Congratulations to Class of 2023

Each year, a class of MD (Doctor of Medicine) students graduate from their 6-year journey at UNSW. This page is dedicated to their passion and commitment, success and resilience, teacher and mentors, family and friends, and our extended UNSW Medicine & Health community.

Coffs Harbour RCS Graduation 157

I am delighted to congratulate our Graduating Class of 2023. 

This page will be dedicated to our graduating classes annually, sharing highlights, photos, media and anything graduation focused so please feel free to share amongst your networks and reach out to us if you have any suggestions or anything you’d like to see added to the page.

Professor Martin Gallagher

Farewell Speech from the UNSW Medicine Class of 2023

Before I start I’d like to also acknowledge the traditional custodians of this land from which we’re all dialling in from, this is the land of the Gumbaynggirr people up here in Coffs Harbour. I’d also like to pay my respects to their Elders past and present, and extend that respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples here today.

Good morning and thank you all who are attending and taking one last chance for us to celebrate our achievements as a cohort. It’s been a crazy ride and a good chunk of all our lives and I’d like to personally say thank you to everyone that I’ve interacted with for making these last 6 years some of the best of my life.

When I was asked to do this address, I initially felt unqualified and like I had nothing to say that could capture the breadth and diversity of all our experiences throughout this journey. However sitting with it for a while, I realised that in reality no one CAN be qualified to speak to this - to cover what this experience MEANS to each and every one of us. But… that won’t stop me from giving it my best shot, and to relive some of the common experiences we’ve had over the years.

For example, I think almost all of us can remember the day we got THAT email saying we got in to Medicine at UNSW. For some of us it might have been an expectation and thus a feeling of relief, for some of us (myself included) a complete shock. It’s crazy thinking back to that time, our younger selves, how little we knew of the realities of the degree and profession and the unexpected challenges they would throw at us.

Phase 1 was where it started for most of us, and was the time where we lucky enough to meet each other IN PERSON, which with the benefit of hindsight, was indeed lucky. Some people made immediate friendships and some would come to blossom in the months and years to come, maybe from some memorable SGs. I remember fondly everybody rocking up all cheerful for lectures at Rex Vowels, and our first class from Professor Kashwell quickly shocking us to the actual pace of learning. Our first interactions with Prof Velan and his delightful puns, and Prof Torda with the entertaining debates had in her classes. We can’t forget Dr Karen Gibson, our first Phase convenor that also freaked us out with the depth of physiology she covered. Then there were the tutorials at Wallace Wurth, introducing us to bright souls like Dr Martin Weber and Prof Nicodemus where we pretended to know what collagen or fibrin looked like under a microscope. And lest we forget the mixed experiences had in QMP tutorials.

Third year was where things started to become a little unhinged, with us beginning to split up and the COVID lockdown essentially putting us to online learning for our first major ‘clinical’ year. We learnt the struggles of online classes and need for at least 1 person to just bloody unmute. Some of us went back home overseas to be with families, and then struggled to or in fact never ended up coming back.

4th year was another crazy year with some people actually enjoying their research and some of us clambering through the even more isolated research year. However all of us will never forget A/Prof Greg Smith, our knight in shining armour, bringing us hope when the days sometimes seemed dark.

Phase 3 was back into hospitals and where the grind really began, with most of us (close your ears professors) just trying to catch up on what we were supposed to know in 3rd year. It was where we gained confidence in our abilities to work independently and has now prepared us for the crucial responsibilities we take on next year. Those of course being getting coffees and writing ward round notes and discharge summaries. But jokes aside it really has been a pleasure, at least for myself to see my peers and I grow in these ways and start to talk about patients and to our colleagues like we’re actual doctors or something.

While we are now at the end of this chapter in our journey, I hope we take time to reflect on the people and organisations that have made us into the humans we are today. To be grateful for the time put into us and to continue echoing this out to our future generations and cohorts. I also wish that we preserve the humanity that should be at the centre of our care, and while there will be stressful situations while you’ll be sleep deprived and a few coffees in and maybe with a grumpy team, that most people value being truly heard as much as if not more than the specifics of the treatment plan.

My minor rant aside, I want to wish everyone all the best in their futures. Being a small profession I hope to see many of you but even if I don’t, I’m excited to see the impact we have as a cohort to the medical profession and the broader world. Let us embody the supportive and caring profession we hope to be.

Let us take one more moment to thank all our professors, teachers and the other innumerable people who have been there for us over the last at least 6 years.

And congratulations to us, soon to be released doctors, to the Class of 2023.

Michael Orjekh
Year 6 Medical Student, UNSW Medicine
Student Representative, Rural Clinical Campus (Coffs Harbour) 
Past President (2021), UNSW Medical Society

Graduation gallery

The annual Student Prize Awards event was held in March 2024, bringing together a vibrant community of prizewinners, families, and educators. With over 100 guests in attendance, the event was a celebration of academic achievement, creativity, and collaboration. Attendees enjoyed connecting with fellow students, educators, and mentors. The venue was adorned with a lively photo booth/wall, capturing candid moments and creating lasting memories. Goodie bags filled with surprises awaited each student, a token of appreciation for their hard work and dedication. From outstanding academic achievements to artistic endeavours, these students exemplify excellence in their respective fields. Their passion and dedication inspire us all

Hippocratic Oath

Please refer to the VMA Declaration of Geneva.

View 2022 graduating class and first Port Macquarie Rural Campus graduation

UNSW Vice Chancellor and President Attila Brungs Congratulates the Port Macquarie Class of 2022.

Celebrating the Port Macquarie campus graduating class of 2022 – the very first Year 1 cohort (2017) commencing at a rural campus in the UNSW Medicine Program.