Introduction

Welcome! My name is Daniel Lim Jhao Jian. Here is where I share my experience, knowledge and ideas. You are welcome to leave comments and follow my blog. You are free to copy anything from this blog. Please recommend this blog to your friends.


Saturday, 7 July 2018

How I became a Star Wars fan?

Star Wars is well loved by many people all over the world. I am a huge Star Wars fan too, but this wasn't the case until just recently. For many years in the past, I never liked Star Wars. What was the reason for that?

It all dates back to year 2001. In January 2001, I watched the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day on television. This was the first English movie I watched in my life. I really loved the movie, and I was particularly impressed with the boy who acted as John Connor.

A few months later in May 2001, Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace was shown on television. The poster of the movie featured a boy, who is the young Anakin Skywalker. When I saw him, I somehow had the wrong impression that it was the same boy who acted as John Connor in Terminator 2.

As a result, I became interested in watching The Phantom Menace. However, it turned out to be a terrible movie. There were no exciting action scenes, and the overuse of CG effects ruined the movie. Worse still, I couldn't understand the plot at all, and I thought that the movie was just about some children playing.

I got so bored that I couldn't even finish watching it. I tried watching it a second time a few days later, but it wasn't any better. This completely ruined my impression towards Star Wars, and I hated Star Wars since then. Whenever I heard anything about Star Wars, I would just dismiss it as something terrible.

This quote from the movie Inception is very true "What is the most resilient parasite? An idea. Resilient… highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it's almost impossible to eradicate." The idea in my mind was that anything about Star Wars is terrible, and that idea stuck on firmly for a very long time.

14 years later in December 2015, Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens was released. It received positive reviews from a lot of people, including my friends and family members. At that time, my immediate thought was that it is just another terrible movie and I refused to believe the reviews.

Some of my friends and family members tried to explain to me that The Phantom Menace is the worst Star Wars movie ever so I should not judge the whole Star Wars franchise based on that movie alone. Eventually, I was convinced to buy the DVD for The Force Awakens to give it a shot.

However, I never bothered to watch it, as I was more interested in other movies. After the actress Carrie Fisher passed away in December 2016, I found out that she acted as Princess Leia in Star Wars. With that, I began to have a bit of knowledge about Star Wars.

In December 2017, Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi was released. However, its reviews weren't as good as those of The Force Awakens. As such, that didn't help improve my perception towards Star Wars. I had a lot of free time in January 2018 and I watched several movies, but not Star Wars.

On 16 February 2018, I and my cousins were in Kulim celebrating Chinese New Year. On that night, my cousins were watching Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back. I didn't join them from the start, but I happened to see the asteroid field scene which seemed quite exciting. I then continued watching the movie with them.

The Empire Strikes Back turned out to be a really good movie. I was interested to find out what would happen in the next episode, so I watched Star Wars VI: Return of the Jedi with my cousins on the following night. It was also very good, but I could only watch the first half as it was already late at night.

As I was quite busy in the following weeks, it was only on 1 March 2018 where I could continue watching the second half of Return of the Jedi. Once again, I really enjoyed the movie. However, as I still wasn't really a Star Wars fan, I didn't have immediate plans to watch another Star Wars movie.

On 24 March 2018, I watched A Wrinkle in Time. Although this movie was unrelated to Star Wars, I felt that its climax was quite similar to that of Return of the Jedi, as both were about the use of familial love to defeat the "dark side". This was interesting as I watched Return of the Jedi just 3 weeks ago.

During my Easter break in April 2018, I often searched on the Internet about Star Wars. I found out that a significant number of Star Wars fans didn't like the prequel trilogy (Star Wars I, II and III). Therefore, I decided to just read the plots of Star Wars I, II and III on Wikipedia instead of watching them.

After reading that, it gave me a good understanding about the character of Anakin Skywalker and I became even more interested in Star Wars. I felt that Star Wars III should be worth watching. However, as a few highly-anticipated movies were being released around that time, I wanted to watch them first.

On 25 May 2018, I watched Solo: A Star Wars Story in the cinema. Although it was released on that day itself, not many people were watching it. The reviews of the movie were also not very good. However, I personally liked the movie a lot. This was the 3rd Star Wars movie I watched.

Then, I watched Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith on 16 June 2018. Despite already knowing the plot, it was still enjoyable to watch the movie. At that point, I had truly become a Star Wars fan. It was hard to believe how differently I perceived Star Wars just 6 months ago.

I followed on with Star Wars IV: A New Hope on 24 June 2018. One week later on 1 July 2018, I watched Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens. After watching it, I could finally understand why everyone said it is very good when it was released 3 years ago. I loved the character of Rey in the movie very much.

On 8 July 2018, I watched Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi. Overall, it is a great movie. However, I really didn't like the character of Rose and the scenes on the casino planet, which in my opinion should be removed from the movie. This was the reason its reviews weren't very positive.

My plan now is to watch Rogue One: A Star Wars Story soon.

Sunday, 1 July 2018

My experience of doing the SSC 3 in UK

The 2nd semester of my 4th year of MBBS at NUMed consists of three Student Selected Components (SSC) and two Electives. The SSC 3, Elective 1 and Elective 2 can be done either in Malaysia or in UK. I chose to do the SSC 3 in UK, but not the Electives. The SSC 3 lasted from 16 April 2018 to 25 April 2018. Here, I would like to share my experience when I was in UK for my SSC 3.


Background information:

- In the past, I had always been hesitant about going to UK for the SSC 3 and Electives. This was because I had never studied overseas before and I felt that it would be difficult for me to adapt to the environment overseas which is quite different from that in Malaysia. However in September 2017, I made the decision to do my SSC 3 in UK.
- Despite living away from my family for more than 3 years since I started studying MBBS at NUMed, I still do not know how to cook, although I am able to prepare instant noodles and operate microwaves and ovens. As such, I had expected that this would be a challenge for me in UK.
- A Short-term Study Visa (STSV) was required in order to do the SSC 3 in UK. I applied for the STSV online on 4 February 2018. Subsequently on 23 February 2018, I went in person to VFS Global at Wisma MCA, Kuala Lumpur to submit my passport and the supporting documents. My passport together with the STSV was then mailed to me on 7 March 2018.
- I originally intended to travel to UK with my friends. However, vast majority of them planned to fly on 30 March 2018, which in my opinion was too rushed, considering that there was an exam just 2 days before that. They also planned to have a tour around Europe before the start of SSC 3, but I had no interest in travelling to anywhere in Europe outside of UK. In the end, I chose to travel to UK with my parents on 13 April 2018.
- For my SSC 3, I chose to do Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough. James Cook University Hospital was the only hospital in UK where university-managed accommodation was available, thus avoiding the need to arrange private accommodation.


My diary while in UK:

12 April 2018 (Thursday):
- Checked in my luggage at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

13 April 2018 (Friday):
- Had breakfast at Plaza Premium Lounge, Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
- Boarded flight MH 4 to London. It was a really nice A350 plane.
- Had nasi lemak with chicken rendang as 1st meal.
- Watched All the Money in the World.
- Had chicken sandwich for snack.
- Had chicken satay with rice as 2nd meal.
- Landed at London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.
- Bought a Three SIM card.
- Took a taxi to Ibis Hotel. Stayed a night there.

14 April 2018 (Saturday):
- Had English breakfast at Ibis Hotel.
- Took a taxi to London King's Cross Station.
- Took a train to Eaglescliffe station.
- Took a taxi to Holiday Inn Express, Middlesbrough.
- Had fish and chips for lunch at Orchard Cafe.
- Took a taxi to James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough.
- Moved into Corby House, the university-managed accommodation.
- Met my friends who were also staying there.
- Bought groceries at Tesco Express and bought my dinner at Peking Chef.

15 April 2018 (Sunday):
- Travelled to Middlesbrough town centre with my friend. Met another friend with his landlady who offered us a ride.
- Went shopping at Cleveland.
- Had lunch at Banana Leaf Restaurant.

16 April 2018 (Monday):
- Registered at James Cook University Hospital for the start of SSC 3.
- Attended my 1st occupational health appointment. Underwent blood test for tuberculosis.

17 April 2018 (Tuesday):
- First day of session for SSC 3. My SSC 3 supervisor was away on that day so I met his colleague.
- Observed a case of coronary artery bypass surgery.

18 April 2018 (Wednesday):
- Results of the SSC 1 Oral Presentation, SSC 2 Poster & Abstract and WriSkE were released. Passed all of them successfully.
- Attended a lecture on Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care. The lecture was largely about postgraduate topics.

19 April 2018 (Thursday):
- Went to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.

20 April 2018 (Friday):
- Had chicken soup for dinner with my friend.
- False trigger of the fire alarm at Corby House due to excessive smoke from cooking.

22 April 2018 (Sunday):
- Had butter chicken for dinner with my friend.

23 April 2018 (Monday):
- Observed cases of thoracic surgeries.
- The really long surgery made me feel very exhausted. I no longer enjoyed my SSC 3 very much.
- Received warning letter from James Cook University Hospital due to the fire alarm incident.

24 April 2018 (Tuesday):
- Met the undergraduate medical education manager due to the fire alarm incident. I and my friends at Corby House had to pay a fine of £12.50 each.
- Attended my 2nd occupational health appointment. Received MMR vaccine.

25 April 2018 (Wednesday):
- Met my SSC 3 supervisor.
- Observed a case of valve replacement surgery.

26 April 2018 (Thursday):
- Took photos with my friend at the operation theatre.

28 April 2018 (Saturday):
- Travelled to Whitby by train with my friends. Met many other friends who were also going to Whitby.
- Visited Whitby Abbey.
- Had fish and chips for lunch at Silver Street Fisheries.
- Visited Whitby beach, Whitby Harbour, casinos, Cinder Track, Pannett Park and Whitby Museum.
- Watched the Whitby swing bridge opening and closing.
- Had a light meal at Humble Pie and Mash.
- Went shopping at Co-op.
- Returned to Middlesbrough by train.

