James is currently working as a Dentist in Glasgow. James says that the teaching he experienced during his time at Birmingham shaped him into the professional he is today.
Where are you working now and what are you doing?
I am currently working as a Dentist in Glasgow, in Dental Foundation year 2. This involves two six month rotations: Firstly doing general dentistry in the Community Dental Services and then doing Oral Medicine and Oral Surgery rotations at Glasgow Dental Hospital.
How has your career has developed since graduating from the University of Birmingham?
I graduated from the Biomedical Materials Science course in 2007. After graduating from the course I began my studies for the Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree at The University of Birmingham. I graduated in the summer of 2012.I am in my second year of practice after qualification. I completed my Dental Foundation year 1 last year and I am now doing Dental Foundation Year 2I have passed the first part of the postgraduate diploma (Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery) and I am sitting the second part in November 2013, which should hopefully result in the MFDS RCPSG qualification.
What is the best thing about the job you are doing now?
I enjoy planning treatments and having to think about how to address different problems that patients present with. I think that problem solving is the aspect of Dentistry I enjoy the most. I also like the practical side in particular making dentures and restoring worn down teeth.
Why did you originally apply to do BMedSc at Birmingham?
I wanted to study a course with a strong medical background but also with links to other sciences. I liked the broad range of disciplines and real life applications that the course related to.My decision to study at Birmingham was based on the leafy campus, great student vibe that I felt around the campus and the wealth of things to do in the city itself. When I applied I knew the University had a great reputation as an academic institution and I found that the University were most welcoming.
What did you think were the best points of the Biomedical Materials Science degree and the University?
I think that the staff members that teach the course are brilliant. They are all at a very high level of academic ability and that filters down to undergraduates attending their lectures and seminars. It was initially a challenge to keep up with but became easier with each assignment we were set. The department has very high standards and is involved with research at an international level.The course developed not only my academic ability and skill set, but my ability to give confident presentations. Even in Year 1 we had to prepare presentations alone and in groups. This gave me the chance to develop a skill I had no prior experience of and has helped immensely in my subsequent studies and career. Delivering complex information in a brief and understandable form is an art.
We were also given practical teaching sessions using real laboratory methodologies which were also new to me. This led nicely to the final year project that we ran more or less ourselves, with support from our supervisors, in which I really felt I flourished.The University has been extremely supportive to me and Birmingham is a fantastic city that can cater for anyone - from great nightlife and bars, to huge venues for music and shows. There is clearly a strong sporting ethos at the University and plenty of opportunities to excel in whichever discipline you choose outside of your studies. During my time I played 5 a side football, got involved with the Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Boxing clubs, as well as being a keen University gym member.
What advice would you give to current students studying on the course?
Be proactive. I was year representative for 2 years which helped me give input into the organisation of the course. Buy the recommended core texts and understand that the intellectual challenge will give you great skills in dissecting and understanding written information way above that you experienced at school. Have a hobby outside of the course. Work with other people on the course to get the best information you can.
If you could choose one highlight during your time at Birmingham Medical School what would it be?
My biggest highlight from the Biomedical Materials course would be getting my third year research project published in a peer reviewed journal. I had fantastic support from my supervisors who gave me the direction and guidance I needed to make it happen.
How did you grow as a person by studying at University? Did it change your life in any way?
I feel that the teaching I experienced during my time at Birmingham shaped me into the professional I am today. I was able to grow and develop personally in a supportive environment and for that I have a huge amount of admiration for the University.