From a Game Design undergrad to BMedSc in Bioinformatics

by Oscar Megan

Since I was a toddler I have always loved computers. Fixing, building, optimising; you name it! I’d never pictured myself in a lab with a white coat, working with my hands. I’ve always aspired to be the gremlin in the computer lab learning to shave minutes off the time it took to complete a task instead of shaving his face.

Naturally, I’ve taken any and every subject/course that helps me achieve this goal. Physics, mathematics, IT were crucial for my early development in computer science, but I chose one wild-card subject in high school, life sciences. Seeing animals and plants and viruses at a systems level brought me to the understanding that we are all just highly complex machines. I found myself just as fascinated in the silicone-based machines I had grown up with, and the fleshy, squishy machines I was now learning all about.

Regardless of my new found fascination, when the time came around I chose to pursue Game Design. What I considered to be the culmination of all that is cutting-edge; learning to push hardware as far as goes to build fantastic new worlds.

That was until the world as we knew it, had been put on hold. In 2020, all of a sudden, we were forced out of the world where we spent our free time, and left only to the digital worlds my peers and I were learning to create. Be it your Zoom meetings, the MSTeams collaborations, even the World of Warcraft! All of us were forced out of the real world and into the worlds others had made for us. As an avid video-gamer, at first I thought, “Well this can’t be too bad”! I had never been so wrong… The year 2020 came with the realization that the worlds I had been learning to create could never be the world I want to live in, the world where families spend time together, friends go on adventures together, where one can explore until one’s feet become sore. That’s the world I want to optimize, that’s the world worth building, and importantly, the world worth fixing.

So I jumped ship and applied to medical science, and I got accepted! Since day one of this course I haven’t looked back, to re-acquaint myself with flesh-machines has been a dream. Learning to avoid viruses in silicone is nothing like the hurdle of creating treatments for viruses in humans. Learning genetics and medical science is forcing me to confront what computer scientists understand least; people, and what makes them who they are.

I cannot lie and say that it has been easy, or a piece of cake. It’s been the most
head-ache-inducing year of my life. Learning three years worth of theory in a couple months was never going to be easy, and with no live lectures, I had a lot on my plate. But, now the halfway mark has been reached, exams written, modules done and for the first time, I feel like I’m learning how to fix, build and optimise the world I truly care for; the real world.

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