I personally loved studying biomed. The endless lectures, the frequent lab practicals and essays upon essays. It wasn’t easy; my family joked that I worked harder in biomed than in medicine, and there’s a kernel of truth in it!
My course was quite diverse, we studied core biochemistry, organic chemistry, immunology, metabolism, molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, forensic science and general fundamental science skills including statistics and lab technique. I struggle to even remember all the subjects, and we had scope to choose some modules to suit our interests. It worked well for a generalist like me, who find it hard to settle on one subject and just want to ‘learn all the science’. I really enjoyed my time in my first degree, and it was certainly a good thing for me.
Most biomed courses prepare and qualify you to work in a lab processing hospital samples, or as a stepping stone to research, so biomed has the additional benefit of being a vocational degree in itself. Which is quite handy if along the way you decide medicine is not for you, or don’t get in. Lots of my biomed friends changed their minds about what they wanted to do; we mature, we re-examine our lives, and it can be really useful to have time to think about what we want out of life.
Not everybody likes the buffet approach to studying. Some people do best when they can focus on one subject which they really, really love, and that’s OK too. Plenty of my colleagues studied first degrees of a more specialised nature. As long as the medical schools you are interested in will accept your subject, then there really is no strict need to do biomedicine. Many people are really great at one subject but have little interest or little skill in others. However, be careful when picking a subject, especially when it is specific.Make sure it is something you have good reason to believe you like Because you’re going to be stuck with it for a loooooong time!
I enjoyed all subjects but one; biochemistry. Maybe it was the lecturer’s habit of squeezing 60 slides of full text per an hour’s lectures, only to base half the exam essay topics on footnotes. Maybe I just particularly sucked at remembering enzyme cascades. I worked so much harder to prepare for those exams, and still did worse than in my other subjects. Fortunately, I had enough of an idea from A-level that it might be that way and didn’t go for biochemistry as a degree. If I had, I would have had to change to another course for sure. And luckily most universities allow this for students having difficulty with their course. It happens; if you are one of the unlucky few, don’t be afraid to get help and change to something you really do enjoy.
There’s also one thing to remember: clinical medicine and lab/lecture science are very, very different. I’ve had friends love the theory side but hate the clinical side; they’re probably going into research rather than clinical practice. I’ve had friends who are absolutely made to be doctors but who really hated the lecture and lab side of things, and that does not mean they can’t make it. If you or any of your friends are struggling through a subject, it does not make you dumb, or mean that you won’t be really, really good at something else. Good luck in making your choice, I hope this overlong summary was helpful.