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Reflections of a Sydney med student

Amid a slew of academic awards, 2018 ACG Founders' Scholarship winner Alex Pentchev has just completed his Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Sydney. 2021 has certainly proven to be another full and varied year for the successful ACG Parnell College alumnus, who will soon begin his Doctor of Medicine programme.
2018 ACG Founders’ Scholarship winner and ACG Parnell College alumnus, Alex Pentchev

In 2018, Alex Pentchev became the first-ever recipient of the ACG Founders' Scholarship. This scholarship (valued at up to $75,000) enabled him to cross the Tasman and embark on a Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Sydney. 

With his third year of study now having drawn to a close, it is clear Alex has embraced every opportunity the ACG Founders' Scholarship has afforded him. And although the global pandemic has forced him to navigate his tertiary studies in a very different way, the ACG Parnell College alumnus continues to thrive, despite the challenges Covid-19 has delivered. 

In a recent interview, Alex shares some of his experiences and gives us a glimpse into life as a University of Sydney student.

"University life in 2021 has gone very well, and I've now finished the last semester of my Bachelor of Science degree. This year, as I had a couple of open spots for electives, I ended up selecting a wide range of subjects, making me feel like I was back at high school. These ranged from Financial Accounting to Programming with Python and The History of Economic Thought, in addition to core units for my Biochemistry major.

"Academically, I've been pleased with my performance. Last year, despite the major impacts of Covid, I managed to improve my weighted average mark. As a result, I was awarded the Academic Merit Prize and made the Dean's List of Excellence in Academic Performance for the second year in a row. 

"Despite Covid pushing everything online, my motivation to learn has not been affected. However, I have missed the laboratory sessions generally offered with all science units. These provide invaluable practical experience, where you can directly apply the concepts you've learnt in the lectures to real biological systems. The rest of the content delivery, in terms of lectures and tutorials, have felt no different to post-Covid times, and I've been able to learn a large amount of new content.

"I was also able to keep up with my tutoring commitments, practice guitar (I got one for my birthday), and I took up tennis because my beloved Social Soccer Society was no longer running sessions due to Covid. So now I'm unsure which sport I enjoy more!

"Next year, I'll be starting the Doctor of Medicine portion of the course. Despite all the stories I've been told about the immense workload, I'm looking forward to the challenge. After all these years of learning science, starting from the early days in Year 7 at ACG, I will begin to learn the methods with which we can apply all this knowledge to improving the health of those around us."

Alex is also a member of the Abercrombie Student Accommodation (ASA) team in the university's intramural sports competition