29 April 2018 (Sunday):
- Had pizza for dinner with my friend.
- Watched I, Tonya online.

1 May 2018 (Tuesday):
- Had naan for dinner with my friend.

2 May 2018 (Wednesday):
- Played frisbee with my friends.

5 May 2018 (Saturday):
- Volunteered to be a simulated patient for the Mock MOSLER assessment at James Cook University Hospital.
- Watched Black Panther online.

6 May 2018 (Sunday):
- Watched Avengers: Infinity War at Cineworld, Middlesbrough with my friend.
- Had dinner at Toby Carvery with my friend.

7 May 2018 (Monday):
- Bank holiday in UK.
- Watched Microsoft Build 2018 online.

8 May 2018 (Tuesday):
- Watched Google I/O 2018 online. Android P was announced.

9 May 2018 (Wednesday):
- Took group photos with most NUMed students at James Cook University Hospital.
- Played frisbee with my friends.
- Had pizza for dinner with my friend.
- Followed the 14th Malaysian General Election online. Pakatan Harapan won the election.

12 May 2018 (Saturday):
- Travelled to Durham by train with my friends.
- Visited Durham Cathedral, St Chad’s College and Market Hall.
- Had fish and chips for lunch at Bells.
- Visited Durham Castle, Durham University, Wharton Park and Clayport Library.
- Went shopping in Durham.
- Returned to Middlesbrough by train. Changed trains at Darlington during the journey.

13 May 2018 (Sunday):
- Desserts potluck with NUMed students and a Foundation doctor at Durham House.

14 May 2018 (Monday):
- Pizza and fried chicken party with most NUMed students at Corby House.

16 May 2018 (Wednesday) and 17 May 2018 (Thursday):
- Performed intravenous cannulation on patients at operation theatre.

18 May 2018 (Friday):
- Watched Deadpool 2 at Cineworld, Middlesbrough with my friend.
- Had dinner at Akbar’s.

19 May 2018 (Saturday):
- Travelled to York by train with my friends.
- Visited Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York Minster and Dean’s Park.
- Joined a tour around York. Visited King’s Manor, York Art Gallery, Bootham Bar, York city wall, Shambles, Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Clifford’s Tower.
- Had lunch at Wok & Go.
- Visited York's Chocolate Story, Shambles Market and National Railway Museum.
- Returned to Middlesbrough by train.
- Had dinner at Corby House with my friends.

20 May 2018 (Sunday):
- Started feeling unwell. I was very weak and had diarrhoea.

21 May 2018 (Monday):
- Took a day off due to my sickness.

23 May 2018 (Wednesday):
- Completed the SSC 3 ePortfolio.

24 May 2018 (Thursday):
- Recovered from my illness.
- Last day at operation theatre.

25 May 2018 (Friday):
- Went to the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit.
- Sign-off of SSC 3 ePortfolio, in-course assessment form and logbook by my supervisor. Official end of SSC 3.
- Took photos with my SSC 3 supervisor and teammate.
- Watched Solo: A Star Wars Story at Cineworld, Middlesbrough with my friend.
- Had dinner at Manjaros.
- Travelled to London by bus with my friend.

26 May 2018 (Saturday):
- Arrived Victoria Coach Station. Had breakfast at McDonald’s.
- Visited Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, London Eye and King’s College London.
- Visited Borough Market. Had chocolate doughnut, Ethiopian marinated chicken, duck confit and vanilla ice-cream for lunch.
- Visited London Bridge, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square and Chinatown.
- Had dinner at Ruyi Chinese Restaurant in Chinatown.
- Stayed a night at London Backpackers Hostel.

27 May 2018 (Sunday):
- Travelled to Cambridge by train with my friend. Met two other friends on the train.
- Visited Cambridge International Examinations, Emmanuel College and King’s College.
- Joined Cambridge punting tour.
- Had lunch at The Copper Kettle.
- Visited Garret Hostel, King’s College, Clare College, Trinity College and Market Hill.
- Returned to London by train.
- Visited Earl’s Court. Had dinner at Masala Indian Restaurant.
- Took a bus back to Middlesbrough.

28 May 2018 (Monday):
- Arrived Middlesbrough.

29 May 2018 (Tuesday):
- Had lunch at Peri Peri Original Middlesbrough.
- Had dinner at Toby Carvery with my friend.

30 May 2018 (Wednesday):
- Travelled to Newcastle by train with my friends.
- Followed my friends to store their luggage at Safestore.
- Visited Life science centre, Chinatown and Eldon Square.
- Had lunch at KFC.
- Separated with my friends at Eldon Square bus station. They would be travelling to Amsterdam, Netherlands.
- Visited Newcastle University, Newcastle Medical School and Royal Victoria Infirmary myself.
- Took photos of Tyne Bridge.
- Returned to Middlesbrough by train.
- Took selfies at James Cook University Hospital and Roseberry Park Hospital.

31 May 2018 (Thursday):
- Had lunch at McDonald’s, Middlesbrough.

1 June 2018 (Friday):
- Had lunch at Peri Peri Original Middlesbrough.
- A few persons who were not NUMed students moved into Corby House.
- Packed my luggage.
- Had dinner at Akbar’s.

2 June 2018 (Saturday):
- Moved out of Corby House.
- Had English breakfast at James Cook University Hospital.
- Took a train to London King’s Cross Station.
- Took the tube to London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4.
- Had lunch at Oriel restaurant.
- Boarded flight MH 1 back to Kuala Lumpur.
- Had beef kerutup with rice as 1st meal.

3 June 2018 (Sunday):
- Slept for several hours on the flight.
- Had nasi lemak with onion sambal as 2nd meal.
- Landed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.


Conclusions:
- I did not truly enjoy my SSC 3. Although I chose to do Cardiothoracic Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, my time throughout the SSC was largely spent on surgery instead of anaesthesia. During a surgery, nothing would be going on in the anaesthetic room, so I could only observe the surgery. As I do not like surgery, I found this rather boring. Worse still, I usually had to be at the operation theatre for long hours every day, which made me feel very tired.
- Despite that, my time in UK had been really enjoyable in overall. I had plenty of opportunities to be together with my friends, and we had a lot of interesting events. I spent time with not just a particular group of friends, but with multiple groups. This was definitely able to make up for the shortcomings of my SSC 3. This also brought me closer to my friends, making me value them even more.
- Adapting to life in UK turned out to be much easier than what I had expected previously. Within walking distance from Corby House, there were 4 restaurants which were open daily. Microwave food and oven food were also readily available at the grocery stores nearby. Therefore, food wasn't a problem for me. I also had no problems getting used to the environment in UK.
- There are certain things that I really like about UK. In particular, most services in UK are very efficient, due to the fact that the workers are truly committed to their jobs. The public transport system is good and reliable. Credit and debit cards are accepted at many places in UK. High-speed, free WiFi is also readily available.
- Of course, there are negative aspects about UK as well. I met some teenagers with terrible behaviour, and alcoholism is a real problem in UK.
- I can say for sure that I made a really good decision by choosing to do the SSC 3 in UK. I feel really regret for not choosing to also do the Elective 1 in UK, as most of my friends continued their Elective 1 in UK and I had to separate with them by returning to Malaysia after SSC 3. I cannot imagine how much more I would regret if I did not do the SSC 3 in UK.

Friday, 22 June 2018

NUMed Malaysia MBBS Stage 3 SBA Examination Tips

For Stage 3 of the MBBS course at Newcastle University Medicine (NUMed) Malaysia, there is a Single Best Answer (SBA) examination at the end of the 2nd semester.

As a student who scored 75% (Green) for the Stage 3 SBA exam in 2017, I would like to share some tips on passing this exam. These tips are intended for all NUMed medical students who are taking the Stage 3 SBA exam in 2018 or 2019. I am writing these tips based on how I revised for the exam previously. However, I have to say that different people have different learning styles, so you should just take this as a guide.

First of all, you have to start your revision no less than 2 months before the Stage 3 SBA exam. I recommend studying at least 5 hours per day on weekdays and 7 hours per day on weekends and holidays. If possible, you should revise every day and don't miss even one day. To pass the exam, you should aim for a score of at least 66%.

The Stage 3 SBA exam covers FoCP, LTC, ID, PC, MH, WH and CH. I have an important point to make here. Stage 3 should be studied through understanding, and not memorising. Basically, for every fact you come across in your revision, try to think "Why is this the case?" If there is an explanation, read it and make sure you understand what it says. If there is no explanation, try to come up with your own explanation based on your knowledge. Even if your explanation is wrong, it doesn't really matter (as the exam won't ask for the explanation). You can also try looking up the internet for the explanation. The fact is that, when you actively try to seek an explanation for a fact, you will end up remembering the fact much better (and your revision will also be more interesting). This is so much more effective than simply memorising the facts. Of course, not everything can be studied this way. Certain facts have no possible explanation at all, so the only way to study is by memorising.

FoCP, LTC, ID and PC are closely related as they are mostly about Internal Medicine, so you should revise them together. Internal Medicine, MH, WH and CH are distinct specialties. When revising, you should go specialty by specialty. Finish all topics in one particular specialty before moving on to the next specialty. Your focus when doing revision should be on making diagnosis and planning investigations. Don't bother too much about management. You should complete at least 5 full rounds of revision for all Stage 3 topics if possible.

The most important resource for Stage 3 is the textbooks. For FoCP, LTC, ID and PC, I recommend using Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (10th Edition) and Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialties (10th Edition); for MH, I recommend using ICD-10 and Psychiatry Lecture Notes (11th Edition); for WH, I recommend using Gynaecology by Ten Teachers (19th Edition) and Obstetrics by Ten Teachers (19th Edition); for CH, I recommend using Illustrated Textbook of Paediatrics (4th Edition). You should revise the topics in the textbooks that are in the learning outcomes. All learning outcomes can be identified using the study guides.

Another important Stage 3 resource is those on the NUMed LSE. While the textbooks are good, the LSE resources often contain some additional information that are useful. After you have revised the textbooks, you should revise the LSE resources as well.

