Harry Tiernan has started on the long journey that is studying medical science. His first of many university semesters was complete with gruelling timetables and demanding study just to maintain pace with expectations. All this is due to his passion to return to Cootamundra and play his part in addressing our nation’s rural and regional medical services shortage.
Staring down the barrel of a potential decade at university, Cootamundra student Harry Tiernan remains upbeat despite the challenges including long study hours, immense pressure and intense competition.
Harry is in his first year of studying a three-year medical science degree at the University of NSW (UNSW), planning to compete a post graduate degree with honours in dentistry.
Reflecting on his education journey so fair, he said it’s been a tough transition from living in the NSW South West Slopes. About 70 students completed the HSC at Hennessey Catholic College in 2018, whereas now he’s attending lectures with 1000 others.
“The move from country to city life took a lot of adjusting,” Harry said.
“There’s around 300 people living in my college, so there’s lots of people constantly around if you’ve got questions. It’s kind of like a boarding school atmosphere. O-Week was another time when it was easy to make friends.”
Calling on Sydney-based family and Cootamundra friends at UNSW was essential in finding his way in first semester.
“I hadn’t been to the city that often before moving to UNSW and I didn’t know the city that well. But I’m lucky in the way I have support from my sister at UTS and have friends from Cootamundra at UNSW,” he said.
“This degree is full on. I don’t have much time outside my timetable, as I’m studying six days per week. A lot of people in my class come from city areas and it makes it really competitive.”
Harry needs to maintain a credit average in his current course, which he said requires perseverance and devotion to his subjects and goals.
“Joining the Students of Medical Science Society offered tutoring opportunities and there’s events to help with study skills, preparation and career opportunities,” he said.
“I’m lucky that being competitive is in my nature. Everyone wants to do well which is healthy. When there’s a lot of competition, the energy to do well rubs off.”
Harry hopes to complete honours in dentistry after studying medical science or medicine ahead of a return to his hometown to practice.
“Growing up in a rural community I have seen the need and demand grow for dentists. Thus, I wish to return to the Cootamundra area and provide much needed dental assistance,” he said.
Harry received a $300 education grant from the Country Education Foundation of Cootamundra and $5400 via The Three Rivers / Country Education Foundation of Australia (CEF) Grant Scheme to assist him in pursuing his study goals.
Applications are now open until 31 October 2019 to apply for a CEF Cootamundra education grant. Visiting the CEF website: cef.org.au/apply-now for more information.