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Unwavering in her pursuit to become a doctor: How Rose chose a direct-entry medical program

Rose sees life as a competition, and in her world, the top prize is becoming a doctor. 

“I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor since forever, and I just never entertained anything else,” the 2023 Collingwood School grad says.

Her parents could tell from a young age that Rose needed to be challenged, so they enrolled her at Collingwood. Since Rose, unlike many students, knew exactly what she wanted to do after high school, she was able to take full advantage of the School’s academic program. She focused on her passion for STEM and took AP Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, AP Biology, AP French, and AP Statistics. 

“When it comes to the decisions I make, even when it comes to courses, they are so incredibly calculated. I had it all mapped out since Grade 8,” Rose says. 

She also participated in Collingwood’s public speaking program and Debate club. She says this work was at first scary but it prepared her for delivering speeches at a young age. It also gave her skills in critical thinking and confidence in her abilities. 

“Collingwood does a great job of offering a huge variety of courses,” she says. “I really connected with the Four Strands: Academics, Arts, Service, and Athletics.”

Even with a course load full of difficult academic classes, Collingwood’s schedule and offerings allow students to personalize their learning and passions. Rose was able to carve out time for PHE courses like Fitness & Conditioning. She enjoys exercising five to six days a week to help de-stress.

Working with Rachel Pezim, her University Guidance Counsellor, Rose was able to determine prerequisite grades and admission requirements that would get her into a top health sciences program–but when Rose learned how the path to an MD works in Canada, she was dismayed.

“If you study science in university in Canada, getting a high GPA is very hard, which makes getting into med school extremely hard. People spend years applying to med schools, so it’s also very time consuming and means you likely won’t be working for a long time. There are so few [med school] spots in Canada.” Rose didn’t want to wait, so she found a university that bypassed the Canadian system. 

The Atlantic Bridge program provides opportunities for students to study medicine in Ireland directly out of high school and return to North America for a residency after graduation. Meanwhile, medical schools in Canada and the US only accept students after they’ve achieved at least a Bachelor’s degree in addition to a good score on the MCAT. There are definite pros and cons to going the Irish route, but Rose was so sure on her plan that she accepted her offer to University College Dublin the day after it arrived.

“It’s highly unusual for a student to be so sure, and so driven,” says Pezim. “I’ve known Rose since she was in the sixth grade and she’s always been laser focused on pursuing her dream of becoming a doctor.”

Rose credits her father with showing her how to work hard. Even from a young age, he would encourage her to do something productive every day.

“If it wasn’t for my dad, I’d be sleeping until noon and not studying. Who knows where I’d be,” she says, “But I enjoy work. I’m fine with getting up early, going to school, studying until 2am, and then repeating the same thing the next day.”

Part of the allure of going across the Atlantic for school is to be in a different environment and focus on her education, away from family obligations. It was the reason Rose didn’t apply for a single school in British Columbia.

She’ll miss her family immensely, but she has no doubts that University College Dublin is the perfect fit for her.