These textbooks are used by some students for Stage 3: Davidson's Principles & Practice of Medicine, Kumar & Clark's Clinical Medicine, Surgical Talk. Personally, I wouldn't recommend revising these textbooks as they are not essential for the exam and it takes a lot of time to read them. However, if you are looking for some specific information that you can't find elsewhere, you may want to refer to these textbooks just for that.

Some students seem to emphasise a lot on the clinical guidelines. However, I would say that the guidelines are not really important, instead what's more important is that you fully understand everything that you revise in the textbooks. You should only memorise the more common guidelines that can be found in the textbooks. There is no need to look up the internet for other guidelines.

While Stage 1 and Stage 2 knowledge can be helpful at times, they are not essential for the Stage 3 SBA exam. There is no need for you to revise any Stage 1 or Stage 2 topics.

What about practice questions? For me, the only practice questions I did were those provided in the revision sessions. I never did any other questions (Peerwise, USMLE etc). However, I believe that doing practice questions from Peerwise, USMLE etc can be helpful for the Stage 3 SBA exam as well. If you have extra time, I would recommend that you do some practice questions, but if you are short of time, your focus should be on doing revision instead.

Basically, these are all my tips for the Stage 3 SBA exam. Once again, I have to emphasise that different people have different learning styles, so this should be just a guide for you. All the best in your revision! I hope you will be able to pass the exam.


Tips for the Stage 4 SBA examination can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2018/06/numed-malaysia-mbbs-stage-4-sba.html

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

NUMed Malaysia MBBS Stage 4 SBA Examination Tips

For Stage 4 of the MBBS course at Newcastle University Medicine (NUMed) Malaysia, there is a Single Best Answer (SBA) examination at the end of the 1st semester.

This exam is considered by many to be the most difficult exam in the entire NUMed MBBS course. But in my opinion, while this exam is difficult, it is nowhere close to being the most difficult exam, in fact I find it relatively easy compared to the exams of other Stages. I was able to score 68% (Green) for the Stage 4 SBA exam in December 2017 without facing significant problems. This is probably due to my effective and consistent revision for the exam.

Here, I would like to share some tips on passing this exam. These tips are intended for all NUMed medical students who are taking or retaking the Stage 4 SBA exam in August 2018, December 2018, August 2019, December 2019 or August 2020. I am writing these tips based on how I revised for the exam previously. However, I have to say that different people have different learning styles, so you should just take this as a guide.

First of all, you have to start your revision no less than 2 months before the Stage 4 SBA exam. I recommend studying at least 5 hours per day on weekdays and 7 hours per day on weekends and holidays. If possible, you should revise every day and don't miss even one day. To pass the exam, you should aim for a score of at least 58%.

The Stage 4 SBA exam covers CSIM2, CPTP4 and PDS5. I have an important point to make here. CSIM2, CPTP4 and PDS5 should be studied through understanding, and not memorising. Basically, for every fact you come across in your revision, try to think "Why is this the case?" If there is an explanation, read it and make sure you understand what it says. If there is no explanation, try to come up with your own explanation based on your knowledge. Even if your explanation is wrong, it doesn't really matter (as the exam won't ask for the explanation). You can also try looking up the internet for the explanation. The fact is that, when you actively try to seek an explanation for a fact, you will end up remembering the fact much better (and your revision will also be more interesting). This is so much more effective than simply memorising the facts. Of course, not everything can be studied this way. Certain facts have no possible explanation at all, so the only way to study is by memorising.

The CSIM2 and CPTP4 topics are divided into themes. When revising, you should go theme by theme. Finish all topics in one particular theme before moving on to the next theme. Note that there are some common themes in CSIM2 and CPTP4. For those themes, you should revise the CSIM2 and CPTP4 topics together, as they are closely related. Your focus when doing revision should be on pathophysiology, making diagnosis, planning investigations and pharmacological management. Don't bother too much about non-pharmacological management. You should complete at least 4 full rounds of revision for all CSIM2 and CPTP4 topics if possible.

The most important resource for CSIM2 and CPTP4 is the lecture notes. Personally, I think that most of the 2017 Malaysian lectures are really good, so I recommend using them. The only exceptions are the Dyslipidaemias and Prescribing in Pregnancy lectures, which I recommend using the 2016 Malaysian lectures. You should revise all lectures, including Theme Overviews, Case Reviews and seminar slides. As for UK lectures, I never used any of them, so I can't comment on them. You shouldn't use both UK and Malaysian lectures for the same topic.

Another important CSIM2 and CPTP4 resource is the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. I strongly recommend using the 10th edition. While the lecture notes are good, there are still some learning outcomes not being covered. You can study those learning outcomes using the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. All learning outcomes can be identified using the study guides. At the same time, if you don't quite understand a lecture or if you feel that a lecture is missing something, you can read up the topic in the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine.

Stage 3 knowledge is also very important. Even though the Stage 4 SBA exam doesn't directly test on Stage 3 topics, knowledge from Stage 3 is often required for you to understand Stage 4 topics and to work out the answers in the exam. You should have your Stage 3 textbooks ready, which includes Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine (10th Edition) and the textbooks for the specialties. There is no need to purposely revise Stage 3 topics. Instead, when you are revising Stage 4 topics, if you come across something that you did learn in Stage 3, you should read up that particular topic in the Stage 3 textbook to ensure that you don't forget it. On the other hand, while Stage 1 and Stage 2 knowledge can be helpful at times, they are not essential for Stage 4. You don't have to bother about any Stage 1 or Stage 2 topics.

These textbooks are used by some students for Stage 4: Davidson's Principles & Practice of Medicine, Kumar & Clark's Clinical Medicine, Robbins Basic Pathology, Underwood's Pathology, Rang and Dale's Pharmacology, Surgical Talk. Personally, I wouldn't recommend revising these textbooks as they are not essential for the exam and it takes a lot of time to read them. However, if you are looking for some specific information that you can't find elsewhere, you may want to refer to these textbooks just for that.

Some students seem to emphasise a lot on the clinical guidelines. However, I would say that the guidelines are not really important, instead what's more important is that you fully understand everything that you revise in the lectures and textbooks. You should only memorise the more common guidelines that can be found in the lectures and textbooks. There is no need to look up the internet for other guidelines.

Now, let's move on to PDS5. Even though the Stage 4 SBA exam has less questions on PDS5 compared to CSIM2 and CPTP4, you shouldn't neglect PDS5. Basically, you should revise all the PDS5 lecture notes. Once again, I recommend using the 2017 Malaysian lectures. There is no need to read any textbooks for PDS5. When revising PDS5, focus on it and put aside CSIM2 and CPTP4 for the moment. I recommend completing 2 full rounds of revision for PDS5, and the 2nd round should be done in the last 2 weeks before the exam.

What about practice questions? For me, the only practice questions I did were those 100 provided on the NUMed LSE (many of which are rejected questions). I never did any other questions (Peerwise, USMLE etc). However, I believe that doing practice questions from Peerwise, USMLE etc can be helpful for the Stage 4 SBA exam as well. If you have extra time, I would recommend that you do some practice questions, but if you are short of time, your focus should be on doing revision instead.

Basically, these are all my tips for the Stage 4 SBA exam. Once again, I have to emphasise that different people have different learning styles, so this should be just a guide for you. All the best in your revision! I hope you will be able to pass the exam.


Samples of the Stage 4 SSC1 Oral Presentation, SSC2 Poster & Abstract and SSC3 ePortfolio are available here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2016/10/newcastle-university-uk-numed-malaysia.html

Tips for the Stage 3 SBA examination can be found here:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2018/06/numed-malaysia-mbbs-stage-3-sba.html

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

My regret about Elective 1

The 2nd semester of Stage 4 of my MBBS course at NUMed consists of three Student Selected Components (SSC) and two Electives. The SSC 1 and SSC 2 can be done anywhere in Malaysia, while the SSC 3, Elective 1 and Elective 2 can be done either in UK or in Malaysia.

Doing the Elective 2 in UK has always been an absolute no-no for me, and my position on that remains the same now. The reason is that after Elective 2, there is just 3 weeks of break which is way too short. I want to have more time at home.

To overcome the problem of the short break, some of my friends chose to do SSC 1 and SSC 2 in their hometown instead of Johor, before going to UK for the SSC 3 and Electives. However, I didn't want to do the same, due to various reasons as I had explained in this post:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2018/02/why-i-dont-do-private-ssc.html

On the other hand, doing SSC 3 and Elective 1 in UK followed by Elective 2 in my hometown would have been a good plan for me, as I could be at home for 7 weeks which is reasonably long. However, I eventually decided to go to UK for just the SSC 3 but not Elective 1. Why was that the case?

Before entering Stage 4 of MBBS, I had always thought that there is just a single Elective which lasts for 8 weeks. As such, the thought of doing Elective 1 in UK and Elective 2 in Malaysia never came to my mind.

It was only in October 2017 that I found out there are actually two Electives, each lasting for 4 weeks. At that time, I had already made plans to do 8 weeks of Elective in my hometown, and I didn't see a great need to change that.

Between October 2017 and April 2018, there were several occasions where I seriously considered doing the Elective 1 in UK, but in the end I didn't go ahead with it. There were several reasons for that:

- First, for most Electives in UK, students are required to write and submit a curriculum vitae (CV) to the Elective supervisor. This was a task that I found quite challenging.

- It was quite possible that I wouldn't be offered an Elective at James Cook University Hospital. In that case, university managed accommodation isn't available and I would have to arrange private accommodation, which was something daunting for me.

- Even if I got to do an Elective at James Cook University Hospital, most of my friends probably wouldn't be doing their Elective there. Without friends, the Elective wouldn't be enjoyable.

- I was also quite worried that I would have difficulties adapting to the life in UK, considering the fact that I had never studied overseas before. Therefore, I didn't want to be in UK for too long.

- Doing Elective 1 in UK and Elective 2 in Malaysia would also mean that immediately after Elective 1 ends, I had to fly back to Malaysia and start Elective 2. I found this too rushed.


I travelled to UK on 13 April 2018 and did my SSC 3 at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough from 16 April 2018 until 25 May 2018. On 2 June 2018, I flew back to Malaysia. At that time, I was feeling quite sad about having to leave UK.

