Beyond Flinders Profile With Old Flinderian, Dr James Sotiropoulos (Class of 2017)

For our graduates of Matthew Flinders Anglican College who are launching into the next phase of their study, training and careers beyond Year 12, it can be daunting to stare down the face of a tertiary degree and wonder how you’ll ever get to the end.

And then, imagine it’s a six-year full-time Medicine degree that’s ahead of you!

Of course, with faith, hard work and determination, you can finish your degree - and even excel!

This has been the journey for Old Flinderian James Sotiropoulos (Class of 2017) who, after graduating from Flinders, left home on the Sunshine Coast to live in Sydney and Coffs Harbour to study his Doctor of Medicine.

James recently completed his degree at the University of New South Wales, achieving the highest mark in the highly competitive program.

Of his top mark, James said, “I’m still not sure how this happened!

“It was a whirlwind year in 2023 with some amazing highlights, knocking off a few bucket list achievements.

“2024 has a lot to live up to! I started as a Junior Doctor at Sydney’s Concord Hospital in January and I’m looking forward to getting some new research projects off the ground.”

James’ achievements include finishing numerous manuscripts in the specialist pediatric field of ‘preterm infants’ and presenting at conferences, including the PSANZ conference in Melbourne and the PAS conference in Washington DC.

He also received a sought-after NHMRC Postgraduate Research Scholarship at the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney to support his PhD thesis, titled, 'Evidence Synthesis in MOTION: Developing and applying Methods Of next-generation meta-analysis to Trials of Initial Oxygen in preterm Newborns'."

Of his conference experiences, James said, “It was so great to meet lots of the researchers I've been working with (and looking up to) over the last few years in person.”

James is well aware the tertiary journey is easier with a strong support network, and was grateful for his ‘team’, including collaborators, friends, family, partner and mentors.

We asked James some more questions about life beyond Flinders:

What does life look like for you now?

"Since finishing my degree, I've moved from Coffs Harbour back to Sydney for work now. Work is a mix of day, evening and night shifts across a variety of speciality teams and wards in hospitals across the inner-west of Sydney. I recently finished Cardiology and at the moment I am doing night shifts. The work is challenging but extremely rewarding. When I am not working I try to stay active and social and explore Sydney."

Did your further study or career go exactly as you planned?

"Yes and no. I always knew I wanted to study Medicine, but I didn’t always expect to move to Sydney, and then study and attend placements through lockdowns, or have to move to Coffs Harbour for an extended regional placement. Each of those things was very challenging but, looking back, I am very grateful things turned out the way they did."

What advice do you have for current students?
  • "Have a plan, but be agile. Things will always happen in a way that you cannot predict, so you’ll need to adapt your plan to make it work to your circumstances.
  • Find a mentor, they are your biggest ally!
  • It is really easy to say 'yes' to every opportunity that comes your way, but remember that you can say 'no', especially to things that will be a lot of work yet with minimal benefit to you or your team."

    For more Beyond Flinders profiles with our Old Flinderians, visit here.

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