Student Spotlight: Mark Nolan, SPHP Program

Mark Nolan, SPHP student and future Doctor of Veterinary MedicineMark Nolan is a student in the Science Prerequisites program, taking an online medical biochemistry course at an accelerated pace to fulfill a prerequisite and enter a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

Can you tell us about yourself and what encouraged you to take this course?

I’m a non-traditional student, finally realizing a goal and a dream that I’ve had all along. I’ll be attending St. Matthew’s University in Grand Cayman – I’m going there for the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

I needed a prerequisite to get there, which was the online Medical Biochemistry course that was offered online.

The great thing about this course was that I could take it and go at my pace, which needed to be really fast because my school started before the end of the course. And actually, I got CHEM 1005 done in about two months and one week – so almost half the time. And that was perfect because I had to leave early to go to quarantine before I started school.

It was a really rapid-fire situation. Everything needed to happen quickly, and UNE Online provided the avenue for that to happen.

You completed this course twice as fast as the average student. How did you feel about the workload?

It was necessary. It was a very challenging course and it was a lot of work. We had writing assignments that all had to be done with proper citation, as they should be.

We had to even do a couple of video presentations, which I wasn’t too keen on, but I understood it was all part of the technology and media portion of the course.

I got good feedback from our instructor since I was going really fast. I think one other person was keeping up with me. Maybe they were in the same boat I was and intending to get done really quickly to be ready to start in a graduate or doctoral program like I am.

How much time per week do you think that you spent on the course?

I would say at least four to five hours a day. Five or six days a week. I treated it like a job, it was very demanding.

This was the first online course I’ve taken and it was unnerving at first, but everything seemed to go pretty smoothly. If I had a problem or a question I would reach out to the instructor and the instructor got back to me. We found a way to make things work.

Did you take advantage of office hours with your instructor?

Not really, but mostly because of when I made the time to do my coursework. I’m ex-military, so I wake up at like 4:00 AM every day – so that’s when I made time for my school work. I would send her an email or a course message in Blackboard, and I would have an answer back that day or the next day for sure. And that worked out fine for me.

Did you find it helpful that the course was geared toward the medical professions?

Yes, very much so – it was great. We had a lot of medically-based clinical case studies that made you really think. Dr. Leclaire is an excellent instructor and provided the class material in a way that was conducive to learning.

The medical examples required processing and interpretation of what I was learning – and then I had to apply those concepts to the problems – which made it more interesting than just flat memorization.

What would be your advice to someone beginning this course?

This was the first time I had been back to school in 20 years so it was definitely a wake up. Be ready to drink from a fire hose – especially if you’re taking other courses along with this one. It has the same difficulty as in-person courses, if not more so because you will need to organize your time and keep up with the curriculum.

Get the guide to our online science prerequisites courses