Many of my friends didn't leave UK when I left, because unlike me, they would be doing their Electives in UK. In fact, the number of students doing the Electives in UK exceeded those doing SSC 3 in UK.

I was having a lot of fun with my friends in UK throughout SSC 3. This had to come to an end, with me returning to Malaysia while my friends were still in UK, all because of the poor decision I made. If only I had chosen to do the Elective 1 in UK, I could have continued the fun for 1 more month.

Now, I am feeling quite regret for not doing my Elective 1 in UK. Looking back at the reasons above, I feel that none of them are really strong reasons, and the benefits of doing Elective 1 in UK definitely outweigh that.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Studying overseas for the first time

On 13 April 2018, I flew to UK for Student Selected Component 3 (SSC3), which is part of Stage 4 of my MBBS course at NUMed. The SSC3 would last from 16 April until 25 May. This was definitely a new experience for me, as it was my first time studying overseas.

In the past, I disliked the idea of studying overseas. The reason was that the environment overseas is quite different from that in Malaysia and I felt that it would be difficult for me to adapt to the environment overseas.

However, both my parents were graduates from Australian universities. Since young, my family had been planning to let me study in an Australian university. I definitely didn't agree with that, but I dared not voice out my thoughts.

Years later, my family began to realise that studying in Malaysia would be a good idea, as studying overseas is much more expensive. At that point, I finally let them know that I had always preferred to study in Malaysia.

In April 2013, I was offered the JPA scholarship. At that time, my family once again talked about studying overseas. Since the JPA scholarship would sponsor for many top universities in UK and Australia, they wanted me to take advantage of that.

I made it clear to my family that I didn't want to study overseas. Eventually, they agreed to let me make the final decision myself, while I also agreed that I would still apply to overseas universities just in case I change my mind in the future.

Studying A Level at Taylor's College gave me more exposure to the outside world which I didn't have during secondary school previously. As time went on, I became more open to the idea of studying overseas.

In October 2013, I started considering the possibility of studying overseas. However, I was later rejected by all the overseas universities that I applied to, including 4 UK universities and the University of Hong Kong.

I then got offered a place by NUMed. Since all 5 years of the NUMed MBBS course are delivered in Malaysia, it seemed that I no longer had the opportunity to study overseas. However, I later found out that the SSC3 and Elective in Stage 4 of the course can be done in UK.

I didn't let my family know about that, but soon enough, they came across a NUMed advertisement which stated that there is "opportunity for periods of study in UK". Somehow, my family interpreted that as "It is compulsory to go to UK".

My family was very happy that I could still study overseas. Since then, they kept talking about that, as if the entire MBBS course is just about the SSC3 and Elective. That annoyed me, as I felt that there were other more important things to talk about.

I later explained to my family that it is actually not compulsory to do the SSC3 and Elective in UK. However, they still kept saying that I "should go to UK", without giving any good reason. I have always wanted to have the autonomy to decide for myself.

Due to reverse psychology, I became unwilling to do the SSC3 and Elective in UK. Over the years from Stage 1 to Stage 3, I had no plans to go to UK for the Stage 4 SSC3 and Elective, although I didn't rule out that possibility entirely.

Then it happened. On the supposedly first day of Stage 4, NUMed unexpectedly declared the results of the Stage 3 exam invalid due to a "security breach" and required every student in my batch to resit the exam. Worse still, we were given only 10 days to revise for the exam.

This incident had a "butterfly effect" on me. In the incident, I nearly lost my opportunity to be in Stage 4 of MBBS, as it was seemingly impossible to finish the revision in such a short time and anyone who failed the resit exam had to repeat the entire Stage 3.

That made me value Stage 4 a lot after I passed the exam and got into Stage 4. As a result, I wanted to make the most out of the opportunities I had in Stage 4, one of them being the opportunity to study in UK. Therefore, I made the decision to do the SSC3 in UK.

(However, I chose not to do the Elective in UK, due to reasons which I explained in this post:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2018/06/my-regret-about-elective-1.html )

There was definitely a lot of preparation that I had to do before traveling to UK for the SSC3, especially that I had never studied overseas before. They were quite a hassle and the guidance provided by NUMed was limited, which made me feel stressed at times.

I would also have to face the challenges of adapting to the life in UK. Despite all these, I was confident that I made the right decision to go to UK for SSC3, as I knew that the SSC3 in UK would offer a unique experience that I wouldn't get if I were to do the SSC3 in Malaysia.

To read about my experience while doing the SSC3 in UK, go to this post:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2018/07/my-ssc-3-in-uk.html

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Horizon Residences: A place I will never forget

The accommodation managed by Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed) used to be at Horizon Residences. On 1 April 2018, I moved out of Horizon Residences. This was my 4th and last time moving out, as I will never return to Horizon Residences again.

Looking back, I had been staying at Horizon Residences for 3 years and 6 months. I first moved into Horizon Residences on 20 September 2014, two days before I started Stage 1 of MBBS at NUMed.

During my first few months at Horizon Residences, I was trying to adapt to my life there as I had never lived away from my family before that. Later, I got used to living there, but I started to be very busy with my studies.

That was the case from Stage 1 all the way to the 1st semester of Stage 4. Up until December 2017, I never had the opportunity to really enjoy Horizon Residences. Therefore, I didn't appreciate it and I just took it for granted.

I have once considered moving to ISV, mainly because of ISV's proximity to the NUMed campus. However, I later dismissed that consideration after the management of ISV attempted to impose an unreasonably high parking charge.

Starting from January 2018, I finally could make the most out of my stay at Horizon Residences, since the Student Selected Components (SSC) in the 2nd semester of Stage 4 are quite relaxing. I began to like Horizon Residences very much.

Horizon Residences has a nice swimming pool. Between September 2014 and December 2017, I had used it only once. However, during the 3 months between January and March 2018, I used it 4 times.

Unfortunately, on 6 March 2018, NUMed announced that for the next academic year, the NUMed managed accommodation would no longer be at Horizon Residences, instead it would be moved to EcoNest. This made me feel very sad.

Since about one year ago, I had been hearing rumours that NUMed was planning to change the accommodation. I chose not to believe it as there was no official announcement by NUMed. But now, it turned out that the rumour was true after all.

I wouldn't say Horizon Residences is perfect, it has its problems as well. It is located in Bukit Indah which is a rather overpopulated town, and I just don't like the crowd. It is also quite far away from NUMed, which caused me to be late for class at times.

I also had some bad memories at Horizon Residences. The worst one was the major power outage on 12 December 2017. Coincidentally, I was having an important examination at that time. Without electricity, everything at Horizon Residences felt so useless.

However, the fact is that nothing is perfect in this world. With good facilities, being located close to local amenities and a reasonable rental price, the NUMed accommodation at Horizon Residences is the best that it can be.

Most importantly, I had a lot of memories at Horizon Residences as I had been staying there for more than 3 years. I definitely felt sad about having to leave this place.

My contract for Horizon Residences actually lasted until August 2018. However, due to the fact that I wouldn't be doing my SSC3 and Electives in Johor, I had to move out from Horizon Residences in April 2018.

It was possible for me to continue staying at Horizon Residences by renting a unit privately. However, by doing so I wouldn't be eligible to get the waiver from NUMed for the SSC3 and Electives. As such, my only option was to stay at EcoNest for Stage 5 of MBBS.

Ever since the announcement on 6 March 2018, all that I could do was to treasure every single moment of my stay in Horizon Residences for the 26 days remaining.

I had always been lucky enough to be allocated the same unit and same room at Horizon Residences every year from Stage 1 until Stage 4. After staying in that room for so long, I felt particularly emotional when leaving it on 1 April 2018.

I knew that EcoNest would be a good place to stay as well. In fact, EcoNest has the advantage that it is located quite close to the NUMed campus. However, this didn't change the fact that I couldn't leave Horizon Residences without having strong emotions.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Balls I have attended

Many colleges and universities have annual balls, the same goes for Taylor's College Subang Jaya (TCSJ) and Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (NUMed). Until now, I have attended three balls. Here, I am going to share my history of attending such events.

The first ball I ever attended was the TCSJ Prom Night on 13 June 2014. At that time, since I had never attended a ball before, I didn't know what it is like. I had the impression that it is just some sort of a farewell party and I actually thought that casual wear would be acceptable. Later, with my friends' advice, I bought a formal shirt for the event. However, I still didn't wear a blazer and a tie. As a result, I looked quite different compared to my friends and that was a bit awkward. The organisation of the TCSJ Prom Night 2014 wasn't good in my opinion. Somehow, I had the feeling that the organisers only cared about their close friends while every one else seemed to be neglected. The food and performances were also just mediocre. However, I still enjoyed a lot during the event, mainly because I had the opportunity to take many nice photos with my friends.

On the following year, during Stage 1 of my MBBS course at NUMed, there was a NUMed Ball on 18 April 2015. At that time, I still had the impression that the event was only meant for students who would be graduating soon. I felt that since I was just in Stage 1, there was no reason for me to attend it. I also assumed that my friends wouldn't be attending. However, it turned out that most of my friends actually attended the NUMed Ball 2015. Seeing my friends taking so many photos without me made me feel very sad. As a result, I really regretted not attending the ball. In fact, that was one of my greatest regrets in 2015.

Therefore, when it came to Stage 2 of MBBS, I told myself that I must attend the NUMed Ball 2016 no matter what. It was held on 15 April 2016 and this was the first time where I attended NUMed Ball. I definitely wore a blazer and a tie this time. Initially, some of my friends didn't seem interested to attend, but eventually most of them still attended it. Compared to the TCSJ Prom Night 2014, the NUMed Ball 2016 had a much better organisation. The organisers made everyone feel involved in the event, and the food and performances were really great. I again took a lot of nice photos with many of my friends. It was definitely a very enjoyable experience. 

