In this blog we spoke to 3rd year Medical Genetics student Quinita Nortje from South Africa. Quinita joined Queen Mary University of London in 2014 and began her university journey on the Science and Engineering Foundation Programme (SEFP).
How was your experience of the SEFP?
I did the foundation year at Queen Mary because the South African qualification is not the equivalent of an A Level or IB Diploma. I think the foundation year really helped me because I had a different academic background. Some of the things I hadn’t done in school I could do here. Also, for the things I did do in school, I didn’t mind repeating as it helped me get into the flow of university.
From the foundation year through to my final degree year, I’ve attended the same lecture theatres and had the same lecturers, which is what I’ve enjoyed most. The foundation year is really well connected to the undergraduate degree in terms of teaching style and course content, so it provided a good foundation for me. The transition was very smooth compared to some other universities where your foundation year is more like school and more detached from the degree years, sometimes even on a different campus.
Why did you choose to study Medical Genetics?
I chose to study Medical Genetics as my BSc as I found it the most interesting of the options I had. So instead of Biology and Genetics, this had the medical component that I wanted. I’ve learnt a lot on the course, especially about my future career. I’ve always wanted to become a doctor and one of the main reasons for this was because I wanted to work with people. The main thing I’ve learnt is that there are so many different careers you can go into that involve medicine and working with people. I might still go on to study medicine but there are so many interesting career options for me, which is great.
What are your plans for the future?
I’m thinking of applying for a job in the pharmaceutical industry or in clinical trials such as one of the genome projects. I feel after four years it will be good for me to get some experience and do something different. I’m considering going on to study a Masters or Medicine in a year or two.
What activities have you been involved in during your time at the university?
I took part in the baking society for the first few years and became Vice President of the society. I think that’s been good for my CV as I planned events and learnt lots of soft skills. It was also really fun to meet people from other courses. I also joined a mentoring charity called ReachOut. I worked with this charity for two years mentoring children, which was very rewarding.