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Education Honours College Why the Honours College?

A wider view on health care

Danique van Vliet, speech on occasion of the closing ceremony of the bachelor Honours programme

I’ve been asked as one of the Honours College students to tell you something about my experiences of the last three years. Off course, I would really like to do that and the fact that we’re the first students to participate in the Honours College programme makes it even more special.

When I first heard about the Honours College, 3.5 years ago, I was immediately interested in this programme. Off course I was really looking forward to start my medical study, and until today I’ve never regret this. However, at the same time, I thought it was a pity that I wouldn’t follow other courses, that I also liked during secondary school, anymore. Therefore, the Honours College programme, that offers both a deepening and broadening part, seemed to me like a valuable contribution to my medical study. I can remember that I was asked during the solicitation procedure if I wanted to participate in the Honours College because of its deepening or its broadening part. I answered that the combination of both was most appealing to me. If I’d be asked this question today again, my answer would be the same.

Dilemmas in health care
Dilemmas in health care

In the broadening part, I especially liked to discuss subjects together with students from all other faculties. I’ve participated in the winter school and atelier of the medical faculty, called “dilemmas in health care”. At first sight, this might not seem like a broadening part for me as a medical student. However, I believe that this has been a more broadening course than any other course at a totally different faculty. In that case I would have approached the problem from my medical point of view again, while now I got the opportunity to see my own study being addressed from so many different perspectives! I realized that there are so much more perspectives to consider regarding dilemmas in health care than I previously thought. Some students immediately suggested to develop an economical model to address this issue. Others introduced ethical and philosophical theories or asked critical questions, so facts I considered obvious previously became not that obvious anymore.

Some parts of the Honours College, however, were obligatory and therefore the same to all students, like the debating course. Afterwards this has probably been very helpful, as I admit not having signed up for this course otherwise. You may wonder why then I stand here in front of this quite large hall and at this point I’ve surprised myself as well. The only thing I can say is that I might have learned something during the course on speaking in public.

The deepening programme for me as a medical student was offered by the Junior Scientific Masterclass, that focuses on medically scientific research. I really liked the fact that you, as a student, could decide which courses out of the total programme you wanted to attend. For example, I participated in courses on statistics, scientific writing, laboratory practice, and the organization of patient-related research. Thus, you could determine your own track yourself; something that, to my opinion, has always been a major issue in the Honours College. Besides these courses, we also got the opportunity to execute small research projects ourselves. As I’m most interested in paediatrics, I mainly searched for projects in this field. At the moment, I’m involved in a research project at the department of inherited metabolic disorders in children and this is something I really enjoy. I think it’s very interesting to investigate which mechanisms underlie specific diseases and how targeted therapies could interfere in these processes. When I just started my medical study, I had never thought about this; I just wanted to become a doctor. Now, I aspire to become an MD/PhD, combining patient care and medical research. Therefore, I hope I’ll get the opportunity to participate in the MD/PhD-track offered by the Junior Scientific Masterclass, in which the master phase will be combined with a PhD-training.

All in all, I experienced the Honours College programme as very valuable and I think most Honours College students share this idea. Off course, this wouldn’t have been possible without the teachers and organizers of the Honours College itself. For this, I would really like to thank them all on behalf of all Honours College students. I hope this programme will be attended by many other students and, thanks to the experiences of the last years, will be even more successful in the future.

Last modified:11 July 2022 1.53 p.m.
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