When I was in Stage 3 of MBBS, I intended to attend the NUMed Ball again. It was held on 24 March 2017 which would have been a good date, as that was just one day after my birthday and at that time I had just passed my clinical examination. Unfortunately, I had to fly back to Kuala Lumpur for one night on 24 March to do something important. I was supposed to do it earlier but I didn't because I had to revise for the examination, and at that point it couldn't be delayed any further. As a result, I had no choice but to skip the NUMed Ball 2017. Unlike the previous years, not many of my friends attended this ball. However, I still felt disappointed for missing out on it.

Having missed the NUMed Ball twice, I am determined to attend it during Stage 4 of MBBS this year. Initially, I was a bit worried that the ball would be held in April 2018, because I would be in UK at that time for my SSC3 and thus I wouldn't get to attend the ball. When it was announced that the NUMed Ball would be on 9 March 2018, I was so happy about that. However, the problem was that most of my friends in Stage 4 were not at all interested in attending the ball. I tried persuading my friends to attend it, but I wasn't successful in that. This put me in a real dilemma. If I were to attend the ball without any friends, I might end up being in an awkward situation during the ball, but on the other hand, I really didn't want to miss out on the ball once again. 

After careful consideration, I decided attend the NUMed Ball 2018 anyway, as I knew I would regret a lot if I don't attend it. I registered for the ball as soon as the registration was open. However, up until the day of the ball, I was still a bit worried of the awkward situation I might be in. It turned out that I had a very enjoyable experience during the ball and the awkward situation didn't materialise. There were still a few of my friends who attended. Just like the NUMed Ball 2016, the organisation of the NUMed Ball 2018 was excellent. The menu was really great, with a wide variety of food, and I was truly immersed in the performances. Besides taking photos with my friends, I also got out of my comfort zone by taking photos with many students that I didn't know previously, including the girl who was selected as the Prom Queen.

Now, I can say for sure that I made the right decision to attend the NUMed Ball 2018. I will definitely attend the ball again in 2019.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Why I don't do private SSC?

The 2nd semester of Stage 4 of MBBS at NUMed consists of three Student Selected Components (SSC). For each SSC, we get to choose a topic to study based on our interests. There are two categories of SSC's, public SSC and private SSC.

For public SSC's, they are pre-arranged by NUMed and we choose them from a list provided by NUMed. Most public SSC's are based in Johor. For private SSC's, we have to arrange them ourselves by contacting the supervisors. Private SSC's can be done anywhere in Malaysia.

Many students in my batch chose to do private SSC's outside Johor for SSC1 and SSC2. My family also preferred that I do private SSC’s in my hometown. At one point, I did consider doing private SSC’s, but I eventually decided against that. There are several reasons why I think private SSC’s are not for me.

First, I find it too much of a hassle to arrange a private SSC. This is especially true for SSC2 where it has to contain a suitable audit or research project. Also, since private SSC's are not arranged by NUMed, the supervisors are not familiar with the NUMed assessments, so they won’t be able to provide much guidance for the Oral and Poster Presentations.

An advantage NUMed has over the other medical schools is that it is not too far away from the clinical sites, so we get to utilise the NUMed campus throughout all 5 years of MBBS, without the need for a separate "clinical campus". Doing private SSC’s outside Johor negates this advantage. In particular, we have to travel back to the NUMed campus for the Oral Presentation and Written Skills Examination.

I have always wanted to do a non-clinical SSC for either SSC1 or SSC2, as I think having non-clinical knowledge is important for medical students as well. However, it is very difficult to arrange a suitable private non-clinical SSC. If I did private for SSC1 and SSC2, I most probably wouldn’t get to do a non-clinical SSC.

Doing a private SSC also meant that I probably would be on my own for the SSC, as it was unlikely that any of my friends would do their SSC at the same location. I really don’t like doing an SSC alone, because I won't get to really enjoy it without any friends. Considering that the SSC's are relatively stress free, I wanted to have some fun.

The NUMed Ball 2018 was held at Holiday Villa Hotel in Johor Bahru on 9 March, which was during the SSC2 period. If I did private SSC2 outside Johor, I would have to miss out on the NUMed Ball, just like what happened in the previous year. I really wanted to attend the NUMed Ball this year.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Exams and power outage

On 12 and 13 December 2017, I was having exams for the 4th year of my MBBS course at NUMed. Coincidentally, during that time there was a power outage affecting Horizon Residences, the NUMed accommodation. Here, I am writing about the whole incident.

The exams were from 2PM to 5PM on both days. On the first day, I went to NUMed at about 10:30AM. When I left Horizon Residences, the power supply was still on. During my journey to NUMed, I noticed that the traffic lights in Bukit Indah were not functioning. Later, NUMed sent an e-mail which stated that there was a power outage in Bukit Indah including Horizon Residences and they had informed TNB about that. NUMed was not affected by the power outage since it is located in Nusajaya.

At that time, I somehow had the feeling that the power outage might be a major one that would take a long time to repair. Immediately after my exam on that day, I received another e-mail from NUMed which informed us that it was a severe power outage and that the power supply was expected to be restored by midnight. I began to feel worried because I still had to revise for the exam on the next day and the power outage would adversely affect my revision.

I decided to go for dinner at McDonald's in Bukit Indah. However, as the traffic lights weren't functioning, an accident happened at the main crossroad in Bukit Indah, resulting in a very bad traffic congestion. The police diverted the traffic at that crossroad, and as a result I was forced to enter an expressway. Upon entering the expressway, I had two choices, either to go back to NUMed, or to go to Taman Perling. I chose the latter.

On my way to Taman Perling, I was stuck in traffic jam at the Perling toll for about 20 minutes. Taman Perling wasn't affected by the power outage. I was rather unfamiliar with the area in Taman Perling as I had never driven there before. However, I had passed through that area many times previously during my journey to and from Hospital Sultan Ismail, and I knew there was a KFC there. After some tries, I was able to get to the KFC. Since it was raining, I bought my dinner by drive-thru. Initially, I thought of parking there and having my dinner in my car.

However, I was very stressed at that time because of my exams and the power outage. This, in addition to the fact that the place was unfamiliar for me, I felt very uncomfortable being in that place. I wanted to leave that place as soon as possible, so I decided to bring my dinner back to Horizon Residences. On my way back, I was once again stuck in the traffic jam at the Bukit Indah crossroad. It was 7PM when I arrived at Horizon Residences.

The lights in the car park and corridor of Horizon Residences were working at that time. This gave me the false impression that the power supply had been restored. However, it turned out that those lights were powered by generator and there was still no power supply in my unit. After having KFC for dinner, the sky had turned dark. Looking from the window, I could see that some areas of Bukit Indah were bright, while the areas surrounding Horizon Residences were still dark. I thought that the power supply was being restored in stages.

I decided to sleep for a while first, as I usually do after class every day, hoping that the power supply would have been restored by the time I woke up. However, I was unable to fall asleep. With the fan and air-conditioner off, my room was almost completely quiet and I just couldn't stand the quietness. After about 45 minutes, I got up from bed and I telephoned TNB to ask about the power outage. TNB told me that the power outage was still being repaired and they had no idea when the power supply could be restored.

According to TNB, some areas of Bukit Indah were receiving backup power and Horizon Residences would get the same later, and after the power outage had been repaired, the power supply would once again be cut off for some time to switch back to the main power. At that point, I felt that there was no point to keep waiting for the power supply to be restored. My iPad's battery was running low and I couldn't charge it, but I had to use my iPad to do revision for my exam.

I decided to go to the NUMed library and spend a night there, for the first time. About one year ago, NUMed planned to limit the operation hours of the library so that it would be closed from 12AM to 7AM every day. Many students opposed this, and I joined them in opposing it even though I had never used the library after midnight. Eventually, NUMed scrapped that plan and kept the library open for 24 hours every day. In November 2017, I once thought of spending a night in NUMed after hearing strange sounds in my room, but eventually I didn't need to.

I arrived NUMed at about 8:45PM. I met many of my friends who were also there because of the power outage in Horizon Residences. The power sockets in the library were all on the floor and my iPad's charger cable wasn't long enough for me to comfortably use the iPad when charging. Therefore, I connected my iPad to a computer instead, which allowed me to comfortably use the iPad on the table. The computer couldn't actually charge my iPad (which stated "Not charging"), but it managed to keep the battery level from falling.

For a few hours, I did revision for my exam using my iPad in the library. At around 12AM, many of my friends returned to Horizon Residences as they didn't want to spend their night in NUMed, even though the power supply at Horizon Residences was still not restored. I maintained my decision to spend the night in NUMed. At 1AM, it was time for me to sleep. Initially, I planned to sleep in a sitting position with my head on the table. I had done that many times in the past during the free time between classes, usually for 1 to 2 hours each time.

But at a second thought, I realised that sleeping for the whole night is quite different compared to sleeping for just 1 to 2 hours. I was worried that if I slept like that for the whole night, I might end up getting body aches on the next day, which could affect my performance in the exam. Therefore, I decided to sleep on the sleeping bags in the library instead. The sleeping bags were actually quite comfortable. A few other students were also spending their night in the library.

On the next morning, I woke up at about 8:45AM. I did sleep quite well and I didn't experience body aches. One of my friends was surprised to see that I spent my night in the library. He told me that the power supply at Block A of Horizon Residences was eventually restored at around 2AM, while the power supply at Block B was still not yet restored (my unit is in Block A). TNB then sent me an SMS to inform that the power supply in Bukit Indah was being restored gradually. I had breakfast at the NUMed cafeteria and then continued with my revision for the exam.

After the exam on that day, I wanted to have dinner at Nando's in AEON Bukit Indah, but AEON was completely closed as a result of the power outage. At that time, the power supply in Bukit Indah had largely been restored. Bukit Indah felt so much like a dead town that just got revived. I had dinner at McDonald's and then returned to Horizon Residences. I was so glad that the power supply at my unit had been restored and that I could take a good break since my exams were over.

Overall, my experience of spending a night in the NUMed library had been quite good. In the future, I can consider doing that sometimes. On 9 January 2018, the results of the exam was released and I passed it successfully. On that afternoon, I went to the KFC in Taman Perling for lunch, just to relive the memories of the exam day. This time, without the stress, I felt much more comfortable with that place.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS)?

