churches here in Dublin. I have attended a number of the Christian Union events, and in the coming academic year (2017-18), I will have the opportunity to act as Treasurer for the society, so I hope that I can welcome new students in the same hospitable manner that I was welcomed.
I also attended the International Conference for Healthcare And Medical Students (ICHAMS), which I was surprised to find out was organised and run by our senior students. I enjoyed hearing the distinguished keynote speakers and the oral research presentations from fellow students, and seeing the poster presentations.
A home away from home
Staying in the on-campus accommodation at Mercer Court helped me to acclimatise to my surroundings in Dublin. Its proximity to St Stephen's Green Shopping Centre (for groceries!), Grafton Street (for shopping and eating out!), Clarendon Medical (for textbooks and supplies) and campus itself made it easy for me to learn my way around the city whilst studying and taking care of myself.
Dublin has the perfect fusion of historical architecture and contemporary features to create a quintessential atmosphere for education; not too busy and crowded but compact, to lend to a city feel without the typical 'concrete jungle' city vibe. Whilst strolling around the campus, and the general area around RCSI, one would always find another RCSI student to greet.
Although the weather is much milder than home, my family have also enjoyed visiting me and sightseeing in Dublin, and in greater Ireland.
In my first year, RCSI afforded me a blend of a dynamic education, encompassing early patient contact, a world-class curriculum and legions of activities to keep me occupied! I’m looking forward to seeing what my second year brings.
Joshua Ramjohn, Undergraduate Medicine