I would like to share about an incident that happened to me during the 4th week of November 2017. It all started on 19 November. On that night, I was somehow very tired, so I slept unusually early at 12AM. Then, I woke up at 4:30AM. Out of sudden, I heard a strange high-pitched sound. My first thought was that the sound was from my phone or iPad.

However, when I checked my phone and iPad, neither had any notifications. A few minutes later, I heard the same sound again. At that point, it was clear that the sound didn’t come from my phone or iPad. The sound was definitely from within my room, but I couldn’t determine its direction and I couldn’t think of anything else in my room that could be making the sound.

Every few minutes, I would hear the same sound again and again. I started to feel very scared. Was my room haunted? Or was I having auditory hallucinations? Then, after doing a quick search on Google, I came across a disease known as Exploding Head Syndrome (EHS).

According to Wikipedia, people with EHS would hear an imaginary high-pitched sound when they are falling asleep or waking up from sleep. The cause of EHS is unknown, but it seems to be more common in people who are deprived of sleep. EHS is harmless, but there is currently no treatment proven effective.

I thought that I must be having EHS. This was something I had never experienced before in the past. As I tried to go back to sleep, I continued hearing the sound every few minutes. I noticed that the sound seemed to be coming from a particular direction when I was lying down, but not when I was sitting up.

I was still able to fall asleep, but when I woke up at about 8:30AM, I still heard the sound. However, soon after I got up from bed, the sound stopped completely. After class on that afternoon, I took an afternoon nap as usual. Throughout the nap, I didn’t hear the sound at all. I was a bit relieved, thinking that I was just having a single episode of EHS.

However, at 2AM on that night, when I was still studying, I once again heard the sound. That was strange, as people with EHS usually hear the sound only when falling asleep or waking up. Just like the previous day, the sound would come every few minutes, continuing until the next morning.

Starting from the following day, I would make sure to sleep no later than 1:15AM every night. I was hoping that by getting enough sleep, it would get rid of the EHS. However, nothing changed. The sound would begin some time between 2AM and 3AM every night, waking me up from sleep. Yet, I would not hear the sound whenever I took naps in the afternoon.

I definitely felt quite depressed about this. I was worried that the EHS would be permanent. Worse still, I was already very stressed at that time because I would be having an examination in a few weeks time. I thought of consulting a doctor, but I had read that EHS could not be treated. I also thought of spending a night in the NUMed library to see if there would be any difference.

Then it happened. In the afternoon on 24 November, I somehow decided to turn on the air-conditioner in my room. Usually, I only use the air-conditioner at night, not in the afternoon. Half an hour later, I suddenly heard the same sound again. This was the first time I heard the sound in the afternoon. I was fully awake at that time, and I suddenly began to think, could the sound be from the air-conditioner?

When I looked at the air-conditioner, I noticed the smoke detector located near it. The smoke detector was installed by NUMed quite some time ago and I had almost forgotten about its existence. Then, at the moment when I heard the sound again, the smoke detector emitted a red light at the same time. This meant that the sound was actually from the smoke detector!

I was so relieved that I wasn’t really having EHS. To further confirm that, I recorded the sound using my phone. Then, after looking up the Internet, I finally understood everything. The fact is that, the smoke detector will give out a warning sound every few minutes if its battery is low. However, the battery of the smoke detector in my room is at the borderline level.

Most of the time, its battery level is still sufficient so it does not give the sound. However, when my room is very cold after the air-conditioner has been on for some time, the low temperature decreases the rate of chemical reaction in the battery, causing the battery level to fall below the borderline, so the smoke detector gives the warning sound.

I had always set a timer so that the air-conditioner would switch off automatically at 7:30AM every morning. After it switches itself off, the temperature in my room starts rising, so the battery level of the smoke detector increases as well. After some time, the battery level goes above the borderline and the smoke detector stops giving the warning sound.

After I understood everything, I made a report to NUMed about that and pretty soon, they sent someone to replace the battery of the smoke detector. Since then, I no longer hear that sound and I once again can sleep comfortably at night!


If you liked this story, you may want to read these too:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2014/07/an-amusing-incident.html
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2013/06/14-march-2013-day-of-hope.html

Saturday, 4 November 2017

My valuable 4th year of MBBS

The 4th year of my MBBS course at NUMed is known as Stage 4. Here, I would like to express some of my thoughts about Stage 4.

There are many things in life that we often take for granted. We only learn to appreciate them after we lost them or came close to losing them. For me, Stage 4 is exactly one of those things.

After I apparently passed Stage 3 of MBBS on 31 July 2017, progression to Stage 4 just felt like the natural next step. At that time, I considered Stage 4 to be just another year in MBBS. I didn't have very positive thoughts about Stage 4, due to the fact that I had heard many students describing Stage 4 as very difficult.

What I had never expected to happen was that on 4 September 2017 which was supposedly the first day of Stage 4, NUMed declared the results of the Stage 3 written examination invalid due to a 'security breach' and required all students to resit the written examination on 14 and 15 September 2017. (Read about the whole incident here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2017/09/4-september-2017-incident.html )

This incident nearly took away my opportunity to be in Stage 4. I had to put in so much effort to do the seemingly impossible task of revising the entire Stage 3 curriculum in such a short time frame of 10 days. Finally on 18 September 2017, I was able to pass the resit examination and officially proceed to Stage 4 of MBBS.

After going through the whole ordeal, it made me value Stage 4 so much more. Indeed, I wouldn't have realised the significance of being in Stage 4 without the experience of nearly losing it. Even though Stage 4 is difficult, I was grateful of the fact that I was in Stage 4 and I truly embraced it. Therefore, I definitely wanted to make the most out of Stage 4 which I valued so much.

Here’s how I made the most out of Stage 4:

1st - Doing the Student Selected Component 3 (SSC3) in UK

NUMed students can choose to do the SSC3 during Stage 4 either in UK or in Malaysia. In the past, I was reluctant to do the SSC3 in UK, because my family kept pushing me to go to UK, but they couldn't give a good reason to justify that. I don't like it when my family tell me what to do, because I want to have the autonomy to decide for myself. The more they tried to push me, the less willing I was to go to UK. Over time, my family realised that it would just be futile to keep pushing me on going to UK, so they softened their stance.

With that, I started considering the possibility of doing the SSC3 in UK. Later, I found out that many of my friends were planning to do the SSC3 in UK. This made the idea of going to UK more attractive. The greatest turning point was the incident where I had to resit the Stage 3 written examination, which changed my perspectives on this. Since I wanted to make the most out of Stage 4, I felt that I should go to UK for SSC3, which would give me valuable experience.

2nd - Attending every single lecture in Stage 4

In Stage 3, most of the teaching was carried out at clinical sites and there were lectures only on certain days, but the lectures on those days were really long. Consequently, I didn't like attending lectures back then. I preferred to skip the lectures and read the lecture notes myself instead. However, all lectures in Stage 3 were compulsory so I had no choice but to attend them. As I attended the lectures unwillingly, I often did not focus well during the lectures and I even fell asleep on a few occasions.

In Stage 4, there were many lectures every day, and the timetable was very packed because the start date of Stage 4 was delayed due to the Stage 3 resit examination. Unlike Stage 3, most lectures in Stage 4 were not compulsory. It was common for students to skip the lectures on Patients, Doctors and Society (PDS). However, due to my desire in making the most out of Stage 4, I was much more enthusiastic in Stage 4. As a result, I made it a point to always attend all lectures including PDS lectures, and to pay good attention during the lectures.

3rd - Having a good relationship with my friends in Group 4

For Stage 4, I was allocated to Group 4. This group allocation was largely based on the grouping for the Stage 3 Hospital Based Weeks previously, although there were a bit of changes. Most of my group mates in Group 4 were previously my group mates in Hospital Based Group (HBG) B1. I was lucky enough to not get excluded from this group like what happened when I was in Stage 3. I could reunite with most of my friends in HBG B1, so I was quite happy to be in Group 4. Therefore, I definitely did my part to form and maintain a good relationship with every one in Group 4.

4th - Engaging well in every Case-based Group Work session

There were Case-based Group Work sessions every week in Stage 4. These sessions are a unique feature of Stage 4 as the other years of the MBBS course do not have such sessions. The Case-based Group Work sessions are essentially like the Problem Based Learning (PBL) sessions in other medical schools. During each session, I and my group mates were presented with clinical cases where we had to discuss and work together to come out with the answers for the questions in the case. I found these sessions really interesting and I always got myself well involved in the sessions.

5th - Aiming for a score of 75% in the Stage 4 written examination

I scored 75% for the Stage 3 resit examination in September 2017. This was my highest score yet since the Stage 1 Progress 2 examination in January 2015, so I was really happy with my performance. Therefore, I wanted to maintain the same level of performance for the Stage 4 written examination in December 2017. I believed that the key to achieving this aim is early preparation, which was why I had started my revision for the Stage 4 examination in late September 2017. I also made sure to avoid the same mistakes that contributed to my failure in the FoCP written examination, LTC MOSLER and WH MOSLER during Stage 3.

Friday, 20 October 2017

1 million pageviews

This blog has reached a total of 1 million pageviews today. Thanks to all readers of this blog for your continuous support!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

4 September 2017 incident

On 4 September 2017, something completely unexpected happened that had a huge impact on me and many others. What was it actually?

Stage 3 of my MBBS course at NUMed had not been smooth for me. During Stage 3, there were 6 MOSLER assessments where we had to pass at least 4 in order to be eligible to take the final written examination. I found the MOSLER's really difficult and I feared them a lot. In fact, I failed 2 of the MOSLER's quite badly. With a lot of hard work, I was eventually able to pass the other 4 MOSLER's and proceed to the written examination.

The written examination for Stage 3 was held on 17 and 18 July 2017. The examination was rather difficult. Although there were some easy questions, many of the questions were quite tricky. I estimated that I would be able to score at least 58% in the examination. The problem was that the pass threshold of the examination is often higher than 60%. In the previous year, many good students failed the written examination just because of the high pass threshold.

Therefore, I was quite worried about my written examination results. If I failed, I would have to repeat the entire Stage 3 as my final attempt. On 31 July 2017, the results was released. I was so happy to know that I passed the written examination. My score in the examination was 67% which was Amber (borderline pass), while the pass threshold was 64.3%. With that, I was able to continue on to Stage 4 of MBBS. This was a huge relief for me after overcoming all the challenges to pass Stage 3.

There were only 8 students who failed, which was a remarkable improvement over the previous year. Stage 4 was supposed to begin on 4 September 2017. Between 19 July and 3 September 2017, I had 6.5 weeks of summer break. During the break, I didn't study anything at all, because I strongly believe that we should fully relax ourselves during breaks. In late August 2017, NUMed uploaded the Stage 4 timetable and study guides to the learning support website and sent us a welcome email.

However, there were some unusual things. The welcome email was somehow much shorter compared to that of the previous years and all it said was that we had to register for Stage 4 on 4 September 2017. In addition, the timetable incorrectly stated the Stage 4 Semester 1 start date as 18 September 2017, but it correctly stated the end date as 30 November 2017. The student group list was also not released. I didn't give much thoughts about these things. On 28 August 2017, the students who failed the July examination began their repeat year of Stage 3.

Due to Malaysia's victory in the 2017 SEA Games, the government declared 4 September 2017 as a public holiday. However, NUMed informed us that there would be no holiday in NUMed on that day as it was too late to alter the timetables. On 3 September 2017, I returned to Bukit Indah and moved into the university accommodation. Unlike the previous years, I didn't actually feel sad that the summer break was ending, even though I really enjoyed the break. Instead, for some reason I was actually looking forward to Stage 4.

On 4 September 2017, there was supposed to be a Stage 4 introductory lecture at 9AM. I overslept on that morning and it was already 8:30AM when I woke up. I had to rush and I managed to arrive NUMed a few minutes before 9AM. At that time, I met one of my friend who failed the July examination and had to repeat Stage 3. He told me that for unknown reason, NUMed asked him to attend the Stage 4 introductory lecture on that day with us.

I didn't think much about that and I just walked into the lecture theatre. The atmosphere in the lecture theatre was just like usual and many students were talking to each other about the summer break. A few minutes later, a few lecturers walked into the lecture theatre, while one of them prepared to begin the lecture. Their facial expressions looked a bit unusual. Then, the lecturer said that he had a bad news to share with us.

At that moment, my immediate thought was that NUMed was going to announce a change to the curriculum for Stage 4. I had known for quite some time that they were planning to introduce a new curriculum in a few years. In the new curriculum, Stage 3 will be easier than it used to be, but Stage 4 will be more difficult. I had always hoped that the new curriculum would not be implemented in my year. However, it turned out that the bad news had nothing to do with the curriculum.

Instead, the lecturer said that it was about our Stage 3 written examination in July. According to him, a few days after the examination results was released, they received information that there was a security breach where some of the examination questions along with the answers were leaked out before the examination. When they later performed a statistical analysis of the students' answers, they concluded that there was indeed a security breach beyond reasonable doubt.

As a result, NUMed declared that the results of the July examination was invalid and all students had to resit the written examination on 14 and 15 September 2017. The students who failed the July examination previously would be resitting it as well. Only the students who pass the resit examination would be able to proceed to Stage 4 which would begin on 18 September 2017, while the students who fail it would have to repeat the entire Stage 3 as the final attempt. This was the reason for the 18 September start date in the timetable.

The announcement immediately struck everyone in the lecture theatre. Many students started complaining that it was unfair to require those who didn't receive any of the leaked questions to resit. The lecturer's response was that as a result of the security breach, they could not be confident that we passed the written examination legitimately and met the required standards. Since there was no way to determine exactly which students received the leaked questions, every student had to resit it.

Then, we asked why NUMed didn't inform us earlier even though they had known about the security breach for quite some time. The lecturer stated that to ensure fairness, every student had to be informed at the same time so that all of us would have the same amount of time to prepare for the resit examination. During the summer break, the only way to inform us was through e-mail, but many students were known to not check their e-mails regularly. Therefore, they decided that the best solution was to not let us know anything until we were back at NUMed on that day.

We requested that NUMed postpone the resit examination because we couldn't revise the entire Stage 3 curriculum in just 10 days. The lecturer said that he understood our concerns, but they couldn't delay the examination any further because there wouldn't be enough time to complete the teaching for Semester 1 of Stage 4 in that case. Delaying the Stage 4 start date to 18 September 2017 had already resulted in a very tight timetable. He also stressed that as medical students, we shouldn't just forget everything after the previous examination.

The lecturers said that the only other alternative for us was to repeat the entire Stage 3, and if we chose to do so it would not be considered to be our final attempt. They told us they had already spent a lot of time trying to think of a better solution, but there were none. They added that this was the first time where such security breach occurred, and they would take extra steps to ensure that it would never happen again in the future. In the end, nothing could be done to change the fact that we had to resit the examination on 14 and 15 September 2017.

This incident definitely put me in a very difficult situation. Just as I was looking forward to start Stage 4 after all my efforts in passing the 4 MOSLER assessments and eventually getting a borderline pass in the written examination, now it was back to the uncertainty of whether or not I would get to enter Stage 4. I had been relaxing throughout the summer break, and now I had to immediately go back to hard core studying. I felt very angry, sad and stressed.

My immediate thought was that I would rather choose to repeat Stage 3 instead of resitting the examination because it seemed impossible for me to revise the whole Stage 3 curriculum within 10 days and I didn't want to waste an attempt by failing. However, repeating Stage 3 would mean that I had to once again go through the MOSLER assessments which I struggled so much to pass, and I also had to separate with most of my friends who wouldn't be repeating Stage 3.

After some analysis, I concluded that although very challenging, it was feasible for me to complete one round of full revision for the entire Stage 3 curriculum in 10 days. For the July examination previously, I finished one round of revision in 13 days without much stress. This could be shortened to 10 days by studying longer hours every day. However, this would mean that the next 10 days would be extremely busy and stressful. I decided to go ahead with resitting the examination.

In the afternoon of 4 September 2017, I began revising for the the resit examination. Luckily, I still had significant memory of my Stage 3 knowledge, which made this revision easier and faster. I started my revision with General Medicine (FoCP/LTC/ID/PC) which was the most important. On 7 September 2017, I finished revising General Medicine and started revising Psychiatry (MH). Being relatively short, I was able to finish revision for Psychiatry on that day itself. Then, I revised Paediatrics (CH).

I finished revision for Paediatrics on 9 September 2017 and continued with Obstetrics and Gynaecology (WH). On 11 September 2017, I finished revising Obstetrics and Gynaecology and proceeded with Emergency Medicine (FoCP). On that night, I had completed my first round of revision for the whole Stage 3 syllabus. Over the next two days, I did a quick second round of revision for General Medicine. Throughout the 10 days, to avoid wasting time, I stopped playing the video game Clash of Clans completely.

Although I was fairly well prepared for the resit examination, I was still quite worried that the questions would be difficult. On 14 September 2017, it was Paper 1 of the examination. This paper was slightly easier than the examination in July and this made me feel more confident. Paper 2 of the examination was on 15 September 2017. This paper was a bit more difficult compared to Paper 1 as well as the July examination.

Just like the July examination, I estimated that I could score at least 58% in this examination. Once again, I was worried about the pass threshold which is usually higher than 60%. NUMed had stated that the pass threshold for this examination would be determined in the usual way. After studying so hard for 10 days, I fully relaxed myself for the few days after the examination while trying not to think about the results.

The results of the resit examination was released at 8AM on 18 September 2017. Just before the results was released, I was feeling extremely nervous and my body was trembling. Then, I was so happy and surprised to know that I scored 75.1% in the resit examination which was Green (safe pass). This was also a huge improvement compared to my score in the July examination. The pass threshold for this examination was 63.9%. I officially began Stage 4 at 9AM on that day.

With the exception of one student, all students passed the resit examination, including the 8 students who failed the July examination previously. This is no doubt the highest pass rate ever in the history of NUMed. Even though we passed in the end, this doesn't change the fact that we had to endure two weeks of extreme stress. We are definitely angry about the whole incident. Luckily, this incident happened to the Stage 3 examination. The examinations for the other Stages are much more difficult and it wouldn't be possible to finish revision in 10 days.

Looking back at the whole incident, while I think the way NUMed handled the situation was definitely not perfect, I agree with them that there is no better solution. If they informed us about the security breach earlier, I would have to do revision during the summer break and that would ruin my break. If they delayed the resit examination, that would just prolong the duration of extreme stress that we had to face and also adversely affect our studies in Semester 1 of Stage 4.

This incident was actually a blessing in disguise for me since my examination results improved from Amber to Green. I am glad that I chose to take the resit examination instead of repeating Stage 3. Obviously, the 8 students who failed the July examination benefited the most from this incident as they passed the resit examination and could enter Stage 4. Under normal circumstances, there is no resit for the Stage 3 written examination and any student who failed it has to repeat the entire Stage 3.

If you liked this story, you may want to read these too:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2017/08/disasters-in-my-3rd-year-of-mbbs.html
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2017/11/my-valuable-stage-4-of-mbbs.html

Monday, 4 September 2017

My 2017 summer break

In year 2017, I have 6.5 weeks of summer break between 18 July 2017 and 4 September 2017, after the end of Stage 3 of my MBBS course at NUMed. Several interesting incidents happened during the summer break. Now, I still remember those incidents very well, and I am going to write about them here.

Compared to the previous years, my summer break is much shorter this year. Yet, this is the last time in my life where I have a break longer than 1 month. In 2018, even though my summer break will technically last for 12 weeks, I have to spend 8 weeks of the break doing the Elective.


18 July 2017 (Tuesday):
- Completed Paper 2 of Stage 3 SBA
- Got exempted from attending the Stage 3 Confirmation OSCE
- Made an unsuccessful request regarding the student grouping for Stage 4
- Had dinner at KFC, AEON Bukit Indah

19 July 2017 (Wednesday):
- Had lunch at Nando’s, AEON Bukit Indah

20 July 2017 (Thursday):
- Had breakfast with my friends at Wen Loy Restaurant, Bukit Indah
- Went back to Subang Jaya

22 July 2017 (Saturday):
- Made a new pair of glasses
- My 2nd Clash of Clans account upgraded to Builder Hall 4

23 July 2017 (Sunday):
- Went back to Kulim
- My 1st Clash of Clans account upgraded to Builder Hall 5

24 July 2017 (Monday):
- My Acer laptop malfunctioned

30 July 2017 (Sunday):
- Had lunch at Nando’s with my family

31 July 2017 (Monday):
- Passed Stage 3 of MBBS

2 August 2017 (Wednesday):
- Took the ETS back to Subang Jaya

3 August 2017 (Thursday):
- Collected my new pair of glasses
- Had dinner at The Ship with my family

4 August 2017 (Friday):
- Received the NUMed Offer of Accommodation for 2017/2018
- Had dinner at Cor Blimey Cafe with my family

5 August 2017 (Saturday):
- Had dinner at Ben’s with my family

7 August 2017 (Monday):
- Replaced the hard disk of my Acer laptop with an SSD
- Had dinner at Yeast Cafe with my family

8 August 2017 (Tuesday):
- Collected my Acer laptop

10 August 2017 (Thursday):
- Received my transcript for Stage 3 of MBBS
- Upgraded my iPad Air to iOS 11 Public Beta
- My 2nd Clash of Clans account upgraded to Town Hall 10

11 August 2017 (Friday):
- My 1st Clash of Clans account upgraded to Town Hall 11

13 August 2017 (Sunday):
- Had dinner at Fresco Cafe with my family

14 August 2017 (Monday):
- Took the LRT to Sunway Pyramid

15 August 2017 (Tuesday):
- Watched Memento (original version)

16 August 2017 (Wednesday):
- Had dinner at Restoran Waneeda Tomyam with my family
- Watched Memento (chronological version)

17 August 2017 (Thursday):
- Had dinner at Souled Out with my family

18 August 2017 (Friday):
- Had dinner at Fatty Crab Restaurant with my family
- Chatted with my friend on Facebook Messenger

19 August 2017 (Saturday):
- Had lunch with my friend at Ha Ha Pan Mee, Puchong
- Had desserts with my friend at Moonlight Cake House, Puchong
- Watched the SEA Games 2017 Opening Ceremony online

20 August 2017 (Sunday):
- Had dinner at Bistro 33 with my family

21 August 2017 (Monday):
- Had lunch at Acme Bar & Coffee with my family
- Went to the lounge at Citibank with my family
- Had desserts with my friends at Inside Scoop, USJ Taipan
- Had supper with my friends at McDonald’s, USJ Taipan

22 August 2017 (Tuesday):
- Watched the launch of Android 8.0 Oreo

23 August 2017 (Wednesday):
- Had dinner at Chili’s with my family

26 August 2017 (Saturday):
- Went into KLIA2 for the first time
- Took a flight to Penang with my family
- Attended my grandfather’s birthday dinner in Penang
- Went to Kulim for one night

27 August 2017 (Sunday):
- Took a flight back to Subang Jaya

30 August 2017 (Wednesday):
- Watched The Hitman’s Bodyguard at MBO Cinemas, Subang Parade

31 August 2017 (Thursday):
- Had dinner at Fatty Crab Restaurant with my family

1 September 2017 (Friday):
- Had dinner at Melting Pot, Concorde Hotel with my family

2 September 2017 (Saturday):
- Bought a vacuum cleaner

3 September 2017 (Sunday):
- Returned to Bukit Indah
- Moved into Horizon Residences

4 September 2017 (Monday):
- Began Stage 4 of MBBS at NUMed apparently
- The 4 September 2017 incident


If you find this interesting, you may want to read this too:
http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-3-eventful-months-after-my-2nd-year.html

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Bonding vs comfort zone

The second semester of my 3rd year of MBBS at NUMed was the Essential Junior Rotations (EJR). EJR consists of 5 rotations which were Long Term Conditions (LTC), Primary Care (PC), Mental Health (MH), Women's Health (WH) and Child Health (CH). Throughout EJR, I was placed in Group 2, but Group 2 was further subdivided into a few sub-groups for each rotation. For the MH, WH and CH rotations, there were 3 sub-groups, A, B and C, allocated based on the position of the students' names in the name list.

I was allocated to Group B for the MH rotation. I was really happy to be in Group B, because 3 out of 4 of my friends in my LTC sub-group and 2 out of 4 of my friends in my PC sub-group were in Group B as well. I didn't have to separate with my PC group mates and I also could reunite with my LTC group mates, so it was a win-win situation. Of course, this situation wasn't 100% perfect because I still had to separate with 1 of my LTC group mate and 2 of my PC group mates, but it was good enough for me.

However, there was a catch. The position of my name in the name list was 15, which is at the 'borderline' between Group B and Group C. It was by luck that I was allocated to Group B for MH. I knew of the possibility that for the WH and CH rotations, I might not be so lucky again and I might get reallocated to Group C instead. The thought of that made me feel insecure. I really liked Group B and I didn't want to separate with my friends in Group B.

Worst of all, I would be the only student in the whole Group 2 to get allocated to different sub-groups for MH and WH. As most of the teaching sessions in the MH rotation were conducted at the NUMed campus, there wasn't much opportunity for me to be together with my friends in Group B. Therefore, I really wanted to remain in the same group with them for WH and CH, where there would be more opportunities to further strengthen our relationship.

I was hoping all the time that I would be lucky enough to remain in Group B for WH and CH. Later, when I looked at the sub-group allocation for the previous WH and CH rotations, I found out that the 15th student in the name list was always placed in Group C. At that point, I realised that I was definitely going to be reallocated to Group C unless something is done. I knew that I couldn't just sit there and wait for a miracle to happen.

On 7 April 2017, I decided to meet the lecturer in charge of the WH rotation regarding the grouping. He was rather strict, but I took my courage to meet him. He said that I had indeed been allocated to Group C, so I requested for a switch to Group B. At that time, there was still 4 weeks until the start of the WH rotation. Despite that, he told me that the grouping was already close to being finalised and it would be troublesome to make changes to it. However, I refused to give up on that.

After a long talk with him where I tried to portray my strong emotions, the lecturer said that he would 'consider' letting me switch to Group B if I could find someone to exchange groups with me. One of my friend in Group B had offered to exchange with me since he preferred to be in Group C instead. Then, the lecturer told me that he would let me know the outcome within a few days. However, he didn't sound quite promising, and that made me feel very distressed.

Starting from 8 April 2017, I had 2 weeks of Easter break, but I had no mood to enjoy my break because of the grouping. On 9 April 2017, my parents bought me a train ticket from Kulim to Subang Jaya and I was given coach B on the train. My parents wanted to ask for a change to coach C since the train's cafeteria is in coach C and they knew that I like to buy food in the train. I straight away told them not to change it and that I was fine with coach B. I felt that coach C would bring bad luck to me for the grouping.

Eventually on 11 April 2017, the lecturer informed me that he had decided to let me switch to Group B for the WH rotation. I was very happy and relieved that my efforts was successful in the end. I didn't let any of my friends know about this, apart from the one who exchanged groups with me, because I wanted to give them a surprise.

On 27 April 2017, my friends in Group C gave me a 'welcome speech' since they expected that I would be in their group for the oncoming WH rotation. At that point, I told them clearly that my group would always be Group B no matter what and that I would never accept Group C as my group. That might sound somewhat offensive to them, but it was a truth that I had to let them know.

On 28 April 2017 which was 5 weeks before the start of the CH rotation, I went to meet the lecturer in charge of CH regarding the grouping. Once again, I had been allocated to Group C for CH. However, this lecturer was very nice and understanding. She instantly agreed to let me switch to Group B, without having to exchange groups with anyone. The whole process was done within a minute. I was definitely very delighted by this.

On 2 May 2017, the grouping for the WH rotation was released, and it confirmed that I would be in Group B. My friends in Group B were really surprised about that because they thought that I was going to be reallocated to Group C. After I told them everything, they congratulated me for my efforts and said that they too were very happy to continue have me in Group B. On 30 May 2017, the CH rotation grouping was out, confirming that I would be in Group B. Therefore, I stayed in Group B throughout MH, WH and CH.

So, what was the reason that I wanted so much to remain in Group B and not get switched to Group C? You may think that it is because Group B was my comfort zone and I didn't want to get out of my comfort zone by switching to Group C. Well, that's wrong.

In reality, Group C was a greater comfort zone for me compared to Group B, as I knew the students in Group C longer than those in Group B. I had known many of the students in Group C even before 3rd year of MBBS, while I only knew my Group B group mates in 2017. My relationship with everyone in Group C was also quite good. As my friends in Group C were quite carefree, I could do or say anything in front of them and they wouldn't get annoyed. In that case, why didn't I want to be in Group C?

Well, it all comes down to bonding. I am quite an emotional person, so I easily develop bonds with my group mates, bonds that are stronger than disulphide bonds. Because of the bonds that I had with my friends in Group B, which was particularly strong as they were my group mates since the LTC or PC rotations, I would feel very sad if I had to separate with them. Group C might be my comfort zone, but I didn't have bonds with them since I was never in the same group with them, instead my bonds were with Group B.

In the previous semester, I once made a mistake where I kept staying in my comfort zone, causing me to lose out on the opportunity to form a close relationship with my group mates. I regretted the mistake very much, and I definitely wouldn't repeat it again. I had come to realise that maintaining the bonds with my group mates is much more important than staying in my comfort zone. Therefore, I was determined to stay in Group B. I am really glad that in the end, I get to be in Group B throughout the MH, WH and CH rotations.

So, 'B' stands for Bonding and 'C' stands for Comfort zone.

(You can read about the mistake I made in the previous semester here: http://daniellimjj.blogspot.com/2016/12/27-october-2016-incident.html )